THE REAL PRESENCE
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,
Monday, January 30, 2012
CHAPTERS AN VERSES IN THE BIBLE
The books of the Bible vary in length from a single page of modern type to dozens of pages. All but the shortest are divided into chapters, generally a page or two in length.
Each is further divided into verses of a few short lines or sentences. Pasuk (plural pesukim) is the Hebrew term for verse.
The Jewish divisions of the Hebrew text differ at various points from those used by Christians. For instance, in Jewish tradition, the ascriptions to many Psalms are regarded as independent verses, making 116 more verses, whereas the established Christian practice is to count and number each Psalm ascription together with the first verse following it. Some chapter divisions also occur in different places, e.g. 1 Chronicles 5:27-41 in Hebrew Bibles is numbered as 1 Chron 6:1-15 in Christian translations.
The original manuscripts did not contain the chapter and verse divisions in the numbered form familiar to modern readers. Some portions of the original texts were logically divided into parts following the Hebrew alphabet; for instance, the earliest known copies of the book of Isaiah use Hebrew letters for paragraph divisions. (This was different from the acrostic structure of certain texts following the Hebrew alphabet, such as Psalm 119 and the book of Lamentations.) There are other divisions from various sources which are different from what we use today.
The Old Testament began to be put into sections before the Babylonian Captivity (586 BC) with the five books of Moses being put into a 154-section reading program to be used in a three-year cycle. Later (before 536 BC) the Law was put into 54 sections and 669 sub-divisions for reading.
By the time of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, the New Testament had been divided into paragraphs, although the divisions were different from the modern Bible.
An important canon of the New Testament was proclaimed by Pope Damasus I in the Roman synod of 374. Pope Damasus also induced Jerome, a priest from Antioch, to undertake his famous translation of the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the official language of the time. This translation is known as the Vulgate. The Church continued to finance the very expensive process of copying and providing copies of the Bible to local churches and communities from that point up to and beyond the invention of the printing press, which greatly reduced the cost of producing copies of the Scriptures.
Churchmen Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro determined different schemas for systematic division of the Bible in the early 13th century. It is the system of Archbishop Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based.
It is presently unknown how early the Hebrew verse divisions were incorporated into the books that comprise the Biblical canon. However, it is beyond dispute that for at least a thousand years the Tanakh has contained an extensive system of multiple levels of section, paragraph, and phrasal divisions that were indicated in Masoretic vocalization and cantillation markings. One of the most frequent of these was a special type of punctuation, the sof passuq, symbol for a full stop or sentence break, resembling the colon mark (:) of English and Latin orthography. With the advent of the printing press and the translation of the Bible into English, Old Testament versifications were made that correspond predominantly with the existing Hebrew full stops, with a few isolated exceptions. A product of meticulous labour and unwearying attention, the Old Testament verse divisions stand today in essentially the same places as they have been passed down since antiquity. Most attribute these to Rabbi Isaac Nathan around 1440.
The first person to divide New Testament chapters into verses was Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541), a system that was never widely adopted. Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament. The first English New Testament to use the verse divisions was a 1557 translation by William Whittingham (c. 1524-1579). The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published shortly afterwards in 1560. These verse divisions soon gained acceptance as a standard way to notate verses, and have since been used in nearly all English Bibles.
Unlike the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the structure of the Greek language makes it highly susceptible to being broken up into divisions that would be syntactically inappropriate and even contrary to the sense of the passage. Inexact apportionment of the Greek into verses therefore could easily have obscured the intent, relation, emphasis and force of the words themselves, and thus elicited the most strenuous objections of theologians. The retention of Robert Estienne's verse divisions essentially without alteration is a tribute not only to the inherent utility of his contribution to Bible study, but also to his excellent knowledge of the scriptures and grasp of the fine points of the ancient Greek language.
Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro is often given credit for first dividing the Latin Vulgate into chapters, but it is the arrangement of his contemporary and fellow cardinal Stephen Langton who in 1205 created the chapter divisions which are used today. They were then inserted into Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in the 1400s. Robert Estienne (Robert Stephanus) was the first to number the verses within each chapter, his verse numbers entering printed editions in 1551 (New Testament) and 1571 (Hebrew Bible).
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses has often elicited severe criticism from traditionalists and modern scholars alike. Critics charge that the text is often divided into chapters in an incoherent way, or at inappropriate rhetorical points, and that it encourages citing passages out of context, in effect turning the Bible into a kind of textual quarry for clerical citations. Nevertheless, the chapter divisions and verse numbers have become indispensable as technical references for Bible study. Nevertheless, the chapters and verses division in the bible should never be held as part of divine inspiration, i.e. as part of the Word of God.