Friday, January 8, 2010

Rocky and Apostle Creed

(apologies to Carl Weathers)

Peter (Petros, a chunk of rock) was originally named Simon (or Simeon, meaning "hearing"), a common Hebrew name. At some point Jesus changed his name.

In Matthew, Simon is referred to as Peter fairly early (starting from 4:18), although nowhere does Jesus specifically address him as Peter until 16:18 (right after Peter's proclamation). Five verses later, Jesus refers to Simon as "Satan" (v23).

Mark 3:16 is "And Simon he surnamed Peter", although this may be a comment (rather than an event in the timeline). Peter's proclamation is in 8:29. Interestingly, Jesus only refers to Peter as "Satan" (Mark 8:33) and "Simon" (Mark 14:37) (at least, when searching for Peter).

In Luke, Jesus does not address him as Peter until 22:34 (where Jesus predicts he will deny Him). The proclamation is in 9:20.

In John, Jesus addresses him as Simon (John 21:15).

That Jesus refers to building upon the proclamation, rather than the person, should be clear:
Matthew 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

"Peter" is petros (chunk of rock, as above). "This rock" is petra, meaning "mass of rock" (there is a city built into a mountain referred to as Petra near Israel).

This interpretation is hinted at in Catechism 442: "From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ's divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church's foundation."


TheDen said...

"Peter" is petros (chunk of rock, as above). "This rock" is petra, meaning "mass of rock"

The standard Catholic response to this is that Jesus wasn't talking in Greek. He was talking in Aramaic.

The standard word for rock in Aramaic is "Kephas"

So, Jesus would have said something like, "You are 'Kephas' and on this 'Kephas' I will build my Church."

When it was written in Greek--or translated into Greek from Aramaic which some believe was the original language--it made sense to call Simon "Petros" as he was a guy and Petros is masculine. "Petra" is feminine.

I believe that both are referring to the same thing. "You are the Rock and on this rock, I will build my Church."

I think it's disingenous to think that it's not referring to Peter as Peter means rock. Common sense tells me it's referring to Peter and not to his confession.

I'm pretty sure confession in Greek doesn't refer to rock. Again, it's perfectly acceptable to believe that Peter's confession is the foundation. It doesn't take away from Jesus appointing him to the head of the Church as that's found in Matthew 16:19.

nedbrek said...

Part of this is authority. I believe that every word of God in the Bible was chosen by the Holy Spirit for our edification. He selected petros and petra for some reason (assuming archeological evidence supports this text).

That said, the choice of one word is not something to base a theology on. Assuming that the one word is wrong is definitely a bad idea.

I'm not sure which direction common sense goes. Jesus used a lot of puns. You could translate it "You are a little rock, and on this big rock I will build my church (called out ones)."

Are we not all "little rocks" who "fitly framed together grows unto a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph 2:21)?

TheDen said...

"That said, the choice of one word is not something to base a theology on. Assuming that the one word is wrong is definitely a bad idea."

I think that's a key point to our differences.

Catholics don't believe this because it says so in Matthew 16.

Catholics believe this because Jesus Christ said it in Caesarea Philippi. It's not up for us to interpret what's written. It's up to us to obey what Jesus said.

If this conversation were never recorded by Matthew, Jesus still said it and it would still be a foundation to our belief and Peter would still be Pope. Catholic theology is not based on the interpretation of one word. You have it backwards. Scripture is based on the Theology given to us by Jesus Christ which can be found fully in the Catholic Church.

Not everything was recorded in Scripture. Scripture tells us this in John 21:25.

This is why we have the Magisterium and Papacy which interprets the Scripture in relation to the sacred Tradition as the Scripture alone allows for interpretations which are not the Truth.

"Are we not all "little rocks" who "fitly framed together grows unto a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph 2:21)?"

Yes, we are. I think that regardless of our differences, we need to remember that we all belong to Christ first.

I agree that all of this comes down to authority. Yours is based on Scripture, mine is based on Scripture, the Magisterium, and Tradition.

nedbrek said...

"Not everything was recorded in Scripture."

That is an interesting point. 2 Tim 3 tells us that Scripture is given to furnish us for all good works.

Are you saying there is something not in Scripture that we need to know? Something known only to the Pope?

TheDen said...

“That is an interesting point. 2 Tim 3 tells us that Scripture is given to furnish us for all good works.”

Actually, that is not what 2 Tim 3 tells us…well, not exactly.

Scripture cannot be all there is. First off, we can see that different people will interpret different passages differently. Who’s right?

According to my understanding, Jesus Christ gave the teachings to the Apostles. The Apostles taught the new Christians. When the last Apostle died (John) the teaching was SEALED. Catholics call this the “Sacred Tradition” Over time—while the Apostles were still alive, different letters and gospels were written that were used to teach the Sacred Tradition. Certain writings were selected that adhered to the Sacred Tradition which formed the New Testament. The Tradition and Scripture together is what we call “The Deposit of Faith.”

The Pope and the Bishops protect the Sacred Tradition and the Deposit of Faith. The Pope—and the Bishops—do not reinterpret Scripture to their liking. Rather they interpret Scripture through the lens of what Christ through the Apostles taught.

Is there more than what’s in Scripture? Yes. The perpetual virginity of Mary is part of Sacred Tradition. The Trinity is part of Sacred Tradition. Purgatory is part of Tradition (with a Capital “T”).

For more info…please reference CCC #74 through #84.

Back to 2 Tim 3, note what it says in v. 14, “But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it.” The emphasis in 2 Tim 3 is not on Scripture but on what you learned and from whom you learned it. Only THEN is Scripture (which refers to the OT in this passage btw) useful for teaching, for refutation, etc. 2 Tim 3 is referring to people who are trying to “make a pretense of religion but deny its power.” These are people who use Scripture for their own personal benefit. Something that exists in all forms of Christianity. Paul is telling us to REJECT them by knowing what you have learned and from whom you’ve learned and supporting it through Scripture.

This is supported by 2 Peter 1:17-21. Peter tells us that he witnessed Christ and that he (and the other Apostles) possess the Prophetic message that is altogether reliable. Then he tells us that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of personal interpretation but rather through human beings moved by the Spirit under the influence of God.

Peter is telling us the Apostles hold the message and to be careful of personal interpretation of Scripture. This is the same message held and protected by the Pope and the Magisterium. It holds there is one revelation given to us by Jesus Christ and that interpretation of Scripture must be read through the lens of the Church (which consists of both the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox).