Bacchiocchi’s Sabbath to Sunday

October 17, 2006

I came across an interesting blog posting at xcg–a blog that deals with the “theology, churches, and culture that grew out of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God”. In a post entitled “Bacchiochi’s Gregorian Controversy” some interesting data is given regarding the veracity of some of Bacchiochi’s claims about his doctoral study & subsequent book: From Sabbath to Sunday. Now I’m not interested in getting into an arguement about the veracity of Bacchiocchi’s research itself, rather I’m interested in the claims he makes about his education, books, and research. A letter sent by the Secretary General of the Pontifical Gregorian University to the Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; is quoted as saying:

Dr. Bacchiocchi did indeed graduate with a doctoral degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was the first non-Catholic to do so. However, other claims he makes do not match those in our records. Those include:

1. He did not receive a summa from the Gregorian as he maintains.
2. He did not receive the Pope’s Gold Medal (this is presented each year in a public ceremony to only a handful of students who have achieved the highest quality of work in their dissertations).
3. He was not allowed to publish his dissertation in whole. Due to extensive problems with the text, he was only allowed to publish one chapter of his work and this only after extensive revision. The publication of one chapter signifies the minimum requirement to receive the doctoral degree at the Gregorian. His publicity and web site indicate that the whole dissertation has been published in book form with surrounding claims about its quality as a Gregorian publication. He has also used the official signature of the Gregorian University Press on the cover page of a book published by Biblical Perspectives.
4. At one time an imprimatur was claimed by Dr. Bacchiocchi, though we understand he later said this had been rescinded. As you know, this does not happen, nor does the Church find a need to give an imprimatur to non-Catholics who write on a variety of topics.

If this is in fact correct, then it seems that Bacchiocci has a problem.


  1. Hi Hobbes

    Somebody who often comments on Samuel Bacchiocchi, and who has pointed to the same information is Stephen Korsman, http://www.theotokos.co.za/blog/index.php

    I’ve come to respect his point of view and arguments and believe that they are done in the spirit of open debate and dialogue (Even though he tends to go a bit overboard sometimes :-) ).

    Thanks for your blog.

  2. Very thought-provoking. Great read. I’ve added you to the Re-Inventing blog roll.


  3. Samuel Bacchiocchi was in a Augusta, GA a few weeks ago. He is a great stand-up! We learned a lot about
    Sam, Italy, and Roman. We learned very little about Sabbath to Sunday. It was a very dynamic entertaining evening. I thought I was watching the prime time cooking network. Sam probably made a very captivating teacher if he ever got off his favorite subject: Sam.
    His scholarship didn’t appear to measure up to the Jesuits I met during my eight years at Marquette University. I never heard a Jesuit who didn’t claim that the “Church” by its intrinsic authority changed the day of worship. So I assume the thesis was about the process. Of course he is an old man, who came a long way. Can’t we indulge him his moment in the evening sun? Besides Augusta is pretty much off the beaten path–we get very few scholars and fewer world travelers. All in all, Sam was a treat. TJZ

  4. Perhaps my original post was not clear. I was not (and have no plans to do so) examining the quality of Bacchiocchi’s scholarship/research. My question revolves solely around his claims regarding his degree, awards, etc. (Of course there will be a corollary to finding that Bacchiocch lied about some of these issues-if he did so-and that is his research will become suspect. It’s the slippery slope issue–if he lied about this, perhaps he lied about that.)
    My biggest surprise is the silence of Bacchiocchi about these claims–he purports to have evidence supprting his claims–fine post it for us to see on your website!

    Thanks for dropping by & commenting.

  5. I have in front of me as I write this a hardback copy of Bacchiocchis’ “From Sabbath to Sunday”. It is an original and it was printed by “The Pontifical Gregorian Press Rome 1977”. I am a little perplexed by the accusations being made in regard to the publishing of the book as I have the evidence to refute them sitting here in front of me.
    I am not a huge fan of Dr. Bacchiocchi but I think we need to be fair and honest. The copy I have is in its entirety and it was published by the Pontifical Gregorian Press not Biblical Perspectives.
    I guess my question then would be, “If the Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan claims that it was never printed in its entirety and I have the proof to show his comments in this regard to be patently false, then what else might he be lying about?”
    I suppose the Papal medal that Sam takes with him everywhere might be a fake but that seems a bit extreme even for him. Reverend Murray certainly has cause to misrepresent Bacchiocchi so I would be inclined to take his comments with a grain of salt.
    Just thought I’d add my two cents’ worth, you can take it for what it’s worth.
    God Bless,
    Pastor Bob Burke

  6. By the way, it does have the imprimatur from R. P. Herve Carrier, S. I. Rector Universitatis dated Romae, die 16 Iunii 1975.

  7. I also have what appears to be an original 1977 hard-cover copy of Dr. Bacchiocchi’s book, with cloth cover printed in gold lettering on a black background. It contains 369 large 6.5″ x 8.5″ pages plus a three-page Table of Contents printed at the end of the text on pages 370-372. Ten chapters are listed in this Table of Contents, plus “Abbreviations, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, and Appendix – Paul and the Sabbath.”
    The title page reads:
    The 2nd page reads:
    VIDIMUS et approbamus ad normam Statutorum Universitatis, Romae, ex Pontificia Universitate Gregoriana die 25 iunii 1974, R. P. Vincenzo Monachino, S.I., R. P. Luis Martinez-Fazio, S.I.
    IMPRIMATUR Romae die 16 Iunii 1975, R. P. Herve Carrier, S. I., Rector Universitatis, Con approvazione del Vicariato di Roma in data 17 giugno 1975. C (Copyright symbol) Samuele Bacchhiocchi. Distributed in the USA by the author 230 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103. THE PONTIFICAL GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1977.
    In his Preface Professor Monachino (among other things) states:
    “It is a work that recommends itself because of its rich content, the rigorous scientific method, and the vast horizon with which it has been conceived and executed.”
    On the left-hand page facing the title page there are comments about the Author together with his picture, and in the back of this book on(unnumbered)pages 373-374 there are “Comments on Book and Author” with brief reviews by Bruce Metzger, David Noel Freedman and other reviewers. Since these front and back pages are bound within the book’s original stitching,
    and were not “tipped in,” and there is also the statement quoted above from the back side of the title page which rads: “Distributed in the USA by7 the author 230 Lisa Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103” appears to be part of the original printing and not a hand stamp, one wonders if the Pontifical Gregorian University Press included this material for the author? Perhaps only the Author himself can accurately state how and where and by whom this 1977 edition came into print?
    Arlin Baldwin, Oct. 25, 2006.

  8. Hobbes,

    I guess your curiosity has been satisfied by now. Some claims of the bishop are proven completely false! And I very much believe so will be with the other ones.

    I suggest you apologize to br. Bacchiocchi. It is a serious damage to his reputation to publicly raise such suspicions. And this by the adventist brother. I am surprised actually, that somebody would post publicly such completely unchecked accusations.

  9. Thanks for dropping by & commenting, but where exactly is proof of anything? Perhaps one of the issues is the difference between a publisher and a printer?

    Further, just because something says that it has an imprimature (for example), does not mean that it actually does. Was the imprimature issued for one chapter as claimed but published in front of an entire book? Did Bacchiocchi recieve a gold medal or not? Did he graduate with Summa or not? None of these questions have been answered. Bacchiocchi is uncharacteristically silent!

  10. Here is his today’s answer that I recieved (someone forwarded it to me), and we can expect more I think:

    “Ever since the Academic office of the Pontifical Gregorian University attempted to discredit my academic achievements two years ago, it has been on my heart to prepare a formal refutation of their false allegations and place it in my website.

    The reason for the delay is twofold. First, I sent a copy of all my documents to the Academic Office of the Gregoriana, asking for the opportunity to show the originals to an official Catholic representative in the USA. When I was told that Bishop Murray of Kalamazoo would eventually arrange for an appointment for me to show him my original documents, I wanted to wait for this meeting to take place. If I received an apology for the false allegations against me, then it was wine for me NOT to publicize the mistake of the Gregoriana. After all it is my alma mater where I spent 5 fruitful years.

    Second, I thought that the allegations are so ridiculous, that hardly anybody would believe them. But this is not the case. Some of my detractors have been eager to use these false allegations in order to build a case against my trustworthiness.

    At this point I feel that an official documented response is needed in order to silence the false accusations that are increasingly circulating against me. Today I plan to begin the process by going to Andrews University Architecture Department to scan my three diplomas, which are too big for my scanner. Their scanner scans up to 24 x 36′. I have on hand three magnificent diplomas, all in parchement, decorated and written by skilled Vatican scribes. They were hand-written for me because I refused to accept the standard diplomas which say that the student has subscribed to the Catholic profession of faith. The first diploma is for the BACCALAUREATUS, the second for the LICENTIA, and the third for the DOCTORATUS. Two of the diplomas indicate that I earned MAGNA CUM LAUDE and one of them SUMMA CUM LAUDE. A look at the diploma provide an irrefutable evidence that I DID EARN the academic distinctions of MAGNA and SUMMA CUM LAUDE.

    I plan to post also the SILVER MEDAL that I received from Paul VI for the MAGNA CUM LAUDE and the GOLD MEDAL for the SUMMA CUM LAUDE. I will tell the story behind the medals which were given to me through the Rector of the Gregoriana, because I was absent at the graduation ceremony when the medals are given. I was too busy getting read to come to Andrews University and I never thought that I qualified for the gold medal.

    Regarding the IMPRIMATUR I have with me both the full dissertation and the TESINA (a portion of the dissertation) that was published by the Gregorian Press with the IMPRIMATUR in order for me to fulfill the requirement of the DOCTORATUS. In order to receive the diploma of the DOCTORATUS, a student is required to publish a significant portion of the dissertation (at least 120 pages) and deposit 50 copies at the Academic Office. The TESINA must be published with the official IMPRIMATUR to be acceptable by the Academic Office. I submitted for publication 150 pages of my dissertation, mostly taken from chapter 7 of my dissertation. The manuscript was published in 1975 under the title ANTI-JUDAISM AND THE ORIGIN OF SUNDAY. My professor Vincenzo Monachino was responsible for obtaining the imprimatur, that is, the approval from the Rector of the Gregoriana and the Vicariate of Rome.

    Before the publication of my full dissertation FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY, I worked for one month in Rome with Prof. Monachino to make the corrections he had suggested. The dissertation was published in 1977 with the imprimatur that Prof. Monachino had already obtained in 1975 for the research.”

  11. Interesting response, thanks for posting it.
    I’d raise two points here, first Bacchiocchi does not specify for which degree he recieved the magna (silver medal) and the summa (gold medal) Was the gold medal for his doctorate which he has implied in the past?
    Secondly, it seems from my reading of his response, that the Catholic Bishop’s letter is in fact correct–the imprimatur was granted for a 150 page extract of his thesis and NOT for the whole thesis as later published as Sabbath to Sunday. It is my understanding that this is the Bishop’s arguement–something granted for an extract does not apply to the whole.

  12. I would also suggest that you read the full post at xcg blog as referenced in this blog post. It deals clearly with the issue of publication of Sabbath to Sunday:
    “In other words, the Pontifical Gregorian University presumably was given official permission to print one chapter of Bacchiocchi’s dissertation, which agrees with what the Secretary General of the Gregorian wrote to Bishop Murray and the USCCB in 2004. But it is a gross inaccuracy and extremely misleading to claim that From Sabbath to Sunday has, or has ever had, a Catholic imprimatur, or was printed by the Pontifical Gregorian University Press, or was “the first book written by a non-Catholic ever to be published by a Pontifical press with the Catholic imprimatur.”

  13. Greetings all. I am the author of “Bacchiocchi’s Gregorian Controversy,” and this morning the discussion here was brought to my attention by Hobbes.

    First of all, I would like to clarify that the Bishop of Kalamazoo is not in any way responsible for the information found in the 2004 letter that the Gregorian sent to him and to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Whether the assertions in that letter are true or false, it is Dr. Bacchiocchi’s alma mater that made the assertions, not the bishop.

    Second, I am very grateful to read Dr. Bacchiocchi’s response to the serious allegations made by his alma mater. I am genuinely puzzled and troubled by the Gregorian’s assertions about Dr. Bacchiocchi’s academic credentials, and I hope we will soon learn the results of his communications with the Secretary General of the Gregorian. Frankly I can’t imagine how there could be so drastic a disagreement between the Secretary General and Dr. Bacchiocchi about academic achievements. Surely the Gregorian should have documentation to back up its assertions, just as Dr. Bacchiocchi evidently has documentation supporting his credentials. As for the papal gold medal, his account that he did not attend the Mass of St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine during which the gold medals are publicly bestowed perhaps may explain why the Gregorian concluded that he did not receive a medal? Did the Gregorian, noting the absence of his name from the liturgy program, conclude that he never received a medal?

    Third, like Hobbes, I note that Dr. Bacchiocchi apparently has confirmed that the imprimatur for “Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday” subsequently was included in “From Sabbath to Sunday” even though no imprimatur for that book has ever been granted. This agrees with the assertion of the Secretary General of the Gregorian, and it shows that Dr. Bacchiocchi’s publicity regarding “From Sabbath to Sunday” is erroneous and misleading. “From Sabbath to Sunday” has never had an imprimatur, and Dr. Bacchiocchi should not have inserted it in a book to which it did not pertain, nor should he be making false claims about Catholic Church approval for a book that no Catholic censor librorum has ever examined.

    Along those same lines, I still wonder why he has claimed the Gregorian’s university press printed “From Sabbath to Sunday.” Did they print the book in 1977 after Dr. Bacchiocchi was no longer attending the Gregorian, but have not printed the book since then? If (note I said “if”) the Gregorian press did not print the book, but only the excerpt, he should not be claiming that they did.

  14. Some more interesting things to point out – Bacchiocchi seems to be contradicting himself regarding which chapter from the original dissertation was published as the Tesina (chapter 1+2+3 or chapter 5 or chapter 7), and whether or not the full dissertation was published at all (no in 1997, yes now.)

    I’ve documented that on my blog at http://www.theotokos.co.za/blog/post/index/282/Which-chapter-did-Sam-publish

    Never mind the Imprimatur, which is clearly not applicable to current editions of his book, and at best (i.e. if it existed) applied to the 117 (or 150) page Tesina alone. Or the use of Pontifical Gregorian University Press on editions other than whatever they may have published long ago, if anything.

  15. Thanks for the link to your blog Stephen. It seems that Bacchiocchi still has many questions to answer.

  16. Samuele Bacchiocchi’s Endtime Issues #159 is out – here he deals with this issue. His defence seems sincere – I’ll be blogging on it later tonight.


  17. plis be honest with your thought.
    GOD knows evrything you plan for.

  18. […] Some weeks ago I blogged referencing allegations concerning Samuele Bacchiocchi’s academic credentials and the issue of the imprimatur associated with his book Sabbath to Sunday. Bacchiocchi has recently responded to some of the allegations that were originally raised by Dr. Barbara Bergami–the Secretary General of the Pontifical Gregorian University, who apparently mailed a letter, dated 11 June 2004, about Bacchiocchi’s credentials to the Most Reverend James A. Murray, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bacchiocchi’s Endtime Issues newsletter #159 addressing some of the issues raised may be found here. […]

  19. […] My previous posts on this issue appear here, here, and here. […]

  20. The Pontifical Gregorian Press stopped printing Bacchiocchi’s book when he bought the rights to it so he could publish it himself.
    I find it amazing that there are those here who continue to attack Bacchiocchi even as their arguments are whittled away one by one. As each successive accusation is proved false they cling to the ever shrinking arguments that remain.
    Maybe you should accept that it might possibly, just possibly, be that the Vatican has lied to discredit Bacchiocchi because his research shows that the Biblical Sabbath remains the seventh day and that the early RCC changed it?
    Just a thought.
    God Bless,
    Pastor Bob

  21. I also own a hard cover volume of the original “From Sabbath to Sunday” published by the Gregorian Press. I cannot imagine why anyone would attempt the kind of fraud Dr. Bacchiocchi’s detractors accuse him of when it can be so easily exposed. And if the accusations are true why have they taken 30 years to surface.His book has been the subject of scholarly debate ever since it was first published.

  22. Hey Bacchiocci, interesting how Satan throws all these curves to your audience so to distract their attention from the real essence of the truth you bring, that is, the Sabbath is God made Vs. Sunday is man made. Who can argue with that! I agree with Pastor Bob it wouldn’t surprise me if the Vatican did lie and they will lie whenever they want to –they have it on infallible authority, you know!

    You just keep on spreading the truth. All this persecution will soon be over and we’ll be going home –where we will all be keeping the Sabbath, and throughout eternity! Remember,(not thou shalt not), and keep it holy. The only thing making the Sabbath holy is the presence of God. Sunday must then have the presence of the Sun god –what has your Sun god done for you lately? People, how can you criticize before you taste and see that it is good! Try it, you’ll like! It’s God’s promise! I was a Sunday keeper for many years and now I’m a Sabbath keeper. Never have I felt the presence and direction of God more in my life since keeping ALL TEN of His commandments. Get real people! Don’t let Satan mess with your minds by placing stumbling blocks to the real message here. Truth never needs defending, error does.

  23. There are too many articles about Sabbath day that has been posted on the internet. I can tell that this article can be one of the most commented blog.


  24. […] disputed by the university. More information about the controversy is availiable here, here, and here. Regardless of the validity of his claims, they have nothing to do with his book Wine in the Bible. […]

  25. Where can I get a copy of Sabbath to Sunday? Please let me know how to order it. Thank you.

  26. Hobbs, where is your retraction?

  27. […] Bacchiocchi’s Sabbath to Sunday [on the Hobbes' Place blog] […]

  28. […] Relevant discussion and quotes from Gregorian’s letter can be found here, here, and now also on a blog called Hobbes’ Place – An Exploration of Adventist History and Culture. […]

  29. […] Bacchiocchi’s Sabbath to Sunday [on the Hobbes' Place blog] […]

  30. […] In order to receive the diploma of the DOCTORATUS, a student is required to publish a significant portion of the dissertation (at least 120 pages) and deposit 50 copies at the Academic Office. The TESINA must be published with the official IMPRIMATUR to be acceptable by the Academic Office. I submitted for publication 150 pages of my dissertation, mostly taken from chapter 7 of my dissertation. The manuscript was published in 1975 under the title ANTI-JUDAISM AND THE ORIGIN OF SUNDAY. [Hobbes' blog] […]

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