Page 3, 9th March 1945

9th March 1945
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Page 3, 9th March 1945 — Books of the Week

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Locations: Cambridge


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Books of the Week


The Original Order and Chapters of Si.

John's Gospel. By 14 . H. Hoare. (Burns Oates and Washbourne.

10s. 6d)

The Four Gospels. By Dom John Chapman. (Sheet' and Ward, 4s 6d.) Interpretation of the Bible. Edited by C. W. Dugenorts, B.D. (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 6s.)

Reviewed by

EDMUND F. 'SUTCLIFFE, PROMINENT Catholic writers have recognised that at a very early stage of its history some

accident happened to the NeCtifilli of St. John's Gospel which resulted in a departure from the order originally intended. Among others may be mentioned Camerlynck Durand, Fallon, Joiion, Lagrange and Lehreton. Up to the present, however, no Catholic book has attempted a detailed exploration of the whole Gospel front this point of view. Consequently the present study deserves a .warm welcome as a painstaking effort to grapple with a fascinating but difficult problem. The dislocations may have taken place in sheets prepared to be fitted into a roll, as sups posed by Mr. Hoare. This supposition has the advantage of allowing the misplacement of sheets written on one side only.

By means of exact calculations the author has worked out how many , columns the Gospel occupied. the number of fines to a column, and the number of letters to a line. These details were elaborated in the light of transpositions that appeared likely to the suthor. And as a result of his labours he feels able to indicate the places I where. the blanks occurred at important breaks in the sense. Chapter IV . from the second half of verse three I (from " and went ..") to verse forty' three inclusive, is placed between chapter I and chapter H. The reader may be interested to work out the resulting advantages in sense

The author's calculations do not allow of the interchange in position of chapters V and VI. Mr. Hoare's reference to this change by oo means does it justice. It is held by many and appears certain in itself. This awakens the suspicion that all the elaborate calcu

lations are on a wrong basis, This basic supposition s that the sheets were written with all the precision of a professional copyist. But it is probable that the sections were written by an amateur with no particular regard for linear and columnar ac.curacyv UNEXPECTED pleasure is provided 1-1 by a new book, even slender, from the lively though learned pen of the late Abbot of Downside-but why should the tittle book be cheapened by talk on the blurb of his intervening in " controversies of dizzying erudition"?

In the four conferences to Catholic undergraduates at Cambridge here printed the author was able to open his mind freely. He speaks of " the muddle-headed arguments ' of " liberals" and calls a theory of the famous Well hauscn " absolutely idiotic Both the beginner and the proficient will find the treatment interesting and stimulating. The Abbot's views are always of value.

For example, he considers that the story related in St Jnho's Gospel of the woman taken M adultery is " neatly fitted into its position" by the Apostle's own direction as an afterthought written down by a different scribe. On point. unfortunately. he does not touch an " Mark's Gospel is really . . an abbreviation or extract from Matthew." and at the same time a record of St. Peter's preaching. How

explain that St. Peter's preaching should be based on Matthew? 11 appears that there niust have been a body of teaching about our Lord's .ife within which, in general. the early preachers agreed to keep.

IHE book on biblical interpretation consists of lee uses given by speakers of varied Christian belief. The form is largely historical with the aim of showing the principles of interpretation adopted at different periods and by the Chum! and unorthodox bodies. The lecture on the Bible in the early Church is followed by that on the faith of the Middle Ages. This is the work of Fr. Perrier, O.P. The next two deal with Protestant views and with the labours ol. the so-called higher critics. Dr. Mansoit deals effectively with the failure ot liberalism to interpret the Bible as the word of God; and Dr. Lowe ends with a plea for thc neglected theological Intel motation of tbe Bible. An interesting book, but requiring previous knowledge of Catholic teaching to be read rdth profit.

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