A Rebuttal to Catholic Apologetics International
on the Old Testament Canon


Below is an extract of three paragraphs from Are Deuterocanonical books part of the Bible? by Wibisono Hartono (formerly with Catholic Apologetics International, now with The Catholic Legate), July 6, 2002, which addresses points made in my essay on the Hebrew Canon.

3. The New Testament refers to Jewish scripture as the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12, 22:40, Luke 16:16, John 1:45, Acts 13:15, Romans 3:21).  The Law and the Prophets are the first two division of the Jewish scripture.  Does it show that it approves the Jewish scripture?  Furthermore in Luke 24:44 Jesus approved the Jewish scripture when He mentioned The Law, the Prophets and Psalms.  The phrase "the Law and the Prophets" indicates that the Jewish scripture was still open-ended in Jesus time.   Note that both the Septuagint and the Jewish scripture have Law and Prophets.   In Luke 24:44 Jesus said that He fulfilled the prophecies in the books of Law, the Prophets and Psalms.  Psalms is one book of the Writings of the Jewish scripture, which also includes Daniel.  Jesus identified Himself to be the Son of Man mentioned in Daniel 7:13, so it is strange that He did not include this book in Luke 24:44.  Luke 24:44 may even indicate that Jesus placed Daniel as one book of the Prophets, which means He followed the Septuagint's grouping of books.

4. In Luke 11:50-51 Jesus mentioned the names Abel (Genesis 4:8) and Zechariah who is identified to be the one in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22.  Since Genesis and Chronicles are the first and the last book in the present Jewish scripture then the above verses prove that the Old Testament of the Christians is the same with that of the Jews.  However there are a number of persons with the name Zechariah in the Bible.  Parallel verse in Matthew 23:35 says that Zechariah was the son of Barachiah while Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22 was the son of Jehoiada.  More suitable candidate is the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah (Zechariah 1:1).  Bear also in mind that in Jesus time there were no books like we have today.  All books of the Scripture in that time were written in scrolls, each book in one scroll.  Whilst grouping them was possible, they had stack of scrolls, i.e. there was no clear order of the books.  Even after Codex (plural Codices) which resembled modern book was later introduced to replace scrolls, the arrangement of the books of the Bible might be different with that of today.  Encyclopedia Judaica Volume 4 page 829-830 gives eight different ancient arrangements of the Writings with Chronicles appears as the first or the last book.  Leningrad Codex, the standard Masoretic text of the Jewish scripture has Chronicles as the first book of the Writings.  Thus Chronicles is not always the last book of the Jewish scripture.

13. We should let the Jews determine the canon of the Old Testament (39 books) because they were entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3:8).  Catholics do not deny that God spoke in the past through Jewish prophets (Hebrews 1:1) and their words were put in written form by the Jews; that is what Paul meant in Romans 3:8.  Bear in mind that deuterocanonical books were also written by Jews.  During Jesus and His apostles' time the canon of the Old Testament was still open-ended.  They never gave us the list of inspired books of both the Old and New Testaments.  If the Church later through the guidance of the Holy Spirit defined the canon of the New Testament then why she could not define the canon of the Old Testament as well?

Rebuttal to paragraph 3:

The phrase "the Law and the Prophets" indicates that the Jewish scripture was still open-ended in Jesus time.

"The Law and the Prophets and the Psalms"

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luke 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

"The Law and the Prophets"

Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

John 1:45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Upon reading the above verses, it is evident that "the law and the prophets" does not convey any uncertainty in the canon of scripture at all, rather it is clearly an abbreviated or shorthand way of referring to the entire span of scripture. The phrase "the law and the prophets" is not exclusionary or indistinct, rather it includes all of the inspired word of God. There is another similar phrase with exactly the same meaning:

"Moses and the Prophets"

Luke 16:29  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

Luke 16:31  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Luke 24:27  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

John 1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Acts 26:22  Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

Acts 28:23  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

Please take special note of Luke 24:27 above. Did the phrase "Moses and all the prophets" exclude any of scripture? No, not when it says that Christ then proceeded to explain from all the scriptures. If "Moses and all the prophets" covers all of scripture, then so does "the law and the prophets".

"The Scriptures"

Mat 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Rom 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

2 Tim 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The use of "the scriptures" in the above verses from the New Testament also indicate that the full extent of scripture was known and understood by both the speaker and audience. And the following verse testifies to an already defined and accepted Old Testament canon:

2 Cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

So as the above verses indicate, the Old Testament canon of scripture in apostolic times was already fixed, understood and accepted by the Jews, and was anything but open-ended, vague, or poorly defined.

Note that both the Septuagint and the Jewish scripture have Law and Prophets.

That statement appears to be intentionally ambiguous and obfuscatory. Let's clarify. Are the same books of the Law and the Prophets of the Hebrew Canon also found in the Septuagint? Yes, they most certainly are. However, the Septuagint has never had the identical division and grouping of the Hebrew Canon into the Law and Prophets (and Writings), which is what the above statement seeks to conceal from the reader. See the charts in my essay on the Hebrew Canon. There is simply no way the remarks of Christ can be applied to the Septuagint.

In Luke 24:44 Jesus said that He fulfilled the prophecies in the books of Law, the Prophets and Psalms.  Psalms is one book of the Writings of the Jewish scripture, which also includes Daniel.  Jesus identified Himself to be the Son of Man mentioned in Daniel 7:13, so it is strange that He did not include this book in Luke 24:44.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Jesus is referring here to the three divisions of the Hebrew Canon, and by saying "in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms" he means every book of the Old Testament, including Daniel. So it is not at all "strange" that Daniel is not explicitly mentioned in Luke 24:44, because Daniel is obviously included implicitly in context.

Luke 24:44 may even indicate that Jesus placed Daniel as one book of the Prophets, which means He followed the Septuagint's grouping of books.

That assertion is absolutely devoid of any common sense logic at all. There is absolutely nothing in the cited verses that in any way indicate that Christ was endorsing the canon of any version of the Septuagint (the three oldest versions of the Septuagint all differ in the books they include, and their sequence!), much less indicating the placement of the book of Daniel in the Prophets (rather than the third and last group, the Psalms / Writings). To suggest that Jesus was referring to the Septuagint is to say that black may in fact really be white it is utter nonsense. See the TaNaKh and Septuagint charts in my essay on the Hebrew Canon.

Rebuttal to paragraph 4:

However there are a number of persons with the name Zechariah in the Bible.  Parallel verse in Matthew 23:35 says that Zechariah was the son of Barachiah while Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22 was the son of Jehoiada.  More suitable candidate is the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah (Zechariah 1:1).

The writer is totally ignoring the essential characteristic that identifies the Zechariah in question, that he was martyred in the temple court:

Luke 11:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Mat 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

There is only one Zechariah that scripture tells us was martyred in the temple's court.

2 Chr 24:20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
2 Chr 24:21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.
2 Chr 24:22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.

King Joash, who had Zechariah stoned within the temple's court (2 Chr 24:20-22), was the 13th king of the northern kingdom of Israel, and he ruled from 798-782 B.C. There can be no reasonable doubt that this is precisely the Zechariah that Jesus was referring to, because of the uniqueness of where he was martyred.

Now, the author of the Old Testament book of Zechariah lived during the reign of Darius I :

Zec 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

The second year of the reign of Darius I (the great) is dated to 520 B.C., so this Zechariah, who authored the book by the same name, lived some 250 years after the Zechariah that 2 Chr 24:20-22 explicitly tells us was martyred in the temple court, and Chronicles is the last book of the Hebrew canon, not Zechariah. Jesus was clearly naming two well known martyrs to indicate the first and last books of the canonical scriptures. It is simply ridiculous to suggest that Mat 23:35 indicates the author of the Old Testament book of Zechariah, when there is absolutely no evidence in scripture that he was martyred, much less martyred in the temple court.

That the author of Zechariah was the "son of Berechiah", and the earlier martyred Zechariah was the "son of Barachias", may simply indicate that the two had a common ancestor, or it may be that both men had an ancestor with a similar name.

The photo reprint of the 1899 Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible that I have, interestingly enough, acknowledges in the footnotes for both Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:51, that the Zechariah martyred in 2 Chronicles is indicated. But a 1950 printing of the Douay-Rheims that I have has no footnotes for those verses at all! What changed? I think it has finally dawned on Catholics what the implications of referring to the Zechariah in 2 Chronicles means, and they now realize they really do not want to go there, because it clearly and logically results in an endorsement of the Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament!

The 1970 New American Bible for Catholics I have, in the footnote for Matthew 23:35, wrongly asserts that the author of the Old Testament book of Zechariah is indicated, while curiously it also refers the reader to the footnote for Luke 11:51, which points rightly to the Zechariah martyred in 2 Chronicles! So according to the more recent NAB, two different men are meant in the parallel passages of Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:51! Amazing!

Bear also in mind that in Jesus time there were no books like we have today.  All books of the Scripture in that time were written in scrolls, each book in one scroll.  Whilst grouping them was possible, they had stack of scrolls, i.e. there was no clear order of the books.  Even after Codex (plural Codices) which resembled modern book was later introduced to replace scrolls, the arrangement of the books of the Bible might be different with that of today.

Jesus said what He said, the way He said it, for a clear and distinct reason. As discussed in my essay on the Hebrew Canon, it is quite clear that by saying from Able to Zacharias, Jesus was referring to the entire span of of the Hebrew scriptures, i.e., from Genesis to 2 Chronicles. The above is nothing but an attempt to muddy the waters, to obfuscate the truth and dissipate any understanding of the clear intention of the words of Christ.

Encyclopedia Judaica Volume 4 page 829-830 gives eight different ancient arrangements of the Writings with Chronicles appears as the first or the last book.  Leningrad Codex, the standard Masoretic text of the Jewish scripture has Chronicles as the first book of the Writings.  Thus Chronicles is not always the last book of the Jewish scripture.

As I say in my essay:

Previous to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the two oldest known complete Hebrew (Masoretic) texts of the Bible were the Aleppo Codex dated to the 10th century A.D. and the Leningrad Codex, dated to the early 11th century A.D. Both these texts, attributed to Ben-Asher, placed Chronicles at the beginning of the 3rd division, the Ketuvim (Writings). However, modern reprints of the Leningrad Codex have moved the book of Chronicles back to its tradition place at the end of the Ketuvim. See Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia

That there have been a few variant orderings of the Ketuvim, placing Chronicles as the first book of the third division, is not particularly significant, as that bit of trivia in no way impeaches the very clear intent of the context of Christ's words in Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51, and Luke 24:44. Jesus was very clearly and explicitly referring to the order and divisions of the books in the Hebrew Bible as the complete span of scripture in His day, and there is no possible way His words can be taken to mean anything else. I think we have a deliberate trap set by Jesus Christ to ensnare and expose those who He knew would attempt to corrupt the Old Testament Hebrew canon by adding spurious apocryphal books, and the trap has worked marvelously.

Rebuttal to paragraph 13:

Catholics do not deny that God spoke in the past through Jewish prophets (Hebrews 1:1) and their words were put in written form by the Jews; that is what Paul meant in Romans 3:8.  Bear in mind that deuterocanonical books were also written by Jews.  During Jesus and His apostles' time the canon of the Old Testament was still open-ended. They never gave us the list of inspired books of both the Old and New Testaments.

The assertion that the Old Testament canon was still open-ended in apostolic times is flatly contradicted by the collective words of Christ in Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51, and Luke 24:44, which firmly and unequivocally endorse the content, ordering and divisions of only the Hebrew canon. The deutero/apocryphal books, while written by Jews, were never universally accepted as canonical by the majority of the Jewish community.

If the Church later through the guidance of the Holy Spirit defined the canon of the New Testament then why she could not define the canon of the Old Testament as well?

It can be concluded with confidence, from the words of Christ cited, that every Roman Catholic council that defined the canon, including the allegedly infallible declaration of the Council of Trent, was in error, and every Catholic Bible printed contains non-canonical apocryphal books that are not a part of the inspired Old Testament.


CAI's Wibisono Hartono Responds
(Revised 7 Sept 2002)


My Original Counterpoint To Wibisono Hartono


In the first section of his reply, Wibisono Hartono makes these assertions:

The closest reference to the three divisions of the Jewish scripture in the New Testament is from Luke 24:44 that says "the Law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms", of which Mr. Scheifler wrote "he [Jesus] means every book of the Old Testament, including Daniel."  The problem with his argument is there is neither support in the New Testament nor from Jewish source that naming one book means naming the rest.

and

Thus the term scripture and the phrase "all the scriptures" in Luke 24:27 (which Mr. Scheifler asked me to take special note) refers only to those who were already accepted in that time.

Note the following excerpt from the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the Vatican web site (red font emphasis is mine)

THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE
(May 24, 2001)
Online at the Vatican

I. THE SACRED SCRIPTURES OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE

B. The New Testament attests conformity to the Jewish Scriptures

6. A twofold conviction is apparent in other texts: on the one hand, what is written in the Jewish Scriptures must of necessity be fulfilled because it reveals the plan of God which cannot fail to be accomplished; on the other hand, the life, death and resurrection of Christ are fully in accord with the Scriptures.

1. Necessity of fulfilling the Scriptures

The clearest expression of this is found in the words addressed by the risen Christ to his disciples, in the Gospel of Luke: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must (dei) be fulfilled” (Lk 24:44). This assertion shows the basis of the necessity (dei, “must”) for the paschal mystery of Jesus, affirmed in numerous passages in the Gospels: “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering...and after three days rise again”;15 “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled which say it must happen this way?” (Mt 26:54); “This Scripture must be fulfilled in me” (Lk 22:37).

Because what is written in the Old Testament “must” be fulfilled, the events take place “so that” it is fulfilled. This is what Matthew often expresses in the infancy narrative, later on in Jesus' public life16 and for the whole passion (Mt 26:56). Mark has a parallel to the last mentioned passage in a powerfully elliptic phrase: “But let the Scriptures be fulfilled” (Mk 14:49). Luke does not use this expression but John has recourse to it almost as often as Matthew does.17 The Gospels' insistence on the purpose of these events “so that the Scriptures be fulfilled”18 attributes the utmost importance to the Jewish Scriptures. It is clearly understood that these events would be meaningless if they did not correspond to what the Scriptures say. It would not be a question there of the realisation of God's plan.

...

2. Conformity to the Scriptures

7. ... In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appropriates a saying of Isaiah (Lk 4:17-21; Is 61:1-2) to define his mission as he begins his ministry. The ending of the Gospel expands this perspective when it speaks of fulfilling “all that is written” about Jesus (Lk 24:44).

On that point, it is essential, according to Jesus, to “hear Moses and the prophets”, the ending of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:29-31) drives home the point: without a docile listening, even the greatest prodigies are of no avail.


II.  FUNDAMENTAL THEMES IN THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES AND THEIR RECEPTION INTO FAITH IN CHRIST

A. Christian Understanding of the relationships between the Old and New Testaments

1. Affirmation of a reciprocal relationship

By “Old Testament” the Christian Church has no wish to suggest that the Jewish Scriptures are outdated or surpassed.37 On the contrary, it has always affirmed that the Old Testament and the New Testament are inseparable. Their first relationship is precisely that. At the beginning of the second century, when Marcion wished to discard the Old Testament, he met with vehement resistance from the post-apostolic Church. Moreover, his rejection of the Old Testament led him to disregard a major portion of the New — he retained only the Gospel of Luke and some Pauline Letters — which clearly showed that his position was indefensible. It is in the light of the Old Testament that the New understands the life, death and glorification of Jesus (cf. 1 Co 15:3-4).

This relationship is also reciprocal: on the one hand, the New Testament demands to be read in the light of the Old [Testament], but it also invites a “re-reading” of the Old [Testament] in the light of Jesus Christ (cf. Lk 24:45). How is this “re-reading” to be done? It extends to “all the Scriptures” (Lk 24:27) to “everything written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (24:44), but the New Testament only offers a limited number of examples, not a methodology.

Now Mr. Hartono would have us believe that the reference to Psalms in Luke 24:47 is strictly limited to that book alone, and that the rest of the books of the third division of the Hebrew canon (Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles) are to be excluded. Were none of these books accepted as canonical by the Jews in the time of Christ? The Pontifical Bible Commission, in context, apparently considers Luke 24:44 to refer to the whole of the Hebrew Old Testament - “all the Scriptures” (Lk 24:27), and does not specifically exclude any of the other books of the third division that begins with Psalms. Perhaps Mr. Hartono should write the commission and inform them of their misinterpretation.

Mr. Hartono also makes this assertion:

The translated phrase "old testament" [2 Cor. 3:14] does not refer to list of books known to us as the Old Testament but to the old covenant of Law from Moses.

Again, continuing with quotes from the Pontifical Biblical Commission's document:

 I. THE SACRED SCRIPTURES OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE

2. ...

A perennial manifestation of this link to their beginnings is the acceptance by Christians of the Sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people as the Word of God addressed to themselves as well. Indeed, the Church has accepted as inspired by God all the writings contained in the Hebrew Bible as well as those in the Greek Bible. The title “Old Testament” given to this collection of writings is an expression coined by the apostle Paul to designate the writings attributed to Moses (cf. 2 Co 3:14-15). Its scope has been extended, since the end of the second century, to include other Jewish writings in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.


II.  FUNDAMENTAL THEMES IN THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES AND THEIR RECEPTION INTO FAITH IN CHRIST

A. Christian Understanding of the relationships between the Old and New Testaments

2. Re-reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ

The examples given show that different methods were used, taken from their cultural surroundings, as we have seen above.38 The texts speak of typology39 and of reading in the light of the Spirit (2 Co 3:14-17). These suggest a twofold manner of reading, in its original meaning at the time of writing, and a subsequent interpretation in the light of Christ.

In Judaism, re-readings were commonplace. The Old Testament itself points the way. For example, in the episode of the manna, while not denying the original gift, the meaning is deepened to become a symbol of the Word through which God continually nourishes his people (cf. Dt 8:2-3). The Books of Chronicles are a re-reading of the Book of Genesis and the Books of Samuel and Kings. What is specific to the Christian re-reading is that it is done, as we have said, in the light of Christ.

This new interpretation does not negate the original meaning. Paul clearly states that “the very words of God were entrusted” to the Israelites (Rm 3:2) and he takes it for granted that these words of God could be read and understood before the coming of Christ. Although he speaks of a blindness of the Jews with regard to “the reading of the Old Testament” (2 Co 3:14), he does not mean a total incapacity to read, only an inability to read it in the light of Christ.

In context, the Pontifical Biblical Commission is clearly interpreting 2 Cor. 3:14 to mean the entire Old Testament of the Jews, and not just the Old Covenant Law from Moses. Again, it seems that Mr. Hartono should inform Rome of their error.

2 Cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
2 Cor 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.

Paul's remarks are not intended to completely exclude of the rest of the Old Testament. This same "veil" over the Old Testament is also evident in Luke:

Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

This blindness to the gospel of Jesus Christ for the Jew applied not only to the writings of Moses (though they are clearly emphasized by Paul), but to the whole of the Hebrew Old Testament (Moses and the prophets), the prophecies of which clearly pointed to, and were fulfilled by only one man, Jesus of Nazareth. And this was just as true at the time Paul wrote that passage in Corinthians as it is today, though the Pontifical Biblical Commission maintains it was not until the second century that this wider understanding of the term was applied.

While I do not base what I believe on the opinions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, is not a Roman Catholic subject to, and bound by, their Magisterial authority in such matters? Or, are Roman Catholics free to give their own private interpretations regarding scripture, even if it contradicts Magisterial teaching?



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