I'm working on my reading lession [book of John] and I have a question. I remember reading somewhere that at one time most poeple couldn't read the Bible [ written in latin I think] and that this was intentional....is that true and if so why?
That would be in the middle ages, or the dark ages, when most of the populace was un educated.
The pre-dominate church at that time was the Catholic church.
The "power" of religion over the masses is strong, and can be used to achieve a personal agenda of control over people lives.
I will stop there, this is not a religion or catholic bashing reply, I am just stating an observation that I have made.
Do some research on those two topics, I think you will find more of the answres you are looking for.
Thank you sir
Look up James Tyndale, executed by the church for translating the Bible into english.
There was also the thought of keeping the Bible pure and translations diminish original meaning. Although some translations or paraphrases are a little off, the meaning is clear. So there was motivation to keep it sacred and to keep power.
Well that's the beauty of man.......give us something pure and we'll use it to gain power over others.
Your inference is clear. But the point is irrelevant. Most of the people could not read or write their native language, much less Latin. A transaltion to 'native' languages, in the time frame you mention, would have had little or no impact.
There was a good reason Latin was used for 1000 years: the Romans had a written language with rules. The Celts and Germans obviously had a spoken language but no written language (at least widely known). So you go with what most people know, which was either Greek or Latin.
Nothing sinister or evil about it.
As for the Church "keeping" people from learning...that's ridiculous. They're the only ones who taught people Latin so they COULD read the Bible.
I wish people still learned European history these days.
Let's see...what happened in the 4th century AD? Oh yeah, that's right, the barbarian hordes invaded the Western Empire, sweeping across Gaul, Spain, down into Rome, and across North Africa, wiping whole cities out as they went. Getting invaded by successive waves of "migrating peoples" makes the on-going education of children in languages a tough thing to keep up.
Then you have the re-conquest and Arian heresy struggle of the 5th century to worry about. Gen. Belasarius ring any bells? You got VisiGoths to evangelize and convert from Arianism. And plague, and general TEOTWAWKI throughout the West as well as Persians and other barbarians at times making it even to the walls of Constantinople in the East.
The 6th Century brings two developments: Vikings invading to the North (good-bye Christian Britain and Ireland) getting as far inland as Paris, and Muslims errupting across the ME, seizing the holy lands. Again, not an easy thing to deal with - you gotta stay alive. Slaughtering thousands of sheep to make parchment so you can then studiously copy the Bible down by hand with ink which also costs alot is a luxury when the Barbarians are laying seige to your town.
But the Church and states in Europe over come a two-front war and settle down to internal conflicts by the 8th century. Naturally we can't forget that Muslim pirates SACKED ROME in the 8th century either.
Here and there peace breaks out and monks immediately start copying the Bibles and building churches... but to claim the Church mean-spiritedly kept the Bible from the people is to be wholly ignorant of the circumstances they faced.
It's not like they could just run down to Staples or Office Depot, grab a copier, toner and a ream of paper and press "print". Paper wasn't invented by the Romans and it wasn't available in large quantities until the late Middle ages when the technology eventually arrived to Europe. To make a book required parchment - which is lambskin; meaning you need lots and lots of sheep. Which meant books were expensive to make and so few and far between.
Plus you didn't have printing presses rolling out books until the 14th century - again, making hand printed books hard to churn out. Those books that were printed were kept in the Churches - which were open and in the center of towns and cities - where people could go and read -if they could read. "chained" bibles were only to make sure they remained "public" and didn't walk off with someone.
But the culture was imbued with art work expressing Biblical stories, and biblical literacy was very high. The monks SANG THE PSLAMS- all 150 of them, cyclically - so eventually over the course of a year they committed those scriptures to memory (while inventing written music to boot).
So what happened? Well a little thing called the MONGOL invasion laid waiste to Eastern Europe in the 12th century, and then a minor thing called "the bubonic plague aka BLACK DEATH" killed off 1/3rd of the people in the 13th century, including the "A" team of bishops, monks, etc. thus putting the C squad in charge of things... which led to the rise of rampant immorality in the early 14th century with which Luther had so much trouble in the 15th.
By the time Luther came along nation-states had been around long enough to evolve their own basic languages distinct from each other and Latin. So great, they translated the Latin into their native tongues... but that alone was possible only because by the 15th century those languages were becoming equiped to handle such concepts as in the Bible.
Until languages settle down and words take fixed meanings, translating the Bible into them only complicates things. Good intentions + very unsettled social scene + widespread ignorance and cultural upheaval (wars, civil unrest, plagues, etc) + very limited access to schools = a high probability that the translations will be MISUNDERSTOOD.
What we got from German and English translations is.... dozens and dozens of completely divergent doctrines and theories about what the Bible MEANS.
By all means the Latin ought to eventually have been translated.... but in the right way with the right timing. There is a time for war and peace, a time for translating and a time for further study and waiting for the new language to settle. Equivocation and misunderstanding crucial concepts are the risk you run by hasty and haphazard translation from Greek or Latin to the venacular.
Just look at the mess the JWs have made with their "new world translation" if you want to see how good intentions can go astray.
And John Huss...
When, in 1414, he was brought before the Council, the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number, and chiefly extracted from his writings.
John Huss's answer was this: "I did appeal unto the pope; who being dead, and the cause of my matter remaining undetermined, I appealed likewise unto his successor John: before whom when, by the space of two years, I could not be admitted by my advocates to defend my cause, I appealed unto the high judge Christ."
When John Huss had spoken these words, it was demanded of him whether he had received absolution of the pope or no?
He answered, "No." Then again, whether it was lawful for him to appeal unto Christ or no?
Whereunto John Huss answered: "Verily I do affirm here before you all, that there is no more just or effectual appeal, than that appeal which is made unto Christ, forasmuch as the law doth determine, that to appeal is no other thing than in a cause of grief or wrong done by an inferior judge, to implore and require aid at a higher Judge's hand. Who is then a higher Judge than Christ? Who, I say, can know or judge the matter more justly, or with more equity? when in Him there is found no deceit, neither can He be deceived; or, who can better help the miserable and oppressed than He?" While John Huss, with a devout and sober countenance, was speaking and pronouncing those words, he was derided and mocked by all the whole Council.
These excellent sentences were esteemed as so many expressions of treason, and tended to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the Council stripped him of his priestly garments, degraded him, put a paper miter on his head, on which was painted devils, with this inscription, "A ringleader of heretics."
Which when he saw, he said: "My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, again wear this light crown, be it ever so ignominious? Truly I will do it, and that willingly."
When it was set upon his head, the bishop said: "Now we commit thy soul unto the devil."
"But I," said John Huss, lifting his eyes towards the heaven, "do commend into Thy hands, O Lord Jesus Christ! my spirit which Thou has redeemed."
When the chain was put about him at the stake, he said, with a smiling countenance, "My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?"
When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so officious as to desire him to abjure.
"No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood." He then said to the executioner, "You are now going to burn a goose, (Huss signifying goose in the Bohemian language:) but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil."
If he were prophetic, he must have meant Martin Luther, who shone about a hundred years after, and who had a swan for his arms.
The flames were now applied to the fagots, when our martyr sung a hymn with so loud and cheerful a voice that he was heard through all the cracklings of the combustibles, and the noise of the multitude. At length his voice was interrupted by the severity of the flames, which soon closed his existence.
Then, with great diligence, gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the river Rhine, that the least remnant of that man should not be left upon the earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind oof torment.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" - Psalm 116:15
JusAdBellum... I have to staunchly disagree with you regarding the Celts or Germanic tribes not having written languages.
Ogham is a Proto-Caananite script that appeared in England, Ireland and northern Europe as early as 300 AD.
Futhark was a Proto-Sinaitic Germanic runeform that appeared as early as 200 AD.
Iberian was a Proto-Caananite script which appeared in Spain and western Europe in 400 BCE.
Now I also believe that in the past, you and I have debtated the specific point of the Catholic tradition of reserving scripture reading for the priest-class, as the common parishoner may become confused about doctrine should they read their own versions.
Additionally, Johann Gutenberg was not a wildly popular guy within the church for mass-printing the Bible in a time of great inquisition.
When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so officious as to desire him to abjure.[/qoute]
........how rude of them
sorry folks....couldn't help myself!!!!
Pope Innocent III stated in 1199:
"... to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted." (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771)
Pope Pius IV had a list of the forbidden books compiled and officially prohibited them in the Index of Trent (Index Librorum Prohibitorum) of 1559.
This is an excerpt:
All books which were condemned prior to 1515 by popes or ecumenical councils, and are not listed in this Index, are to stand condemned in the original fashion.
Books of arch-heretics - those who after 1515 have invented or incited heresy or who have been or still are heads and leaders of heretics, such as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Hubmaier, Schwenckfeld, and the like — whatever their name, title or argumentation — are prohibited without exception. As far as other heretics are concerned, only those books are condemned without exception which deal ex professo with religion. Others will be permitted after Catholic theologians have examined and approved them by the order of bishops and inquisitors. Likewise, Catholic books written by those who subsequently fell into heresy or by those who after their lapse returned into the bosom of the Church can be permitted after approval by a theological faculty or the inquisition.
Translations of older works, including the church fathers, made by condemned authors, are permitted if they contain nothing against sound doctrine. However, translations of books of the Old Testament may be allowed by the judgment of bishops for the use of learned and pious men only. These translations are to elucidate the Vulgate so that Sacred Scripture can be understood, but they are not to be considered as a sacred text. Translations of the New Testament made by authors of the first sections in this Index are not to be used at all, since too little usefulness and too much danger attends such reading.
Since experience teaches that, if the reading of the Holy Bible in the vernacular is permitted generally without discrimination, more damage than advantage will result because of the boldness of men, the judgment of bishops and inquisitors is to serve as guide in this regard. Bishops and inquisitors may, in accord with the counsel of the local priest and confessor, allow Catholic translations of the Bible to be read by those of whom they realize that such reading will not lead to the detriment but to the increase of faith and piety. The permission is to be given in writing. Whoever reads or has such a translation in his possession without this permission cannot be absolved from his sins until he has turned in these Bibles ...
Books in the vernacular dealing with the controversies between Catholics and the heretics of our time are not to be generally permitted, but are to be handled in the same way as Bible translations....
from: Die Indices Librorum Prohibitorum des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts (Tübingen, 1886), page 246
From the Encyclical UBI PRIMUM of Pope Leo XII, May 5, 1824:
17. You have noticed a society, commonly called the Bible society, boldly spreading throughout the whole world. Rejecting the traditions of the holy Fathers and infringing the well-known decree of the Council of Trent, it works by every means to have the holy Bible translated, or rather mistranslated, into the ordinary languages of every nation. There are good reasons for fear that (as has already happened in some of their commentaries and in other respects by a distorted interpretation of Christ's gospel) they will produce a gospel of men, or what is worse, a gospel of the devil!
18. To prevent this evil, Our predecessors published many constitutions. Most recently Pius VII wrote two briefs, one to Ignatius, Archbishop of Gniezno, the other to Stanislaus, Archbishop of Mohileu, quoting carefully and wisely many passages from the sacred writings and from the tradition to show how harmful to faith and morals this wretched undertaking is.
19. In virtue of Our apostolic office, We too exhort you to try every means of keeping your flock from those deadly pastures. Do everything possible to see that the faithful observe strictly the rules of our Congregation of the Index. Convince them that to allow holy Bibles in the ordinary language, wholesale and without distinction, would on account of human rashness cause more harm than good.
From the encyclical TRADITI HUMILITATI of Pope Pius VIII, May 24, 1829:
5. We must also be wary of those who publish the Bible with new interpretations contrary to the Church's laws. They skillfully distort the meaning by their own interpretation. They print the Bibles in the vernacular and, absorbing an incredible expense, offer them free even to the uneducated. Furthermore, the Bibles are rarely without perverse little inserts to insure that the reader imbibes their lethal poison instead of the saving water of salvation. Long ago the Apostolic See warned about this serious hazard to the faith and drew up a list of the authors of these pernicious notions. The rules of this Index were published by the Council of Trent; the ordinance required that translations of the Bible into the vernacular not be permitted without the approval of the Apostolic See and further required that they be published with commentaries from the Fathers. The sacred Synod of Trent had decreed in order to restrain impudent characters, that no one, relying on his own prudence in matters of faith and of conduct which concerns Christian doctrine, might twist the sacred Scriptures to his own opinion, or to an opinion contrary to that of the Church or the popes. Though such machinations against the Catholic faith had been assailed long ago by these canonical proscriptions, Our recent predecessors made a special effort to check these spreading evils. With these arms may you too strive to fight the battles of the Lord which endanger the sacred teachings, lest this deadly virus spread in your flock.
From the encyclical INTER PRAECIPUAS (On Biblical Societies) by Pope Gregory XVI, May 8, 1844:
1. Among the special schemes with which non-Catholics plot against the adherents of Catholic truth to turn their minds away from the faith, the biblical societies are prominent. They were first established in England and have spread far and wide so that We now see them as an army on the march, conspiring to publish in great numbers copies of the books of divine Scripture. These are translated into all kinds of vernacular languages for dissemination without discrimination among both Christians and infidels. Then the biblical societies invite everyone to read them unguided. Therefore it is just as Jerome complained in his day: they make the art of understanding the Scriptures without a teacher" common to babbling old women and crazy old men and verbose sophists," and to anyone who can read, no matter what his status. Indeed, what is even more absurd and almost unheard of, they do not exclude the common people of the infidels from sharing this kind of a knowledge.
4. Moreover, regarding the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, even many centuries ago bishops in various places have at times had to exercise greater vigilance when they became aware that such translations were being read in secret gatherings or were being distributed by heretics. Innocent III issued warnings concerning the secret gatherings of laymen and women, under the pretext of piety, for the reading of Scripture in the diocese of Metz. There was also a special prohibition of Scripture translations promulgated either in Gaul a little later or in Spain before the sixteenth century.
I could go on, and on, but why?
As a former Roman Catholic, I already know the position of the Church...'we need lawyers to explain the law.'
Imagine....a Gospel intended for the dispossessed of this world...to be imprisoned in a language none of them knew.
I am quite impressed that you read my post that carefully!
Yup.....I read most of your threads [even learn from them as well]
Some will. That's why I encourage people to look things up for themselves.
913 people died in Jonestown, Guyana, with Bibles available. The problem is they didn't read them for themselves. They let one man lead them down a tragic, unnecessary path.
God isn't afraid of the tough questions.
Reading it for themselves wouldn't have necessarily averted that tragedy. When I was a kid, my parents were members of a very repressive Pentecostal church that was essentially a cult. It didn't start out that way, and they didn't just join up one day -- they were raised in it by their parents. Over time the church leadership became more and more distorted and twisted in their teachings, and constantly used 'touch not thine anointed' to immediate rebut anyone who challenged the ministerial elite.
I believe that the Holy Spirit will let people know when something like that doesn't pass the sniff test. I've been in situations where I've had a case of "spiritual indigestion", knowing that something wasn't right.
A friend invited me to a "revival" at his church, bragging on the guest speaker. I went to check it out, and this guy had a "spirit" about him, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Holy one.
It depends on which voice people choose to listen to.
And your point is Eric?
Re-read the long cut and paste again please. Look at the motives, based on historical precedent available to the Church: hasty translations of the Bible into vernacular languages led to people running into heresies. It's not like there hadn't been heresies until 15th century!
And what accompanied outbreaks of heresy if not bloodshed and division? Imagine that, a church wanting to spare the world of war and upheaval, heresy and confusion by the unauthorized translation and misinterpretation of God's will!
What would have kept Huss from reading the scripture and preaching it to the people? Nothing. How many folk in his day knew how to read their own language? As many as knew their Latin or more? If all the people knew how to read their native language...why didn't they also know how to read Latin? Seems like the answer is to teach children Latin, not multiply translations of the bible.
I AGREE with the Bishops who wanted to keep the Gospel in a language not open to equivocation - which people could learn and indeed did learn and often speak as their 2nd language (much like many know English today).
Think of all the nuances and cultural expressions that can't be translated from Spanish to English! Hasty translations of the Bible into all known languages, distribution of this text to the four winds (making only those fluent in those languages and who can read them "gate-keepers" of the text, multiplies the opportunities for confusion and hence, heresies.
You didn't study Catholicism a tenth as much while a member as you do now that you're out to keep from coming back! Like our brother Dram, you quote things that don't say the awful or wonderful things YOU THINK (or desperately want) them to say.
+1 on effort though.
FWIW, a french bishop put St.Joan of Arc to death too, being burned at the stake for heresy by a LOCAL bishop DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN EVERYTHING A PERSON SAID OR DID WAS HERESY. Which is why the Church outside of France eventually exonerated her and declared her to have not been a heretic - yet another reason the Papacy is a good thing.
Neither does burning someone at the stake automatically make everything a person said or did infallible. To think so is to be too simplistic with history which is always more involved than that.
Lots of Catholic Martyrs died under Queen Elizabeth, singing while burning or giving witness to love for Christ while being drawn and quartered... and hence are considered saints by us, yet oddly not so by Anglicans.
Ac:26:14: And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
To keep the Scriptures hidden and secret is truly persecution of Christ Jesus, and a denial of his teachings and Life here with us on the earth.
You cannot defend the indefensible things that the catholic church has done in the name of holy piety. Strangulation of the Truth by defying the printing of the Word of God to keep the masses from following their conscience and not the dictates of roman bishops.
By keeping Christ, the Word, from the people... what a weight of sin that must be to bear into eternity.