A person over on the Catholic Answers forums is looking for help refuting Bart Ehrman: “will somebody who is an authority on textual criticism answer dr. bart ehrman’s thesis. or please recommend sites where i can find intelligent refutations agains [sic] his writings.”

   One would think, the alleged “true” church would have her top scholars working on such a project, or perhaps the Pope could say something infallible to help out. If Rome has done a detailed response to Ehrman, I’m not aware of it. However, what I found interesting was the authorities listed in the thread for a response to Ehrman were Protestant. It is ironic that the only authorities suggested on Catholic Answers were Protestant. Catholic Answers continually makes new resources available. Perhaps Mr. Staples could put out a new CD series, or now after Mr. Akin has finished his detailed work on Jack Chick, these gentlemen could focus their attention on an actual Catholic answer to Bart Ehrman.

   On a similar note, Catholic apologists have been fond of arguing that without church tradition, one could not know the authors of particular biblical books. For instance, Scott Hahn argued long ago that we need oral church tradition to know with certainty that Matthew wrote Matthew. Other Catholic apologists argue Matthew was originally written in Aramaic so as to prove the papacy in Matthew 16.

   Has Rome stated anything definitive on these issues? Well, if they have, Catholic apologist Art Sippo seems to have missed it. Like the bewildered folks looking for Catholic answers over on Catholic Answers, Dr. Sippo likewise relies on Protestants:

“I follow the opinion of Lutheran J.J. Griesbach from the late 18th Century. IMHO Matthew was written first in Hebrew for Jewish Chirstians[sic] @40 AD. Luke wrote his Gospel in Greek for Gentiles after that. He translated some passages verbatim from the Hebrew Matthew and added some additional material of his own. After that someone translated Hebrew Matthew into Greek with some of his own editorial additions. A problem arose because of the apparent discrepencies [sic] between the two Gospels. St. Peter in Rome dictated to St. Mark what he considered to be a harmonization of Matthew and Luke to demonstrate their essential unity. It is interesting that Mark’s Gospel can be recited in about 2-3 hours with a natural “intermission” in the very middle of it. Fr. Walter Ong SJ has made the point that Greek Matthew was designed to be read silently while the language in Mark is more like that of something designed to be recited out loud.”

Well, so much for Matthew being written first in Aramaic! Thanks Art!

   I don’t think Rome is going to help out with anything infallible in the area of textual criticism any time soon. Perhaps though there is a way such answers could come forth from the Catholic apologetics community. What they need is a conversion story of a textual critic. That is, perhaps they could work on converting a textual critic, and then have him write his story on why he became Catholic. Other than that, I don’t expect any detailed work from Catholic Answers responding to Bart Ehrman any time soon.

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