Irenaeus at Retractiones made a challenging post last week on Sola Scriptura that I think is worthy of comment. Here is his lede:
Driving this morning running an errand, I had a weird, terrifying existential moment. I realized -- deep, deep in the gut -- that most Prot Christians in this country simply have their English Bibles, and they're actually trying to base what they believe on it, even though I would guarantee you that the vast majority of them have NO CLUE what the texts mean.
(Read, of course, the whole thing.)
He goes on to attribute ordinary Protestants' cluelessness to a lack of understanding of the "Jewish and Greco-Roman" historical and cultural context, and to suggest that their understanding of the faith comes not from Scripture directly but is mediated through various Protestant traditions and magisteria (none of which, of course, self-identifies as a magisterium).
The cluelessness that Irenaeus recognizes would be no mystery whatever to his namesake (patron?) St Irenaeus of Lyons. But I would suggest that St Irenaeus would have a different view of the cause and cure of this problem. The problem is not a lack of sufficient historical understanding of the context of Scripture, nor is the cure to repair to an intellectual tradition and a magisterium of more intellectual and historical and theological heft and gravitas (as "our" Irenaeus puts it). No, for St Irenaeus, the problem is the absence of the canon of Truth -- the Church's rule of faith -- as the hermeneutical key to the Scriptures. The canon of Truth, which we know best in its form as the Church's Creed, is not something derived from Scripture by human intellection. It is itself the key to the Scriptures, without which the Scriptures cannot be rightly understood. And (again as St Irenaeus explains) the canon of Truth comes to us not by human derivation from the Scriptures themselves, but by Tradition from the Apostles (to whom it was given by the Saviour Himself). Such is the cause.
The cure is left as an exercise for the reader.