The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Dom Gueranger's Bible Bobble

Canisius | 31 January, 2006 04:28

In vol. 3, p. 464, Dom Gueranger says that "The majority of the Jews would not even listen to the Messias having been born; for Jesus was born at Bethlehem, and the Prophets had distinctly foretold that the Messias was to be called a Nazarene."

Now this is an odd statement. I'm no Bible expert, but this is truly an odd thing to say. There is a clear prophecy in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, and in fact the chief priests and scribes of the Jews quote that prophecy to Herod in Matthew 2:6.

Furthermore, there is no prophecy in the Old Testament that says the Messiah will be a Nazarene. Matthew 2:23 says, "And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.'" Commentators knock themselves out trying to figure out what prophecy Matthew might have in mind, because neither the word "Nazarene" nor the word "Nazareth" appear in the Old Testament anywhere. There are good theories about what Matthew was probably thinking of, but it is certainly an exaggeration to say that the prophets had "distincly" foretold the bit about a Nazarene. In fact, the Jews in John 7:41 doubt that Jesus is the Christ precisely because is came from Galilee!

Dom Gueranger has shaken my faith in him a little.

However, the rest of his entry for the Purification of Mary is terrific, and I'll be blogging on that in the days to come.


Comment Icon Nazarene

Peter_Canisius | 02/02/2006, 06:49

Yes, I favor the reference to Isaiah 11:1, myself. Others argue that "Nazarene" is a play on "Nazirite", and refer it to Judges 16. Still others use the fact that "Nazirite" is translated "holy one" sometimes in the Septuagint to argue that the "Nazarene" prophecy alludes to Isaiah 4:3. Still others say that because Nazareth was a poor, no-account town, Matthew meant to refer to the general thrust of all those prophecies that say the Messiah will be considered a nobody and of no account by most people.

It's hard to demonstrate any of these theories conclusively, but my own opinion is that the reference to Isaiah 11:1 is the most probable.

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