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In his magnum opus, Tradition and Traditions, the first volume of which was published just before the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Yves Congar argued persuasively that the Council Fathers at Trent had explicitly rejected the proposal that the truth of the gospel is found partly in scripture and partly in the church's traditions, the so-called "partim ... partim" theory. The Conciliar definition substituted the more neutral "et" ("and") to describe the relationship between scripture and tradition. (1) The result of the inclusion of this more neutral phraseology, however, was that after the Council the inherent ambiguity in the definition enabled Catholic theologians to interpret Trent's teaching as if it had indeed taught a two-source theory of revelation, a position which seemed to many Catholics to provide a strong alternative to the Protestant critique. The two-source theory, in fact, became the dominant way in which Catholic theology would speak about the relationship between scripture and tradition up until the Second Vatican Council, and it was this (in)famous partim ... partim theory which Protestants attacked not only as blasphemy but also as opening a Pandora's box containing all sorts of novelties that arose in later tradition without any scriptural warrant. (2) The problem, as we have come to realize several centuries later, is that this post-Tridentine Catholic theology constituted, as Fr. George Tavard has shown, a critical break with the earlier theology of the Fathers and medieval schoolmen in which scripture and tradition were understood as co-inhering. (3) Fr. Congar has similarly argued that prior to Trent there was "a tightness" to the relationship between scripture, tradition, and church that operated quite differently from the thought of most post-Tridentine churchmen. "If there is one position which the Fathers consistently maintained,'' Congar argues, "it is the position that links inseparably Scripture, the Church and Tradition. Far from considering these three realities to be in opposition, they saw them as united and inseparable." "For the men of the Middle Ages, all knowledge comes from Scripture because in it is contained what God has told us of the conditions, the end, and the laws of our life." The Fathers and medieval schoolmen acknowledged the material sufficiency of scripture and at the same time affirmed that scripture is only understood correctly in the church and in its tradition.(4)

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