If Gregorian has been telling the truth about the Bacchiocchi issue, then the outcome is clear – Bacchiocchi will be put in perspective, and Gregorian retains respect.
On the other hand, if Gregorian has NOT been telling the truth … what then?
Obviously Bacchiocchi gets more ammunition to promote his book. Gregorian gets embarrassed. Their students (those who read obscure blogs like this) get disillusioned.
But there are still some negative implications for Bacchiocchi.
The issue of Bacchiocchi’s use of the imprimatur has been highlighted. We know it did not apply to the book it is currently printed in. Whether or not he knew that it was not acceptable to apply an imprimatur for one work to another, expanded and modified, work is not relevant. The fact is that his current book does not have an imprimatur. He now knows this. Will future printings still contain it? The imprimatur does not mean what he claims it means in terms of “approval”. He now knows this. Will he continue to use it out of context?
That’s probably the biggest one. There are other questions that will be asked.
Bacchiocchi’s book also ends up as a thesis whose integrity can then be questioned, because it came from a corrupt institution. Why did they publish it? Why the praise? It is clearly not in agreement with Catholic theology. Was Bacchiocchi given such praise for ecumenical reasons … religious politics? Jared comments at the XCG blog on how the atmosphere in the Catholic Church in the 1970s may have influenced the changing attitude towards Bacchiocchi – first admission to Gregorian, then the imprimatur, then publishing the thesis, and then cutting off contact.
To me, it always sounded more like an excessive attempt to pander to the anti-Catholic side of Christianity in the name of ecumenism. In that world, “an interesting perspective” etc. is just a euphemism for “unorthodox theology”. Who wants to be praised simply because of ecumenical expedience?
(And even if Gregorian is not wrong about Bacchiocchi’s credentials, an accusation of political expedience could still be levelled at them on several counts.)
Obviously it would have been more than ecumenical expedience – Bacchiocchi cites various other people commenting on his book. It is certainly interesting, a different perspective, and, although not really believable imho, certainly a good basis to use to show the errors of this sort of thinking. So a positive review is not unwarranted. And certainly, if Bacchiocchi did get the grades he says he got, he did well, and his work is of good quality. Not that it can’t be questioned. Good grades don’t mean historically accurate – they mean the scholarship is good, and good evidence to support the hypothesis has been demonstrated. But not the end of the story.
I disagree with a lot of the conclusions in “From Sabbath to Sunday”, and it comes across to me as if someone went looking for pro-Sabbath evidence that could be used to make a case, for a priori conclusions, that could be promoted as being put together at a Catholic institution. I find it all very unconvincing. The outcome of this won’t change that – the credibility of Bacchiocchi and of the Gregorian doesn’t change the content or the arguments. But knowing who is credible is good.