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To ignore what you ignore

“The talkative old woman, the doting old man, the long winded dialectic speaker: they all pretend to know something about scripture, mangling it and teaching before ever having learned. Others, with supercilious airs, bellow out big words, play the philosopher and prate about Sacred Scripture to feeble females. Others — shame on them — learn from women what they teach to men. And, as though this were not enough, having a certain gift of the gab, or more correctly impudence, they hold forth to others about things they do not understand.

“I say nothing about my colleagues who, when they chance to come to Holy Scripture after frequenting secular literature and tickling the ears of the crowd with fancy talk, think that whatever they say is God’s law. They never stoop to find out the opinions of apostles and prophets, but just fit to their own frame of mind inconsistent evidence as though they were saying something sublime, whereas in fact it is just rubbish when they distort the sentences and adapt Scripture at will even though they have to force things.

“Reading the cantos of Horace and Virgil can we say that Maro is a Christian without Christ simply because he wrote: ‘Now does the virgin return, and the reign of Saturn, from on high new birth is sent?’ Or, are we to see the Father speaking to the Son when we read: ‘You alone are my son, my strength, my mighty force?’ Or, attribute to the Savior on the cross these words: ‘He lingered over the memory of all this and was still forevermore.’ It is childish, a quack’s game to teach what you do not know, or — if I may give vent to my feelings — to ignore what you ignore.” (Excerpted from Jerome’s introduction to the Gutenberg Bible — through the courtesy of a friend, the late Luther W. Martin)


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