In Which Our Quixotic Anti-Catholic Warrior Desperately Savages Several Highly Reputable English Bible Translations in Order to “Prove” That Mary Thought Jesus was Out of His Mind
Lucas Banzoli is a very active Brazilian anti-Catholic polemicist, who holds to basically a Seventh-Day Adventist theology, whereby there is no such thing as a soul that consciously exists outside of a body, and no hell (soul sleep and annihilationism). This leads him to a Christology which is deficient and heterodox in terms of Christ’s human nature after His death. He has a Master’s degree in theology, a degree and postgraduate work in history, a license in letters, and is a history teacher, author of 27 self-published books, as well as blogmaster (active on and off) for six blogs. He has many videos on YouTube.
This is my 59th refutation of Banzoli’s writings. For almost half a year (5-25-22 to 11-12-22) he didn’t write one single word in reply, because my articles were deemed to be “without exception poor, superficial and weak . . . only a severely cognitively impaired person would be inclined to take” them “seriously.” Despite this childish rationalizing, he found my refutations so “entertaining” that he bravely decided to “make a point of rebutting” them “one by one”; this effort being his “new favorite sport.”
He has now replied to me 15 times (the last one dated 2-9-23). I disposed of the main themes of his slanderous insults in several Facebook posts under his name on my Anti-Catholicism page. I plan (by God’s grace) to ignore the insults henceforth, and heartily thank him for these innumerable blessings and extra rewards in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12).
Google Translate is utilized to render Lucas’ Portugese into English. Occasionally I slightly modify clearly inadequate translations, so that his words will read more smoothly and meaningfully in English. His words will be in blue. Words from past replies of mine to him will be in green.
This is my reply to a portion of Lucas Banzoli’s article, “Maria e os irmãos de Jesus achavam que ele estava louco? (Resposta a Dave Armstrong)” [Did Mary and Jesus’ brothers think he was crazy? (Reply to Dave Armstrong)] (12-30-22). It was purportedly a “reply” to my article, “Did Mary Sin By Thinking Jesus was Crazy? (vs. Lucas Banzoli)” (9-8-22).
The crux of the dispute is Mark 3:21. Some well-known English translations render it as follows:
NIV When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
ESV And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
NASB And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”
KJV And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Douay-Rheims (Catholic) And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is become mad.
The problem to be solved is exactly which people the “they” in all of the above Bibles refers to. Banzoli asserts that it refers to Jesus’ own family, including His mother Mary. Others believe it is referring to the “usual suspect” enemies of Jesus, such as those described in the next verse:
Mark 3:22 (RSV) And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-el’zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
It should be noted that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not mentioned in the immediate context. She is mentioned ten verses later, after an indeterminate period of time:
Mark 3:31 (RSV) And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
The “came” seems to me to mean that Mary was not present in the earlier verse when His “friends” or “own people” or “family” came to “seize” (ESV) Him. Nor does “called him” have the same connotation as “taking charge” or “seizing” or “taking custody” or “laying hold” of Him, which all virtually imply a forceful move, against Jesus’ own will. When she is referred to it seems to be — at least prima facie — a different scenario altogether.
One doesn’t say, for example, “I seized my wife from watching the Grammy Awards and she voluntarily came with me.” It’s two different things; seemingly mutually exclusive. If someone agrees to leave a place, they don’t have to be “seized.” They simply walk away. But this argument is a new thought that I had just now. My original argument was an appeal to several Bible translations that have “people” rather than “they”: which means that they thought — in their scholarly opinions — that the crowds thought Jesus was crazy, not His family or friends. Here they are:
RSV And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.”
NRSV When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”
Phillips . . . for people were saying, “He must be mad!”
NEB . . . for people were saying that he was out of his mind.
Good News / (TEV) When his family heard about it, they set out to take charge of him, because people were saying, “He’s gone mad!”
Moffatt . . . . . . for men were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) . . . They went to get him because people said he was crazy.
Mounce Reverse Interlinear . . . for people were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
This clearly separates Jesus’ family, including His mother, from those who thought He was (take your pick) beside himself, out of his mind, mad, or crazy. That’s what all these scholars who translated these eight versions of the Bible thought: how they determined in their knowledge of Greek and English, that the passage was best interpreted and understood.
Now, the amazing thing is that Banzoli chose not to interact with this legitimate difference of opinion among significant and important Bible translations (which the first four above certainly are; the last four much less so, but still legitimate), but rather, to simply dismiss them out-of-hand and trash them with rank insults and condescension (precisely as he always treats me!). Apparently he routinely does this with anyone who dares to disagree with his sublime and unquestionable opinions.
They must be incompetent or dishonest or both, and ignoramuses, imbeciles, and idiots. They can’t possibly have an honest, sincere, different opinion from what he holds. The very fact that they disagree with the Great and Unconquerable Banzoli (sounds like a circus trapeze act!) is absolute proof that they are deceiving morons and sophists: intent on leading people astray. [note: I think Banzoli is sincere, though I reserve the right to say that he is lying in some specific instances, when it concerns me or something I have written].
I think this (among many many other outbursts and goofy ideas, including thinking that Jesus could vanish into nonexistence when He died and then somehow raise Himself from the dead while not existing) removes him from the realm of serious apologetics or theological thinking. He has lost all credibility. I only deal with him because he is leading many people astray; out of love for them. If he is eventually persuaded of anything, great. But by all indications it’s exceedingly unlikely.
The RSV or Revised Standard Version (the Bible I myself use in almost all of my articles and books) is very widely recognized — by Catholics and Protestants, and Englishmen and Americans alike — as one of the best modern translations in English. It’s almost certainly the most influential and most-used in the last seventy years, besides the King James Version, which has been uniquely and immensely influential these past 400+ years. The great Protestant Bible scholar F. F. Bruce (I have twelve of his books in my own personal library) wrote about it:
For the English-speaking world as a whole there is no modern version of the Bible which comes so near as the R.S.V. does to making the all-purpose provision which the A.V. [KJV] made for so many years. (History of the Bible in English, Oxford University Press, 3rd ed., 1978, 203)
The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is a revision of the RSV, and also widely used and respected, and is the version most preferred by Bible scholars.
The Wikipedia article on the NEB (New English Bible) stated:
Because of its scholarly translators, the New English Bible has been considered one of the more important translations of the Bible to be produced following the Second World War. Biblical scholar F. F. Bruce declared that “To the sponsors and translators of the New English Bible the English speaking world owes an immense debt. They have given us a version which is contemporary in idiom, up-to-date in scholarship, attractive, and at times exciting in content…”
The Phillips version of the New Testament (translated by the Anglican priest J. B. Phillips) is also widely regarded as perhaps the best English paraphrase or “dynamic equivalent” version of the New Testament. Bruce writes glowingly of it: particularly its translation of Paul’s epistles:
Undoubtedly, of all modern English translations of the New Testament epistles, this is one of the best — perhaps actually the best — for the ordinary reader. The reader who has never paid much attention to Paul’s writings, and finds them dull and sometimes unintelligible in the older versions, would be well advised to read them through in Dr Phillips’ version. (Ibid., 223)
Please keep in mind the stature of these four translations and the high regard in which they are widely held by all sorts of Christians, as I now document what Banzoli says about them and any version that dared to use the word “people” in Mark 3:21, against the wishes of Infallible Banzoli, who alone has the final say on proper Bible translations (despite knowing neither Greek nor Hebrew).
He played the same ludicrous anti-scholar / anti-Bible translator game in another recent article, where he argued that “neither of the two Greek words used in 1 Timothy 3:15 mean “foundation,” . . . it would not make the slightest sense that Paul would say that the church (that is, Christians) are the “foundation” of the truth, . . . Dave . . . fails miserably to prove . . . that the text speaks of being the “foundation” of the truth, . . . 1st Timothy 3:15 does not speak of “foundation”. . .” I then proceeded to document how 24 English translations chose the rendering of foundation or foundation-stone in 1 Timothy 3:15. What was the result of that? Well, King Solomon observed over 2900 years ago: “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” Guess which reaction Banzoli exhibited?
But back to our present topic. Banzoli opined about any Bible translation that was different from his own preference:
We now come to one of the funniest parts of the article, the one where Dave starts desperately hunting down half a dozen BLATANTLY ADULTERATED translations in the most shameless way, to use to his advantage without informing his readers that those translations shamefully adulterate the Greek. I wonder how much time he must have spent looking for these translations, since none of them is a known or reputable translation, and all the minimally serious versions (including the Catholic ones) translate correctly. The urge to hunt for “evidence” in his favor goes so far that any crap will do, literally. (capitals his own and my bolding throughout) . . .
What all these translations have in common, besides their total lack of reputation, is the addition of the word people (“people”) to the text, to change the meaning of the text as Dave wants and needs it. It is the same kind of maneuver that the sects make to include their false doctrines in the Bible, without worrying about the threats that God himself directed to those who dare to do this type of thing:
Revelation 22:18-19 (RSV) I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,  and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. . . .
Dave doesn’t seem to understand that not a single word can be taken away or added by dishonest people like him (or maybe he’s eager to receive the plagues described in the text). And the worst thing is that I went to research some of these translations and they are really scorned for the poor level they have. . . .
As I noted, I claim that four of the eight are quite reputable and influential. Banzoli didn’t assert that only some of the eight were “crap” and not even “minimally serious” and not “known or reputable translations[s]” and ones that suffered from a “total lack of reputation,” but all eight. That includes RSV, NRSV, Phillips, and NEB. It’s clear now that Banzoli doesn’t give a fig about what mere scholars would think of his arguments. He has completely self-destructed. No one can possibly take his work seriously anymore, after this astonishing display of absurdly insulated and arrogant anti-intellectualism, or, in common parlance, sheer stupidity.
But since all that matters to Dave is accumulating bad arguments that he can use in his favor, it becomes a true “anything goes”, and even horrible biblical translations that he would never read or use as a reference become an “argument” to use in your favor, when it’s convenient. . . .
As I noted, I use RSV in almost all of my work, and have for many years now. About the only time I use KJV is when copyright issues are involved (usually with a book).
But, after all, what does the Greek say, . . .? . . .
This is precisely, of course, what translators of Bibles are trained for and commissioned to determine!!!
I could note another fifty Catholic translations here without the shameful adulteration of the “easy to deceive” translations that Dave quoted, but since I am not a loafer who has all day free to write articles, I limit myself to challenging you to find in the Catholic Bible Online any translation that favors Dave’s position. . . .
That’s easy. It would be the RSV-CE [Catholic Edition]: which Catholics accept with only very minimal alterations (like “full of grace” at Lk 1:28; just a few passages). That’s why almost all my books published by Catholic publishers (including my upcoming one next month) use RSV for the Bible passages, or why Scott Hahn’s Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, etc., use it.
(never minding that it’s a gross tampering with the originals). . . .
Why doesn’t Dave quote these and many other famous Catholic versions in his article, rather than quote a bunch of obscure versions, taken from who knows where, maybe the fifth of hell, versions that nobody knows and which are ridiculed by academics? The reason is obviously because these versions corroborate their faulty and distorted reading of the text, and the serious versions do not. This is the modus operandi that Dave has operated since I started playing with refuting him, which surpasses any sense of the ridiculous. . . .
Banzoli then sets out to prove that distinguished Catholics, too, believe it was the family of Jesus who thought He was crazy. We know that some of His “brothers” (i.e., non-sibling relatives) did disbelieve in Him, because the Bible says so (and I’ve written about that several times and freely acknowledged it). But the Bible never says specifically that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not believe in Him, let alone think He was crazy. And — lo and behold –, not a single one of the Catholics he cites, states that Mary thought that.
He cites Fr. Bantu Mendonça (source), who refers to Jesus’ “relatives” and never states that Mary thought He was crazy. 0 for 1.
He cites the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (source) who also merely mention “Jesus’ relatives” and not Mary. 0 for 2.
He cites the Sisters of Saint Benedict of Ferdinand (source) who refer to “Jesus’ relatives” and not Mary. If they had implicated Mary herself (as with all these sources), surely Banzoli would be right on that, citing it, too. He wouldn’t have missed the opportunity. 0 for 3.
He cites Catholic Resources for the Bible, from Fr. Felix Just (source), who (no surprise!) mentions the “family” but not Mary in particular. 0 for 4.
Luke 8, 19-20: The family looks for Jesus. The relatives reach the house where Jesus was staying. Probably, they had come from Nazareth. From there to Capernaum the distance is about 40 kilometres. His Mother was with them. Probably, they did not enter because there were many people, but they sent somebody to tell him: “Your Mother and your brothers are outside and want to see you”. According to the Gospel of Mark, the relatives do not want to see Jesus, they want to take him back home (Mk 3, 32). They thought that Jesus had lost his head (Mk 3, 21).
This mentions “His Mother” but not in the context of Jesus being thought (by whomever!) to be “beside himself” etc. As I contended above, it’s two different incidents being discussed. First, His “family” or “friends” are mentioned, without mentioning Mary. After that, Mary “came” — she wasn’t already there — (Mk 3:31; Lk 8:19) “asking for” Jesus, or “desiring to see” Jesus (Lk 8:20). Again, that’s different from attempting to “seize” Him, etc. So this again proves nothing. It fails because it confuses two different events (Catholics are by no means immune from making lousy biblical arguments, too). 0 for 12.
He cites Fr. Lucas de Paula Almeida (source), who refers to “family” and “relatives” and not to Mary. 0 for 13.
He cites Teachers (source), which mentions “relatives” and not Mary. 0 for 14.
He cites Catholic Information (source), which only mentions “relatives” and not Mary. Do I detect a pattern? 0 for 15.
He cites Saint Francis Xavier Parish (source) and, lo and behold, it refers to “family” and “relatives” and not to Mary. 0 for 16.
As if he hadn’t already thoroughly embarrassed himself, he then trots out Theophylact from the eleventh century, who also (“surprise surprise surprise!”: as Gomer Pyle would say) mentions only “relatives.” 0 for 17
So we’re left with a big giant nothing, zero, zilch, zip; or to express it in Portugese, “ele não provou nada” or “ele é realmente burro ou iludido o suficiente para pensar que provou o que pensou ter provado?”
Yet he croaks, not knowing that he has proven nothing whatsoever of what he hoped to prove, from Catholic sources (how pathetic!):
It’s funny how Dave brags about citing a “Protestant scholar” who runs counter to my position, as if it means a big deal, when I’ve quoted dozens of Catholic authors who run counter to his position . . .
I cited eight Bible translations — none Catholic, and four highly reputable and respected, that decisively refuted his view (so he attacked them as dishonest idiots). He cited seventeen (not “dozens”, which would be 24 or more) Catholic sources, none of which proved that Mary thought Jesus was crazy. I’m supposed to be impressed by that? Is anyone out there impressed by such a quixotic display? If so, please comment below this blog post. I’d love to interact with your reasoning.
If Dave thinks that the mother of Jesus is the only exception in the group, and that she was the only one there who came with completely contrary intentions to those of the others (and still didn’t stop them from moving forward), it’s up to Dave to prove it. The burden of proof is on him, after we prove that Mary is one of Jesus’ family members who came to arrest him for insanity.
What I have proven is that four reputable, widely-used English translations deny that it is Jesus’ family who thought He was crazy, and assert that it was “the people.” They may be wrong, but they are entitled to the usual respect; not simply idiotic name-calling and a deluded denial that they are important translations and in actuality, “crap” etc., ad nauseam. In other words, it is a legitimate opinion to think in this way. I happen to agree with them, and even without that translation variant (which would settle it as far as Mark 3:21), I submit that there is no ironclad NT proof (as I elaborated upon above) that the Blessed Virgin Mary thought Jesus was crazy.
I can’t absolutely prove that she didn’t think He was crazy from the Bible alone, but neither can Banzoli prove from the same Bible that she did think He was crazy. That’s the whole point. There isn’t enough information to definitively settle it. The claim that she did think so is ultimately an argument from silence or at best a rather weak deduction, not an undeniable, unarguable biblical assertion.
Catholics need not appeal to Catholic Mariology in this regard. Everyone knows we believe (based on other Scripture: Luke 1:28) that she was sinless and immaculately conceived. But the yearned-for proof that anti-Catholics want so badly to throw in Catholics’ faces simply doesn’t exist in the Bible in and of itself, before we even get within a million miles of Catholic dogma.
One way or another, it is clear that it is Dave who knows nothing about epistemology (just as he knows nothing about grammar, textual interpretation, history, logical reasoning or the Bible).
Thanks for reading, folks, and for your patience! Use your own critical faculties and reasoning abilities to determine who is arguing for truth above (or, for that matter, who is even seeking it, rather than having to always be right, no matter who disagrees, or no matter how much absurdity is entailed — lest the sky fall down). I hope and pray that God will bless you and Lucas Banzoli with all good things (Lk 6:28).
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Photo credit: Christ Carrying the Cross, by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
Summary: I address Mary & “Crazy” Jesus. Polemicist Lucas Banzoli absurdly trashed four excellent (non-Catholic) Bible translations to “prove” that she thought her Son was nuts.