Benedict XVI on ‘critical’ Scripture scholars

Pope Benedict’s new book is out.  There are some great quotes.

The Pope follows Joachim Gnilka in the theory that Mary is the ultimate source of Matthew and Luke’s accounts of the birth of Christ.  They agree that the Lord was born at Bethlehem (pace those who think He was born in Nazareth).  There were Marian traditions circulating.  After Mary’s assumption. these accounts were added to the beginning of the Gospels.  How, when, etc., the Pope doesn’t go into.  Why couldn’t Mary be the source?  She was there after all.  Did she lie about the angel?  Why does Luke insist in a couple places that Mary pondered things in her heart?  Did Luke just lie?

The Pope tackles this and slips in a little dig at ‘critical’ exegetes:

“Naturally, modern ‘critical’ exegesis will tend to dismiss such connections as naive. But why should there not have been a tradition of this kind, preserved in the most intimate circle and theologically shaped at the same time? Why should Luke have invented the statement about Mary keeping the words and events in her heart, if there were no concrete grounds for saying so? Why should he have spoken of her “pondering” over the words (Lk 2:19; cf. 1:29) if nothing was known of this?” (p. 16).

Very well done.

The Holy Father’s book presents a real defense of the historicity of the infancy narratives.

US hardcover HERE.  Kindle HERE. Unabridged audio HERE. Large print HERE.
UK hardcover HERE. Kindle HERE.  Large print HERE.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. catholicmidwest says:

    This comment IS directed towards historical-critical methods when they’re used in certain ways. Again, it’s a critique of underlying pre-suppositions that some scholars might have when they read and study the birth narratives of Luke and Matthew.

    In addition, the idea of sources is a complex and controversial one. It’s not even sure in which order the Gospels were written, or how they depend on each other. The ideas about this most scholars use are only hypotheses–pretty good ones, but still only hypotheses. There is information in some Gospels that isn’t in others. It’s a puzzle.

    The pope is asking logical questions and these questions should be asked. It’s very true that Mary could have been a significant source for the Gospels, however there is a caution: Saying that it could have happened that way, doesn’t mean that it, in fact, DID happen that way. The question is an open one.

  2. dnicoll says:

    Really looking forward to reading this volume. Benedict XVI has a place of great affection in my heart. In my former life as a “proddie” I never understood the affection given to the Popes. Now I really get it. This man truly is “the Pope of Christian Unity”. Please keep on praying for him

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