Originally posted by Nemesio
A so-called sola scriptura hermeneutic would necessarily require
the rejection of at least half-a-dozen dogmas in Christianity, as well as
dozens of suppositions. All of the creeds would be trash, the Divinity
of Jesus would be trash, the Trinity would be trash, &c. Nothing would
preclude Jesus' being married, or that He wasn't adopted by God, o ...[text shortened]... hat came into
being by the fourth century, whether they care to admit it or not.
I don’t think I’m disagreeing with you. I grew up and spent much of my adult life in a denomination that claimed sola scriptura—the Lutheran church. But what I suspect is a lot of “new Christianity” seems to have developed over time from the 16th century onward based on at least three factors:
(1) Sola scriptura.
(2) The priesthood of all believers, in which each Christian can interpret for her/himself (I still have a lot of that in me, and so I feel free to challenge some interpretations of the Fathers as well).
(3) Translation of the texts into the vernacular; not only with loss of meanings from the original languages, but sometimes with little attention to changes in the vernacular itself (particularly, in my case, English) over time.
Sola scriptura possibly had some merit at the time; the other two principles I have no specific objection to—it is the way the three seem to have collided to allow the creation of a new Christianity of, for lack of a better term, biblical fundamentalism.
There now seem to be people who graduate from Protestant (at least) seminaries who have little or no education in the original languages, who interpret scripture and teach others what Christianity is all about, who publish books and have TV shows; there are denominations that have been doing this for a century or so now, at least, and have formulated doctrines that would make the first apostolic Christians cringe, I think. When it is pointed out that perhaps no one in the 2nd century, say, thought that was what it was about—well, “the Bible says....”
But what the Bible “says” doesn’t seem to be always what the writers of the texts actually said
—including in the single
NT text that speaks of “inspired scripture.”
Now a lot of Protestants seem to get upset about this. Well, I found it upsetting myself—and so I continue to study. The point is—and, again, I still have some of the “protestant principle” in me which, coupled with my midrashist tendencies, keeps me from simply towing the line of any tradition—but, the point is, that I think there is a new, latter-day Christianity out there that insists it is the true original faith without which no one is saved. And which, by keeping itself locked in a pseudo-literal reading of the Biblical texts—with no attention paid to early church doctrinal history—attempts to claim that personal salvationism depends, and has always depended, on a certain right thinking/belief.
And so I think that a re-weaving of text and tradition may well be called for.
I really don’t care about the label anymore—who is a “true Christian” (TM)—what I do care about are the symbols and their (possibilities for) meaning. The writers of the gospels (with the exception of Mark probably) were educated and intelligent people who had strong literary skills, who knew the range and possibilities (including the poetic and allegorical) of the particular language they were working in, and were not superficial thinkers theologically.
I wish you could get the time to flesh out some of those doctrinal positions you mention (I would suspect that the Definition of Chalcedon would be one)—though perhaps we’ll have to wait until after the Lenten season is over...?
I’d also like some more dialogue here from others who have examined the question, to see what they think. So, I’ll wait awhile...