Sacred Scripture on priests who, having previously attained the doctorate in theology, should pass suc- cessful examinations, oral and written, in matter defined by the Commission. The judges must be at least five consultors. Examinations have since been held twice a year, in June and November. The official announcements of the Commission are com- municated to the "Revue Biblique", which is not, however, the official organ of the Commission. (See "Revue Biblique", 1905, p. 44S.)
Decisions of the Commission. — Four important de- cisions on disputed Biblical questions have been issued by the Commission: (1) On the occurrence in Scripture of "implicit citations", i. e. quotations from miinspired documents which the sacred writer does not vouch for, though he does not expressly acknowledge them as quotations. These may not be admitted unless proved by solid arguments (13 Feb- ruary, 1905). (2) On the historical character of cer- tain narratives. It is not lawful to question the historical character of books hitherto regarded as historical, unless in a case where the sense of the Church is not opposed and where, subject to her judgment, it is proved by solid arguments that the sacred writer did not intend to write history (23 June, 1905). (3) On the Mosaic authorship of the Penta- teuch. This has not been disproved by critical argu- ments. Mosaic authorship, however, need not imply that Moses WTote with his own hand or dictated all of it; the books may have been composed by secre- taries to whom he suggested the thoughts and whose work he approved as principal and inspired author. It is consistent also with the use by Moses of docu- ments, oral or written, and does not exclude the presence of such additions or imperfections in the present text as would leave it substantially and integrally the work of Moses (27 June, 1906). (4) On the authorship and historical character of the Fourth Gospel. It is historically certain that St. John wTote it. The Gospel is an historical docu- ment, narrating the actual facts and speeches of Our Lord's life (29 May, 1907).
A uthority of its Decisions. — The Commission though formed like a Congregation is not a Congregation but seemingly of lower rank. Its decisions are ap- proved by the pope and published by his command. Such approval, when given in formd communi, does not change the nature of the decisions as emanating from a Congregation or Commission, nor does it make them specifically pontifical acts; much less does it imply an exercise of the pope's personal prerogative of infallibility. Hence they are not infallible or unchangeable, though they must be received with obedience and interior assent, by which we judge that the doctrine proposed is safe and to be accepted because of the authority by which it is presented. These decisions are not the opinions of a private assembly, but an official directive norm; to question them publicly would be lacking in re- spect and obedience to legitimate authority. We arc not hindered from private study of the reasons on which they are based, and if some scholar should find solid arguments against a decision they should be set before the Commission.
For details about the Commission consult the Roman cor- respondence of The Tablet (London). 11 January. 15 Novem- ber. •-'2 November, 1902; 7 February, 23 May, 1903: 12 March. 2 .July, 19 November, 1904; for the documents. Revue biblique (1903 a;nil later); for the EngUsh translation of the Letter Vigilanti<v, The. Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIH (New York, 1903), 537; for the authority of decisions, Nouvelle revue theol. (Tournai), May, 1907; CHorpiN. Valeur des decisions doctrinales et disciplinaires du S.~Siive (Paris, 1907).
BlDliotheca Veterum Patrum. See Fathers of TiiK Church.
Bickerdike, Robert, Venerable, martyr, a Yorkshire layman, b. at Low Hall, near Knares-
borough (date unknown), but residing at York; d. 5 August (or 8 October), 1585. Arrested for giving a priest, Ven. John Boste, a glass of ale, he was also accused at his trial of using treasonable words. He was acquitted, but Judge Rhodes, determined to have his blood, had him removed from the city gaol to the Castle and tried once more at the Lammas Assizes on the same charge. He was then condemned. One of his offences was that, when Ven. Francis Ingleby was being dragged on the hurdle to execution, hearing a minister's wife say, "Let us go into the Tolbooth and we shall see the traitorly thief come over on the hurdle", he said, "No; no thief, but as true as thou art". These words were supposed to be the cause of his death. He suffered at York.
Bhidgewater, Concertatio (Trier, 15S9): Morris, The Catholics of York under Elizabeth (London, 1891); Challoner, Me7noirs. BeDE CaMM.
Bicknor, Alexander, Archbishop of Dublin, date of birth unknown; d. 1349. As his surname suggests he came from a family of Kent, Eng- land. He was elected Archbishop of DubHn in 1310, being at that time Prebendary of Maynooth and Treasurer of Ireland. This selection was, how- ever, set aside by Edward II in favour of Lech who soon died; after this, in May, 1314, Edward petitioned Pope Clement V to confirm Bicknor's appointment. The request was earnestly repeated in 1317, and he was finally consecrated in Rome, 22 July of this year. In 1318 he was appointed Lord Justice of Ireland. On some unrecorded ground his name ap- pears as attending the English Parliamont, and he took part on 24 September, 131S, in promulgating at St. Paul's the excommunication of Robert Bruce. Even though, as a diplomatist, he was frequently absent from his diocese, he showed his interest in it by building an episcopal residence, and he endeav- oured, unsuccessfully, to attach a college to St. Patrick's Cathedral. In 1323 he was in France on an embassy, in 1324 he was engaged in negotiating peace with France and in arranging a Spanish match for Edward, Prince of Wales. In this lie failed; and on his return Edward II charged him with the loss of La Rozelle. About this time he joined with Queen Isabella in concerting the overthrow of the Des- pensers. then the royal favourites. On 28 May. 1325, Edward II asked the pope to remove Bicknor from the kingdom, accusing him of the surrender of La Rozelle, of defaming Hugh Despenscr, of improperly excommunicating Robert Pinchbeck, and of not accounting for sums received while Treasurer of Ireland. Bicknor joined Queen Isabella and others in declaring Prince Edward guardian of the kingdom, at an assembly at Bristol; later, in 1327, he swore publicly at the London riuiklhall to maintain the queen's cause as against the king. In 1329 Edward seized his diocesan revenues as a set-off to the s\uns unaccounted for by Bicknor as Treasurer of Ireland. In 1330 Bicknor became papal collector. He quar- relled with the Bishop of Ossory, who, on appeal to Edward II, was banished for nine years, during which period Bicknor, as metropolitan, visited the See of Ossory and seized the revenues. In 1348 Bicknor held a synod at Dublin at which useful disciplinarj- decrees were passed. He engaged in a dispute with the Archbishop of Armagh about the right to the primacy of Ireland.
Dirt. Nat. Biogr.: RvMER. Fadera; Chronicles of Edward I and II in Rolls Series; Ypodigma Neustrio'.
Henry Norbert Birt.
Bidennann, James, a poet and theologian of great learning and sanctity, b. at Ehingen, Germany, in 1578; d. at Rome. 20 August, 1639. He entered the Society of Jesus at Lansberg in 1594, and after the usual preliminary training he taught rhetoric in Mu- nich from 1606 to 1615, and later spent eight years teaching philosophy and theology at Dillingen. In