Monday, March 02, 2009
Another prooftext bites the dust!
“From at least the time of Gregory the Great (who lived AD 540-604), this verse [1 Cor 3:15] and all of vv11-15 have been cited in the teaching of the Western Church about the ‘purifying fire’ of purgatory (Dialogues 4.41.5: de igne futurae purgationis, ‘about the fire of future purification’; SC 265.150). These verses are quoted explicitly in the letter, ‘Sub catholicae professione,’ of the First Council of Lyons, AD 1254 (DH 838); cf. Council of Florence, AD 1439-45 (DH 1304). That teaching, however, freely accommodates not only the metaphorical sense of these Pauline verses, but also other biblical passages, 2 Macc 12:39-45; Mt 12:32,36, so that Cevetello rightly recognizes that it is ‘based on tradition, not Sacred Scripture’ (‘Purgatory,’ NCE 11:825); and Gnilka has shown that the tradition is neither precise nor constant (Ist l. Kor. 3,10–15),” J. Fitzmyer, 1 Corinthians (Yale 2008), 201.