Blessed Mohammed Abdalla

detail of an antique Italian holy card of Blessed Mohammed Abdalla by Bertoni, date unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiMemorial

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Mercedarian friar at the convent of San Lazzaro in Zaragoza, Spain. Known for his personal piety and outlook that saw the hand of God in all things.

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  • “Blessed Mohammed Abdalla“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Blessed Claudio di Portaceli

detail of an antique Italian holy card of Blessed Claudio di Portaceli by Bertoni, date unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiMemorial

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Mercedarian friar. Commander of the house of Carcassonne, France. In 1318 he went on the road as a pilgrim to collect alms to ransom Christians held in slavery in Muslim controlled territories. His pilgrim‘s staff had a flag with the image of Our Lady of Mercy, a slave kneeling at her feet, and the words “Haec est coeli door” (“this is heaven’s door”). He travelled to north Africa in 1330 to redeem those Christians. Cardinal of Santa Pudenziana. Miracle worker.

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MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Claudio di Portaceli“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

The Text of Holy Scripture, by Cuthbert Lattey, SJ

The BibleIn strictly Biblical studies, what is most fundamental is the text itself. Until we have the text, we cannot begin to study it. In reading most ancient authors a certain familiarity with textual criticism is a legitimate self-defence, for fear an editor should foist upon us his own private composition. Something of this kind there is in the Old Testament, but in the case of the New, it is perhaps even more the ancient scribes themselves of whom we need to beware – of that free lance who perpetrated the Codex Bezae, and of that manner of copying that ended in the textus receptus, or rather (should we not now say?) reiectus. But of these things more in detail presently. Meanwhile, before we go further, it must be understood that what was said in a previous article on “The Study of Holy Scripture,” chiefly as regards the question of method, with especial reference to faith and authority, is here presupposed, because it is fundamental in the widest and most important respect of all.

As a matter of fact, the conclusions to be indicated in the matter of text, seem to be reasonably certain, apart from any theological argument, and in a course of strict apologetic would have to be considered in that light. Another point may also be worth immediate attention; from the point of view of textual criticism, both Old and New Testaments are unique, but that, strangely enough, for reasons in the main diametrically opposed to each other – the New Testament by reason of the abundance of the attestation the Old Testament by reason of the lack of it.

It is best to speak of the New Testament first, because the course of events is here more certain (though much must still be left doubtful), and also easier to follow. And here, again, it may help to give a brief sketch, so far as is relevant, of the history of writing and writing materials. The first and original copies of most of the New Testament writings were probably written on papyri, each on an independent roll, in different times and places. Greek papyri (from papyrus, through the French, comes our paper) are found from the end of the fourth century B.C. down to the ninth century A.D. This writing material was manufactured from the pith of the papyrus-plant, which of old grew plentifully in the Nile and the adjacent marshes. The pith was cut into thin strips, which were placed side by side, while another layer of strips was laid at right angles to the first; the whole was then pressed and glued together. The sheets would be from six to fifteen inches high, and would practically never exceed thirty feet in length, while they might be much shorter. The writing would in the first instance be on the side on which the fibre followed the length of the roll, called the recto; at need the verso might also be used.

Egypt was the chief centre of manufacture, and it is there that the papyri have survived, thanks to sand-burial and the very dry climate. Elsewhere they have almost wholly disappeared, the chief exception being offered by the calcined papyri of Herculaneum. Greek writing upon papyrus falls into two main classes: the literary or professional hand, for use in the transcription of books, and the non-literary hand, for use in business documents, private letters and what not. The distinction roughly corresponds to that between print and writing today. Literary papyri have a rudimentary equipment of accents, breathing and punctuation. The systematic study of papyri may be dated from the great find at Arsinoe in 1877 A.D.

The papyri shed a great light on the New Testament from many points of view, most of all perhaps from that of language, for they show that, in the main, New Testament Greek was the common Hellenistic speech of the time, thus bringing it out of its former apparent isolation. But here we are only concerned with textual criticism. Saint Luke’s Gospel and Acts would both require a roll of the maximum length in use; but some of the shorter epistles may have come to be written on the same roll. Short epistles, at all events, may have been dictated to educated amateurs, and in general early Christian copying would mostly be in the non-literary hand, though Saint John’s Gospel might well have been taken down by a professional scribe. The early transmission was probably not of the best, not being carried on through the regular book-trade, but by private individuals. The best copies, too, would be most eagerly sought out by the persecutors. Much corruption was inevitable, and this may well be one of the chief reasons of early divergences of text. In classical authors, similar private papyri have a worse text than vellum manuscripts of a thousand years later.

Towards the beginning of the fourth century A.D. the conversion of Constantine led to Christianity being recognized as the more or less official religion of the Empire. The Scriptures were multiplied with all the usual resources of writing, Constantine himself ordering fifty vellum manuscripts to be prepared, for the purpose of supplying his new churches with Bibles. It was, indeed, the Christian Church that made the vellum codex triumph over the papyrus, which now decline in number and quality, though still plentiful till the eighth century A.D. Vellum is skin prepared for writing on both sides, a far stronger material than papyrus. Hence it was far easier to bind it into a codex or book, even of a large size, and for this reason again the introduction of the codex probably contributed to the fixing of the canon of Scripture. It was now possible to include the whole Bible in one volume, and it therefore became an urgent necessity to decide what works should be included. Vellum also allowed of firmer writing, with thicker and heavier strokes, the more so because economy of room was no longer essential. Hence, the letters become larger, so as to be called “uncial” or “inch-long,” although the term is in reality an exaggeration. The scribes go back for their models to the best ages of the papyrus hand, the first and second century A.D., not to that immediately preceding. Unfortunately, they practically drop punctuation and all other helps to reading, so that in this respect there is a complete break in the tradition. From now onwards the nonliterary hand may be left out of account, being no longer a channel of transmission.

The uncial period of vellum manuscripts extends into the tenth century, but the increasing demand for books led to the uncial hand being found too cumbrous, as requiring too much space and time. By the ninth century a modified form of the running hand of everyday use had become literary, of which we find all the elements in the non-literary papyri of the period immediately preceding. This is the minuscule hand: it is also called the “cursive” or running hand, because the minuscule hand lent itself readily to ligatures, connecting strokes, and came to have them more and more, whereas they are not found in uncial writing on vellum, though sometimes employed in uncials written on papyrus. Paper is introduced in this period; it appears to have been first imported into Europe in the tenth century, and first manufactured there in the twelfth. The best work continues to be done on vellum; it was the introduction of printing that secured paper the victory. The earliest and most beautiful productions of the printing press were Bibles; during the fifteenth century more than ninety editions of the Latin Bible were printed.

After this summary outline of the evolution of the writing process itself, it is needful to give another of the principles of textual criticism. The primary object of textual criticism is to discover what the original writer himself wrote or dictated, though in a wider sense the whole history of the text and everything that has immediate relation to the text falls within its province. The chief evidence consists of the various reproductions of the text, whether in whole or part, in the original language or in translations. Some accidental and preliminary processes must here be taken for granted. The scribe, for example, writes laboraborabas; we smile at his sleepiness, but accept him as a witness for laborabas. There are other kinds of mistakes equally superficial and easily verifiable, of which some amusing examples are given in Dr. Gow’s Companion to School Classics. Spelling, again, is a study in itself, closely allied to that of pronunciation; but the spelling of a manuscript has little bearing upon its value for the reconstruction of the text.

The three main processes or stages of textual induction, at all events where the evidence is so abundant as is that for the New Testament text, lie in the consideration of reading, manuscript and genealogy. That is to say, we first consider the relative probability of rival readings of the same passage: next, as far as possible, we assign a relative value to manuscripts, according as they contain a larger or smaller percentage of readings in themselves more likely to be correct: thirdly, we endeavor to establish lines of descent and connection between manuscripts themselves so as to be able to impute a better or worse character to each of these very lines of descent, and thus judge of a manuscript in part from its genealogy. And at each stage we note whether our previous results are being confirmed or shaken. By this systematic investigation the margin of uncertainty is reduced to a very small compass. The now famous dictum of Westcott and Hort that, mere trifles apart, the words still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament, has never been seriously controverted, in spite of a fairly general feeling that they themselves have relied somewhat too exclusively upon a single manuscript, the Codex Vaticanus (B).

The general tendency of textual criticism has been to bring order out of chaos; and indeed it was no small commendation that Pope Pius X. bestowed upon the modern elaboration of this science, when in his letter to Cardinal (then Abbot) Gasquet, intrusting him and his Order with the revision of the Latin Vulgate (1907), he remarked that “this praise is certainly to be paid to the genius of the present times, that such investigations are carried on in such a way that no possible fault can be found with them.” The legitimate pro cesses of textual. criticism, based upon a scientific study of the documentary evidence, give no cause for anxiety; it is the vagaries of a so-called “higher” criticism that do the mischief, as the Providentissimus Deus itself points out. But to work out from one’s own imagination and highly subjective presuppositions, without a shadow of support in the actual evidence, what must have been written first and what must be regarded as a later addition, or rather as a whole series of later additions, with the when and wherefore of each – all this is not textual criticism, but rather the unblushing and ostentatious disregard of it.

However, we must retrace our steps. The three main processes or stages of textual induction have been said to lie in the consideration of reading, manuscript and genealogy. In the case of the first and third of these some further explanation may be called for. In judging between rival readings for the same word or passage, it is not intrinsic, but transcriptional, probability that matters; that is to say, our main care must be, not to select the reading that appears to us to give the best sense or the smoothest language or the like – for in choices of this sort there is great danger of excessive subjectivity, and endless havoc has been wrought through them – but rather to look for the reading which most easily would give rise to the others, and thus seems best to explain the present state of the textual evidence. For example, if we examine the parallel passages, Matthew 8:28, Mark 5:1, Luke 8:26,37, it is tolerably clear that the desire to reconcile these texts with each other and with the geography has affected the transmission of the proper name in the manuscripts. Yet – apart from the fact that the attempts at uniformity vary in their selection of the name in different types of text – it must be evident that if this uniformity had existed at the outset, it would never have developed into the variant readings which are still extant. To postulate or to produce such uniformity was tempting to the scribe, and still at times proves tempting to the uninitiate, but its transcriptional probability is almost nil.

On the subject of genealogy what remains to be said is this. If the scribes had been wont simply to keep to a single manuscript, so that we only had to reckon with that manuscript and with the copyist himself, then textual criticism would be immensely simplified. We should have a great genealogical tree, ever spreading outwards in its growth, the divisions and subdivisions representing the changes, intentional or no, made by successive copyists. On the hypothesis that each copyist was confining his attention to a single manuscript, these changes would, of course, be due purely to lack of skill or attention, or to preconceived ideas. But in practice a scribe usually bases his work upon two or more manuscripts, often from quite different parts of the genealogical tree, so that side by side with genealogical divergence we have the contrary and confusing phenomenon of genealogical convergence.

This convergence is most easily detected in “conflate” readings, which are a fusion of two readings. Thus at the end of Mark 9:38, one type of text is exemplified by the Codex Vaticanus, “and we hindered him, because he was not follow ing us:” and another by the Codex Bezae, “who was not following with us and we hindered him:” while the fusion of the two may be illustrated from the Codex Alexandrinus, “who was not following us, and we hindered him, because he was not following us.” Yet this glaring conflation was printed by Nestle in his small Greek Testament! As a matter of fact, it is only very rarely that a manuscript can be put entirely out of court as the direct descendant of an extant manuscript, or as a conflation of two or more that are likewise extant. But the affinities of manuscripts, affinities both of the closer and more remote kind, may be noted, and these, as has been said above, must be taken into account in determining its general value.

We may now come to the textual problem of the New Testament, confining ourselves to the Gospels and Acts, for fear of entangling ourselves in ulterior issues. At the best, but a summary sketch is possible. Three main types of text emerge, each marked by a series of variant readings peculiar to itself; for the sake of brevity such a type of text is itself called simply a “text.” We may begin by rejecting the “Traditional text,” the so-called textus receptus, called by Westcott and Hort the “Syrian” text. But Westcott and Hort have not proved happy in their names, and Sir F. G. Kenyon prefers Greek letters, as committing to no theory; this type he calls the alpha-text. This type of text, after a long supremacy, is now discredited, because its distinctive readings cannot be traced further back than the fourth century. Its most typical representatives are the late uncial manuscripts, the great mass of minuscule manuscripts, the later Fathers and later versions, and the latest manuscripts of early versions.

The second type of text we may call “Syro-Latin,” as having its chief strength in the Latin pre-Vulgate and Syriac pre-Peshitta versions, the Peshitta being, as it were, the Syriac Vulgate, and written not long after the Latin Vulgate; this latter belongs to the end of the fourth century, the Peshitta probably to the early fifth. The early writers, also, such as Saint Justin, martyr, and Tatian in the second century, strongly support this text: it is the “Western” text (an utterly mislead ing name) of Westcott and Hort, the “delta-text” of Sir F. Kenyon. Significantly enough, the bilingual Codex Bezae (D) is the only Greek uncial manuscript that reproduces this kind of text, and the exception proves the rule, for Latin influence is certainly to be traced in the Greek text of this manuscript, though to what extent it is difficult to say with certainty. The skilled copyists, therefore, held out against tins text, although they were later engulfed by the “Traditional” text. But before we discuss the matter further we had best speak of the third textual family.

This may be called the “Egyptian” type, as having Alexandria for main stronghold. Westcott and Hort, supposing that in this group the true text was to be found, called what they considered the true text the “Neutral” text (Kenyon’s “beta-text”), and the rest of the group, in so far as it differed from this, the “Alexandrian” type (Kenyon’s “gamma-text”). But the distinction between the two is slight, and to emphasize it in this way has some appearance of begging the question, as indeed Westcott and Hort’s title of “Neutral” does openly beg it, presupposing, as it does, the correctness of their whole theory. Yet for them this “Neutral” text is little more than the Codex Vaticanus, and there seems to be a fairly wide impression that they have relied somewhat too exclusively upon this one manuscript. However, that is comparatively a minor point; what we have most to fear is a sort of textual bolshevism that would bring in the “Syro-Latin” texts as the supremely reliable authorities. The chief “Egyptian” representatives are the Codex Vaticanus (B), the Codex Sinaiticus (represented by the Hebrew letter Aleph), the Coptic versions and, in parts, Origen.

The very fact that this type of text is definitely connected with Alexandria, from of old the home of textual criticism, tells heavily in its favor; thither we should naturally turn in any case for a scientific preservation of the text. And a careful examination of the distinctive readings of this type bears out this presumption. The Syro-Latin text is marked by many additions, great and small, to the Egyptian text, by many small and pointless variations, by frequent changes of order, and in the Gospels by frequent assimilations to the parallel narratives; these peculiarities, it may be remarked, are especially noticeable in Saint Luke’s works. The consideration of the nature of these differences leads to the conclusion that the Syro-Latin type has resulted from the free handling of an original text of the Egyptian character. Such free handling must in any case be postulated in the Codex Bezae, which carries the peculiarities of the Syro-Latin text farthest. Even apart from this, the type is far from being a simple unity, the Old Latin type, for example, differing from the Old Syriac.

Moreover, it is not difficult to see how historically the Syro-Latin type came into being; it is due to the inferior transmission of the papyrus period, when the best resources of the book trade were not at the disposal of the Christians, and when, even so, the best work was the most liable to destruction. These disadvantages in the transmission have already been touched upon; we may also suppose that the preservation of the ipsissima verba would not be the object of the same meticulous care while there was still a vigorous living tradition. Such is the usual tendency in things human; and it was not necessary that Divine Providence should completely over rule and eliminate it. It was enough that there should be a great Christian centre with a high standard of textual transmission inherited from other days, which should be the chief repository of a more exact type of text.

For the relation between living tradition and ipsissima verba, a parallel may be suggested from the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, written by Saint Ignatius. The first general congregation of the Society, held in 1558, two years after the Saint’s death, made some minor changes in these Constitutions, putting Hebrew, for instance, on a level with Latin and Greek as a necessary language, instead of leaving it with Chaldee, Arabic and Indian as possibly useful. Such changes are still printed in the Constitutions, but with a reference to the decree that produced the change, in this case the twenty-ninth of the First Congregation. But, in 1573, the Third Congregation, held upon the death of Saint Francis Borgia, in its twenty-third decree forbade any further changes; the Constitutions were to be handed down to posterity such as they had come from Saint Ignatius, and other means were to be found of making known any decision of the Congregation against the observance of any point. The change of attitude is significant; the generation that had known Saint Ignatius well and learned his mind from him in person was dying out.

The divergence of the Syro-Latin and Egyptian texts, as has been noted above, is especially noticeable in Saint Luke’s works; and they would be especially open to the influence spoken of above, because of their larger Gentile circulation. In the case of the Acts, indeed, there is reason to suspect that authentic touches of local detail were added by readers on the spot, such as the mention in the Codex Bezae (D) that Saint Peter and the angel, after passing through the outer door of the prison, “went down the seven steps” (Acts 12:10). But this is not at all the same thing as saying that these glosses, often peculiar as they are to this manuscript, have any right to be looked upon as the original text. And if once we recognize how free in interpolation the Codex Bezae can be, either alone or occasionally with a few allied manuscripts, we shall feel little difficulty in crediting it with freedom in omission also. It is, in fact, no less remarkable for its omissions than for its additions, but the really noteworthy instances of the former are practically confined to the last three chapters of Saint Luke’s Gospel, and especially abound in the last chapter of all, as though the scribe had tired of his long task. Such vagaries we cannot discuss in detail; it may be enough to note that Westcott and Hort have such a leaning to the shortest reading avail able that they even forsake their favorite Codex Vaticanus in favor of these startling omissions.

Let us conclude our consideration of the New Testament text with a reassuring inference. The Syro-Latin type of text goes back to a very early date, being found, as has been said above, in Saint Justin Martyr and Tatian. From the point of view of mere chronology, indeed, it finds earlier witness than the Egyptian text, which latter seems to be first clearly distin guishable in the writings of Origen, who died in the middle of the third century. The Syro-Latin text is also the more widespread; it is, indeed, found everywhere, even in Egypt, and even in the larger part of Origen’s work. On the other hand, the Egyptian text must not be regarded as confined to the region where it is strongest; it can itself be traced over a fairly extended area. Now, differences such as those between the two types of text do not quickly develop and harden; it must have taken considerable time for the Syro-Latin variations to establish themselves as they did. Even with the facts of the papyrus period before us, we find it difficult to imagine how such a divergence could come about so swiftly, how liberties taken by individual scribes could have been reproduced so soon all over the Church. But that very difficulty gives us the confidence that we know substantially all, the whole history of the text. There was certainly no considerable change or corruption in the text previous to the divergence we know; it could not have happened in the time.

The history of the New Testament text is a crowded history, even as it is; what we do know of it is more than sufficient to crowd out any imaginary anterior adventures, even if such were otherwise a tempting hypothesis. In a word, to the textual critic this twofold type of text, considered in the concrete and in all the variety of extant testimony, is a solid guarantee that we do indeed possess the genuine text; a guarantee that would not be nearly so solid did not the divergence exist.

In the Old Testament – for it is time to conclude with a few words about that – this uniformity of text is complete, but it means, not greater certainty as to the text, but far less. For this uniformity was artificially induced by the rabbis, who fixed upon a single type of text – in the main, it must be confessed a good type – and allowed that type only to survive, so that now the uniformity in all Hebrew Bibles is practically absolute. Does such uniformity mean that throughout the ages there has never existed any but this single type of text? Far from it! No other type of text survives, it is true, in the original Hebrew; but it survives in some of the versions, and chiefly in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate.

The former translation was begun before the middle of the third century B.C. chiefly for the Jews in Egypt. It is very important in a number of ways, as giving us an insight into Jewish exegesis prior to the outbreak of anti-Christian con troversy; as having been in the main (apart from a comparatively small number of quotations taken directly from the Hebrew – the original Aramaic of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, if recovered, would presumably swell the number considerably), the Bible text used by the New Testament writers; as having been the official Bible text of Greek-speaking Christianity, both Catholic and schismatic, and also that from which most of the early versions in other languages were made; and, finally, not to dilate further upon the matter here, as being very important philologically, as a monument of Egyptian Greek, written though it be with a Hebrew bias.

The Latin Vulgate, as has been said above, was written by Saint Jerome about the end of the fourth century; perhaps it will be possible to say more about it at a future date. For the present, it must suffice to point out that these translations were both made prior to the rabbinical unification of the text; and in passages where it is evident that both were made from a Hebrew reading different from that of the “Massoretic” or “traditional” text as it is today, the question arises whether this different reading may not be the correct one, rather than that of our present Hebrew Bibles. In some cases it is obvious that the latter are at fault, as for example in Genesis 49:10, the text and meaning of which I have discussed in my little book, Back to Christ. An even more glaring instance, if possible, is Genesis 4:8, where the Hebrew itself requires that Cain’s actual words should be given, though they have no place in the Massoretic text. In both these cases the Septuagint and Vulgate are supported by some other early authorities of no less weight.

But the question as to how far we are to go in support of the traditional Hebrew text is a difficult one, and all the more difficult, as has been indicated above, because of the absence of variant readings in the Hebrew text itself. The present writer can only record a general impression that the textual critics of the Old Testament, even including some Catholic scholars, seem rather too ready to adopt readings for which there is absolutely no evidence whatever of a strictly textual kind. In the present state of the text, no doubt, we cannot wholly eschew conjecture; but our prevailing attitude towards it should be one of distrust.

In dealing with the New Testament, we began with a brief sketch of the history of writing and writing materials, so far as it seemed relevant. In the case of the Old Testament we have to go much farther back. The date for the Exodus and for Moses which best seems to fit the sacred text is the middle of the fifteenth century B.C., though the general tendency outside the Church is to put both more than two hundred years later. But, in any case, the date is far earlier than the first known appearances of the Semitic letter-alphabet in the famous Moabite stone (about 850 B.C.) and in the Siloam in scription at Jerusalem (probably eighth century B.C.).

It has, therefore, been suggested that Moses must have used the cuneiform syllabary of the earlier centuries, the various combinations of small wedges incised in clay, each combination signifying a syllable, which we find used, for example, in the Tell el-Amarna letters (about 1400 B.C), constituting the archives, as we may say, of the Egyptian foreign office. The language of diplomacy and commerce in western Asia was then Babylonian, which was known and used even by the Egyptian officials. On the other hand, Dr. Burney, in his edition of The Book of Judges, has made it plain that by the twelfth century B.C. papyrus was employed in Phoenicia as a writing material. Such a surface practically excludes the cuneiform script, and justifies us in supposing that the letter-alphabet, the so-called “Phoenician” script of the Moabite stone and Siloam inscription, was already in regular use. It would be very hazardous to deny that it might go back to Moses, in our present ignorance of its origin; no certain conclusion can as yet be drawn, but it would be less surprising to find Moses writing in the “Phoenician” script than in cuneiform. If, however, it were proved that he did write in cuneiform, that would have an important bearing upon the textual criticism of the Pentateuch, and perhaps of the books of Josue and Judges also.

The greater part of the Old Testament, however, would in any case be written in the older Hebrew writing, the “Phoenician” script. On their return from exile, the Jews picked up the Aramaic speech in use around them, and Hebrew as such gradually became a dead language, though the difference between the two is but slight. The Jews also came to adopt the Aramaic or “square” script, with which we are familiar today. The stages of transition in speech and writing largely elude us; by Our Lord’s time, however, as we see from a passage in the Sermon on the Mount, the “square” writing was that with which the people were familiar. “One jot shall not pass from the Law” (Matthew 5:18): by the word translated “jot” is meant the letter “yodh,” very small in the “square” script, but large in the earlier writing. The allusion fits the newer alphabet, but would be pointless with the old one. Nevertheless, the older writing does turn up in various connections even at a later date.

The last development of the Hebrew text was in a manner the most important of all. The letter-alphabet, unlike the earlier cuneiform syllabary represented (and still represents) in the main only the consonants, possessing but a very vague and defective system of indicating certain vowels (chiefly vowels “long by nature”) and diphthongs; this peculiarity is common to the Semitic scripts. But in Hebrew, as in most of the Semitic scripts, this defect came by degrees to be remedied. After it had become a dead language, there was a danger that the correct pronunciation might be finally lost; hence, in the sixth and seventh centuries, A. D., the Jewish grammarians developed a system of vowel signs or points whereby to fix it. Signs were also invented for other purposes, and especially the complicated system of accents, designed at first, as it is thought, to regulate minutely the public reading of the text, and later to serve more or less as musical notes, when the reading had changed to chanting or singing. These accents are arranged, to some extent, according to sense, but there is no punctuation in the ordinary sense in our Hebrew Bibles.

We may not linger upon this subject; what is important to note is that all this vast array of signs and points represents, not the original text, but the rabbinical interpretation of the original text, made many centuries after it. If, then, we keep the letters that have come down to us (mainly, as has been said, consonants) but, for example, read other vowels between them than those in our printed Bibles, that is in reality not an emendation of the traditional text, but of the rabbinical interpretation of it, which is a very different matter. A partial illustration of this may be seen in the discussion of Genesis 49:10, already referred to. Even apart from special cases of this kind, there is some reason to doubt whether the pro nunciation stereotyped by the rabbis represented accurately that of a thousand or fifteen hundred years earlier.

Such, in brief outline, is the study of the Biblical texts, the quest after the very message delivered of old by God Himself. Copies and translations, even such hallowed translations as the Latin Vulgate and the Greek Septuagint, are to be valued chiefly as channels whereby these original texts have come down to us, but the texts themselves are to be valued for their own sake, that is to say, for the sake of Him Who spoke them. To listen to Him is the better part; to hear Him some what more clearly, with somewhat less admixture of mere human stuff, is the reward exceeding great of a toil that itself is not lacking in interest and consolation.

– text from the article “The Text of Holy Scripture”, by Cuthbert Lattey, SJ, published in Catholic World, December 1921

Blessed Balthasar Uchibori

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Layman in the archdiocese of Nagasaki, Japan. Son of Blessed Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon; brother of Blessed Antonius Uchibori and Blessed Ignatius Uchibori.

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Beatified

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  • “Blessed Balthasar Uchibori“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Blessed Antonius Uchibori

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Teenaged layman in the archdiocese of Nagasaki, Japan. Son of Blessed Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon; brother of Blessed Balthasar Uchibori and Blessed Ignatius Uchibori.

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Died

Venerated

Beatified

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  • “Blessed Antonius Uchibori“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Blessed Ignatius Uchibori

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Child in the archdiocese of Nagasaki, Japan. Son of Blessed Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon; brother of Blessed Balthasar Uchibori and Blessed Antonius Uchibori. Martyr.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

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MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Ignatius Uchibori“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

detail of a holy card of Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska; swiped from Santi e BeatiAlso known as

  • Julia Rodzinska
  • Giulia Rodzinska
  • Mother of Orphans
  • Apostle of the Rosary
  • Sister Maria Julia
  • Mother Maria Julia
  • prisoner P40992

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Second of five children born to Michael Rodzinska and Marianna (née Sekuly). Michael was the church organist, led the parish choir and worked at a local bank. They were a poor but pious family, and though Marianna’s family was wealthy, they refused to help. Marianna died when Stanislawa was eight years old, and the family fortunes deteriorated further as Michael had trouble working and caring for the children; he died of pneumonia when Stanislawa was ten. From that point, she and her sister grew up in a Dominican orphanage.

Stanislawa loved the Dominican Sisters so much that she joined them in 1916 in Tarnobrzegu-Wielowsi, Poland, taking the name Sister Maria Juliana and made her profession on 5 August 1924. She served as an exceptional and much loved teacher at Dominican orphanages for 22 years. Superior of the Dominican house in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1934, and ran the orphanage; she became known as the Mother of Orphans for her tireless care of the children, and as an Apostle of the Rosary. She was awarded by the secular government of Vilnius for her work.

However, the government seized the school and orphange, took over running both, and dissolved the monastery; the now homeless and unemployed Dominican sisters where taken in by some local Vincentian sisters. Mother Maria Julia and her sisters tried to support themselves doing odd jobs, but the Nazis invaded, the economy tanked, and the Church effectively went into hiding. Clergy, monks and sisters were arrested, imprisoned or executed, teaching Polish culture was made illegal, so everything about Mother Julia was now against the laws of the invaders. She continued to covertly teach children catechism and regular school studies, and worked to keep elderly priests from starving after they were kicked out into the streets by the Nazis.

Mother Julia was arrested by the Gestapo on 12 July 1943 for her work, and was imprisoned for a year in solitary confinement in a cement cell in the Lukiškes Prison in central Vilnius; it was too small and cramped for her to stretch out. She did not break, however, and continued doing her spiritual exercises. In July 1944 she was loaded into a cattle car and shipped to the Stutthof concentration camp where she was tortured, starved and abused; she responded by forming prayer groups and shared what food she received. She contracted a fatal case of typhus while nursing infected Jewish female prisoners. Martyr.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Saint Victorinus of Egypt

Memorial

Profile

Exiled to Egypt in 249. Tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Numerian.

Born

Died

Canonized

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Victorinus of Egypt“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Saint Papias of Egypt

Memorial

Profile

Exiled to Egypt in 249. Tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Numerian.

Died

Canonized

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Papias of Egypt“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>

Saint Serapion of Egypt

Memorial

Profile

Exiled to Egypt in 249. Tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Numerian.

Died

Canonized

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Serapion of Egypt“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 February 2017. Web. 20 February 2017. <>