Nicolaus K., Half Banana,
Want to thank you for starting and contributing to such a great topic. And nice book by the way back when, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. I know a guy who used to swear by it. namely...
Since I'm on short break, wish there was more time to reflect on this topic. But what time and inspiration allows:
Some of this is fresh from reading an account of the Reformation; other points from events leading to this forum.
1. Outside of JW-land, Magisterium vs. Sola Scripta sounds like a simple dichotomy; but I suspect that only narrow sects or sectors of Christianity adhere to it these days in pure form. Even during the Reformation when armies rallied to the latter, the leaders of the movement such as Luther and Calvin took exception to many doctrines. Both Luther and Calvin clearly had reservations about Revelations. The former questioned its validity in an introduction to his German NT and Calvin, a graphomaniac when it came to Biblical book commentaries, provides us with not a single word on the same. Both seemed to think they were living in the last days - and couldn't agree with each other on fundamentals. Even more: with the given shared assumption, they seemed to distrust the principal bearer of such message.
2,The Magisterium doctrine - perhaps - might have come out of a church history of "been there and done that". Athanasius of Alexander in the late 3rd century was one of the first proponents of a unified scriptural canon, Old and New and the ratification awaited another century in general councils of bishops in Asia Minor, not the Goth over run west. Most of the western church's philosophy came through the filter of Latin speaking Augustine. And when it came to Bible, he was straining with some of the same inconsistencies that trouble anyone who takes an analytical approach about it today. For one, he couldn't figure out how Methuselah fit Flood chronology. (He was probably aware that Eusebius couldn't get ancient histories of the world to match from one language collection to another). And at one point he just gave up and said that if pagan observers of nature could counter the "physics"and origins derived from scripture - accept it.
3.Can you see where I am going with this? The catholic church of antiquity was not interested in sending martyrs to be broken on a wheel over whether or not Joshua had an extra day of daylight from a fixed sun. On the other hand, a political trial of Galileo a millennium or more could involve submitting such evidence for heresy to contain a public nuisance. Meanwhile, Jesuits occupied themselves with pursuits telescopes charting a Copernican system no matter what the trial outcome was.
But you can imagine how Galileo and Copernicans stood with the Sola Scripta group at the time. They had even less interest, no contribution to the study and had no need to bother with a trial.
4.The Magisterium principle does provide an exit for an untenable situation. Inerrancy is obviously wrong if you can identify explicit internal contradictions or contradiction of observable facts. Authorship and origin is another problem. But yet if every book of the Bible were subjected to strict scientific and historical scrutiny, we might have an effect like a raccoom washing a lump of sugar in a creek.
5. This is all the heritage that we have. And we have to make of it what we can. And part of that is what are we going to do on Earth or in life after the birth and passage of Jesus Christ. The modern era Catholic Church would have us concentrate more on Matthew 25 vs. Matthew 24. Its liberation theologists in Latin America would have us address the inequities of rich and poor, miscarriage of justice... That's where there Magisterium seems to be headed after some moral and philosophical train wrecks.