Cardinal Martini weighs in

Carlo Maria c. Martini, S.I.

His Eminence Cardinal Carlo Martini is a noted figure in the church world today. He was archbishop of Milan for many years where he was noted for his open Bible studies with the members of his diocese and for his candid and popular approach to the Biblical text and its application to the life of every individual. He has been credited with the authorship of numerous acclaimed books, both those which he has himself written, and those which others have transcribed from his popular lectures from over the years. He has promoted sensible application of church doctrine in the modern world and, in the last papal election to see who would succeed John Paul II, he was one of the leading contenders.

Aside from his duties to the church as priest, archbishop and cardinal, his actual training, and the most loved vocation in his life, has been as a textual scholar. He has dealt primarily with the task of scrutinizing Greek New Testament manuscripts (including hundreds of papyri, uncial, majuscule and minuscule manuscripts), in order to reconstitute the original text of the Greek Bible in the most careful and judicious manner possible. The world of scholarship, as a whole, knows his name as one of the five editors from the title page of the Greek New Testaments which they have used since their college years. This edition is still used by students, scholars and clerics as the standard critical edition of the New Testament text today. After more that forty years of use, many still simply call this edition: “Aland, Black, Martini, Metzger, and Wikgren”. With the passing of Prof. Bruce M. Metzger earlier this year, Cardinal Martini is now the sole surviving member of that team.

Since retiring from his role as archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Martini has chosen to continue his work on the Greek New Testament while residing most of the time here in Jerusalem, at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He has recently published a new facsimile edition of the Epistles of Peter from the Bodmer Papyri. He is presently working on a new edition of Codex Vaticanus, which stands, alongside Codex Sinaiticus as the premier witness to the text of the Greek Old and New Testaments.

This past week, I sent to him a copy of the latest expanded edition of my paper which deals with the reading of CJO 701 called “Mary Magdalene is Now Missing”, and asked for his appraisal. He returned his response by email. I am not one who publishes, nor approves of those who publish, private letters and emails without the express permission of the author to do so. When I asked Cardinal Martini if I could quote his letter, he responded in the affirmative.

Dated April 24th,

“Dear Professor Pfann, Thank you very much for your e-mail and article. I agree with your conclusions and I hope that this discussion will be soon finished. I shall be in Italy for some weeks and hope to see you again in the month of June. Yours Carlo Maria c. Martini, S.I.”

I would like to thank Cardinal Martini who, with all due respect to the others, now tops the long list of respected epigraphers and textual scholars (from diverse religious and non-religious backgrounds), who, with me, “among a multitude of witnesses” read “KAI” (i.e., MARIAME KAI MARA, “Mariame and Mara”).

Stephen Pfann, Ph.D

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