Tuesday, November 7, 2017

... on Identity of Authors of the Bible, the Hagiographers (quora, own answer to own q)

... on Identity of Authors of the Bible, the Hagiographers (quora, own answer to own q) · ... on Identity of Hagiographers, Debate under my Answer · ... on Identity of Hagiographers, Other answers and my replies to them (quora)

Who are the authors of the Bible?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Writing? I've been doing that for some time.
Answered 6h ago
Source for all the following, Introductions to each book on the site:

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

1) GENESIS The Hebrews now entitle all the Five Books of Moses
2) The second Book of Moses is called EXODUS
3) This Book is called LEVITICUS
4) This fourth Book of Moses is called NUMBERS
5) This Book is called DEUTERONOMY ... It may be divided into many discourses, which Moses made to the people during the last two months of his life. (Haydock)
Its last chapter : DEUTERONOMY - Chapter 34, Ver. 5. Died there. This last chapter of Deuteronomy, in which the death of Moses is related, was written by Josue, or by some of the prophets. (Challoner)

6) This Book is called JOSUE, because it contains the history of what passed under him, and, according to the common opinion, was written by him.
Chapter 24 : Ver. 29. And after, &c. If Josue wrote this book, as is commonly believed, these last verses were added by Samuel, or some other prophet. (Challoner)

7) This Book is called JUDGES, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the judges, who ruled Israel before they had kings. The writer of it, according to the more general opinion, was the prophet Samuel. (Challoner) --- Some are of opinion, that the judges might have each left records of their respective administrations, (Menochius) which might be put in order by Samuel. The author of this book seems to have lived under the reign of Saul, before David had expelled the Jebusites, chap. xviii. 31. (Du Hamel)

8) This Book is called RUTH, from the name of the person whose history is here recorded; who, being a Gentile, became a convert to the true faith, and marrying Booz, the great-grandfather of David, was one of those from whom Christ sprang according to the flesh, and an illustrious figure of the Gentile church. It is thought this book was written by the prophet Samuel. (Challoner)

9) 1 KINGS This and the following Book are called by the Hebrews, the Books of Samuel, because they contain the history of Samuel, and of the two kings, Saul and David, whom he anointed. They are more commonly named by the Fathers, the First and Second Book of Kings. As to the writer of them, it is the common opinion that Samuel composed the first book, as far as the twenty-fifth chapter; and that the prophets Nathan and Gad finished the first and wrote the second book. See 1 Paralipomenon, alias 1 Chronicles, xxix. 19. (Challoner) --- The authors of the Third and Fourth Books of Kings were also prophets, but we know not exactly their names. These works have nevertheless been always esteemed authentic (Haydock) and canonical. (Worthington)
10-12) 2 Kings - 4 Kings, see previous remark.

13-14) These Books are called by the Greek Interpreters, 1 + 2 PARALIPOMENON; (Paraleipomenon,) that is, of things left out, or omitted; because they are a kind of supplement of such things as were passed over in the Books of Kings. The Hebrews call them, Dibré Hajamim; that is, The words of the days, or The Chronicles. Not that they are the books which are so often quoted in the Kings, under the title of, The Words of the days of the kings of Israel, and of the kings of Juda; for the Books of Paralipomenon were written after the Books of Kings; but because, in all probability, they have been abridged from those ancient words of the days, by Esdras, or some other sacred author. (Challoner) --- The author of this compilation refers to the same works, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 11., &c. These journals were principally composed by prophets, though there were other people appointed to write the most important occurrences, 2 Kings viii. 16., and 4 Kings xviii. 18. The genealogies of families, particularly of the Levites, and the interests of piety and religion, are kept most in view. (Calmet)

15-16) 1 ESDRAS This Book taketh its name from the writer, who was a holy priest and doctor of the law. He is called by the Hebrews Ezra, (Challoner) and was son, (Tirinus) or rather, unless he lived above 150 years, a descendant of Saraias, 4 Kings xxv. 18. It is thought that he returned first with Zorobabel; and again, at the head of other captives, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, with ample authority. Esdras spent the latter part of his life in exhorting the people, and in explaining to them the law of God. He appeared with great dignity at the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem, 2 Esdras xii. 26, 35. We have four books which bear his name. (Calmet)
This and the following book of NEHEMIAS (2 ESDRAS), originally made but one in Hebrew, (St. Jerome, &c.) as the transactions of both those great men are recorded. The third and fourth are not in Hebrew nor received into the canon of the Holy Scriptures, though the Greek Church hold the third as canonical, and place it first; (Worthington) and Genebrard would assert that both ought to be received, as they were by several Fathers. But they contain many thing which appear to be erroneous, and have been rejected by others of great authority, and particularly by St. Jerome. The third book seems to have been written very early, by some Hellenist Jew, who was desirous of embellishing the history of Zorobabel; and the fourth was probably composed by some person of the same nation, who had been converted to Christianity, before the end of the second century; and who injudiciously attempted to convert his brethren, by assuming the name of a man who was so much respected. Many things have been falsely attributed to Esdras, on the same account. It is said that he invented the Masora; restored the Scriptures, which had been lost; fixed the canon of twenty-two books; substituted the Chaldaic characters instead of the ancient Hebrew, Samaritan, or Phœnician. But though Esdras might sanction the latter, now become common, the characters might vary insensibly, (Bianconi; Kennicott, Dis. ii.) as those of other languages have done, (Haydock) and the sacred books never perished wholly; nor could the canon be determined in the time of Esdras. (Calmet)
[1 ESDRAS again] Some think that (Haydock) Esdras wrote only the four last chapters, and the author of Paralipomenon the six preceding ones. (Du Hamel) --- But it is most probable that he compiled both from authentic documents. (Haydock) --- Some few additions may have been inserted since, by divine authority, 2 Esdras xii. 11, 22. (Tirinus)

17) THE BOOK OF TOBIAS. The four first chapters exhibit the holy life of old Tobias, and the eight following, the journey and affairs of his son, directed by Raphael. In the two last chapters they praise God, and the elder Tobias foretells the better state of the commonwealth. (Worthington) --- It is probable that both left records, from which this work has been compiled, with a few additional observations. It was written during (Calmet) or after the captivity of Babylon. (Estius) --- The Jews had then little communication with each other, in different kingdoms. Tobias was not allowed to go into Media, under Sennacherib; and it is probable that the captives at Babylon would be under similar restrictions; so that we do not need to wonder that they were unacquainted with this history of a private family, the records of which seem to have been kept at Ecbatana. The original Chaldee is entirely lost, so that it is impossible to ascertain whether the Greek or the Vulgate be more conformable to it. The chronology of the latter seems however more accurate, as the elder Tobias foretold the destruction of Ninive, twenty-three years before the event, which his son just beheld verified, dying in the 18th year of king Josias. The accounts which appear to sectaries to be fabulous, may easily be explained. (Houbigant) --- Josephus and Philo omit this history. (Calmet)

18) THE BOOK OF JUDITH. The sacred writer of this Book is generally believed to be the high priest Eliachim, (called also Joachim.) The transactions herein related, most probably happened in his days, and in the reign of Manasses, after his repentance and return from captivity. It takes its name from that illustrious woman, by whose virtue and fortitude, armed with prayer, the children of Israel were preserved from the destruction threatened them by Holofernes and his great army. It finishes with her canticle of thanksgiving to God. (Challoner)

19) THE BOOK OF ESTHER. This Book takes its name from queen Esther; whose history is here recorded. The general opinion of almost all commentators on the Holy Scripture, make Mardochai the writer of it: which also may be collected below from chap. ix. 20. (Challoner) --- He and the queen were certainly authors of the letter, (Haydock) enjoining the celebration of the feast of Purim, or "lots," which is the ground-work (Calmet) of the present narration. (Du Hamel) --- The compiler has also had recourse to the archives of the kingdom of Persia: so that his work has all the authority that can be required of a profane historian; and being moreover inspired in all its parts, we cannot refuse to receive it with the utmost respect. Those additions which are not now in Hebrew, (Calmet) though they were perhaps formerly, (Worthington; Origen; Du Hamel) have been carefully preserved by St. Jerome, and were recognized by the ancient Vulgate, as they are at present by the Greek, without any distinction. Lysimachus, the Greek translator, was probably the author of them, chap. xi. 1. (Calmet)

20) THE BOOK OF JOB. This Book takes its name from the holy man, of whom it treats; who, according to the more probable opinion, was of the race of Esau, and the same as Jobab, king of Edom, mentioned [in] Genesis xxxvi. 33. It is uncertain who was the writer of it. Some attribute it to Job himself; others to Moses, or some one of the prophets. In the Hebrew it is written in verse, from the beginning of the third chapter to the forty-second chapter. (Challoner)

21) PSALMS. The Psalms are called by the Hebrew, Tehillim; that is, hymns of praise. The author, of a great part of them at least, was king David; but many are of opinion, that some of them were made by Asaph and others, whose names are prefixed in the titles. (Challoner)

22) PROVERBS. This book is so called, because it consists of wise and weighty sentences, regulating the morals of men; and directing them to wisdom and virtue. And these sentences are also called Parables, because great truths are often couched in them under certain figures and similitudes. (Challoner) --- Wisdom is introduced speaking in the nine first chapters. Then to chap. xxv. more particular precepts are given. (Worthington) --- Ezechias caused to be collected (Haydock) what comes in the five next chapters, and in the two last. Some other, or rather Solomon himself, under (Worthington) different titles, gives us Agur's and his mother's instructions, and his own commendations of a valiant woman, (Haydock) which is prophetical of the Catholic Church. He also wrote the two next works, besides many other things, which have been lost. This is the first of those five, which are called "sapiential," giving instructions how to direct our lives, by the dictates of sound reason. (Worthington) --- It is the most important of Solomon's works, though collected by different authors. (Calmet) --- T. Paine treats Solomon as a witty jester. But his jests are of a very serious nature, and no one had before heard of his wit. (Watson)
23) ECCLESIASTES. This Book is called Ecclesiastes, or the preacher, (in Hebrew, Coheleth) because in it Solomon, as an excellent preacher, setteth forth the vanity of the things of this world, to withdraw the hearts and affections of men from such empty toys. (Challoner)
24) CANTICLE OF CANTICLES. This book is called the Canticle of Canticles, that is to say, the most excellent of all canticles: because it is full of high mysteries, relating to the happy union of Christ and his spouse; which is here begun by love; and is to be eternal in heaven. The spouse of Christ is the Church: more especially as to the happiest part of it, viz., perfect souls, every one of which is his beloved; but above all others, the immaculate and ever blessed Virgin mother [Mary]. (Challoner) None, therefore, should dare to peruse this work, who has not mastered his passions, having his conversation in heaven. (Haydock) --- The Jews would not allow any to read it before the age of thirty. (Origen and St. Jerome)
"Solomon has given us three works; for beginners, the more advanced, and the perfect; as the philosophers teach ethics, physics, and metaphysics." (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticle of Canticles)

25) THE BOOK OF WISDOM. This book is so called, because it treats of the excellence of Wisdom, the means to obtain it, and the happy fruits it produces. It is written in the person of Solomon, and contains his sentiments. But it is uncertain who was the writer. ... St. Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Athanasius, &c., attribute this book to Solomon; and, though St. Jerome and St. Augustine call this in question, they maintain its divine authority. Sometimes the Fathers abstain from urging it against the Jews, because they[the Jews] reject it, for the same reason as our Saviour proved the immortality of the soul, against the Sadducees, from the books of Moses alone, though other texts might have been adduced. The Councils of Carthage, 419, Florence, Trent, &c., declare this book canonical, (Worthington) agreeably to the ancient Fathers. (St. Augustine, Præd. xiv., and City of God xvii. 20., &c.)

26) ECCLESIASTICUS. The author was Jesus, the son of Sirach, of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ. As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon; but is received as canonical and divine by the Catholic Church, instructed by apostolical tradition, and directed by the Spirit of God. It was first written in Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek by another Jesus, the grandson of the author, whose prologue to this book is the following: (Challoner)

27) ISAIAS. This inspired writer is called by the Holy Ghost, (Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 25.) the great prophet; from the greatness of his prophetic spirit, by which he hath foretold, so long before, and in so clear a manner, the coming of Christ, the mysteries of our redemption, the calling of the Gentiles, and the glorious establishment, and perpetual flourishing of the Church of Christ: insomuch that he seems to have been rather an evangelist than a prophet. His very name is not without mystery: for Isaias in Hebrew signifies the salvation of the Lord, or, Jesus is the Lord. He was, according to the tradition of the Hebrews, of the blood royal of the kings of Juda; and after a most holy life, ended his days by a glorious martyrdom; being sawed in two, at the command of his wicked son-in-law, king Manasses, for reproving his evil ways. (Challoner) --- He began to prophesy ten years before the foundation of Rome, and the ruin of Ninive. His style is suitable to his high birth. He may be called the prophet of the mercies of the Lord. Under the figure of the return from captivity, he foretells the redemption of mankind (Calmet) with such perspicuity, that he might seem to be an evangelist. (St. Jerome)

28) THE PROPHECY OF JEREMIAS. Jeremias was a priest, a native of Anathoth, a priestly city, in the tribe of Benjamin, and was sanctified from his mother's womb to be a prophet of God; which office he began to execute when he was yet a child in age. He was in his whole life, according to the signification of his name, great before the Lord, and a special figure of Jesus Christ, in the persecutions he underwent for discharging his duty, in his charity for his persecutors, and in the violent death he suffered at their hands; it being an ancient tradition of the Hebrews, that he was stoned to death by the remnant of the Jews who had retired into Egypt, (Challoner) at Taphnes. His style is plaintive, (Worthington) like that of Simonides, (Calmet) and not so noble as that of Isaias and Osee. (St. Jerome) ... He began to prophesy when he was very young, the year of the world 3375, in the 13th year of Josias, (Calmet) before that prince had brought his reformation to any great perfection. (Haydock)
29) THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAS. In these Jeremias laments in a most pathetic manner the miseries of his people, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in Hebrew verses, beginning with different letters according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet. (Challoner)
30) THE PROPHECY OF BARUCH. Baruch was a man of noble extraction, and learned in the law, secretary and disciple to the prophet Jeremias, and a sharer in his labours and persecutions; which is the reason why the ancient Fathers have considered this book as a part of the prophecy of Jeremias, and have usually quoted it under his name. (Challoner)

31) THE PROPHECY OF EZECHIEL. Ezechiel, whose name signifies the strength of God, was of the priestly race, and of the number of the captives that were carried away to Babylon with king Joachin. He was contemporary with Jeremias, and prophesied to the same effect in Babylon as Jeremias did in Jerusalem; and is said to have ended his days in like manner, by martyrdom. (Challoner)

32) THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL. Daniel, whose name signifies "the judgment of God," was of the royal blood of the kings of Juda, and one of those that were first of all carried away into captivity. He was so renowned for his wisdom and knowledge, that it became a proverb among the Babylonians, "as wise as Daniel;" (Ezechiel xxviii. 3.) and his holiness was so great from his very childhood, that at the time when he was as yet but a young man, he is joined by the Spirit of God with Noe[Noah] and Job, as three persons most eminent for virtue and sanctity, Ezechiel xiv. He is not commonly numbered by the Hebrews among the prophets, because he lived at court, and in high station in the world: but if we consider his many clear predictions of things to come, we shall find that no one better deserves the name and title of a prophet; which also has been given him by the Son of God himself, Matthew xxiv.; Mark xiii.; Luke xxi. (Challoner) ... His name is not prefixed to his book, yet, as Prideaux observes, he sufficiently shews himself in the sequel to be the author. (Haydock)

33) THE PROPHECY OF OSEE. Osee, or Hosea, whose name signifies a saviour, was the first in the order of time among those who are commonly called lesser prophets, because their prophecies are short. He prophesied in the kingdom of Israel, (that is, of the ten tribes) about the same time that Isaias prophesied in the kingdom of Juda. (Challoner) ... It is not known who collected them into one volume. But the book of Ecclesiasticus (xlix. 12.) speaks of the twelve; and 4 Esdras i. 39., specifies them as they are found in the Septuagint: Osee, Amos, Micheas, Joel, Abdias, Jonas, Nahum, &c., as in the Vulgate. (Calmet)
[But each of the twelve was author of his prophecy]
34) THE PROPHECY OF JOEL. Joel, whose name, according to St. Jerome, signifies the Lord God, (or, as others say, the coming down of God) prophesied about the same time in the kingdom of Juda as Osee did in the kingdom of Israel. He foretells, under figures, the great evils that were coming upon the people for their sins; earnestly exhorts them to repentance, and comforts them with the promise of a teacher of justice, viz., Christ Jesus, our Lord, and of the coming down of his Holy Spirit (Challoner) upon the hundred and twenty faithful assembled in Sion. [Acts i. 15. and ii. 4.] He describes the land of the twelve tribes made desolate, and the people cast off. (St. Jerome ad Paulin.)
35) THE PROPHECY OF AMOS. Amos prophesied in Israel about the same time as Osee, and was called from following the cattle to denounce God's judgments to the people of Israel and the neighbouring nations, for their repeated crimes, in which they continued with repentance. (Challoner)
36) THE PROPHECY OF ABDIAS. Abdias, whose name is interpreted the servant of the Lord, is believed to have prophesied about the same time as Osee, Joel, and Amos: though some of the Hebrews, who believe him to be the same with Achab's steward, make him much more ancient. His prophecy is the shortest of any in number of words, but yields to none, says St. Jerome, in the sublimity of mysteries. It contains but one chapter. (Challoner)
37) THE PROPHECY OF JONAS. Jonas prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II, as we learn from 4 Kings xiv. 25., to whom also he foretold his success in restoring all the borders of Israel. He was of Geth-Opher, in the tribe of Zabulon, and consequently of Galilee; which confutes that assertion of the Pharisees, (John vii. 52.) that no prophet ever arose out of Galilee. He prophesied and prefigured in his own person the death and resurrection of Christ, and was the only one among the prophets who was sent to preach to the Gentiles. (Challoner)
38) THE PROPHECY OF MICHEAS. Micheas, of Morasti, a little town in the tribe of Juda, was cotemporary with the prophet Isaias, whom he resembles both in his spirit and his style. He is different from the prophet Micheas, mentioned in the Third Book of Kings, (chap. xxii.) for that Micheas lived in the days of king Achab, one hundred and fifty years before the time of Ezechias, under whom this Micheas prophesied, (Challoner) as he did in the two preceding reigns. (Haydock)
39) THE PROPHECY OF NAHUM. Nahum, whose name signifies a comforter, was a native of Elcese, or Elcesai, supposed to be a little town in Galilee. He prophesied after the ten tribes were carried into captivity, and foretold the utter destruction of Ninive by the Babylonians and Medes; which happened in the reign of Josias, (Challoner) in the sixteenth year, when the father of Nabuchodonosor and the grandfather of Cyrus entirely ruined Ninive, and divided the empire between them, (Calmet) in the year of the world 3378. (Usher) Tobias xiv. 16. ... He appeared about fifty years after Jonas, when the Ninivites had relapsed, and were destroyed in the space of one hundred and thirty-five years, as a figure of the subversion of idolatry by Christ's preaching the gospel of peace. (Worthington)
40) THE PROPHECY OF HABACUC. Habacuc was a native of Bezocher, and prophesied in Juda some time before the invasion of the Chaldeans, which he foretold. He lived to see this prophecy fulfilled, and for many years after, according to the general opinion, which supposes him to be the same that was brought by the angel to Daniel, in Babylon, Daniel xvi. (Challoner) He might very well live to see the captives return, as only sixty-six years elapsed from the first of Joakim, when he began to prophesy, till that event. He retired at the approach of the Chaldeans, and afterwards employed himself in agricultural pursuits. (Calmet)
41) THE PROPHECY OF SOPHONIAS. Sophonias, whose name, saith St. Jerome, signifies "the watchman of the Lord," or "the hidden of the Lord," prophesied in the beginning of the reign of Josias. He was a native of Sarabatha, and of the tribe of Simeon, according to the more general opinion. He prophesied the punishments of the Jews, for their idolatry and other crimes; also the punishments that were to come on divers nations; the coming of Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, the blindness of the Jews, and their conversion towards the end of the world. (Challoner)
42) THE PROPHECY OF AGGEUS. Aggeus was one of those that returned from the captivity of Babylon, in the first year of the reign of king Cyrus. He was sent by the Lord in the second year of the reign of king Darius, the son of Hystaspes, to exhort Zorobabel, the prince of Juda, and Jesus, the high priest, to the building of the temple; which they had begun, but left off again through the opposition of the Samaritans. In consequence of this exhortation, they proceeded in the building, and finished the temple. And the prophet was commissioned by the Lord to assure them that this second temple should be more glorious than the former, because the Messias should honour it with his presence; signifying, withal, how much the Church of the new testament should excel that of the old testament. (Calmet)
43) THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS. Zacharias began to prophesy in the same year as Aggeus, and upon the same occasion. His prophecy is full of mysterious figures and promises of blessings, partly relating to the synagogue and partly to the Church of Christ. (Challoner) --- He is the "most obscure and longest of the twelve [minor prophets];" (St. Jerome) though Osee wrote the same number of chapters. (Haydock) --- Zacharias has been confounded with many others of the same name. Little is known concerning his life. Some have asserted that the ninth and two following chapters were written by Jeremias, in whose name chap. xi. 12., is quoted [in] Matthew xxvii. 9. But that is more probably a mistake of transcribers. Zacharias speaks more plainly of the Messias and of the last siege of Jerusalem than the rest, as he live nearer those times. (Calmet)
44) THE PROPHECY OF MALACHIAS. Malachias, whose name signifies "the angel of the Lord," was contemporary with Nehemias, and by some is believed to have been the same person with Esdras. He was the last of the prophets, in the order of time, and flourished about four hundred years before Christ. He foretells the coming of Christ; the reprobation of the Jews and their sacrifices; and the calling of the Gentiles, who shall offer up to God in every place an acceptable sacrifice. (Challoner)

45 - 46 ) THE FIRST BOOK OF MACHABEES. These Books are so called, because they contain the history of the people of God under the command of Judas Machabeus and his brethren; and he, as some will have it, was surnamed Machabeus from carrying on his ensigns, or standards, those words of Exodus xv. 11., "Who is like to thee among the strong, O Lord;" in which the initial letters, in the Hebrew, are M. C. B. E. I. It is not known who was the author of these books. But as to their authority, though they are not received by the Jews, saith St. Augustine, (liber[book] xviii., City of God, chap. xxxvi.) they are received by the Church; who, in settling her canon of the Scriptures, chose rather to be directed by the tradition she had received from the apostles of Christ, than by that of the Scribes and Pharisees. And as the Church has declared these two books canonical, even in two general councils, viz., Florence and Trent, there can be no doubt of their authenticity. (Challoner) ... Other books have been formerly contested, which they now admit. The author of the second book seems to have designed at first only to insert two supplements. He then resolved to abridge the work of Jason, and hence added a preface, (chap. ii. 20.) which may be first perused. He then gives an account of some who had suffered death for the truth; and in the eighth and following chapters, the victories of the Machabees, which had been partly recorded in the first book, are specified, with some fresh circumstances. Judas was styled the Machabee for his strength and valour, (Worthington) being "the scourge" of God, (Haydock) or because he was an exterminator. (Menochius)
THE SECOND BOOK OF MACHABEES. The author, who is not the same with that of the First Book, has given (as we learn from chap. ii. 20., &c.) a short abstract of what Jason, of Cyrene, had written in the five volumes, concerning Judas and his brethren. He wrote in Greek, and begins with two letters, sent by the Jews of Jerusalem to their brethren in Egypt. (Challoner)

1) THE HOLY GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW. This and other titles, with the names of those that wrote the Gospels, are not the words of the Evangelists themselves. The Scripture itself nowhere teacheth us, which books or writings are to be received as true and canonical Scriptures. It is only by the channel of unwritten traditions, and by the testimony and authority of the Catholic Church, that we know and believe that this gospel, for example of St. Matthew, with all contained in it, and that the other books and parts of the Old or New Testament, are of divine authority, or written by divine inspiration; which made St. Augustine say, I should not believe the gospel, were I not moved thereunto by the authority of the Catholic Church: Ego Evangelio non crederem, nisi me Ecclesiœ Catholicœ commoveret auctoritas. (Lib. contra Epist. Manichœi, quam vocant fundamenti. tom. viii. chap. 5, p. 154. A. Ed. Ben.) (Witham)
St. Matthew, the author of the gospel that we have under his name, was a Galilean, the son of Alpheus, a Jew, and a tax-gatherer; he was known also by the name of Levi. His vocation happened in the second year of the public ministry of Christ; who, soon after forming the college of his apostles, adopted him into that holy family of the spiritual princes and founders of his Church. Before his departure from Judea, to preach the gospel to distant countries, he yielded to the solicitations of the faithful; and about the eighth year after our Saviour's resurrection, the forty-first of the vulgar era [A.D. 41], he began to write his gospel: i.e., the good tidings of salvation to man, through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Of the hagiographers, St. Matthew was the first in the New, as Moses was the first in the Old Testament. And as Moses opened his work with the generation of the heavens and the earth, so St. Matthew begins with the generation of Him, who, in the fulness of time, took upon himself our human nature, to free us from the curse we had brought upon ourselves, and under which the whole creation was groaning. (Haydock)
2) THE HOLY GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ACCORDING TO ST. MARK. St. Mark, who wrote this Gospel, is called by St. Augustine, the abridger of St. Matthew; by St. Irenæus, the disciple and interpreter of St. Peter; and according to Origen and St. Jerome, he is the same Mark whom St. Peter calls his son. Stilting, the Bollandist, (in the life of St. John Mark, T. vii. Sep. 27, p. 387, who was son of the sister of St. Barnabas) endeavours to prove that this was the same person as our evangelist; and this is the sentiment of St. Jerome, and some others: but the general opinion is that John, surnamed Mark, mentioned in Acts xii. was a different person. He was the disciple of St. Paul, and companion of St. Barnabas, and was with St. Paul at Antioch, when our evangelist was with St. Peter at Rome, or at Alexandria, as Eusebius, St. Jerome, Baronius, and others observe. Tirinus is of opinion that the evangelist was not one of the seventy-two disciples, because as St. Peter calls him his son, he was converted by St. Peter after the death of Christ. St. Epiphanius, however, assures us he was one of the seventy-two, and forsook Christ after hearing his discourse on the Eucharist, (John vi.) but was converted by St. Peter after Christ's resurrection, hær. 51, chap. v. p. 528.
3) THE HOLY GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE. St. Luke was a physician, a native of Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, and well skilled in the Greek language, as his writings sufficiently evince. In some ancient manuscripts, he is called Lucius, and Lucanus. Some conjecture that he was at first a Gentile and a pagan, and was converted by the preaching of St. Paul, at Antioch; others, that he was originally a Jew, and one of the seventy-two disciples. Sts. Hippolitus and Epiphanius say, that hearing from our Lord these words, he that eateth not my flesh, and drinketh not my blood, is not worthy of me, he withdrew, and quitted our Saviour, but returned to the faith at the preaching of St. Paul. But, to leave what is uncertain, St. Luke was the disciple, travelling companion, and fellow-labourer of St. Paul. Of him St. Paul is supposed to speak: (2 Corinthians viii. 18.) We have sent also with him (Titus) the brother, whose praise is in the gospel, through all churches: and again, Luke, the most dear physician, saluteth you: (Colossians iv.) and, only Luke is with me. (2 Timothy iv.) Some are of opinion that as often as St. Paul, in his Epistles, says according to my gospel, he speaks of the Gospel of St. Luke. This evangelist did not learn his gospel from St. Paul only, (who had never been with our Lord in the flesh) but from the other apostles also, as himself informs us in the beginning of his gospel, when he says, according as they have delivered them unto us; who, from the beginning, were eye-witnesses, (Greek: autoptai) and ministers of the word. His gospel, therefore, he wrote as he heard it; but the Acts of the Apostles, from his own observations; and both, as some believe, about the same time in which his history of the Acts finishes, towards the year of Christ 63. But the received opinion now is, that St. Luke wrote his gospel in Achaia, in the year 53, ten years previously to his writing of the Acts, purposely to counteract the fabulous relations concerning Jesus Christ, which several persons had endeavoured to palm upon the world. It does not appear, as Calmet observes, that he had ever read the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark
4) THE HOLY GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN. St. John, the evangelist, a native of Bathsaida, in Galilee, was the son of Zebedee and Salome. He was by profession a fisherman. Our Lord gave to John, and to James, his brother, the surname of Boanerges, or, sons of thunder; most probably for their great zeal, and for their soliciting permission to call fire from heaven to destroy the city of the Samaritans, who refused to receive their Master. St. John is supposed to have been called to the apostleship younger than any of the other apostles, not being more than twenty-five or twenty-six years old. The Fathers teach that he never married. Our Lord had for him a particular regard, of which he gave the most marked proofs at the moment of his expiring on the cross, by intrusting to his care his virgin Mother. He is the only one of the apostles that did not leave his divine Master in his passion and death. In the reign of Domitian, he was conveyed to Rome, and thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, from which he came out unhurt. He was afterwards banished to the island of Patmos, where he wrote his book of Revelations; and, according to some, his Gospel. Tota antiquitas in eo abundè consentit, quod Domitianus exilii Joannis auctor fuerit. (Lampe. Proleg. lib. i. cap. 4.)

5) THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. St. Luke, who had published his gospel, wrote also a second volume, which, from the first ages, hath been called the Acts of the Apostles. Not that we can look upon this work, as a history of what was done by all the apostles, who were dispersed in different nations; but we have here a short view of the first establishment of the Christian Church, a small part of St. Peter's preaching and actions, set down in the first twelve chapters, and a more particular account of St. Paul's apostolical labours, in the following chapters, for about thirty years, till the year 63, and the 4th year of Nero, where these acts end. (Witham)

6 - 19) THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL, THE APOSTLE, TO THE ROMANS. After the Gospels, which contain the history of Christ, and the Acts of the Apostles, which contain the history of the infant Church, we have the Epistles of the Apostles. Of these fourteen have been penned on particular occasions, and addressed to particular persons, by St. Paul; the others of St. James, St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude, are called Catholic Epistles, because they are addressed to all Christians in general, if we except the two latter short epistles of St. John.

20) THE CATHOLIC EPISTLE OF ST. JAMES, THE APOSTLE. The first of the seven epistles was written by St. James, surnamed the lesser, and James of Alpheus, (Matthew x. 3.) one of the twelve apostles, called the brother of our Lord, (Galatians i. 19.) who was made bishop of Jerusalem. His mother is thought to have been Mary, sister to the blessed Virgin Mary, and to have been married first to Alpheus, and afterwards to Cleophas; to have had four sons, James, Joseph, Simon, (or Simeon) and Jude, the author of the last of these epistles. All these four being cousins-german, are called brothers of our Lord, Matthew xiii. 55. How great a veneration the Jews themselves had for this apostle and bishop of Jerusalem, see not only Hegisippus apud Eusebius, lib. ii. hist. chap. 23. and St. Jerome de viris illustribus, also the same St. Jerome in Galatians i. 19. (tom. iv, p. 237, lib. 1. contra Jovin. tom. iv, part 2, p. 182.) but even Josephus, (lib. xxviii. Jewish Antiquities, chap. 8.) where he calls him the brother of Jesus, surnamed the Christ. This epistle was written about the year 62.[A.D. 62.] The chief contents are: 1. To shew that faith without good works will not save a man, as St. Augustine observed, lib. de fid. et oper. chap. iv.; 2. He exhorts them to patience, to beg true wisdom, and the divine grace; 3. He condemns the vices of the tongue; 4. He gives admonitions against pride, vanity, ambition, &c.; 5. To resist their disorderly lusts and desires, which are the occasions and causes of sin, and not Almighty God; 6. He publisheth the sacrament of anointing the sick with oil; 7. He recommends prayer, &c. St. Jerome, in a letter to Paulinus, (t. iv. part 2, p. 574.) recommends all these seven epistles in these words: James, Peter, John, and Jude, published seven epistles....both short and long, short in words, long as to the content; Jacobus, Petrus, Joannes, Judas, septem epistolas ediderunt....breves pariter et longas, breves in verbis, longas in sententiis. (Witham)

21 - 22) THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PETER, THE APOSTLE. / THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PETER, THE APOSTLE. St. Peter, otherwise called Simon, son of John or Jonas, was from Bethsaida, a city of Galilee. He was married, and lived at Capharnaum, and was employed with his brother Andrew, as fishermen, when our Lord called them. St. Peter on every occasion testified a more than usual zeal for his Master, and hence our Lord shewed him a very particular and very marked attention. He would have Peter present at his transfiguration; (Luke ix. 28.) and at another time declared that he[Peter] was a rock, upon which he[Jesus Christ] would build his Church, against which the gates of hell should never prevail. (Matthew xvi. 18.) Although St. Peter had the misfortune or weakness to deny Jesus Christ in his passion, our Lord, after his resurrection, gave him fresh proofs of his regard. (Matthew xvi. 7.) He continued him in his primacy over all, and appointed him in the most explicit manner visible head of his Church, when thrice asking Peter: "lovest thou me more than these?" and St. Peter as often answering, Christ said to him: "feed my lambs, feed my sheep." (John xxi. 15.)

23 - 25) THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN, THE APOSTLE. [SECOND, THIRD] This epistle was always acknowledged for canonical, and written by St. John, the apostle and evangelist. At what time and place, is uncertain. It is sometimes called the Epistle to the Parthians, or Persians. The chief design is to set forth the mystery of Christ's incarnation against Cerinthus, who denied Christ's divinity, and against Basilides, who denied that Christ had a true body; with zealous exhortations to love God and our neighbour. (Witham)

26) THE CATHOLIC EPISTLE OF ST. JUDE, THE APOSTLE. This Epistle, as we find by Eusebius (lib. iii. History of the Church, chap. xxv.) and St. Jerome, (in Catalogo) was not everywhere received as canonical till about the end of the fourth age[century]. It is cited by Origen, hom. vii. in Josue[Joshua]; by Tertullian, lib. de cultu fœminarum; by Clement of Alexandria, lib. iii. Pædag.; by St. Athanasius, in Synopsi; by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Carm. xxxiv.; by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. 4ta.; by the councils of Laodicea and the third council of Carthage; by St. Augustine, lib. ii. de Doct. Christianâ, chap. viii. See Tillemont, and Nat. Alex. in his preface to this epistle. The time when it was written is uncertain, only it is insinuated in ver. 17, that few of the apostles were then living, perhaps only St. John. The design was to give all Christians a horror of the detestable doctrine and infamous practices of the Simonites, Nicolaites, and such heretics, who having the name of Christians, were become a scandal to religion and to all mankind, as may be seen in St. Irenæus and St. Epiphanius. He copies in a manner what St. Peter had written in his third[second?] Epistle, Chap. ii. (Witham)

27) THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, THE APOSTLE. Though some in the first ages[centuries] doubted whether this book was canonical, and who was the author of it, (see Eusebius, lib. 7, History of the Church, chap. xxv.) yet it is certain much the greater part of the ancient fathers acknowledged both that it was a part of the canon, and that it was written by St. John, the apostle and evangelist. See Tillemont, in his ninth note upon St. John, where he cites St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenæus, St. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius., Eusebius, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, &c. It was written in Greek to the churches in Asia[Asia Minor], under Domitian, about the year 96[A.D. 96] or 97, long after the destruction of Jerusalem, when St. John was banished to the island of Patmos, in the Ægean Sea. It is by some called the prophecy of the New Testament, and the accomplishment of the predictions of all the other prophets, by the first coming of Christ at his incarnation, and by his second coming at the end of the world. As to the time when the chief predictions should come to pass, we have no certainty, as appears by the different opinions, both of the ancient fathers, and late interpreters. Many think that most things set down from the fourth chapter to the end, will not be fulfilled till a little time before the end of the world. Others are of an opinion, that a great part of them, and particularly the fall of the wicked Babylon, happened at the destruction of paganism, by the destruction of heathen Rome, and its persecuting heathen emperors. Of these interpretations, see Alcazar in his long commentary, the learned Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, in his treatise on this book, and P. Alleman, in his notes on the same Apocalypse, tom. xii, who, in his preface, says, that this in a great measure may be now looked upon as the opinion followed by the learned. In fine, others think that St. John's design was in a mystical way, by metaphors and allegories, to represent the attempts and persecutions of the wicked against the servants of God, the punishments that should in a short time fall upon Babylon, that is, upon all the wicked in general; the eternal happiness and reward which God had reserved for the pious inhabitants of Jerusalem, that is, for his faithful servants, after their short trials and tribulations of this mortal life. In the mean time we meet with many profitable instructions and admonitions, which we may easily enough understand; but we have no certainty, when we apply these predictions to particular events; for as St. Jerome takes notice, the Apocalypse has as many mysteries as words, or rather mysteries in every word. Apocalypsis Joannis tot habet sacramenta quot verba....parum dixi, in verbis singulis multiplices latent intelligentiæ. (Ep. ad Paulin. t. iv., p. 574. Edit. Benedict.) (Witham)

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