5 Dec 2017

Genesis 3:15: “He shall crush thy head” or “She shall crush they head”?


by Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi

“Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and crushed his head with her immaculate foot” (Pope Pius IX)

Mary, Mother of Christ.
My article Beware of FALSE BIBLES used by today’s Protestants and Vatican II priests and bishops! was widely read, and received much reactions from many. Discussing all these reactions here is just impossible. However, I have selected just one of such reactions which I consider to be interesting, and enlightening too. The article was posted on a certain facebook page—certainly created by Novus Ordo Catholics—that says the following: “...This is  not simply an "Arminian group,” “Reformed Group,” “Catholic Group,” etc. We do this in the spirit of ecumenism.”
           
Actually, in that article I made it clear that “As for Our Lord’s warning that today’s “bibles” are fake and adulterated, I cannot treat that here because doing so will simply require writing a big book.” I discussed just only two errors in my article—the mistranslated Genesis 3:15 that says “He shall crush” instead of “She shall crush” and the mistranslated Luke 1:28 that says “Hail highly favoured” instead of “Hail full of grace”. No one argued with me on Luke 1:28, but on Genesis 3:15.

Please while reading be patient with my opponents’ nonsensical assertions. (Almost all of them didn’t even bother to read my entire article, yet they were quick to attack me! In fact one of them even assumed that I was “ignorant of the ancient languages”! I didn’t counter all their nonsensical assertions immediately. I countered them in my last (long) response to Fr. Louis Melahn.

Once again, please be patient. It is a long discussion, but a very serious one.

The discussion:

John D. Lewis:  Jonathan, both. Have you studied this out? Look up the pronoun in Gen 3:15 in Hebrew and Greek. You'll discover that it can be he, she, it or they. Theologically all work ok. St. Jerome who used the Hebrew has the male pronoun in his original. The New Vulgate has the masculine. The previous Vulgate had the feminine.

It's not that some heretical neo-Modernist who have "hijacked" the Vatican have "taken over". No. Rather, it's about truth and accuracy. Even St. John Paul II says it can be both. As does others. One Pope said it best perhaps when he said it is through Mary's seed that the head of the serpent is crushed. As St John in Revelation says we are her offspring who do the will of God. It is we in Christ who form her heel to crush the head of Satan!

So it is not an either/or here but a both/and. 

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi If you say that the Hebrew pronoun can mean both "he" and "she" at the same time then you clearly don't know what you are talking about. To understand the text, read Revelation Chapter 12 (about the war between the woman and the serpent or dragon). "She" was the interpretation of all the ancient Fathers of the Church. In fact, that interpretation is now 2000 years! Even twentieth century popes (before Vatican II) knew it's "She". "She" is the OFFICIAL INTERPRETATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH--irrespective of what "St." John Paul II or any other modern "scripture scholar" thought.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi This statue (Mary crushing the head of the serpent) is as old as Catholicism itself. Enter several Catholic Churches as well as Catholic homes around the world and you will see it. If you deny it, then something is clearly wrong with your faith.

John D. LewisJonathan, 1. A footnote provided a couple of hundred years ago by Bishop Challoner, in his revision of the Douay-Rheims version, state, "The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head."

2. St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote:
"God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall be on the watch for your head, and you on the watch for His heel” [Against Heresies 5:21:1]."

3. St. Paul says: "the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." Rom 16:19

4. Likewise in a youtube video of a St. Pius X priest he quotes St. Gregory the Great who says "we crush the head of Satan"

 5. St. Maximilian Kolbe, one of THE greatest Marian saints, said WE form the heel of Mary who crushes the head of Satan. And he said we are to become other Mary's.

6. Pope Piux IX said in his bull on the Immaculate Conception that Mary is intimately united to Christ so that it is not her alone but her with Christ who defeats Satan.

7. the LXX has masculine, while the Masoretic Hebrew has the masculine, as does the current Vulgate (ipse), but other Hebrew versions had the feminine as did other versions of the Vulgate (ipsa), and some ancient Jews use the feminine while others use the masculine. Offspring in the Latin grammar should be grammatically neuter (ipsum).

Thus, in some, this is a bit of a MYSTERY and we ought not FORCE something to be black or white when it is black/white/grey. As we are not Sola Scripturians, we do not "need" the text of Gen 3:15 to have the feminine pronoun "she" there; rather, we already know by Tradition that while Adam and Eve said the "No" to God; the 2nd Adam Jesus and 2nd Eve Mary, His Queen Mother (Gibera in the Hebrew) said their "Yes" to God and together untied the knot of sin of Adam and Eve and together crushed the head of Satan at Golgatha. Thus, it seems to me the best translation of the Latin is the collective ipsum, whish is both grammatically correct and theologically correct as it also matches Romans 16 and Revelation 12.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: Mary, not Christ, is the "she" that crushes the head of the serpent (of course through the power of Christ who is God). See also Revelation chapter 12 on the war between the woman and the serpent or dragon. If you want to dispute the statue below, then I don't think I have anything to discuss with you because I think only a non-Catholic can do that.

(And John D. Lewis disappeared! Joshua Baldwin appeared! Joshua Baldwin took my simplicity for granted so he totally underrated me! He didn’t even bother to read my article; rather he came with the assumption that I was completely ignorant of “the original languages”!)
           
Joshua Baldwin: The USCCB has a list of approved translations that are all faithful to the original languages. These are the translations used in the Mass. As someone who has studied original languages, the article in the OP is basically just inflammatory silliness, and is written by clueless idiots.

Dyan King-EubankGroup moderator: Thanks Joshua. I had not thought of checking the USCCB site for approved translations.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi Well if I'm not mistaken, I checked the USCCB list and saw Revised Standard Version there—which also contains the errors. Try to get the Douay-Rheims Version (one of the oldest Bibles in the world). Read it and then read the modern ones too to see the massive errors in them.

Dyan King-EubankGroup moderator: Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi I do have both versions you mentioned, DR and RSV. I believe you are correct that there are differences in those passages between both Bibles. I am not at home now but I will verify this later.

Joshua Baldwin: Only the RSV Second Catholic Edition (RSV-2CE) is approved. The original RSV that you are probably thinking of, Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi, was never an approved translation.

Joshua Baldwin: Also, to properly identify errors in Bible translations, you must go back to original languages. Douay-Rheims is a great translation, but it is not impeccably free of translation errors.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: My point is simple: the errors I've just pointed out are in VIRTUALLY ALL modern English versions.

Joshua BaldwinJonathan Ekene Ifeanyi With all due respect, as someone who has studied original languages, your article is 99.99% nonsense.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: What about 100%?

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: You parade yourself as "someone who has studied original languages", yet you have no problem with the errors in modern translations which I pointed out. But you are QUICK to declare that the Douay-Rheims Version has errors. You wrote: "Douay-Rheims is a great translation, but it is not impeccably free of translation errors." Kindly point out those errors.

Joshua BaldwinJonathan Ekene Ifeanyi I did not say that modern translations are error-free. The problem with your argument is your methodology—you aren’t going back to original languages, but you simply cannot make an argument regarding translation accuracy without going back to original languages. You simply haven’t demonstrated ANYTHING worth anyone’s time.

Joshua Baldwin: Basically, the way I understand your argument is “Hello world, I found differences between the DRV and newer translations, therefore, the newer translations are all wrong and the DRV is right”. I apologize if that’s a straw-man of your argument, but if it is your argument, then it’s a really bad argument because there is much that needs to be taken into consideration.

Jonathan Ekene IfeanyiJoshua Baldwin, I pointed out the errors for fellow Catholics to see, NOT for people like you. Your very thinking is unchristian so I can't really respond to all your trash! But I think my only request is a simple one. You wrote: "Douay-Rheims is a great translation, but it is not impeccably free of translation errors." And I responded: "Kindly point out those errors."

Joshua Baldwin: Your argument is too vague to precisely answer that question, because you are imprecise in which DRV translation you are even referring to. In case you are unaware, the original DRV translation was based on the Latin Vulgate, and a later revised DRV translation was produced in the 18th century by Bishop Richard Challoner, who made a significant number of changes based on scholarship that had been done on the precise language used in the original Greek and Hebrew. Bp. Challoner also updated the spelling, vocabulary, and sentence structure of the DRV.

So, because you aren’t even bothering to be clear which version of the DRV you are speaking of, it is not really worthwhile to answer your question. It’s also an irrelevant red herring for the MASSIVE problems with your article.

Your entire argument, however, betrays an inherent misunderstanding of how Scripture translation works. I think I can safely assume that you have never really studied original languages at all, so I’ll go through some basics. First, translations of Scripture must start with the original languages in order to be an accurate translation (and by that definition, the original DRV cannot be considered accurate). Second, you show no understanding at all of manuscript issues. The compilations of the texts of the original languages used for translation must in turn make use of the oldest and most authentic manuscripts in order to determine the most accurate original text. You see, the original texts themselves must not be considered to be a static document, but have grown more accurate with continuing research in Biblical manuscripts over time.

So, how did your article measure up? Very poorly. You started by comparing one translation to another while asserting the accuracy of one as a critique of the other, with no real effort to reference the original languages. Then, by extolling an “older is better” rubric without even demonstrating an awareness of how textual scholarship works, you simply are making a laughingstock of yourself to theologically educated Catholics.

Joshua BaldwinSo, as far as “trash” goes, anyone knowledgeable in translation and manuscript processes would dismiss your OP accordingly.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: Your previous comment: "...you aren’t going back to original languages, but you simply cannot make an argument regarding translation accuracy without going back to original languages."

My response: Did you really read the article at all or are you actually a mad man?

(And Joshua Baldwin disappeared! Fr. Louis Melahn reappeared).

Fr. Louis Melahn: Respectfully, this site is spouting silliness. What you want is a good translation that is faithful to the Greek (in the New Testament) or the Hebrew (in the Old Testament). (Although it is slightly different, a translation based on the Septuagint for the Old Testament is also fine.) Over all, I favor the English Standard Version (ESV).

It is well known that the Latin translations (Vetus Latina and the Jerome’s Vulgate) made a small error in translating the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15. It really has no impact on doctrinal issues one way or the other.

Dyan King-EubankGroup moderator : Thank you for the clarification Fr. Louis!


Jonathan Ekene IfeanyiNot the "Latin translations (Vetus Latina and the Jerome’s Vulgate)" but so many modern translations made a SERIOUS error in translating the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15. The reason for this error of course is modern attitude of scripture scholars and theologians towards the Bible--which I discussed in the article (a rejoinder): Re: The Heresy of Rapture: Debunking a Common Heresy Among Protestants!

Josh Young (quoting the online article I cited): “They do this systematically by treating the various books that make up the Bible as separate books, and holding the view that each of these books should be studied according to their writers’ “cultural contexts””

If that’s “discarding” the Bible, I have no intention of stopping. Good thing it’s not. How can you understand any work without understanding what the culture that produced it?

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: The Bible is a Sacred Book inspired by God, not (like secular literature) a product of culture!

Samuel Chance (a Protestant supporting my opponent Novus Ordites): We must remember that the Bible was not written to us. It is for us, but it wasn’t addressed to us. We are not the original readers or intended audience. It’s vital to understand the scriptures to also understand the historical and cultural context that they were written within.

(Please read the article to see his massive error: Initially I thought Samuel Chance—massively supported with “likes” by all the “Catholics” here—was a Catholic. I was wrong!)

Samuel Chance: It’s post like this that convince Protestants that Catholics are crazy Mary worshipers. Let’s try to have a little bit of a scholarly approach to these things.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: You mean there are really "Catholics" here? I really haven't seen them!

Samuel Chance: Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi I mean this post is full of assumptions, and poor scholarship. So for Protestants this post only affirms the thought that Catholics have abandoned Christ in favour of worshiping Mary.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: You say so because you are NOT a Catholic. If you think you are, you are fooling yourself.

Samuel Chance: Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi no I say so because it’s the truth. Just because I’m not catholic doesn’t mean I’m wrong. In the Hebrew the pronoun can be either masculine or feminine. When we compare this passage to the other prophesies about Jesus, it becomes clear that this passage in genesis is talking about Jesus Christ crushing Satan. And not at all about Mary. It amazes me how Catholics ascribe godlike characteristics to Mary. We must remember that while Mary was special because God chose her to bear Jesus into this world, she was still 100% human. Mary is not deity. She is a human that was chosen by God to do something very special, but she was still human, and Jesus is still God. Please stop switching it around to make Mary the same as God.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: Samuel Chance, Catholicism never teaches that Mary is a goddess. She is human. But she is actually DIFFERENT from you and DIFFERENT from every other woman—the very reason why Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out: "BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN" (Luke 1: 42). Of course, contrary to the diabolical impression the devil often gives through people like you, Mary is BLESSED AMONG ALL WOMEN simply because she is the MOTHER OF CHRIST.

You wrote: "When we compare this passage to the other prophesies about Jesus, it becomes clear that this passage in genesis is talking about Jesus Christ". So I ask: How can the passage which says "I will put enmity between thee and THE WOMAN suddenly be "talking about Jesus"? If it's talking about Jesus, why does the passage say that the "enmity" is between the serpent and "THE WOMAN"? Why the "ENMITY BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN"? Do you really know what you are talking about?

The pronoun in the Hebrew words “
יְשׁוּפְךָ֣” (ye•shu•fe•cha) was rightly translated by the Church Fathers as “she” because it actually refers to “she”, NOT “he”. Revelation Chapter 12 (on the war between THE WOMAN and the serpent or dragon) makes this very clear. That is the OFFICIAL CATHOLIC INTERPRETATION OF the text—hence the reason why—EVEN TILL DATE!—we still have the statue below (and NOT that of a “he”!) in several Catholic Churches around the world:

Samuel Chance: Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi Because the passage talks about the seed of the woman, her off spring. It’s a prophesy about Jesus Christ. Now, even if I grant you that it is not talking about Jesus and is indeed talking about a woman. The woman mentioned can be seen as no one other than Eve, not Mary. Because at this time God is talking to and about Eve. The seed of the woman is Eve’s off spring. This passage has nothing to do with Mary.

As far as Mary being different from you and I, she is different only because she was chosen to bear Jesus into this world. She is not different in any other way. She was 100% human. She is human just like every other human ever to live. She died just like every other human to ever live. She is not deity, she is not part God, she is human. She is a special human, just like Moses, the prophets, David, etc. just like them she was chosen by God for him to work through. But she was still a human being.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi You wrote: “Because the passage talks about the seed of the woman, her off spring. It’s a prophesy about Jesus Christ. Now, even if I grant you that it is not talking about Jesus and is indeed talking about a woman. The woman mentioned can be seen as no one other than Eve, not Mary. Because at this time God is talking to and about Eve. The seed of the woman is Eve’s off spring. This passage has nothing to do with Mary.”

I respond: No, as far as this passage is concerned you are completely CLUELESS! Cardinal Newman (who like you was formerly a Protestant) wrote the following after his conversion to Catholicism: “Mary is the first of all creatures, the most acceptable child of God, the nearest and dearest to him”. Why did the cardinal call her “the first born of all creatures”? Because he was referring to this same Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy made by God Himself REFERRING TO THE NEW EVE, MARY. The sin of Adam and Eve injured the good relationship between God and His family (Gen. 3:23), and also among the family members themselves (Gen. 4: 8). God then, out of His love for mankind, decided to bring unity and love back to His broken family. To do this, God decided to create a new Eve who would give birth to a new Adam. Mary is this new Eve and Jesus—God Himself coming in the likeness of man—the new Adam. Unlike the old Adam and the old Eve, whom the serpent deceived, these new Adam and Eve will defeat the serpent. This new Eve, Mary, is the woman presented in the Revelation (12 : 17) as the Mother of all those who obey God’s commandments and are faithful to the truth revealed by Jesus Christ—the Mother of all true Christians. This is the special role Mary played in the salvation of mankind. Of all mankind, she alone was pure enough and strong enough in faith and spirit to become the new Eve who, with the new Adam, would reverse the fall of man. Her prayer drew Jesus from heaven to this earth; her will and flesh conceived Him, and her milk nourished Him. Her surpassing love enveloped Him and enabled Him to grow in age and strength and wisdom. Indeed, in a real way she moulded Him who had made her.

You continued: “As far as Mary being different from you and I, she is different only because she was chosen to bear Jesus into this world. She is not different in any other way. She was 100% human. She is human just like every other human ever to live. She died just like every other human to ever live. She is not deity, she is not part God, she is human. She is a special human, just like Moses, the prophets, David, etc. just like them she was chosen by God for him to work through. But she was still a human being.”

I respond: No, you are completely wrong. In the Catholic Church, Mary is honoured as the ‘‘Mother of God.’’ As the MOTHER OF GOD she is GREATER THAN EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING THAT EVER LIVED--including Moses and the rest! Protestants hold that this title (MOTHER OF GOD) is man-made but they are completely wrong. On the contrary, it was God Himself who made her the MOTHER OF GOD! Also, it was God Himself--and NOT Catholics!--who first honoured her through the mouth of the Angel Gabriel, as we read: “And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1: 28) Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, called Mary ‘Mother of my Lord’: “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” she asks (Luke 1: 43). Mary herself testified: ‘‘Behold,…from now on all generations shall call me blessed: because He that is mighty has done something great for me, and holy is His name’’. (Luke 1: 48-49): These generations, who will call her blessed, we find only in the Catholic Church. CATHOLICS ALONE are “the remnant of her seed” whom the serpent or dragon went to make war with after that ancient serpent failed woefully to destroy the woman. As we read: “And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).

Finally, Mary DID NOT "die just like every other human being"! After death her body DID NOT experience corruption. She was rather taken up (BODY AND SOUL) into heaven! Time is short. Get converted to true Christianity (Catholicism) to start learning these things.

Samuel Chance: You are making wildly unsupported claims. Please provide scriptural evidence for “After death her body DID NOT experience corruption. She was rather taken up (BODY AND SOUL) into heaven!”

As far as Mary being the greatest of all creation, that is clearly false. Jesus himself said that John the Baptist is the greatest in Matt 11:11 “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”

Mary is human. Was she special? Yes. But she was a human being. Stop granting godlike characteristics to someone who was certainly not human.

“Behold,…from now on all generations shall call me blessed: because He that is mighty has done something great for me, and holy is His name’’. (Luke 1: 48-49) You quoted the above passage as proof that Mary was blessed and she was. But notice that her focus was on God’s name being holy, not her own.

You Catholics have become idolaters to Mary rather than worshipping solely Jesus Christ. It’s sad really how many Catholics will be damned to hell because of their heretical beliefs.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi The very reason why we call you "PROTESTANT HERETICS"! You simply don't know anything about Christianity. The only thing you know how to do well is to blaspheme. Sad!

Samuel Chance Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi are you going to provide scriptural support for your claims? It’s not blasphemy to ask you to support your heretical position. I think you will find that it’s not I who worship false gods but you. I’ve asked for scriptural support that Mary was not merely a regular human. I’ve asked for scriptural support that she did not die just like everyone else, I’ve even asked for scriptural support for your claim that she was the greatest of all creation. You have provided not one single scripture verse for any of those claims. It is you who are in error, not I.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: Your very thinking is unchristian! We don’t worship Mary. This is very clear in our catechism. But we honour her because she is the Mother of God. Asking me to show you EVERYTHING in the Bible shows you are completely clueless about this Bible! There are written and unwritten traditions and we Catholics believe in both. As St. Paul affirmed, “Stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by epistle” ( 2 Thess. 2: 15; 3:6). When St. Paul says “by word” he means things—like Mary’s assumption into heaven—that are not written in the Bible. When he says “by epistle” he means things that are written down. This divine tradition to which St Paul refers—this revealed truth which was handed down by word rather than by letter—is the tradition upon which, along with the Bible, the Catholic Church bases her tenets of faith.

You want me to show you Mary’s assumption and every other thing in the Bible? But can you also show me the word “Bible” in the Bible?

As I once wrote on the concept of purgatory, “Protestants teach that the word “purgatory” is nowhere in the Bible and therefore is purely a Catholic fabrication. They are completely wrong. It is true that the word “purgatory” is nowhere in the Bible, but this does not mean that the concept is not there. In fact, there are many other words commonly used today even by Protestants which are nowhere in the Bible. For instance, many of the Protestants “believe” in the “Trinity”, in the “Incarnation” and in the “Bible.” But these words are nowhere in the Bible! Have the Protestants considered the fact that even the word “Bible” is nowhere in the Bible? Do they know that this word, just like the word “purgatory”, is one of those words “fabricated” by the Catholic Church?

“The words “Bible”, “Pope”, “Purgatory”, “Trinity”, etc, were coined by the Catholic Church. They are nowhere in the Bible but their concepts are perfectly there. In the Bible, they are referred to by other names. The Bible, for example, is referred to as “scripture.” The Pope is referred to as the “Rock” of the Church or as the “Shepherd” (cf. Matt. 16:17-19; John 10: 16; 21: 15-17), and so on.”

Read my old article to correct yourself
PURGATORY AND HOLY COMMUNION: CATHOLIC ANSWERS TO “REV.” CHRIS OKOTIE  


(For the type of honour we give to Our Lady, see:  On the Hyperdulia of the Most Holy Virgin)

Samuel Chance So basically you have no biblical basis for any of your claims so you are appealing to the “church” and their traditions. Nice. That’s all you needed to say was that you have no biblical basis for your claims. You cannot base doctrinal theology on hearsay from 2000 years ago. It can’t and doesn’t work that way.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi But you are behaving like a moron now! If you don't think so, kindly explain what this passage is saying: “Stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by epistle” ( 2 Thess. 2: 15; 3:6).

Samuel Chance: You seem to think that passage is a trump card that allows the church to teach whatever it wants without having to biblically support its claims. It's not. Did everything the apostles teach get written down? No, of course not. However, that does not give you liberty to create/make up things that are unsupported elsewhere in the Bible. For example, can you provide one single passage from scripture or the Apostolic fathers that supports your claim that Mary did not die like everyone else? That her body was magically transported to heaven? If not then your claim doesn't fall under the "traditions" of the apostles mentions in 2 Thessalonians.

The word "traditions" in 2 Thessalonians is not a free for all. Those traditions when being used to support/create doctrinal claims, must also be supported by the writings of the apostles and early church fathers.

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: The Assumption is “magical”? Okay. But you are COMPLETELY IGNORANT of what St. Paul is talking about in 2 Thessalonians! You wrote: “The word "traditions" in 2 Thessalonians is not a free for all. Those traditions when being used to support/create doctrinal claims, must also be supported by the writings of the apostles and early church fathers.”

My response: The Assumption of Mary into heaven is neither a mere “claim” nor a “make up”! You said so because you certainly don’t know anything about it. The Assumption simply dates back to the apostles of Christ! No comment of mine this time around. Father Clifford Stevens writes from Tintern Monastery in Oakdale, Neb
:

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.

Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as <Aelia Capitolina> in honor of Jupiter
.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples
.

After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried
.

At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption
.

For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.

Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven
."

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth
."

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Saviour
.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended
.

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory
."

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution <Munificentissimus Deus>, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven
."

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God
.

(And Samuel Chance disappeared!)

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: Fr. Louis Melahnyou still haven't clarified your statement that "Latin translations (Vetus Latina and the Jerome’s Vulgate) made a small error in translating the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15.)" Do you mean that the text should have been "he" (or even they) instead of "she"? Please clarify.

Louis MelahnCorrect. The Hebrew and the Greek Septuagint clearly say, “He [i.e., the seed—that is the descendant—of the woman] will crush his [the serpent’s] head.”

Jonathan Ekene IfeanyiNO, you are wrong. The Douay-Rheims Version (where it's translated as "she") is perfectly correct.

Louis Melahn: Can you provide evidence for that? Here is the Septuagint’s text (which I happen to have at hand): αὐτός σου τηρήσει κεφαλήν, καὶ σὺ τηρήσεις αὐτοῦ πτέρναν (“He will watch against your head, and you [the serpent] will watch against his [masculine] heel,” Gen 3:15).


The first word, αὐτός, and the other reference to the “seed,” αὐτοῦ, are clearly the masculine “he.”


Let me look up the Hebrew.....

Louis MelahnOk, well rather than put it here, I will direct you to the word-for-word translation of Genesis 3:15 at BibleHub:
בראשית 3:15 Hebrew OT: WLC (Consonants Only)ואיבה ׀ אשית בינך ובין האשה ובין זרעך ובין זרעה הוא ישופך ראש ואתה תשופנו עקב׃ ס
Louis MelahnIn any case, clearly the masculine pronoun “he” is used, as in the Septuagint.

Jonathan Ekene IfeanyiThe LXX chose to render the Hebrew pronoun hu' with autos, making it a masculine, BUT the original Hebrew does not say that. The Vulgate, on the other hand, rendered this same pronoun with the FEMININE IPSA!

Louis MelahnOK, that would be a rather innovative position. Do you have a scholarship to back that up?

Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi: You wrote: "Latin translations (Vetus Latina and the Jerome’s Vulgate) made a small error in translating the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15.)" Again you wrote: “The Hebrew and the Greek Septuagint clearly say, “He [i.e., the seed—that is the descendant—of the woman] will crush his [the serpent’s] head.”

I respond: These two statements are simply NOT TRUE!

First of all we are dealing with the Old Testament Bible here. The Old Testament—unlike the New Testament which was written in Greek—was originally written in Hebrew. The Septuagint (Greek translation) is your authority while the Latin Vulgate (Latin translation) is my own authority. But among these two which one was OFFICIALLY APPROVED by the Catholic Church?

The Septuagint is a translation into Greek of the Hebrew Bible, obtaining its name (meaning ‘translation of the 70’) from a legend in the Letter of Aristeas (2nd century BC) about its composition as the work of 72 scholars, six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The translation was begun in the 3rd century B.C. to meet the need of Greek-speaking Jews in the Diaspora, but work progressed by several stages over about a century. The Septuagint has a different order of books from that in the Hebrew canon. Although the early Christians adopted the Septuagint as their preferred version of the Old Testament—which made the Septuagint to lose its favour among the Jews—the Septuagint was NOT ERROR-FREE. St. Augustine discussed some of these errors in Book XV chapter 14 of his massive work De Civitate Dei. Already in the 3rd century AD Origen had attempted to clear up copyists' errors that had crept into the text of the Septuagint, which by then varied widely from copy to copy. Other scholars also consulted the Hebrew text in order to make the Septuagint text more accurate. NOTE: The Septuagint, not the original Hebrew, was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and part of the Arabic translations of the Old Testament.

Now the LATIN VULGATE: In 382 Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome, the leading biblical scholar of his day, to produce an acceptable Latin version of the Bible from the various translations then being used. Jerome’s revised Latin translation of the Gospels appeared about 383. Using the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament, he produced new Latin translations of the Psalms, the Book of Job, and some other books. But later, the saint decided that the Septuagint was UNSATISFACTORY and began translating THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT FROM THE ORIGINAL HEBREW VERSIONS, a process that he completed about 405 AD. Thus the Latin Vulgate is the translation of the Bible, originating with St. Jerome, who attempted to provide an AUTHORITATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO THE CONFUSING ARRAY OF OLD LATIN VERSIONS in his day. From about the 7th century AD—when there were simply nothing like Protestant “Christians”—this Latin Vulgate emerged in Western Christianity as the FAVOURITE LATIN VERSION (‘Vulgate’ meaning the ‘common edition’). In 1546 the Council of Trent DECREED that the Vulgate was the EXCLUSIVE LATIN AUTHORITY FOR THE BIBLE. The Council recognised it as THE OFFICIAL LATIN TEXT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. The Douay-Rheims Version, one of the oldest Catholic Bibles in the world, was translated from this Latin Vulgate. It's CATHOLIC. It’s accurate.

The Douay-Reims Bible is English translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible produced by
Catholic scholars in exile from England at the English College in Douai (then in the Spanish Netherlands but now part of France). The New Testament translation was published in 1582 at Rheims, where the English College had temporarily relocated in 1578. The Old Testament was translated shortly afterwards but was not published until 1609–10, in Douai. The purpose of the translation was to provide English-speaking Catholics with an authoritative Catholic version of the Bible, as an alternative to the several Protestant translations then in existence. The original Douay-Reims contained many polemic notes protesting Protestant heresies.

Please note that there were—over the years—also efforts by Catholic churchmen to “revise” and corrupt the Latin Vulgate, as noted in the book “Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions”, but those efforts were not completely successful. (Today the evil forces are still working. In 1965 for instance a “commission” was established by the heretical Second Vatican Council to “revise” the Vulgate! Hence Paul VI’s Nova Vulgata (1979) says ipsum conteret caput tuum (“it will crush your head”!). Note also that modern Catholics—Novus Ordites in particular—who use modern false editions like the Good News and RSV that say “he shall crush” instead of “she shall crush” have always based their argument for doing so on the footnotes provided a couple of hundred years ago by Bishop Challoner in his “revision” of the Douay-Rheims, which said: “The sense [of these two readings] is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.” But let’s face the reality: can you tell the Protestants—who simply REMOVE MARY—that “The sense [of these two readings] is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.”? Of course NO! The Protestants can’t accept that and the most unfortunate thing is that even most contemporary “Catholics” who use these Bibles that say “he” instead of “she” interpret the passage EXACTLY LIKE THE PROTESTANTS!


Bishop Challoner’s revision of the Douay Rheims Bible is not the original Douay Rheims Bible but in fact one of those corrupted ones. On this Challoner’s "revision"which unfortunately most traditional Catholics use today!the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1909 A.D. states:

“Although the Bibles in use at the present day by the Catholics of England and Ireland are popularly styled the Douay Version, they are most improperly so called; they are founded, with more or less alteration, on a series of revisions undertaken by Bishop Challoner in 1749-52 . . .

"The changes introduced by him were so considerable that, according to Cardinal Newman, they almost amounted to a new translation. So, also, Cardinal Wiseman wrote, 'To call it any longer the Douay or Rheimish Version is an abuse of terms. It has been altered and modified until scarcely any verse remains as it was originally published.'
 In nearly every case Challoner's changes took the form of approximating to the Authorized Version [King James]...”

Let us beware! If one buys a “Douay-Rheims Bible” today it is typically a copy of the 1899 Challoner version, which is but a pale reflection of the REAL Douay-Rheims! The text does not follow the original Douay-Rheims, and it is usually found with hardly any of the voluminous notes and annotations of the original REAL Douay-Rheims.

Another supposed “Douay-Rheims” Bible being widely sold today is the Haydock Bible. Unfortunately it is another Challoner variation!

The 1909 Catholic Encyclopaedia under the subject "Haydock, George Leo" says the following concerning the “Haydock Bible” now being erroneously sold as the “Douay-Rheims”!: 

“Father Haydock's chief publication was a new edition of the English translation of the Latin Vulgate first published at Reims in 1582, and at Douai in 1609; Bishop Challoner's text of 1750 was the basis of the work, but in the New Testament Dr. Troy's edition of 1794 is largely followed. The notes are partly original, partly selected from other writers, those on the New Testament not having been compiled by Father Haydock. The edition appeared in Manchester, 1812-14; Dublin, 1812-13; Edinburgh and Dublin, 1845-8; New York, 1852-6.” 

So, we see that Father Haydock’s version is not the Douay-Rheims, is not only the Challoner version, but the New Testament is largely the Troy version of 1794, and, the notes for the New Testament are not his notes.

John Henry [later Cardinal] Newman in his July, 1859 “Rambler” article states: 

“We must not conclude this enumeration of revisions and reprints of the Rheims and Douay, ... which were published ... without direct episcopal sanction... This is Haydock's Bible... [T]he respective publishers, were printers; but the editor and annotator employed by the former was his own brother, who was a priest, the Rev. George Haydock, to whom the edition owes its celebrity.”

And the so-called “Troy Version” used by Fr. Haydock ?

Newman in the July, 1859 “Rambler” article entitled “The History of the Text of the Rheims and Douay Version of Holy Scripture”, writes: 


“...The revisor was the Rev. Bernard Macmahon, a Dublin priest, who published his first edition in 1783, in 12mo, with the formal approbation of his Archbishop, Dr. Carpenter. There is reason for supposing that it professed to be a continuation of Dr. Challoner's labours; for, as that venerable prelate published successively three corrected editions of the New {423} Testament, in 1749, 1750, and 1752 (for the subsequent editions are not new corrections, but almost fac-similes of the preceding: vide Cotton, p. 20, &c.), so this new Dublin edition is called, in the Archbishop's approbation prefixed to it, "the fourth edition, revised and corrected anew." This is Dr. Cotton's conjecture also, though he accompanies it, as is not unusual with him, with a gratuitous piece of ill-nature. If the "fourth" does not mean this, it is difficult to say to what previous edition it refers; for, at the time that it was published, there had been already five editions of the Rheims. Leaving this point, we are told by Dr. Cotton that the variations from Challoner's text, in the Gospels, are about 50; in the Acts and subsequent books, above 500. Eight years afterwards, in 1791, the same clergyman was selected by Dr. Troy, his then Archbishop, to superintend an edition of the whole Bible in quarto; and on this occasion, according to the same authority, he introduced into the New Testament above 200 changes more, calling it the "fifth edition." In 1794 it was reprinted in folio, forming "the sixth;" a "seventh edition" of the New Testament was published in 12mo in 1803, with above 100 variations from the text of 1791, in favour of that of 1783; and an "eighth" in 1810, in 12mo also, after the text of the seventh....We doubt ...whether he is further from the Protestant version than Dr. Challoner.”

PLEASE NOTE
: while the verse in the Challoner's Version says, "she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel", the original Douay-Rheims Bible says, “she shall bruise thy head in pieces, and thou shalt lye in wait of her heele”—the same meaning.

You are right, Father, in your statement that (in the Septuagint) the first word in Genesis 3:15, “αὐτός”, and the other reference to the “seed,” αὐτοῦ, are clearly the masculine “he.” But your assertion that “the masculine pronoun “he” is used in the original Hebrew”, as in the Septuagint, is quite unwarranted! In Genesis, “
הוּא (hu)” is used for all genders, including the feminine and neuter. Hence we observe that even within the same chapter of Genesis 3:15 the same word “הוּא (hu)” is used to mean "she" in reference to Eve, a woman!

We read: (Genesis 3:12): "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, SHE gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
"ויאמר האדם האשׁה אשׁר נתתה עמדי הוא נתנה־לי מן־העץ ואכל׃"
           
Again: (Genesis 3:20): "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because SHE was the mother of all living."

"ויקרא האדם שׁם אשׁתו חוה כי הוא היתה אם כל־חי׃"

So the Latin Vulgate is PERFECTLY CORRECT! Hence, Pope Pius IX’s Apostolic Constitution (a declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception,
Ineffabilis Deus ), reads:

“Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and crushed his head with her immaculate foot”

(Please note that John Paul II contradicted Pius IX when he took up the Protoevangelium in his audience on December 17, 1986 and regarded Christ as the agent of the “crushing”, not Mary!)

Our Lady crushing the serpent's head.
The Septuagint chose to render the Hebrew pronoun hu' with autos, making it a masculine, whereas—literally speaking—“he” or “she” or “it” can equally be “valid”!—the very reason why most modern versions say “he”, others "it", yet others “they”! An example of “they” is the “Common English Bible” which quotes God as saying to the serpent, “I will put contempt between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. They will strike your head, but you will strike at their heels.”! Sounds funny? Well consider RSV (American Translation): "I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your posterity and hers; They shall attack you in the head, And you shall attack them in the heel."! For "it", one JB says: "I will make you enemies of each other, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel".

All these are nonsense. As I said, the LXX (Septuagint) chose to render the Hebrew pronoun hu' with autos, making it a masculine, BUT the original Hebrew does not say that. The Vulgate, on the other hand, rightly rendered this same pronoun with the feminine (Ipsa). Even common sense tells us the exact meaning of the passage. As I wrote, “How can the passage which says ‘I will put enmities between thee and THE WOMAN’ suddenly be talking about Jesus? If it’s talking about Jesus, why does the passage say that the “enmity” is between the serpent and “THE WOMAN”? Why the “ENMITY BETWEEN THEE AND THE WOMAN”?

The truth is that the Hebrew word cannot be both “he” and “she” (or even “they”!) at the same time! “It” is simply out of the question because the passage is clearly talking about a human being. It is “she”!—a prophecy referring to the New Eve, Mary. Sin came into the world through Eve, a woman
hence the fall of man. It is reasonable that God decided to reverse that fall through the same womana new one this time around. This was how so diverse of the Fathers of the Church read it. Revelation Chapter 12 (on the war between the woman and the serpent or dragon) makes this very clear. That is the OFFICIAL CATHOLIC INTERPRETATION OF the text—hence the reason why—EVEN TILL DATE!—we still have the statues of Mary crushing the serpent’s head in several Catholic Churches around the world ((and NOT that of Jesus Christ!)

So in summary the cause of current diverse bad translations is this: Protestants simply hate the Latin Vulgate (from which the Douay-Rheims was translated) with passion simply because it is the officially approved Roman Catholic Bible! And what other alternative do they have? They go back to the Septuagint! But as I noted, although the early Christians (who were Catholics of course!) adopted the Septuagint as their preferred version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint was NOT ERROR-FREE. The other Old Latin versions not also being error-free was what led to the translation of the Latin Vulgate, approved by the Council of Trent as the OFFICIAL LATIN TEXT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

(And Fr. Louis Melahn too disappeared because, as St. Thomas Aquinas would put it, “Contra factum non argumentum est”!)