Thursday, January 3, 2013

com-box inquisitors

This blog isn't anywhere nearly big enough to have any of those....

But Mark Shea sure is and he makes a very good point about letting them run the joint.

Over the coming months we will expand upon the following:

"Discerning the (in)fallibilities of the Catholic blogosphere"

Plural intended, btw, because there's more than on "infallibility" online.  That doesn't make them all right/correct, btw.

In parsing out I'll spell out a couple places where Shea and I disagree--in some cases pointedly so.  (After all, what's the fun of a blog if you can't disagree with somebody?) But that aside, Shea makes several important points in his post:
*  the Church is filled with saints and sinners...
*  and it is not our job to sort out the former from the latter...
*  and that does not obviate our need to admonish sinners....
*  while not overlooking our need to forgive them, too...

The Yale theologian Hans Frei once described the interpretative shift the modern world brought;  after 1650 or so, all sorts of Bible readers gleaned from the text only what fit their preconceived notions.  E.g., Thomas Jefferson, loving rationality, eschewed all the miracles;  literalists latched onto certain verses, the Victorian moralists latched onto others about feeling good and being nice, social justice folks embrace Mark and Luke but ditch John, etc.  Prior to that, Frei argued--and he included the Reformers as well as the Council of Trent--Christians read the Scriptures with an eye towards fitting their lives--as peasants, popes, and anybody else--into the Scriptural world FIRST and then making sense of their own worlds.  In other words, pretty much the opposite of the modern approach.

Frei developed this argument along two lines. First he published two small books about hermeneutics and Christology.  Second, he developed a typology of Christian theology that incorporated both Catholic and Protestant perspectives, something rather rare for its kind and time.  Frei died suddenly in 1988, so the typology stood unfinished.

One takeway from Frei's work is that com-box inquisitors like those Mr. Shea suffers--and those other bloggers deal with--come more from this latter, "modern" worldview than anything "traditional" or, as Shea notes tartly, "Christian," for that matter.

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