Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fourth Cup Thesis Email Exchange

After IANS was amongst the Hahn-Verts, he emailed Dr Hahn with a few questions and observations and here is the result of their exchanges. The exchange abruptly ended after IANS made this observation;

I was shocked that you refused permission to post our email exchange.

I am courageous enough to post what I think about Dr Hahn but you are not.

I wonder why?

It can't be because any personal information has been revealed or any insults have been leveled etc

I conclude on a positive note that, hopefully,  that Dr Hahn is having second thoughts about his Fourth Cup thesis.

IANS will post in his usual color and summarise the response from Dr. Hahn's Research Assistant in the usual purple he uses when quoting others.

Subject: Dear Dr. Hahn

IANS was at your 08/31/13 series of talks in St. Therese de Lisieux Catholic Church in Wellington, Florida and because there was no Q & A IANS was unable to ask you this question but Jocelyne Carrigan was kind enough to agree to act as the conduit through which IANS might contact you.

Before registering my question, IANS wants to begin by congratulating you on such a great and interesting series of talks. IANS know you have heard such praise before but it must never get old hearing about how enjoyable it is to hear you speak for several hours.

My questions are about the Fourth Cup and IANS begins by noting that it is fairly well conceded by authorities that the Seder was composed after Titus destroyed Jerusalem - 70 A.D. - and so it could not have been a Seder  that Jesus and His Apostles were celebrating; and thus the question of a fourth cup seems superfluous.

The Seder (Order) Meal was developed by Rabbinical Judaism after Titus had destroyed the City of Deicide as this Jewish author states:

Almost everyone doing serious work on the early history of Passover traditions, including Joseph Tabory, Israel Yuval, Lawrence Hoffman, and the father-son team of Shmuel and Ze’ev Safrai, has rejected Finkelstein’s claims for the great antiquity of the bulk of the Passover Haggadah. What is particularly significant about this consensus is that these scholars are not radical skeptics. These scholars believe that, generally speaking, we can extract historically reliable information from rabbinic sources. But as demonstrated by the late Baruch Bokser in his book The Origins of the Seder, practically everything preserved in the early rabbinic traditions concerning the Passover Seder brings us back to the time immediately following the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.12It’s not that rabbinic literature cannot be trusted to tell us about history in the first century of the Common Era. It’s that rabbinic literature—in the case of the Seder—does not even claim to be telling us how the Seder was performed before the destruction of the Temple.

Further background

What we do know from Catholic Tradition is that Jesus did not just lead His Apostles in the celebration of a meal but a passover meal followed by the Insititution of the Eucharistic Sacrificial Meal (to stay with the meal analogy for the moment).

Here is the great commentary of Cornelius a Lapide on that question:

Council of Trent (Sess. 22, c. 1): “After Christ had celebrated the ancient Passover, which the multitude of the sons of Israel sacrificed in memory of their going out of Egypt, He instituted a new Passover, that He Himself should be immolated by the Church (ab ecclesia), by means of (per) the priests, under (sub) visible signs, in memory of His passage from this world to the Father, when He redeemed us by the shedding of His Blood, and delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us to His Kingdom.

IANS is sure none of this material is new to you but it sure would be new to the vast audiences who hear you with such fervent credulity and who take it on faith that you are a man to be relied upon for all things Catholic.

That being the case, IANS wonders why it is you repeatedly make this presentation in public when it is contrary to Catholic Tradition.

Thank you for writing us. My name is ... a research assistant for Dr. Hahn. Unfortunately, due to the large quantity of emails and letters he receives, he is unable to respond to each individually. 

Nevertheless, I will do my best to help you out.

You have asked a really good question. While it is true that we do not have direct access to the Jewish Passover liturgy at the time of Jesus, it is a rather bold assertion to claim that the Passover Seder at the time of Jesus is as inaccessible as the sources you cite state. I hope to demonstrate that below.

(And then he cites a Dr. Hahn book that he reiterated in his lectures and the pattern of response is set in stone where I ask a question refuting claims made in Dr Hahn's lectures and/or books and the response is a copy and paste from Dr. Hahn's books; larded as they are with protestant sources.)

I hope this helps, .... Please let us know if you any more questions. Know that you are in our prayers. Please keep the Hahns and their ministries in yours as well.

Dear .... Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your generous and lengthy email. I've been out of town.

I begin by asking permission to post it on my crummy Blog as a response to my Blog post re the Fourth Cup Thesis of Dr. Hahn.

It seems to me this response is a reiteration of that which has been presented to the public by Dr. Hahn in many forums and in his books and articles rather than specific responses to questions I asked.

I was learnt that exegesis within Catholic Tradition (Pope Leo XIII) concerns itself with faith/morals and that the exegete must work in continuity with Tradition, not promote personal novelties, and be within the pale of a moral unanimity of interpretation which is why I cited both Trent and Cornelius A Lapide against these Fourth Cup claims for Dr. Hahn's interesting, and, sadly, consequential, exegesis is a novelty within Catholic Tradition and The Fourth Cup Thesis has specific problems in and of itself.

There is the matter of the Fourth Cup which, presumably, was consumed by Jesus on the Cross but Jesus was given vinegar, not wine, while He was on the Cross, and I am sure Dr. Hahn is aware of the two different Greek words identifying each and Jesus was not at that moment drinking wine with His Apostles at that moment which voids Dr. Hahn's claim that He did.

It is, at best, problematic to claim that the action of Jesus during the Last Supper had much in common with the Seder Ceremony created for Rabbinical Judaism by those who were Messias-Deniers.

Of what use if that claim? How does it lead we Christians to understand Jesus better? If the Seder Meal was crucial to a greater or more profound understanding of Jesus by those who do not deny that He is the Messias, why wasn't it made plain in the Gospels that Jesus was adhering to the old Order (Seder) while establishing His New Covenant?

The, sad, reality is the claims of the Fourth Cup have led many Christian Catholics to begin celebrating Seder Meals in clear opposition to what Saint Thomas Aquinas warned us about and in clear violation of the First Commandment.

The Fourth Cup Thesis is a novelty that is in opposition to Trent and a Lapide (which both suggest two or more meals, not one) and it is a novelty that has intensified our Inertia Into Indifferentism.

I know this response will read as rather harsh (and, prolly, foolhardy) but I do not find that recent Biblical Scholarship is, in this matter, any way persuasive, say nothing about definitive, when compared to the exegesis within Catholic Tradition.

Were such an exegesis (really, I think it modern eisegesis) defensible, where is it to be found within Catholic Tradition?

That is, where were such claims being made by The Early Church Fathers, the Saints of the First One Thousand Years, the great intellectual Saint Giants of the High Middle Ages, about this putative Fourth Cup?

What I see - with my, admittedly, very limited intellect, ability, and knowledge - is not even a hint that such a claim is to be found. 

Thank you so much for your patient and comprehensive response.

It is good to hear back from you. Please do not post my response on your blog (thank you for asking!). I will do my best to respond to your last email and clarify some things I said in the first email. I think I understand more clearly what you principle concern is.I hope this helps further our dialogue, .... 

(And the lengthy response is simply to claim that Dr. Hahn is right - well, what did I expect from his R.A? - and there are more quotes from him and his books but when I responded to his second missive thusly;

I was shocked that you refused permission to post our email exchange.

I am courageous enough to post what I think about Dr Hahn but you are not.

I wonder why?

It can't be because any personal information has been revealed or any insults have been leveled etc

I conclude on a positive note that, hopefully,  that Dr Hahn is having second thoughts about his Fourth Cup thesis.

that was the end of the exchange.  I am prolly wildly in error in hoping Dr. Hahn is having second thoughts about his Fourth Cup Thesis.

C'est la vie. 

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