Message 1 of 2 (823643)
11-15-2017 12:32 AM
Martin Luther had some interesting comments about the threatening line in Revelation about not adding to or taking one word from the book (which Roman Catholics actually use to say that you not only must have Revelation as sacred apostolic scripture BUT YOU INFACT can't change their entire 27 book New Testament AT ALL!)
He seems to hold animosity toward Jerome (who single handedly made the Epistle of James "sacred scripture), perhaps because since the standard order of the seven Catholic Epistles (James, 1 Peter , 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude) came from his translation (Vulgate). It was standard but the Council of Carthage (397) put Peter first. Luther places Hebrews, Jude, James and Revelation at the back of his Bible and left them out of the Table of Contents.
Here is a scholarly description of the Greek textual criticism of Erasmus and Luther.
(two who challenged the Roman Catholic's New Testament but failed to get a following despite the eventual Reformation)
The Tyndale commentary ( ISBN 0-8028-1415-8 )
(EDIT: I screwed up on the quoted part of the Tyndale Commentary. "'some good, pious man who had taken some sayings from the apostle's disciples" was a quote of Luther. I left out some words. The book said that the solution was acceptable to Luther. I need to get the actual text)
Luther was no doubt under the influence of the stylistic criticisms of the Epistle made by Erasmus in 1516, that it lacked maistatem em illam et gravitatem apostolicam, and that the language was not so Hebraic as would naturally be expected in a bishop of Jerusalem.
If this epistle is pseudepigraphic, we are left with the problem of the identification of the James who describes himself as 'a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ'. It may be that he is a person about whom nothing else is know, as the name was a common one; but it is improbably that a writer, otherwise entirely unknown, would have composed such an authoritative exhortation, and addressed it, apparently, to Christiendom as a whole (see the commentary on i. I). Moreover if this is the correct explanation of the authorship, we are forced to the unsatisfactory conclusion that the Epistle came to be regarded as the work of James the apostle, when in reality it was written by someone with no apostolic authority whatever. Nevertheless, this solution of the probem proved acceptable to 'some good, pious man who had taken some sayings from the apostle's disciples"
The tradition that became established in the Church that the Epistle was not only apostolic but should be attributed to James, the head of the Early Church at Jerusalem, ought undoubtedly to be accepted as true. Not only is it incapable of being scientifically disproved, but it has much intrinsic probability. The fact that the Epistle has seldom been regarded as the work of one of the original twelve apostles affords it some negative support. There is very little evidence, for example, that the author was considered to be James the son of Zebedee. The Corbey MS. of the tenth century has a subscription to the Epistle Explicit Epistola Iacobi fili Zaebedei. Moreover a series on Spanish writers from the seventh to the seventeenth centuries were, in Rope's words, 'led by national patriotism to claim the Epistle for their apostle and patron St. James'. The decisions reached at the Council of Trent 1546 did not, in deference to Spanish Catholics, rule out the possibility of the authorship of the son of Zebedee, but merely insisted that the Epistle was the work of 'the apostle James'. This comprises all the evidence from Catholic sources. No protestant scholar has taken this view of the authorship seriously.
(Despite being solid as a rock in defending their New Testament, Catholics actually compromised a bit it seems)
Now the words of Luther (here is a paragraph from the site I got these from)
We give below Luther's prefaces to James, Jude and the Revelation, from the first edition of his New Testament. The English translation and notes are derived from the American edition of Luther's Works, vol 35 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1963), pp. 395-399.
Here are the words from his Bible.
Here is part on James, from his "Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude (1522)"
Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, 1 I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God. However, to state my own opinion about it, though without prejudice to anyone, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle; and my reasons follow.
His words on Jude
Concerning the epistle of St. Jude, no one can deny that it is an extract or copy of St. Peter's second epistle, so very like it are all the words. He also speaks of the apostles like a disciple who comes long after them and cites sayings and incidents that are found nowhere else in the Scriptures. This moved the ancient fathers to exclude this epistle from the main body of the Scriptures. Moreover the Apostle Jude did not go to Greek-speaking lands, but to Persia, as it is said, so that he did not write Greek. Therefore, although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of falth.
Preface to the Revelation of St. John (1522) 7
About this book of the Revelation of John, I leave everyone free to hold his own opinions. I would not have anyone bound to my opinion or judgment. I say what I feel. I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.
First and foremost, the apostles do not deal with visions, but prophesy in clear and plain words, as do Peter and Paul, and Christ in the gospel. For it befits the apostolic office to speak clearly of Christ and his deeds, without images and visions. Moreover there is no prophet in the Old Testament, to say nothing of the New, who deals so exclusively with visions and images. For myself, I think it approximates the Fourth Book of Esdras; 8 I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.
Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly -- indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important -- and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep.
Many of the fathers also rejected this book a long time ago; 9 although St. Jerome, to be sure, refers to it in exalted terms and says that it is above all praise and that there are as many mysteries in it as words. Still, Jerome cannot prove this at all, and his praise at numerous places is too generous.
I found this site by putting these words into a search engine.
martin luther epistle james greek not apostolic
Luther was going against the grain but in a few centuries there would be scholars who would finally question the "apostolic" authenticity of certain Biblical books. In the 18th century, the Pastoral Epistles (I Timothy, II Timothy and Titus) were the first to be identified as a forgery using modern critical methodology.
Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.
Edited by LamarkNewAge, : No reason given.