September 26, 2009
Paul of Tarsus: A Historical-literal Reexamination in the Post-biblical Tradition by Fr. Giovanni Rizzi, CRSP
2. Paul in the Pauline Corpus
-Paul the Writer
-The literary genre of the letter in the New Testament
-Authenticity, pseudonymy, pseudepigraphy and the commission of a letter
-Epistolary Style and Authenticity in the Pauline Corpus
-Epistolaries in comparison
-Originality and Content of Paul the Writer
-The epicenter of Paul’s thought
-Jesus Christ the New Adam
-Gospel and Mission
-In expectation of the return of the Lord
3. Paul’s Gospel
-The ‘gospel’ before Paul in the Jewish and Hellenistic world
-The Gospel which Paul received and transmitted
-To walk according to the Spirit
4. Paul in the Acts of the Apostles
-An established hermeneutic of the Acts of the Apostles
-Towards an hermeneutic more in harmony with the literary genre of the work
-The function of the figure of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles
5. The Anti-Pauline Polemic in the Tannaite Teacher’s
-Preliminary questions of hermeneutical perspectives
-Questions related to the dating of the intertestamental and rabbinical literature and of the bet- midrush
-Does there exist a literary genre of ant-Christian polemic?
-Traces of anti-Christian polemic in the Targums?
-Anti-Pauline polemical elements the Tannaite teachers and traditions.
-A different concept of ‘faith’
-Universalism and the true Israel
-The election of Israel
-Messianism, eschatology, redemption and Christology
-The Divine Name
6. Relecture of the Figure of Paul in the Christian Apocryphal Literature
-Relecture of Paul in the patristic traditions
-Relectures of Paul in popular Christian traditions
-The apocryphal Christian literature
-The ancient catalogues of the Christian apocrypha
-The material of the apocryphal traditions relating to Paul of Tarsus
-The apocryphal traditions concerning Paul from the 2nd to the 3rd centuries
-The Letter to the Laodicaeans
-The Letter to the Alexandrians
-The Kerygma or Preaching of Paul
-The Kerygma Petrou
-The literary genre of apocalyptic
-The Gnostic Apocalypse of Paul
-The Acts of Peter
-The Acts of Paul
-The Apocalypse of Paul
-The apocryphal traditions about Paul in the fourth-fifth centuries
-The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul
-The Passion of Paul of pseudo-Linus
-The Acts of Peter and Paul of the pseudo-Marcellus
-Acts and Martyrdom of the Apostle St. Barnabas
-The Revelation of Stephen and the Epistle of Lucian
-Epistle of Titus, disciple of Paul, concerning the mode of living in the state of chastity
-Acts and martyrdom of Peter and Paul of the pseudo-Abdias
-The Dominical Letter
-The Apocalypse of Andrew and Paul
-The Acts of Andrew and Paul
-The Letter of James to Quadratus
-A proposal for a synthesis
The text here presented is the fruit of a series of conferences given to the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabite Fathers) in September 2008 in Lewiston, New York (USA), on the occasion of the Pauline Year, as they celebrate their great patron saint, St. Paul the Apostle, after whose name they are named.
In reality this study does not have any celebrative character, but it is a profound rereading of the Apostle's figure as written in the canonical Christian literature, with an alert attention to the modern exegetical developments.
Let us say right away that this is a truly original research, very technical in its language, scientifically drafted with painstaking accuracy, very rich with bibliographical documentation, up-to-date with the latest professional studies, and therefore is not an easy reading for anyone who does not have a specific preparation in biblical studies.
After a comprehensive look at the present bibliography on St. Paul, including a revisit to his letters and his missionary journeys, the author dwells on the description of Paul in the "corpus paulinum" with particular attention to the writer, the literary genre of the correspondence, the problem of the authenticity of the individual letters and their style, the rhetoric figure used, as well as the analysis of the content. The epicentre of the Pauline thought is the discovery of the figure of Jesus Christ, which, solicited by varied experiences of evangelization and the handling of the Christian communities, includes the themes of the "justification by faith, the mystical union with Christ, the theology of the cross, the apocalyptic dimension of God's revelation in Christ."
Of true interest is the analysis of the term "Gospel" in St. Paul, studied in the Judaic tradition and the Hellenistic world, while it appears about sixty times in the "corpus paulinum," without any specification: the Apostle transmitted it the way he received it.
In the Acts of the Apostles the function of Paul's figure is explained through the specification of the literary genre of the work, starting from the well-established hermeneutics to reach a consonance with history, written in complex parts. Fr. Rizzi takes the scheme drafted by the modern exegetes of the Acts of the Apostles as the theology of the witness to Jesus Christ, from Jerusalem to the ends of the world.
With the same richness of documentation, the anti-Pauline polemics are recalled and described among the Tannaitic masters and traditions; for example, the different concepts of faith, the Pauline antinomies, the biblical anthropology of Judaism, the election of Israel, the Messianism, the eschatology, the redemption and Christology, and the Divine Names. These questions are well known among biblical scholars and critics, who deal with neo-testament and pre-testament Rabbinic literature and the beth midrash. These problems are certainly complicated and less appreciated by the secular and by those who are not adept to this kind of work.
The dissertation concludes with a general proposal about the figure and the events of Paul in the apocryphal world. The Apocrypha are not canonical books, or are they heretical, but they have contributed in celebrating Paul’s memory through the centuries.
At the end of this course Paul's figure appears in its greatness and novelty, thanks to a severe hermeneutic approach, with the discussion and in-depth literary study of the texts and the accurate exegetic method.
Bishop Emeritus of Velletri-Segni, Rome, Italy
Rome, October 15, 2008
September 25, 2009
Photos by Sr. Rorivic P. Israel, A.S.S.P.
September 18, 2009
September 14, 2009
The First Thursday of the Month Adoration Group
Happy twentieth birthday to the young women and men of the adoration group!With our St. Paul I say to you, "We, Barnabite Fathers, give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope" (1 Thes 1). Your endurance, your faithfulness, your perseverance, your dedication for these past 20 years are to be publicly acknowledged and gratefully commended.
Hearing that you have been praying for vocations for 20 years, people with a business mentality would probably ask, "How successful have you been?"
A story comes to my mind, the story of an elderly Jewish man who goes to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem three times a day, every day, even when it rains or snows. He has done that for more than 30 years. When a news reporter asks him how he feels, he answers, "Like talking to a wall!" Considering the visible outcome of your praying for vocations, you would be fully justified in "feeling like talking to a wall." But you are persons of faith and in faith you know that the seed of vocation planted here through your prayers will produce fruit, if not in this field, in other fields, in far away fields, fruits that you may never see, fruits that nevertheless will grow and mature thanks to your prayer.
Another factor to consider is the possibility that God, who called you to worship and pray 20 years ago, might have had other purposes in mind in addition to your perceived purpose of fostering vocations. I’m thinking of another story in which God tell a man, "Push that big boulder." The man tries with all his energies all his life but is nor able to move the boulder the fraction of an inch. Frustrated and humbled, he apologized to God for failing. But God tells him, "I didn’t want you to move it, I wanted you to develop strong muscles. Look at the muscles on your arms and legs, how big and strong they are!" Have you failed? Who knows what was God’s true intent when he called you together 20 years ago! Look at your faith, your love of God and service to the Church…how great and lively they are!
The practice of private adoration of the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the tabernacle for a period of 40 consecutive hours, from Good Friday to Easter morning, existed before the time of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria.
What Anthony Mary Zaccaria and the early Barnabites did in 1534 – 475 years ago - was to ask the authorization the expose publicly and solemnly the Blessed Sacrament for 40 hours in the Cathedral of Milan and to repeat that solemn exposition in turn in all the churches of Milan. The authorization was granted in 1537 and the practice took place for the first time from March to October 1537.
This relation is based on the fact that every vocation is a special grace from God, and the greatest source of grace we have is the Eucharist.
It is the living Lord who offers Himself in Holy Communion who inspires men and women to give themselves to Him in the service of their sisters and brothers. Persons who attend Mass and receive Communion obtain the light they need to discern God’s call and strength they need to respond to the call.
The Eucharist is also the best way to recognize vocations. Show me a man or woman devoted to the Eucharist and I will show you a person who is an apt subject for the priesthood or the religious life.
The Eucharist is finally the infallible way of preserving one's vocation. Is it any wonder that saintly priests and religious over the centuries have been uncommonly devoted to the Blessed Sacrament? They know where to obtain the help they need to remain faithful to their vocations. It is from the same Christ Who called them and Who continues to sustain them in His consecrated service.
The best way to celebrate this 20th anniversary of our Adoration Group is to renew our commitment to continue to pray for the gift of new vocations and the gift of perseverance in one’s vocation by kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament professing our deep conviction that vocations begin with the Eucharist, are developed through the Eucharist, and are preserved by the Eucharist.
To appreciate the significance of Anthony Mary’s initiative, we should bear in mind the conditions surrounding the Eucharist at that time. Mass was celebrated on rare occasions. Holy Communion was a privilege denied, ordinarily, to the laity. Hence, the Blessed Sacrament was not kept, most of the time, at the main altar, but in the sacristy or in some dark church corner, even in a grimy wooden box where ants and other bugs could easily enter. Churches became places for anyone to stroll around, for lovers to meet, for people to hold conversations or games, or warehouses of sort for people to store household tools and goods. Against this background it is easier to understand the reason why St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria put so much emphasis on public and solemn display of devotion to the Eucharist.
For him the Eucharist is the crucified Lord alive and living among us. The two poles of his spirituality are the crucified Lord and the Eucharist and the two are obviously connected.
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was a reformer, that is, a prominent figure of that 16th century spiritual revival movement known as the Catholic Reformation.
While Martin Luther sought to reform the Church as institution, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria and other reformers were convinced that reformation of the Church had to start with the individual person, with personal conversion, with commitment to radical "self-reform."
What does personal conversion imply? It implies the possibility of saying with St. Paul, "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2, 20). What can effect this radical personal conversion, thin transformation into Christ? St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria has no doubts: the Eucharist; the Eucharist is the sacrament of conversion. In his Sermon 3 he writes, "You turn to God… by offering Him sacrifices: the sacrifice of your bodies kept under control by penance for the love of God, the sacrifice of your souls eager to unite themselves with Him, but above all the sacrifice par excellence, the most holy Eucharist. No wonder that people have grown lukewarm and turned into beasts, as it were. It is because they do not receive this sacrament. The surest proof, then, of your return to God is that you go back to receive this food. Go back, my friends, go back to receive this sacrament. Nothing can make you holier than this sacrament, for in it is the Holy of Holies. Remember that Augustine exhorts you to receive Holy Communion at least once a week." And following St. Augustine exhortation, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria prescribes in his Constitutions, "Let everybody, according to one's disposition, go to communion at least every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation" (Ch.1).