April 13, 2004
Perverse soul that I am, on Holy Saturday I was tempted to write, "Happy Harrowing!"
I've still been getting a lot of Googlers looking for info about Christ's descent into hell, so it was interesting to see this second-century homily about it, via Dappled Things. I don't know how literally it was meant, but I suppose I can point out to that woman in Bible study who said it wasn't in the Bible that hey, here's a source that's older than the Bible.
And speaking of subjects that have been hashed on this blog before, Fr. Jim also links to this excerpt from a priest/physicist about what matter means to God. Meanwhile, relating to a more recent exchange, Bill Allison quotes from Dominic Unger:
Since tradition existed before the the writings of the New Testament it is an absolute source of revelation. It is the teaching of the living Church, which would have existed even if nothing had been committed to writing.
Bill ponders the alternative universe where Christianity committed nothing to writing. Would all Christians be Catholic, or would Catholics be more like Anabaptists? Or both?
Posted by Camassia at April 13, 2004 04:26 PM
If I had to guess what Christianity would be like, if based on oral tradition alone, I would guess that it would be more like The Society of Friends.
I think that it would resemble Catholicism not at all. No expression of Christianity has been formed more by the written word than has the Catholic Church.
I doubt it would make much difference. Given human nature, you're always going to have different claims made for authority and the tendency to heresy is so powerful that there would always be splintering.
Aquinas is said to have memorized the whole bible, so even though we moderns rarely memorize three sentences that doesn't mean that a whole heckuva lot of oral tradition couldn't have been handed down.
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