Letter to Carlos
Letter to an atheist friend about the claim that Christianity was invented by St. Paul and St. Augustine.
Unpublished text, October 13, 2022.
Dear Carlos, you have sent me order a critique of one of your writings in which you say that the founder of Christianity today is not Jesus of Nazareth, but rather St. Paul and St. Augustine. I dedicate this letter to the criticism you ask for.
Azorín used to say that whenever he could be in agreement with tradition he always thanked God. I suppose the same is true of you, and it is in that spirit that I am writing to you, being more conservative than you, but we are both pleased to find areas where we can agree agreement, not certainly in the field of faith, since we have a different faith, but in the scientific field, where the universality of science prevails. The intention of this paper is to focus on the scientific aspects of this question -of historiographic science- in which it is possible that we can agree agreement, leaving, at least for the moment, the aspects of Christianity in which I believe by faith, but I do not pretend that they are also your belief.
In this attempt of approach I will understand your affirmation in a broad way, so that I can agree with agreement. First of all, I will understand that when you say St. Augustine, you are referring to patristics, to all the Fathers of the Church of the first centuries, both the so-called Eastern and Western Fathers, being St. Augustine representative for being one of the most outstanding, although this can also be said of some apostolic fathers of the first century and beginning of the second (St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Clement Romanus, St. Polycarp...) whose work is much smaller, but invested with the authority of having been direct disciples of the apostles.) of much smaller work, but invested with the authority of having been direct disciples of the apostles; and it can be said of the most outstanding apologists of the second and third centuries (St. Justin, St. Irenaeus of Lyon, St. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian in the second century and St. Hippolytus of Rome, Origen and St. Cyprian of Carthage in the third century); and, with greater reason, it can be said of the great figures of the golden century of patristics, fourth and fifth centuries: St. Athanasius, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzus, up to St. Ambrose of Milan still in the fourth century; and already in the fifth century, the contemporaries of St. Augustine: St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and, somewhat later, St. Leo the Great. And patristics did not end with them, there still remained some egregious figures such as St. Gregory the Great at the beginning of the 7th century, the century in which St. Isidore of Seville and St. Ildefonso of Toledo were to write on our soil. Perhaps St. John Damascene, VIII century, can be cited as the last great father of the Church with this level of relevance.
All of them can be grouped, as you will remember, in Greek fathers and Latin fathers, according to the language and the culture in which they wrote. An Eastern Christian, and probably not a Western one either, would not allow you to put St. Augustine before St. John Chrysostom in the kerygma of preaching, or St. Jerome in the kerygma of the interpretation of Scripture (in his famous De Genesi ad literam, Augustine, like Jerome and other fathers of the Church, made his point by insisting that the reading of Scripture must be spiritual, and not to elucidate questions of natural science, something that is well worth remembering for the purpose of this letter).
So, I agree with agreement in this affirmation of yours taken in this broad sense that by St. Augustine we understand patristics, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. They led the theological reflection of early Christianity. Not that they constructed the content of the Christian faith, but that, having received it from the apostles, they were the first historical interpreters of the faith, where "historical" means interpreters from their culture -Hellenic or Latin- and from the time in which they lived; their faith provided them with interpretative keys not only for their transformation staff but also for the transformation of their time and of history. Even if they did not express it exactly in this way, they understood their faith as a message that was not only eschatologically saving, but also saving history. This is how Ignacio Ellacuría expressed it in current terms in his thesis on the possibility, necessity and meaning of a Latin American theology, no. 2, 21Theology has historically been a reflection on faith, but from a socially and culturally determined status ... This reflection, being situated and temporalized, not only achieves a different result by the addition of two fixed quantities (revealed data "plus" reflection), but leads to a new sense of what has been revealed and, consequently, to a new synthesis, in which the two fundamental elements in which it is analyzed take on a different character" In fact, he echoes an idea of Vatican Council II(Ad gentes 22b): "It is necessary in every socio-cultural territory to promote that theological consideration which submits to new research, in the light of the tradition of the universal Church, the facts and words revealed by God, consigned to the Sacred Scripture and explained by the fathers and magisterium of the Church." However, it is certain that among all the theological elaborations that all centuries and cultures, that of the Greco-Roman culture is of special interest to Christians because it is the first. We still study carefully the concepts born in the Philosophy proper of that culture because in them were expressed the formulas (Trinitarian dogmas (IV century) and Christological dogmas of the V century) that would protect from initial deviations -some of Gnostic character- the first journey of Christianity.
And going to your accredited specialization of the work of St. Paul, I also understand it, in this same spirit of rapprochement, as representative of other New Testament writings, the affirmation being that not only the Gospels but also the Pauline epistles and other writings of the New Testament make up the content of the Christian faith. Thus understood, I must also show my agreement. Observe the difference between the latter and the former, between faith and theology.2In speaking of St. Augustine and other Fathers of the Church, I have spoken of "Christian theology", and I have seen as a value and a richness its plurality in space and time, and I have seen as a value and a richness its plurality in space and time.3 in space and time, that is to say its historical character.4. Here, on the other hand, it is a question of the content of the faith itself, not of our theological reflection on it through time; and the content of the faith is the teaching of Jesus Christ transmitted to the apostles in the framework of a very particular culture, the Jewish culture, and in the first century; and the value here is not plurality but unity: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5).
Although St. Paul is not the only source of our Christian faith, it can be said, giving you the reason, that he was part, together with the others that make up the New Testament, and also the Old Testament, of what we call the Sacred Scripture, or, vulgarly, the Bible. And even this is not the only source of our faith, but also, and even principally, the Tradition that has given us the Scripture and has preached to us its teaching5. You said that the Second Vatican Council declared it a dogma of faith that the Gospels are only the four that form part of the New Testament. Dear Charles, since 1870 there has been but one dogma of faith, and it consists of a brief solemn declaration dated November 1, 1950, which does not deal with this topic. Not everything we Christians believe is a dogma of faith: there is no dogma of faith, for example, that says that the apostles were twelve, and yet we believe it.
And since you referred to the Second Vatican Council, which, I repeat, no dogma of faith has been defined, what it says in this regard in the constitution Dei Verbum, article 18, is that "the Church has always and everywhere maintained that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin"; and devotes the following article DV 19, to explain precisely the meaning of this affirmation, not certainly that the four Gospels were written by framework, Matthew, Luke, John, but open to the possibility that others were the material authors of the writings (at least this is evident in part of the Gospel of John): that which follows the first of its two endings). Let us look at the exact words: "Holy Mother Church has always and everywhere defended with firmness and utmost constancy that the four Gospels mentioned, whose historicity she affirms without doubt, faithfully narrate what Jesus, the Son of God living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day of the Ascension (cf. Act 1:1-2). After this day, the Apostles communicated to their hearers those sayings and deeds with the greater understanding that the glorious resurrection of Christ and the teaching of the Spirit of truth gave them. The sacred authors composed the four Gospels by choosing data from the oral or written tradition, reducing them to a synthesis, adapting them to the status of the various Churches, preserving the style of proclamation: in this way they always transmitted to us data authentic and genuine about Jesus. Drawing it from their report or from the testimony of those "who attended from the beginning and were ministers of the word", they wrote it down so that we might know the "truth" of what they taught us."
In fact, the fact that there are four Gospels is simply scientific, since, with exceptions that I will mention shortly, only in fictional novels of the recent past has credit been given, as if they were also works of the first century, to other writings of later centuries that bear the names of evangelists, some of them instruments of Gnostic infiltration of which the Christians of that time had already warned, and in which their posteriority is easily detected. I am not referring here to those charming apocryphal gospels written without any intention of philosophical infiltration, but with great piety and sometimes naivety (I read them with pleasure in my early youth). They mix naive stories with true echoes of the four gospels, and with the echo sometimes of traditions that are not found in the gospel but have been respected by Christians, as for example the name of the parents of the mother of Jesus, Joachim and Anne, which appears for the first time in the gospel of James. The fragmentary Gospel of St. Peter, which appeared in 1886, has deserved special attention from scientists, for perhaps being close to the time of the preaching of the apostles, and is located by most researchers in a century later than the third, but some attribute it to the second century and even to the first; and the Gospel of St. Thomas6which seems to be as early as the second century.
But without the need of any dogma of faith, I have been accustomed for a long time to read the fathers of the Church (especially the most primitive, apostolic and apologists) and I can assure you that they continually refer to the four gospels, references that appear already in the century following that of the apostles, invariably attributing them to the four authors with which we name them. It has been said, and not without reason, that if the four Gospels had been lost, they could have been reconstructed with only the quotations of the fathers of the Church. And it is not that our faith consists in these four being the authors, but - as I have told you, quoting the Council - that what is contained in them is the teaching of Jesus Christ transmitted by the apostles. Oral transmission first - for it is obvious that it was first preaching - and then written, either by the apostles themselves or to those to whom they preached.
But, given that Protestants have dispensed with tradition and have taken "Sola Scriptura" as the source of faith, it is natural that in the 18th century, as an "enlightened" version of Christianity, the search for a scientific foundation - in historiographical science - for the figure of Jesus has arisen among them. The positive aspect of this was that a science was thus founded, or rather a very special branch of historiography, in which important contributions have been made, in an ecumenical environment (given the universality of the science) by Christians of all confessions, the initiator in my Catholic confession being one of the main and most respected figures of this science, the French priest Joseph-Marie Lagrange, XIX century (or, if you want one closer in time, professor at the School of theology in Barcelona, where I am writing this, I can name Armand Puig i Tàrrech, who to his articles of research in expert magazines -I read a selection in his work Uncommon journey- has added a very interesting and enjoyable publication addressed to a wider public: Jesus. A biographical profile -Proa. Barcelona, 2005-. Book still on sale, at your disposal, which excuses me from writing hundreds of pages).
Together with this positive aspect, for which we must be grateful for such an exciting science, we must consider another that I understand to be negative, because I believe it has led to error, although error that the progress of research has been gradually correcting: some works following that line initiated in the 18th century (not the majority line, in general, in theology, but the majority in the current called "liberal Protestantism") have dissociated the person of Jesus Christ into a historical Jesus of whom we know little or nothing - some of those authors have even doubted his existence - and a Christ of faith who would be the one we believe in, both in the exemplarity of his works -whether they happened or not- and in the sublimity of his teachings -whether his own or those of the moral masters of primitive Christianity-. The idea of some of these authors is that in the primitive Christian communities a new ethic of love and forgiveness was preached, and that these teachings (no more than the true source Q of which I will speak later) were then articulated in the biography of a non-existent personage or of doubtful existence, or of whom, in any case, we know very little.
And the reason for this dissociation between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith is that, the question having been posed in such a primitive period for historiographic science, the eighteenth century, what could initially be reconstructed of the historical Jesus was very little, due to the lack of sources and the limitation of the initial method employee. The result of these few reliable data was an image of Jesus that was very poor in content in comparison with the richness of content of our faith in him. The main reason for their distrust of the Gospels as a reliable source is that they seemed to them to reflect more the atmosphere of the Christian communities of the Greek world - for example, the enmity they suffered from the neighboring Jewish communities - than the atmosphere of a Jewish world that their authors probably did not even know, not certainly in the first century, but already in the following century, very distant then from the alleged events.
Logically, in this dissociation between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith, some opted for the historical Jesus, with a significant impoverishment of the content of faith.7with a significant impoverishment of the content of faith, by not admitting of Jesus and his teaching more than what historiographic science has been able to reconstruct to date; and others opted for the Christ of faith, without any loss of content in which to believe, but with a significant loss in its foundation, remaining in a kind of gnosticism where an idea is followed with fervor, but not a person who really existed. And who is going to fall in love with a person who neither exists nor has existed? Because Christianity is not a doctrine, but a person, and for the love of a person, its following: "Whoever loves me will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode in him" (John 14:23). The center of our theology is Christology, which "understands Christian life as following and makes Christian morality a praxis of following" (Ellacuría, 9.7.3). This dissociation of ideal and person - which ends in ideal without person - has led, in some countries and environments, to a decrease in fervor and in lives that give their lives.
But, as I said, and as is logical, science has been advancing, making more and more sources available to us, both civil and rabbinical sources. In fact, there has been a spectacular advance since the nineties, partly due to the Qumran findings (Qumran).8partly due to the findings of Qumran (1947), the Essene Library Services buried in the year 68 - with manuscripts dating from 250 BC to 66 BC - and discovered by two Bedouin shepherds in 1947, although it was not until 1954 that its significance was understood (and the research continues: in 2017 the twelfth cave was found, i.e. the 12Q papyrus collection). After decades of conservation treatment, classification and programs of study linguistic and comparative , they have become available to reconstruct the way of life and the religious and political expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus Christ. The result has been the so-called historicist turn of the nineties, being currently that the Gospels do not reflect the society of the first Greek Christian communities of the second century as initially assumed by liberal Protestantism, but the Jewish world of Palestine in the first half of the first century, i.e. the local and historical framework of the life of Jesus. It is therefore natural that they were written by the apostles themselves or by their disciples, or, at least, no reason can be given against it.
In particular, it is clear that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John are written by Jews, since they do not err in any of their customs, while that of Luke is clearly written by a Gentile, who makes gross errors, as for example when speaking of the roof of a house, something that did not exist in the houses of Judea. In fact, Luke was a Gentile, a convert in Antioch of Pisidia when he joined Paul, together with Silas, on his second apostolic journey, when he embarked with them for Troas (something clear in the book of Acts, since from verse 16:10 onwards the author begins to speak in the first person plural: "we embarked, etc."). And he feels obliged to explain the Jewish customs -something that the other evangelists take for granted- since he is addressing other Gentiles who are also converts9. Instead, as Matthew addresses the community of Jewish converts in Antioch of Syria, he places special emphasis on the fulfillment of the prophecies as sample that Jesus is the awaited Messiah. That is why the figure of the Kingdom is central in his Gospel, since the Messiah was expected as the king who would liberate Israel. But Jesus will say: "My Kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world..." (John 18:36); and "The kingdom of God is already in your midst" (Luke 20:21).
On the one hand, along with archaeological discoveries already available in the 19th century (for example, the probatic pool of Bethesda, found in Jerusalem by the architect and archaeologist Conrad Schick, with its five porticoes as described in John 5:2-9), current archaeological science has added new discoveries that certify with great accuracy the local data of Matthew, Mark and John. And together with civilian sources that were already available, such as Flavius Josephus10 (but whose reliability was then in doubt, having been left out of question today), new non-Christian sources have been added, such as the rabbinical ones, where Jesus appears as the target of exactly the accusations formulated in the Gospels by the Jewish authorities. Thus, for example, tractate Sanhedrin 43a of the Babylonian Talmud incorporates a text that has been estimated to come from the second century: "On the eve of the Passover feast, Yeixu, the Nazarene, was hanged. During the forty days before his execution, a crier announced: 'Yeixu, the Nazarene, is about to be stoned because he has practiced magic, and has seduced and led Israel astray. Whoever wishes to say anything in his favor, let him come forward and declare it.' But since there was no declaration in his favor, he was hanged on the Passover vigil...he was a deceiver." And similarly we read in tractate Sanhedrin 107b: "Jesus the Nazarene has practiced magic and led Israel astray."
Can it still be said, then, that what we read in the Gospel is the fruit of the imagination of Greek Christians of a later century, who knew nothing of the Jewish world, and who articulated their moral teaching with the biography of a non-existent or unknown personage? The scientific balance is leaning more and more towards the historicity of the Gospel, which does not mean in any way that believing in the Gospel is now a question of science: it is still religion, a question of faith, of trust. But whether or not one believes in the gospel, current science (as far as you can follow me, Carlos, even if you do not have faith) does not dissociate the Christ of the faith of Christians from a historical Jesus of whom little or nothing was known. Both are the same, whom we call Jesus Christ, and we do know about his life and his teaching: essentially what we read in the gospel, whether or not we give credit to his teaching and to the signs that the disciples say he worked.
This is the current status , after the historicist turn of the last quarter century called the third research on Jesus Christ (the first research is called the skeptical one started in the eighteenth century, and the second research on Jesus the first historicist turn started after the Second World War, or rather a decade later). Not a historical Jesus different from the Christ of faith, but only one Jesus Christ of whom there is more and more scientific support as a guarantee of his history that gives content to our faith. This is what Ignacio Ellacuría calls "the essential connection of the historical Jesus with the Christ of faith, in what is the principal unity of Jesus Christ" (Ellacuría, 9.4.1c). "To go in search of the revealed (the risen Christ) apart from the revealer (the historical Jesus) is a form of denying the historical mediation of God, who is Jesus of Nazareth" (Ellacuría, 9.7.1).
Let us now open a New Testament. First of all, we find the Gospel of Matthew. It is not said anywhere that its author is the apostle, but this is affirmed by a testimony of Papias, apostolic father because he was a disciple of John, and other testimonies of the second century. Although this fact is certainly compatible with the material author being a disciple of his, there is no reason why Matthew, being one of the twelve and knowing how to write, since he was a tax collector, could not have written down his teachings when he was about fifty years old. And the fact is that, as I will later justify, Jesus died at the age of 36, after three years of public life, on April 7 of the year 30 of the Christian era, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Assuming that the disciples of that time had the ages of our students of today, between 15 and 25 years, we can suppose that Matthew was that age during the public life of Jesus, then in the decade of the sixties, in which the research dates the three synoptic gospels -some date them in the seventies-, it seems appropriate that a teacher of about 50 years of age, between 15 and 25 years of age, would have been a teacher of about 50 years of age.11- it seems appropriate that a teacher in his 50s or 60s, who knows how to write, should apply himself to writing what he has been preaching for decades.
The research on the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) has come to the conclusion that, after a period of non-systematized oral preaching, came another (around the fifties) in which a collection of sentences (Logioi) or teachings of Jesus, oral, or perhaps even written, but then lost, was preached in Aramaic: the so-called source Q (=Quelle=source). According to tradition (for example, the testimony of Clement of Alexandria) there was a first biography of Jesus written by Mark with the teachings of St. Peter (it seems logical since it is the teaching of the first of the apostles, and also logical that Peter himself did not write it, since a fisherman at that time would normally be illiterate; instead, Mark appears as chosen by Paul and Barnabas to accompany them in the preaching, so he must have been a young man of letters). The idea of Matthew in composing his Gospel seems natural, in fact, the same idea that Luke had: to enrich the brief biography written by Mark with the teachings of Jesus that were being preached memoristically, that is, with the source Q (the tradition of teaching of the Torah among the Jews was always memoristic, and still is). Thus in Matthew and Luke, the source Q is recognizable as an addendum to the biography they take from the Gospel of Mark by the fact that they are teachings that appear in both Gospels in the same order; and what both Matthew and Luke add to this material as their own contribution has been called source M (Matthew) and source L (Luke). The elements M and L are congruent with the personality and intention of one and the other author when writing the Gospel: Matthew, as I have said, is a Jew addressing the community of Jewish converts of Antioch of Syria, with the intention of showing them that Jesus is the expected Messiah in whom the prophecies have been fulfilled (Messiah=Christ=Anointed=King), although not a political King, as many expected. Luke, a Gentile physician who addresses a community of Gentile converts, therefore underlines the mercy of God for all men, not only for the Jewish people, to the point that his is called the Gospel of mercy.12
The other source of the gospels is John, whether or not he is the disciple of Jesus, because this is not subject of faith either, although there is more reason to affirm it since in this case it is said in this gospel. And some scientists also consider as source the so-called gospel of Thomas, although this only adds a few logioi or sayings of Jesus to those that already appear in Q or are a kind of echo of the previous ones. This leaves five sources for the Gospels: Q, Mark, M, L, John (and a sixth source, very brief, for those who include the Gospel of Thomas).
So, it is not dogma of faith as you affirm that these were the authors, but they were, and, if not them, disciples of the apostles who wrote what they taught. To that teaching one can give credit if one has faith (=pisté=confidence), and one can not give it, so I do not ask you to follow me there.
In support of these attributions, and because they do not seem gratuitous to you, I copy some testimonies of Church Fathers, apostolic and apologists of the second century, such as St. Papias of Hierapolis, St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. Clement of Alexandria:
"The Gospel according to Mark began to be written in the following way: at the time when Peter was publishing the word in Rome and expounding the Gospel under the action of the Spirit, those who on that occasion were present in great issue asked Mark, since he had long accompanied Peter and remembered the things he had said, to put his words in writing; he did so and gave the Gospel to those who had order; when Peter heard of it, he said nothing either to prevent it or to promote it (....) But the last of all, John, knowing that the external facts had already been made clear in the Gospel, urged by his friends and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a spiritual Gospel" (Clement of Alexandria, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 6, 14, 5-7).
"Mark, who was Peter's interpreter, carefully put down in writing, though without order, what he remembered of what the Lord had said and done. For he had neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but, as I said, Peter later, who imparted his teachings as needed and not as one who makes a composition of the Lord's sentences, but so that Mark in no way erred in writing down some things as he remembered (...) Matthew arranged the discourses of the Lord in the language of the Hebrews, and each one interpreted them as he could" (Papias of Hierapolis, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 3,39,14-15,16. I remind you that Papias is an apostolic father, that is, a direct disciple of the apostles, specifically of St. John).
"Matthew published among the Hebrews in his own language a written form of the Gospel, while Peter and Paul in Rome announced the Gospel and founded the Church.13while Peter and Paul in Rome proclaimed the Gospel and founded the Church. It was after his departure that Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke, Paul's companion, also recorded in a book what had been preached by Paul. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, the same who had rested on his breast, also published the Gospel while residing in Ephesus" (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.1, 1).
"The fourth gospel is from John, one of the disciples. When his fellow disciples and bishops encouraged him, John said, 'Fast with me for three days from today, and whatever is revealed to us let us tell each other. This very night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should write everything in his own name and that they should review it for him" (Canon of Muratori).14
But what the scientific data provides is something that fits perfectly with what we believe: the synoptics were written in the sixties by eyewitnesses or direct disciples of them, and the gospel of John was written around the year ninety, something that is also natural, since the gospel implies that he was the youngest disciple, probably a teenager (that is why he is the first, when they run to the tomb), and, being the only apostle who did not die a martyr, tradition says that he was even very old (with some touching anecdote of his old age, collected by Eusebius of Caesarea). In the nineties he would have been about seventy-five years old, since Jesus died in the year thirty, more or less the age I am now, precisely when I am tempted, like so many others of my fifth, to write my memories of youth, so the thing seems natural. In fact, a papyrus fragment of the Gospel of St. John has been found dated in the year 125, which is a real record for works of antiquity, between the date of writing and the date of the first fragment preserved. Of the other Gospels, larger fragments from the second and third centuries are preserved (which is also a record) and the first book with the four Gospels in a row, as we read them now, is the Sinaitic code of the early fifth century.15.
How have we fixed the crucifixion of Jesus -of which we have news also from other sources- in April 7 of the year 30? Because the gospels converge that it happened on the evening of Passover or Parasceve, which fell that year on the day before the Sabbath. This means that the first full moon of spring was on Friday, which could only have occurred on April 7 of the year 30, or on a date so much earlier or later in several years that it is already incompatible with the rest of the historical data , among them that Jesus was about thirty years old in the year 15 of Tiberius (as we read in Luke 3:1), that is, in the year 28 of our era (or year 27, according to some alternative calculation); his public life lasted three short years, since St. John carefully counts three Passovers, which places his public life in the years 28, 29 and 30 of our era, that is to say when Jesus was 33, 34, 35 years old, or perhaps a year older.
And on the basis of what historical data, that age of Jesus, that is to say, how to establish the year in which he was born? It was known that he was from Bethlehem, his family coming from there by paternal lineage. Someone has said that this is a deception, but why should it be a deception that I am Valencian, what my relatives and friends know, and I myself could not hide? With greater reason, in the Jewish world, where the tribe of origin was more important than now the National Identity Card. But it has been said that it was written this way to make him be born in the place of prophecy. This could be credible in the case of Matthew, a Jew addressing a Jewish community, always attentive to the sometimes impressive fulfillment! of the prophecies.16. But it converges with Luke, who narrates in detail the circumstances of the birth in Bethlehem, without saying anything about such prophecies that he probably did not even know, let alone the Gentiles to whom he was addressing. Luke claims to have been informed by eyewitnesses of the events, and why should they deceive him? The family traveled to Bethlehem for the census - whereby each one traveled to his city of origin - which, in effect, Herod the Great carried out in the year 6 B.C. It was not a census in the whole (Roman) orb as Luke says at the beginning of the second chapter, but the census of the year 15 had that universality, being Quirinius governor of Syria (as Luke says). Having been the main census of that time, which would have remained in the collective report of the Jews, Luke, who would have heard of it, must have thought it was the one that led the family to Bethlehem. This is in case Luke 2:2 is translated as "this census was the first of the government of Syria by Quirinius". But "proté" can be translated not only as an adjective "first" but also as an adverb "before", resulting then: "this census was before that of the government of Syria by Cyrinus", that is to say the one everyone remembered, in which case we can save ourselves this explanation.
Whether it is one or the other, this ambiguity comes as a reminder that just as there is no revealed natural science (as we have remembered from St. Augustine in De Genesi ad Literam) there is no revealed historiographical science; we only consider revelation and object of faith the spiritual truths, related to salvation, and I give another example: In The Traditions of the Jews, Flavius Josephus says that St. John the Baptist was beheaded by the tetrarch Herod Philip, brother of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, because of the enemy Herodias, who had abandoned her husband. But it puts Herodias as the mother of Salome, the wife of Herod Philip, while Mark and Matthew put Herodias as the wife of the tetrarch. It is clear that the evangelists could have confused the mother with the daughter, or the error is of the historian Flavius Josephus, but it does not occur to us to give the reason to the first ones by the fact of being evangelists, because errare humanum est, and we only consider inspired and object of our faith the spiritual aspects of the Good News. What is clear in this detail, as in so many others, is that no one, believer or non-believer, can seriously say that the Gospel is a Greek construct of the second century unrelated to the Jewish world of the first century.
Thus, Jesus was born in 6 B.C. and crucified in 30 P.C., at the age of thirty-five, perhaps one more.
I would like to make, finally, a comment to purpose of this age of thirty-five years, or something more. I suppose that, having studied with me the degree program of mathematics, you will remember the Fourier transform, which converts frequency (color) into space, and space into frequency; Well, using this transform it has been possible to obtain, automatically, with only computer(a-kiro-poietos, that is,not-by-hand-made, without intervention of human hand), the Fourier transformed image of the shroud, where the red color of the blood that deforms the image of the shroud (until making the scourged and crucified with crown of thorns look like an old man) is converted into space, so that the spatial zone corresponding to the frequency of the red color can be easily dispensed with. Then, the computer is asked to do the Fourier transform again to obtain the original image, which then appears without the contribution of the red color -it has been filtered-, that is to say, the original image of the sheet appears without the deformation produced by the blood that impregnated it: a clean face appears, of a rather dark-eyed man, with a pronounced nose, about thirty-five years old, maybe a little older. This is a recent finding by Nello Ballosino, published with a profusion of scientific and procedural details, and it is available on the Internet the "a-kiro-poietos" image thus obtained: it is impressive to see the photograph of a man of the first century, when there is no other prior to the nineteenth century when photography was invented. Notice, Carlos, that I have not appealed to faith, so you can follow me up to this point: I have not said that this man is Jesus.
But I appeal to science to say that this cloth is from the 1st century, and not from the 14th century: experts in carbon 14 dating consider that test was invalid because the cloth had been carbonized when it caught fire, and because water was then poured over it to extinguish it, all of which enriches the proportion of carbon 14, making the sample appear as recent. Add to this that -apart from the known history of the sheet in centuries well before the XIV century- a painting has been found two centuries before that in which it was dated, in which is reproduced on one side, next to the drawing of the image of the sheet, the drawing of the subject of the braiding of its fabric, with the clear intention that there is no room for any misunderstanding or falsification. In summary, the carbon 14 has not allowed to date the sheet. But a recent publication by the team of the Italian scientist Liberato de Caro, from the high school of Crystallography of the committee National at research, used a wide-angle X-ray scattering method to examine the natural aging of cellulose. Applied to the shroud and published in the article "X-ray dating of a linen sample from the Holy Shroud of Turin" of last April 11, this new X-ray technique of higher precision for estimating age than the carbon-14 ratio, has given this result: 1st century. So, it is not affirmed here that the image is of Jesus Christ, but that science has determined that this sheet is from the first century (apart from the fact that it has pollen skeletons that are only found in Palestine, and a trace of pollen from the different places in history that were attributed to it, according to a detailed criminology study carried out in the seventies). So, being a matter of science, reading for yourself any of the many articles written on the topic, if you want to.17. In fact, there are several magazines -and also books- about syndonology, because that is the name of the transversal science that studies this unique syndrom, where not only the negative of the first photograph in history is found, but it appears with three-dimensional information, which has allowed -akiropoietos- to obtain by computer the image in three dimensions, something that has not been possible yet with any photograph, but only with combinations of photographs, by means of a technique invented by NASA.
Although I have not mentioned it, when I say that you can accompany me until the dating by science of that sheet, I understand that it is about accompanying me until near the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but not until the resurrection itself, because that is what demands the faith that you do not have. You can accompany me up to the moment in which the disciples of Jesus found the empty tomb and in which they said that Jesus appeared to them after his death and burial, because this way it is read in the four gospels, with the convergences and divergences proper of witnesses, or of those who have heard it directly from witnesses, and tell it time later: if the story is false everything is convergence, because the false witnesses are put of agreement in what they have to say (phenomenon that is considered in criminology when taking declarations). But if it is true, and even more so when a long time has passed, there are convergences, divergences and complementarities between the accounts of several. Now then, asking you to follow me this far does not mean asking you to follow me in faith. For those who have followed me this far can still say that the tomb was empty because the body of Jesus was taken away, and that those who believed they had seen Jesus (not certainly returned to his former form, but in what we believers call "glorious body") only had visions, not that Jesus had really risen and appeared to them.
For this is the core of our faith: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless" (1 Corinthians 15:14). We profess his true resurrection, not only that his personality and teaching remained alive in the spirit of Christians, something that everyone understands that it happened, without needing faith to affirm it.
In fact, people who do not believe in the resurrection do not really believe in any miracle, and it is because they find it incompatible with science. What Louis Pasteur said, "a little science leads away from God, a lot of science leads back to him", has perhaps been literally fulfilled here. The time has passed when the miracle could only be understood as a suspension of the laws of physics. In the present state of science it could also be understood as something compatible with those laws, but highly improbable, or, to put it another way, as something that only violates the violable laws of probability. A miracle consists of the highly improbable, but possible, happening. I will explain this with three examples.
First, consider a monkey that sees its owner typing and then is left alone with the machine so that it starts imitating him and pressing the keys. Could a novel come out of it, perfectly punctuated, and as full of grace, wisdom and sense, as, for example, the Ingenious Hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha? It might, in the sense that it would not contravene any law of mathematics, nor of physics, nor of Chemistry, nor of biology. Such a coincidence is highly improbable, but it is possible, or, at least, it is not incompatible with any of the sciences.
Second, consider a glass cabin with a glass partition separating it into two rooms, and fill one of them with a red gas, so that it is well visualized; as the cabin is transparent, you see one side full of gas, red, and the other empty. Now remove the partition wall between the two rooms, and what happens? The gas expands until it fills the whole cabin, everything is red. Why does this happen? Because its molecules move randomly, but before they collided with the partition wall and now they no longer collide, so they occupy the whole cabin. But now, let's do something else. Let's start from the status where the gas is fully expanded because there is no partition wall. Could it be that all of a sudden all the gas is located on the left side and there it remains as if there is a partition wall, but there really is none? Answer: although highly improbable, it is possible, because, as the gas molecules move randomly, it could be that they all move at one moment to the left side, giving rise to the shape of average cabin, or any other shape, such as that of a yawning bear. Highly improbable, but possible, since it does not contradict the laws of physics.
Third, consider a Seat 600 under a ramp, out of gas. Could it go up the ramp? Again, highly improbable but possible, since quantum mechanics assigns each of its particles a probability of appearing anywhere else in the universe, although they mostly appear where they are due. Since each particle has a probability of appearing at the top, the entire Seat 600 has a probability of appearing at the top. And I have said Seat 600, a model that is no longer used, because calculating -in order of magnitude, of course- such a probability was a question in a quantum physics exam at the University of Zaragoza, when those utilitarian cars were still in circulation.
Quantum mechanics says that our knowledge of nature can only predict probabilities, albeit rigorously. But probable and possible are different concepts. So the highly improbable can be possible, as I argue could happen with miracles. This means that the miracle would consist in the highly improbable happening, and this does not necessarily contradict any law of physics. It is simply a matter of accepting that the highly improbable could happen in some case. To put it in the words of someone more authoritative than I, a professional theologian, the Lutheran Wolfhart Pannenberg: "The idea that God can bring forth what is new and unusual only by breaking the laws of nature has been overruled by the insight that, for all their regularity, the laws of nature do not have the character of closed (or, better, isolated) systems."18.
And as I see you, Carlos positivist, smiling when reading these things, let me tell you my own project in relation to this miracle topic , project in which anyone could follow me, and so its realization would be less laborious for me.
To begin with, I remind you again that the believer admits the possibility of miracles, because if it were not so, he would not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and, I will say it again, if Jesus has not risen, our faith is in vain. And not only did he work miracles, but he put them as a sign that would accompany his disciples. Miracles have continued to occur and still occur today, to the point that the twentieth century has been the most profuse in miracles, since it is the century in which there have been more beatifications and canonizations, and each of them requires one (except in the case of martyrdom), so that the positivist who asks for a sign, today does not have to go very far, because he can consult the conference proceedings of the last beatification that has taken place in his city.
Or you can turn to the testimony of other people who deserve credibility, as perhaps the award Nobel Prize in medicine Alexis Carrel, who, not being a believer, asked to witness a miracle as an opportunity to give faith, and so he followed a sick woman, just one, with a visible cancer that he chose among many as incurable and, as narrated in his classic Journey to Lourdes, saw it give way to disappear before his very eyes while praying the rosary in the grotto. The Seat 600 had gone up the ramp.
Or the testimony of people who perhaps seem to you not very credible, but 70,000 people coming from many countries and from other continents, is too many people not very credible, since all of them, believers and non-believers, saw in Fatima exactly the same miracle, without a single one of those present denying it. I consulted some time ago at the national periodicals collection in Madrid the Portuguese lay press, "O Seculo", of the following day, October 14, 1917, and there on the front page was the news with its headline "Com o sol bailou ao meio dia em Fatima". Its correspondent, probably sent to record the fiasco, had recorded the miracle. The testimonies are published, innumerable19and in our lifetime there were still many survivors who told whoever had the chance to hear about it. It can be said that it was a collective suggestion, but there is no such thing, since one person can be suggested, but so many at the same time, and that all of them, without exception, saw the same thing? And that at the end of the miracle the earth was completely dry, when a while before rivers of water were flowing, all there with their umbrellas as can still be seen in the photographs? Can that be mere suggestion? Either you either get stained in the mud or you don't get stained in the mud, but suggestion is not going to get you stained or stop you from getting stained. The Seat 600 went back up the ramp.
Among intellectuals, even Catholics, it is sometimes frowned upon to speak of miracles, but I do speak of them, and I do not care what others think, because I see things this way: in the first place, if I cannot speak of miracles, I cannot speak of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and therefore my faith is in vain. In the second place, I assume that miracles happen, and then I ask myself: why should we not speak of them? If God has taken the trouble to give us these signs, why shouldn't we pay attention to them?20why shouldn't we pay attention to them, as if they were non dentur?
Well, here comes my project. There are the famous Eucharistic miracles. They have recently beatified (October 10, 2020) an Italian teenager, Carlo Acutis, who dedicated himself to classify them and to make them available, well documented, on the internet. My project is this one:
Make a list of Eucharistic miracles as complete as possible (the work already made by Carlo Acutis can help).
Prescribe all those that are subsequent to finding of the blood groups, only the previous ones are valid.
Among them, let's stay only with those in which the blood has been analyzed and the result is available on the Internet.
Check that all of them are of the same group blood AB as that of the blood on the sheet of Turin.
Why is this? Because if a list of n records turns out like this, the probability that in all of them the blood is AB is 3'4/100 raised to the power n, since the probability that the group blood is AB is only 3'4%. I have started to do this, and in the 7 tests I have consulted - no more because I have not yet gotten serious - I have found blood of group AB (seven, if you include the Turin sheet). This is therefore a probability of 3'4/100 raised to the seventh power, which results in a probability of 1 in more than 19 billion, i.e., between two and three times the current inhabitants of the Earth. So both friends, Carlos the positivist and Ignacio the credulous, let's take a trip together with our imagination to planet Earth, but imagining it two or three times more populated than it is, nineteen billion inhabitants, a lot of people, right? Let's imagine Madrid with about nine million inhabitants and all the cities. And let's go to agreement and say that if the first man we meet on planet Earth is called AB, I am right, and if he is not called AB, for example, if he is called Pepito, you are right. "And are there many people on this planet of 19 billion inhabitants who are also called AB?" "Well, no, you see, you have found the only AB there is on Earth, so you have had a truly extraordinary luck".
Then I will have won, and you will have to invite me to a beer with a skewer of tortilla, because that same luck or coincidence is that seven blood samples taken at random, before there was knowledge any of what is a blood group , are all of them of the subject AB. Imagine, Carlos, if I continue with the work that I propose and then publish it. I think there are more than 20 Eucharistic miracles. Suppose, for example, we find that 15 have already been analyzed and published, and we look at the blood group and it comes out, as I am sure it will, subject AB. Can you imagine what 3'4/100 raised to the 15 power is? At least it's a publishable article in one of those syndonology journals, don't tell me it isn't. Of course, you can still say that it is 15 times AB by chance, but I'd like Richard Dawkins to tell me that.21.
1 I will take all the quotations of theology from one author in particular, Ignacio Ellacuría, and more particularly from this famous one thesis published in the 1995 homage book to Karl Rahner, considered as the most representative publication of this author, main exponent and inspirer of Latin American theology. Knowing your human and political profile , I wanted to refer the theological aspects to the work of Ellacuría, because I understand that, even though you are not a believer, you feel respect for the human projection of his theological speech . It is therefore one more topic of rapprochement between us, because I also feel a special respect - and more than respect, agreement- with that horizontal aspect, in addition to the vertical ones, of the theology of my Basque namesake. "Ellacu" as his friends called him. "A brutal blow has knocked you down" (thus, the elegy for Ramón Sigé. Will someone write the no less deserved elegy for Ignacio Ellacuría?).
2 Ellacuría 3.5 warns of the dangers that follow from "confusing, at least in practical judgments, the totality and unity of the message of faith with the totality and unity of a given theology". Very topical.
3 Ellacuría 2.4: "The existence of theological pluralism is a historical fact. It is, likewise, a historical necessity. Leaving aside the historical character of salvation as the main source of pluralism, this, from a theoretical point of view, would be based on the partiality and multiplicity of rational approaches; from a pastoral point of view, it would be based on the different conditions of humanity in which Christians live".
4 We have had a very recent experience of this richness and of this plurality in theological work, in the so-called Latin American theology that has interpreted very important facets of the Kingdom of Christ as transformation, already, here and now, of situations of injustice, which it is therefore incumbent upon authentic Christians to undertake. Nothing takes away from the eschatological Kingdom the urgency of its projection - as a duty - in the here and now: "on Earth as it is in Heaven", and "on Earth" is not only, although principally, transformation of our hearts, but, as a consequence, transformation of history and of the city of men that each one of us has had to live in. Ellacuría, 9.4d: "The connection between the verticalist and horizontalist series, as well as their necessary overcoming, is achieved neither by the idealistic path of intentions, nor by the appeal to a postmundane future nor to a transmundane present. It is achieved in the historical reality, by putting those actions that at the same time make history and salvation". Ellacuría, 5.6: "More and more we see the need... for a theory in connection with a praxis partner-politics, which encompasses the dimension staff and gives [emphasis added] incarnation to a transcendence that surpasses the historical in history". And, finally, warning of a reductionist danger in the two extremes, Ellacuría, 6.5.5: "The purely speculative and even merely interpretative treatment of faith has been overcome, but at times there is a tendency to reduce theological knowledge to its transformative and liberating function".
5 We were taught that the Church considers both Tradition and Scripture as the two sources of revelation, but the Council has further specified, with theological depth: revelation has only one source, Jesus Christ, the Word or Revelation of the Father; and this comes to us through both Tradition and Scripture: "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make manifest the mystery of his will (cf. Eph. 1:9): through Christ, the Word made flesh, and with the Holy Spirit, men can reach the Father and participate in the divine nature" (Dei Verbum, 2). And then the origin of Tradition: "Christ our Lord, the fullness of revelation (cf. Cor 1:20 and 3:16-4:6) commanded the Apostles to preach the Gospel to all men as source of all saving truth and of all conduct rule " (DV 7). We have been given these two: "Tradition and Scripture are closely united and interpenetrated; they flow from the same source, they are united in the same stream, they flow towards the same end. The Sacred Scripture is the word of God, insofar as it is written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Tradition receives the word of God, entrusted by Christ and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and transmits it in its entirety to their successors, so that they, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, may preserve it, expound it and spread it faithfully in their preaching. For this reason the Church does not draw the certainty of all that is revealed exclusively from Scripture. And so both are to be received and respected in the same spirit of devotion".
6 The brief Gospel of Thomas, consisting only of sentences, is considered as source by some experts, although it is not the majority opinion. Along with some logioi (sentences of Jesus) as an echo of those already in the source Q, it adds others of Gnostic character. The Gospel of Peter found in the 19th century, dated between the 3rd and 8th centuries, but of which two recent papyri would provide a disputed attribution to the 2nd century, is an extension of Matthew, Luke and John, ignoring Mark.
7 In this exhibition I omit to give names, which an expert could recognize in any of these positions, because this saves me having to justify my assignments, which would lengthen the writing; let's just say that there has been one or the other, and in different Degrees, as it could not be otherwise.
8 These historicist twists include relaxations of the historicity criteria initially applied to the texts, as well as extensions to more criteria. Their exhibition would make this paper too technical and lengthy, but what we can retain is that, along with archaeological discoveries, even more important philological discoveries have always advanced in favor of the historicity of the gospel, and the antiquity of its previous oral tradition, which is now considered pre-paschal. This means that it is not only from the first century, and not from the second century as early research assumed, but oral traditions that go back to the very time when Jesus preached (with parables, for example, that Jesus expounded differently in different places).
9 In fact the best risk is that of Luke, since he was a Greek-speaker because he was born, apparently, in Antioch, as some fathers tell us, for example, St. Jerome. In fact, it is believed that he wrote the Gospel in Antioch itself, although some experts lean towards Rome, as well as Acts. Both hypotheses are plausible because, although sample a very good knowledge of the Christian community of Antioch, the historical sequence of the Gospel and Acts ends in Rome, with the imprisonment of Paul. His writing also reflects, from the very prologue, the learned man that he was, since he is called "my dear physician" by St. Paul.
10 "He, in fact, carried out amazing deeds, being a teacher of people who welcome Degree what is true. And he won over many who were Jews and also many of Greek origin. He was the Messiah. And although Pilate, by an accusation of our leaders, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him before did not cease to love him. On the third day he appeared alive again. The prophets of God had prophesied this and many, many other wonders about him, and to this day the group of the Christians, so called because of him, has not disappeared" (Antiquities of the Jews, 18, 63-64). We have italicized what seems to be interpolation by a Christian, given the reference letter that Agapios, bishop of Hierapolis, makes of this text: "Josephus says that at this time there was a wise man whose name was Jesus, who behaved well during his life and was known as a virtuous man. Many Jews and many people of other nations became his disciples. And Pilate condemned him to crucifixion and death, but those who had been his disciples did not cease to be his disciples and explained that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. And it may be for that reason (according to them) that he was the Messiah about whom the prophets had said wonderful things."
11 These divergences in dating do not pose a problem. This is established from internal inferences: that of Mark, for example, around the death of Peter (Irenaeus says shortly after, and Clement of Alexandria says shortly before); and Peter's death was probably in 65. Thereafter, a major role is played by the apocalyptic speech of Jesus, and the fate of Jerusalem described therein (which, in some features of Luke, seems narrated post eventum, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70). But this is of little importance as long as the Gospels are apostolic, i.e., from the apostolic era, in which both decades clearly fall. The oldest apocryphon, Thomas, is from 150, more or less, although there has been some isolated proposal dating as early as the Synoptics.
12 The face of God most emphasized in the Gospel of St. Luke is, in fact, that of mercy: "Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). Or the endearing passage: "But the Pharisees and sinners murmured, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them. Then he put this parable to them: Which of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one, does not leave the ninety-nine in the field and go out in search of the one that is lost until he finds it? "(Lk. 15:2-4); or the joy of the woman who found the lost drachma, thus the joy in heaven over a sinner who is converted (Lk. 15:8); or the Father who waits for the son who has abandoned him (Lk. 15:11-32). He will see him from afar appear and cover him with kisses without letting him kneel down. "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you" (the older son, on the other hand, felt entitled on his own merits, because he had fulfilled the Law). It is the Savior whom the sinful woman anoints... It is the gospel of mercy, the gospel addressed to us, not to that elder son in the parable but to us, to the prodigal son, to the Gentiles. And it is the bowels of mercy of the Good Samaritan - a Gentile - in one of the parables proper to St. Luke's Gospel, and one of the most beautiful in the Gospel.
13 As all the Gospels are written in Greek, it would seem that the Gospel of Matthew was a translation of an Aramaic original, although some authors believe that this original could be precisely the lost Aramaic source Q.
14 The Canon of Muratori (the Italian researcher who found it) is from the second half of the second century, believed to be around 170. Its most probable author is St. Hippolytus of Rome, and it is written in Latin. It contains the first explicit enumeration of all the books that the Church considers, on the basis of Tradition, as canonical books of the New Testament.
15 However, it is possible that something older has been found, since a German papyrologist has recently published a study according to which papyrus P64, a fragment of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, would be from the first century, and could even be from the year 60 A.D. The time when that Gospel was written! Fragments slightly older than P52 are two of the Gospel of St. Matthew, P77 and P104, preserved in the Sackler Library of Oxford, dated between 150 and 200. The next in interest is the fragment P53, preserved in the Library Services of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). It is twelve complete lines from the Acts of the Apostles (from the passage in which St. Peter resurrects a little girl: "Tabitha, kumi!"). And to cite the oldest thing we have of St. Paul, in the Library Services Chester Beatty of Dublin is preserved a full page of the Epistle to the Galatians, a copy of the year 200 approximately. The real "breakthrough" in this subject was made, as early as the 19th century, by the young linguist Constantin von Tischendorf when he discovered the Codex Sinaiticus of which I have spoken, apparently forgotten as material to feed a fireplace, in the Monastery of St. Catherine, in plenary session of the Executive Council Sinai desert. It is a manuscript from the 4th century. It was acquired in 1933 by several libraries, and most of it is preserved in the British Library in London. It contains, complete, the four gospels, in the usual order, beginning each one with the attribution to its author. It is thus the oldest copy of the four gospels available to us. These are certainly the oldest, but we have at present about two thousand manuscripts with the original Greek of the Gospels. All this is a real record, compared to any other work of antiquity, of which no one doubts, because it does not compromise our lives.
16 "They have pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones. They look, they watch me, they divide my garments and cast lots for my tunic", Psalm 22 [21 in the Vulgate], 17-19, among many other prophecies that seem more like the words of a historian than of a prophet.
17 On the falsity of the carbon 14 dating a book by Werner Bulst has appeared with the degree scroll "The carbon 14 analysis on the shroud was a fraud", but I cannot recommend something I have not read yet, nor will I delay this letter just to read it.
18 Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, T&T Clark International, London - New York 2004, p. 73.
19 For example, a book collection of testimonies of people from all over subject, those who were believers and those who were atheists, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated: Talking to Witnesses. The solar miracle of Fatima. Ediciones "Sol de Fátima". Madrid, 1988.
20 John, 10, 37-38: "If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me; but if I do them, believe in the works, even though you do not believe me, so that you may know and know that the Father is in me and I in the Father". Mark, 14, 17: "Those who believe in me will be accompanied by these miracles", and then describes several examples "in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will seize snakes with their hands, and if they drink poison, it will not harm them, they will lay hands on the sick and they will be healed".
21 This allusion to "miracles" is made with a special caution of subject theological. The main signs of credibility are not these, or they are not principally so, although they deserve the reverence of having been worked and even prophesied by the Lord. When speaking of "making credible, in a determined status , the totality of the Christian message", Ellacuría (10.5) will warn very opportunely that "the credibility of the Christian message, shown by theology and by the action of the Church, must consist of those signs that realize salvation in history". And in Ellacuría 10.5.2: "To "make credible" does not reduce theology to what used to be understood as fundamental theology, because the credibility sought is not a previous budget , but something intrinsic to the message and to the status".