23 March 2022


Missing helpful papal teaching? Tired of reading about PF's most recent obsessive rant and becoming either upset or angry? Here is an antidote (which, sadly, is not available on the NHS). Joseph Ratzinger alias Pope Benedict XVI in his Jesus of Nazareth.

For Lent and Holy Week, you need "Part Two". Pure gold. Based on encyclopedic reading by one of the very finest minds of our time. Academically up-to-date, but based on a humbly Catholic submission to God's biblical revelation, rather than on 'Enlightenment' arrogance or the latest twaddle from German synodal-way adulterifiers and homosexualisers. Ratzinger is as likely to pluck out of his pudding a radical Proddy plum as he is a Rabbinic Jewish plum, and, in either case, he will turn it inside out and make more of it.

Quoting an Engelberg Benedictine called Studer, Ratzinger observes that the first generation of Christians "developed a special 'name-Christology' ... Name, Law, Covenant, Beginning, and Day" now became Christological titles. 

I'm going to pick out of that: Name

On the following page, Ratzinger quotes John 17:11: Holy Father, keep them in your Name, which you have given me.

God the Father ... has given His Name ... to Jesus of Nazareth. 


Is that what your Bible says?

The Vulgate and the Greek Textus Receptus and their dependant translations will offer you Holy Father, keep them in your Name, whom you have given me.  

In other words, does the relative clause wh** you have given me refer to the Disciples, or to the Name?

I follow the view of Benedict XVI and most textcrit specialists (including both the NeoVulgate and my own mentor, the brilliant Canadian Oxford professor George Kilpatrick) and read which; so ... the Father did give His Name ... YHWH, the LORD ... to Jesus! [This involves agreeing with those Greek manuscripts which read hoi rather than with those which read hous, and perhaps being fortified by the textcrit maxim difficilior lectio potior.]

But ... the attentive among you are jostling to point out to me ... isn't that exactly what S Paul said at Philippians 2:9-11: "God gave Him, Jesus, the Name which is above every name ... LORD=KYRIOS=YHWH"!

Indeed it is. 'Modern Biblical Studies', which is mostly bunkum, tends to dislike the idea that the same teaching might be found in the different strands and traditions within Holy Scripture. They prefer dissonance. Moi, since I am a Catholic, I am more than happy to discover that S John and S Paul were not locked in a mutual death struggle.

But let me share with you what Mgr Knox does with this crux interpretum. He writes in a footnote: "Some of the Greek Manuscripts refer this to the Father's name, some to the disciples." OK. That's fact. But now look back up the page at his translation: "Holy Father, keep them true to thy name, thy gift to me ..."

Isn't that just wonderfully deft? Deft to the point of being cunning? The intelligent reader can read 'thy gift to me' as referring either to 'them' or she can refer it to 'name'. A lovely fence to sit on!

Nice one, Ronnie!

Finally ... back to Ratzinger. What does it mean to say that Jesus has the Father's Name?

" ... name was more than a word. It meant that God allowed himself to be invoked, that he had entered into communion with Israel ... 'God's name' means: God present among men. It is said of the Temple in Jerusalem that God "made his name dwell there" ... Israel would never have dared to say simply: God lives there. Israel knew that God is infinitely great, that he surpasses and embraces the whole world. And yet he was tuly present: he himself. That is what is meant by saying: 'He made his name dwell there.' He is truly present, yet always remains infinitely greater and beyond our reach. 'God's name' is God himself insofar as he gives himself to us; however certain we are of his closeness and however much we rejoice over it, he always remains infinitely greater. ... In Jesus, God gives himself entirely into the world of mankind: whoever sees Jesus sees the Father."


frjustin said...

I have often wondered why so many Anglican liturgical texts capitalize the word Name:
"The Lord's Name be praised", "holy is his Name", "Our help standeth in the Name of the Lord", and so forth. Ratzinger provides the finest explanation I've come across.

Deacon David said...

Another layer of meaning to the idea of the early martyrs dying "for the Name."

The Rev. Susan Creighton said...

Thank you! This helps clarify one of my wonderings as I pray (my slightly amended version of) the Confession of Sin in Compline:

I confess to God Almighty, to the Most Holy and blessed Theotokos, and to all the saints, that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and what I have left undone. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent, and beg of your great mercy, O Lord, be gracious unto my sins, cleanse me of all iniquities, and visit and heal my infirmities. And all for the sake of your Holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ratzinger's explanation of the "Holy Name" is so very helpful.

Matthew F Kluk said...

Admirable is the Name of God.

Gael éigin said...

What a HaShem B16 made of that!!