Christians often fool themselves into believing that the bible is guiding them into all truth and that the truth of the bible is so clear that any unbiased person can determine its true meaning. The fact of the matter is even the clearest texts have multiple possible meanings. Take for example Our Lord’s words during the Last Supper when he said, “This is my Body.” The meaning of these words is clear. However, it doesn’t square with everyone theology. Indeed, only a few years after the Protestant Reformation a book was written by a German Catholic named CHRISTOPH RASPERGER that chronicled 200 under different Protestant interpretations of these four words. Certainly Jesus and His Apostles knew the correct interpretation and they certainly would have handed that interpretation down to the Church. Rasperger’s book illustrates that without a rule of Faith to interpret the Scripture, the meaning of the text, even the simplest texts, are up for grabs.
Christoph Rasperger’s “200 Interpretations of the Words, ‘This is my Body'” is available on the web at http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/eucharist/rasperger2.html. Unfortunately, it is available only in Latin. Perhaps someday a Latinist out there will put this short work into English.