Monday, July 12, 2010

I followed signs reading "Summer Institute" to the familiar Annunciation Hall, but since the letter from the college did not include a room number and I was 45 minutes early, I sat in the auditorium and read Acts 23-24 for tomorrow's Bible study. From time to time, I popped my head out to check on where people were gathering. When a man asked me where room 109 was, I set out to help him look, realizing it was the lecture room.

He had us introduce ourselves, as he took attendance, with our hometown and some relevant bio. I don't get the award for traveling the farthest, which goes to the man from Little Egg Harbor, 100 miles, 2 hours, one way. Several people had their MA or were working towards it. A few were third order and a couple were Benedictines from across town. Just about all were involved in parish work. The only thing I could do was acknowledge the usefulness of his website. Given our backgrounds, I hoped we could hit the ground running. Fr. Just certainly tried.

All the handouts came from/can be found on his website. We spent very little time on practical questions of authorship, date, audience or what we know of Luke. Assuming Mark and Q as sources for Luke's Gospel, Fr. Just quoted Eusebius' quote of Papias regarding Mark's source, Peter's preaching. He posited that Luke was a "big city guy," like his sometime companion Paul, in contrast to "small town folks," Mark and Matthew, who never mention the largest cities in Galilee (Sepphoris & Tiberias), while Luke/Acts is all about metropolises:: Jerusalem, Rome, Corinth, Athens, etc.

We contrasted Luke's Christology with the others and, as quick as he was to point to differences, he said the four canonical Gospels are more similar to each other than any of them are to apocryphal Gospels. He emphasized that familiar "both/and" approach and cautioned us against telling only one side of the picture. Fr. Demeck, of happy memory, at Georgian Court, talked of "keeping all the plates spinning."

Related to Christology is discipleship: depending on what an evangelist makes of Jesus influences how one follows him. In Luke, discipleship is the hard road of "living for others." And that quote came to mind:
[English Jesuit George] Tyrell likened the liberal quest for the historical Jesus to a person looking down a deep, dark well. What would someone see at the bottom of the well? Tyrell suggested that these people would see a blurry image of themselves. Loewe
So, the Luke the Physician sees a healer?

Material unique to Luke is the key to determining his main points. The end of chapter 9 through the middle of chapter 18 is unique to Luke and is mostly parables related to the godly use of money and possessions. We did a couple of word studies: one on prayer and another on "Holy Spirit." We noted that Luke/Acts reference "prayer" and "Holy Spirit" significantly more often than the other canonical Gospels. We opened to the blessings and woes of Luke 6 and naturally, a few didn't even have a Bible. "Oh, you must be Catholic," he said. I had a couple extra and quietly handed them out as he was saying, "At a Protestant Bible study, everyone would have a different translation and some people would have more than one!"

He recommended bringing a synopsis next day and I made a note to find mine, though I have no interest in comparative Gospel exercises. I was curious in which Bibles those who had them had. The ladies next to me had pristine copies of the eyesore Catholic Youth Bible (NRSV). Probably most had the NRSV. I'll try to steal more glances tonight for sure. Not a few were "tabbed" and one was thumb-indexed. The pragmatic Fr. Just used the Bible from his hotel room.

That woman was there with her mother (previous post). During a break, they approached to ask why Protestants criticize their Marian devotion. "I have a great devotion to Mary, as I do to all the saints - Mary's a great healer - but I don't push that devotion on my Protestant friends." He reminded her that healing comes from God and supposed Catholic misuses are to blame for Evangelical criticism.1 I can't guess their motive in broaching the subject of Marian devotion with him. These had asked earlier how to learn more about John the Baptist than one finds in the New Testament. I began to wonder why a class such as this draws out some very strange people and whether that means I'm also strange.

And when I got home around 11, Jeff had spread out his laptop, new and old iPhones on the bed. He looked incredibly content and happy.

1 hmmm, no.


Anonymous said...

You're right about Protestant Bible studies! They sure love comparing translations (unless they're dyed-in-the-wool "King James only" folks). And that really tickled me to hear that some of the Catholics hadn't brought Bibles. Ok, that's one Protestant habit a lot of Catholics would do well to imitate. But what's up with the priest using a Bible from the hotel room?
The class sounds interesting. I hope it enriches your mind and spirit!


Moonshadow said...

It always happens on the first night that someone or other neglects to bring a Bible, that's why I bring more than one. The final night, even our speaker forget to bring a Bible! So he used a commentary which contained the full text as well.

I thought using the hotel room Bible was a nice touch. He never read aloud from it - allowing us students to do whatever reading was needed - because, well, the hotel Bible was left behind by the Gideons, presumably N/KJV. :-)

texasmom said...

Ha hah! I have several different editions around, and use them all frequently! Since I am reading a translation, and not in the original language, I often like to see how different translations handle a verse or psalm.
It all sounds interesting! I am going to come back and read some more as soon as I can!

Christine @ Deep in the Heart

Anonymous said...

I think Gideon Bibles are always KJV. But it sounds like you had an enjoyable time. :-)


Barb Schoeneberger said...

Really interesting. It was very generous of you to share your bibles with others. It's funny how people coming to a bible-involved class show up without one. I'm glad the teacher made the point about how all four gospels are more similar to each other than to any of the gnostic "gospels".

Colleen said...

I agree with others here - very interesting! Thanks for visiting my blog earlier! God bless!