Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

Die Bibel


 

“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

Jerome, c. 347-420



Ist die Bibel wirklich die einzige, unfehlbare Wahrheit, die Christen besitzen? Viele Christen anderer Gemeinschaften denken dies ("Sola Scriptura" - allein die Bibel) - zumindest seit den Zeiten der Reformation. Als "Argumente" für diese These werden dann oft die Bibel selbst zitiert. Außerdem hätte Jesus doch menschliche Tradition verurteilt. Das Problem dabei: in der Bibel selbst steht nirgends, dass sie alleine die Quelle ist, aus der wir Christen schöpfen. Sicher, sie ist gut zur Lehre (2 Tim 3,16-17. Hier werden die Vorzüge der Bibel beschrieben, aber nicht gesagt, sie alleine wäre die Grundlage der Lehre), zur Anleitung und auch bestimmt eine wesentliche Grundlage unseres Glaubens (nichts darf ihr widersprechen und jede christliche Lehre muss in der Bibel zu finden sein), aber nirgends steht, dass sie ALLEINE Grundlage christlicher Lehre ist.

Eine weitere Grundlage wäre etwa die apostolische Tradition und die Kirche.

Sicher, Jesus veruteilt etwa von Menschen gemachte Traditionen. Was damit gemeint ist, zeigt sich beim Hl. Paulus, einem der Apostel: christliche Tradition wird sehr wohl als positiv beschrieben - und gleichzeitig einer nicht akzeptablen Form von Tradition gegenüber gestellt.

Die Bedeutung mündlicher Tradition etwa wird vom Hl. Paulus ausdrücklich betont (siehe etwa 1 Thess. 2,13 oder 2 Tim 1,13-14). Die Autorität der Kirche wird zum Beispiel im ersten Konzil von Jerusalem deutlich (Apg 15,29,30).

Warum aber haben dann Jesus und Seine Jünger immer die Heilige Schrift zitiert, wenn sie etwas klarstellen wollten? Auch die Juden des Alten Testaments haben sich doch immer auf die Schrift bezogen!

Wenn wir Matt 23,2-3 lesen, sehen wir, dass Jesus den Pharisäern durchaus eine Autorität zugesprochen hat. Der dort erwähnte "Stuhl des Moses" ist aber nirgends im Alten Testament zu finden. Er stammt aus der zunächst mündlich überlieferten Mishna. Hier ist die Rede von einer Art Nachfolge in der Lehre die Rede, die sich bis auf Moses zurück führen lässt.

In Matt 2,23 lesen wir, dass erfüllt werden sollte, was die Propheten sagten: "Er wird Narzoräer genannt werden" (Einheitsübersetzung). Auch dies ist im Alten Testament nicht zu finden! Hier handelt es sich um eine mündliche Überlieferung durch die Propheten!

Betrachtet man 1 Kor 10,4, stellt man fest, dass Jesus von einem Felsen spricht, der mit den Juden zog. Sieht man sich diese Stelle im Alten Testament an (Moses schlägt mit dem Stock gegen den Felsen, damit Wasser heraus kommt), findet man hier aber nichts dergleichen! Sehr wohl aber in der Tradition, die von den Rabbinern weiter gegeben wurde.

Sola Scriptura ist eine Vorstellung, die von der Bibel nicht vertreten wird - und schon gar nicht von Jesus. Die einzigen, die jemals die mündliche Tradition verworfen hatten, waren die Saduzäer. Diese haben aber auch so einiges andere verworfen, etwa die Auferstehung von den Toten.

Eine Autoritätsfigur des Alten Testaments war zum Beispiel Ezra.

(Quelle: Dave Armstrong, The One-Minute Apologist. Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, 2007. Go and get it!).




 




Just listened to a sermon on the Wedding at Cana. While there was nothing "wrong" with it, it was wrong in the sense...

Posted by I Love Being Catholic on Samstag, 16. Januar 2016

Steve Ray: Catholic and Protestant

Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Approaches to the Bible

by Steve Ray on March 10, 2013

 “Bible Christians”  (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

 

 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;

 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;

 3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.

 4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

 

 Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

 

 1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.

 2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).

 3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.

 4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

 

(Source: Steve Ray: http://www.catholic-convert.com/2013/03/10/differences-between-catholic-and-protestant-approaches-to-the-bible/comment-page-1/#comment-316636. Used with permission)


1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

 


Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

 


Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.
(a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

 

“Bible Christians”
(a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

 


by Steve Ray on March 10, 2013
 

“Bible Christians”
(a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85?88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15?16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20?21).

These basic differences place the Catholic and Protestant worlds apart even though they are opening the pages of the same book and accepting it as an authoritative revelation from God. The Catholic position is biblical, and has been espoused from the first days of the Church. The Protestant position is unbiblical (assumed from their newly devised tradition) and is of recent origin. The Catholic is in full continuity with historical Christianity; Protestants are in discontinuity.

DEI VERBUM



CHAPTER III


SACRED SCRIPTURE, ITS INSPIRATION AND DIVINE INTERPRETATION


11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)


Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).


12. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, (6) the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.


To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to "literary forms." For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture. (7) For the correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at that period in their everyday dealings with one another. (8)


But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, (9) no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God. (10)


13. In Sacred Scripture, therefore, while the truth and holiness of God always remains intact, the marvelous "condescension" of eternal wisdom is clearly shown, "that we may learn the gentle kindness of God, which words cannot express, and how far He has gone in adapting His language with thoughtful concern for our weak human nature." (11) For the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father, when He took to Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men.


http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html

Aber alle Christen haben doch die Autorität, die Bibel zu interpretieren!

Lesen wir Jn 14,26: "Der Beistand aber, der Heilige Geist, den der Vater in meinem Namen senden wird, der wird euch alles lehren und euch an alles erinnern, was ich euch gesagt habe." (Einheitsübersetzung)

Während des letzten Abendmahls sagte Jesus zu Seinen Jüngern, dass der Heilige Geist kommen und an alles erinnern würde, was Er ihnen gelehrt hat. Wohlgemerkt spricht Jesus hier nur zu den Aposteln - nicht zu den großen Menschenansammlungen, wie Er das sonst oft getan hatte. Die Apostel - und ihre Nachfolger! - erhielten von Jesus die Autorität zu leiten und auszulegen. Als gläubige Katholikinnen und Katholiken ist es unsere Aufgabe, uns Jesus unterzuordnen - und Seiner Kirche gegenüber gehorsam zu sein. Der Kirche, die uns führt und lehrt. Das mag vielleicht manchmal nicht angenehm sein und unseren Stolz verletzen, es hilftuns aber, auf dem rechten Weg zu bleiben.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Scott Hahn

Der Heilige Geist wird jeden Christen im Verständnis der Bibel leiten!

Lesen wir 2 Petr 3,16: "es steht in allen seinen Briefen, in denen er davon spricht. In ihnen ist manches schwer zu verstehen und die Unwissenden, die noch nicht gefestigt sind, verdrehen diese Stellen ebenso wie die übrigen Schriften zu ihrem eigenen Verderben." (Einheitsübersetzung)

Eine scharfe Warnung für die also, die selbst versuchen möchten, zu einem Verständnis der Bibel zu gelangen. Eine falsche Interpretation der Bibel kann verheerende Folgen haben. Dafür hat uns Jesus den Heiligen Geist gesendet, dass er Seine Kirche dabei leitet, uns mit einer Lehre,die nicht irren kann zu unterrichten. Nur so können wir die Wahrheit in der Heiligen Schrift erkennen. Natürlich ist es wichtig und wertvoll, die Bibel auch alleine zu lesen, muss aber im Licht der katholischen Lehre geschehen. Deshalb wird die Benützung des Katholischen Katechismus beim Lesen der Bibel empfohlen.

Schauen wir uns nun 2 Petr 1,20 an: "Bedenkt dabei vor allem dies: Keine Weissagung der Schrift darf eigenmächtig ausgelegt werden" (Einheitsübersetzung)

Dieser Vers richtet sich an die Apostel. Jesus hat nie großen Menschenmengen gesagt, dass der Heilige Geist sie leiten würde. Wir sollten uns vielmehr auf die Lehre der Kirche verlassen, die als solche unfehlbar ist. Eine Lehre, die durch die apostolische Sukzession 2.000 Jahre lang weiter gegeben wurde. Man kann es vielleicht mit einem Stapellauf vergleichen - der Stock wird von Läufer zu Läufer weiter gegeben, bleibt aber immer derselbe Stock. Persönliche Bibelauslegung und -interpretation führt aber nicht zur Einheit der Kirche, sondern zu ihrer Spaltung. Sehen wir uns doch die Situation heute an: Wie viele christliche Glaubensgemeinschaften nehmen für sich in Anspruch, die biblische "Wahrheit" zu besitzen? Welche davon ist eigentlich die wahre Kirche? Nun, Jesus hat nur eine gegründet - vor 2.000 Jahren. Welche Kirche kann für sich behaupten, seit 2.00 Jahren zu existieren?

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss Modern Biblical Interpretation and The Bible

Wichtig zu wissen...

Woher wissen wir eigentlich, welche Bücher Teil der Bibel sind? Gibt es da etwa eine Liste oder ein Inhaltsverzeichnis in der Bibel? Nein - die Katholische Kirche hat es uns gesagt! Und warum hat sie eigentlich den Kanon biblischer Schriften zusammen gestellt? Damit jeder die Bibel lesen kann? Nein - der vorrangige Grund war, damit die Menschen wissen, welche Bücher und Schriften sie in der Liturgie lesen sollten! Deshalb sollte die Bibel immer im Kontext der Bibel gesehen werden und nicht nur als eine Art privates Lesebuch, das jeder nach Gutdünken auslegen kann!

(Quelle: u.a. Prof. Michael Barber: Exodus - Deliverance & Sacrifice (CDs). Go and get it at www.saintjoe.com)

 

Aggiornamento?

Unter "aggiornamento" versteht man das Bemühen der Katholischen Kirche, bei der Vermittlung und Lehre von Glaubenswahrheiten auch auf die besonderen Umstände der heutigen Zeit einzugehen.

An sich ein gutes und wichtiges Vorhaben.

Aggiornamento heisst aber NICHT, dass jede Generation die Bibel nach eigenem Gutdünken neu interpretieren soll oder darf!

 

Was ist, wenn ich in manchen Punkten nicht die offizielle Interpretation von bestimmten Bibelversen seitens der Kirche teile?

Manchmal verstehen wir nicht ganz einige Lehren der Kirche hinsichtlich bestimmter Bibleverse - zumindest in intellektueller Hinsicht. Das heisst aber keineswegs, dass wir nun eigenmächtig unserer eigenen Auslegung folgen sollen oder dürfen. Wir sollen vielmehr die Lehren der Kirche glauben, da Jesus durch den Heiligen Geist die Kirche leitet und inspiriert - wie Er es versprochen hat. Er wird uns und Seine Kirche nie alleine lassen und die Tore der Hölle werden sie nicht besiegen. Seine Kirche wird Bestand haben bis zu dem Tag, an dem Er wieder kommt!

(Quelle: u.a. Tim Staples: "The Shocking Truth About the Pope And the Bible" (CDs))

 

Der biblische Kanon

Gott hat sich uns offenbart. Um diese Offenbarung aber erkennen zu koennen, muessen wir mit Sicherheit wissen, wo wir sie finden koennen.

In welchen Buechern also ist die goettliche Wahrheit enthalten? Sollten wir naemlich die falschen Buecher lesen, hoeren wir auf die Worte von Menschen anstatt auf das Wort Gottes. Wir brauchen also die Liste der Buecher, die tatsaechlich von Gott inspiriert wurden. Das Wort “Kanon” bezeichnet dabei einen Standard, an dem sich alles andere messen kann – und muss.

Warum enthalten katholische und protestantische Bibeln eigentlich eine unterschiedliche Anzahl alttestamentlicher Buecher?

Das protestantische Alte Testament gruendet sich auf den hebraeischen Kanon, der damals von den hebraeisch sprechenden Juden in Palestina verwendet wurde. Das katholische Alte Testament hingegen gruendet sich auf den griechischen Kanon, den griechisch sprechende Juden im gesamten Mittelmeerraum (einschliesslich Palaestina) verwendeten.

Waehrend der Herrschaft von Ptolemaeus II Philadelphus (285 – 246 vor Christus) fingen 70 oder 72 juedische Schriftgelehrte (sechs von jedem der zwoelf Staemme, so wie es die Tradition verlangte) in der groessten Buecherei der antiken Welt – der von Alexandria in Aegypten – mit der Uebersetzung der gesamten hebraeischen Bibel ins Griechische. Etwa um 250 – 125 v. Chr. waren sie damit fertig. Die Zahl der Uebersetzer – 70 – ergab den dafuer verwendeten Namen “Septuaginta”, das lateinische Wort fuer 70 (LXX).

Um die Zeit Jesu war Griechisch die allgemein gesprochene Sprache und so wurde die Septuaginta sehr beliebt. Hebraeisch war am aussterben, da die Juden in Palaestina fuer gewoehnlich aramaeisch sprachen. Die Septuaginta war auch die Version, die Jesus und die Schreiber des Neuen Testaments verwendeten. Die ueberwiegende Mehrheit alttestamentlicher Zitate im Neuen Testament stammen aus eben dieser Septuaginta. 340 Mal zitiert das NT die Septuaginta, aber nur 33 Mal den hebraeischen Kanon. Ueber 90 % der Zeit zitieren neutestamentliche Schreiber aus der Septuaginta. An dieser Stelle sollte man auch daran denken, dass das gesamte NT in Griechisch geschrieben wurde!

Bis ins dritte Jahrhundert hinein wurde der hebraeische Kanon in juedischen Schulen fuer Rabbiner verwendet. Dieser rabbinische Judaismus verwarf dann aber sieben Buecher des hebraeischen Kanons, die sich in der Septuaginta fanden: Weisheit, Sirach, Judith, Baruch, Tobit und 1. und 2. Makkabaeer. Ebenso Teile von Daniel und Esther. Warum? Nun, sie konnten keine hebraeischen Versionen dieser Buecher finden, die angeblich von der Septuaginta ins Griechische uebersetzt wurden.

Die Kirche der Christen jedoch verwendete von Anfang an die Septuaginta und tat dies auch weiterhin – ungeachtet dieser spaeter aufkommenden rabbinischer Ansichten.

Auf den Konzilen von Hippo (393 n. Chr.) und Karthago (397 n. Chr.) hat die Kirche dann auch offiziell die 46 Buecher der Septuaginta als den biblischen Kanon fuer das Alte Testament anerkannt und uebernommen.

Dieser alttestamentliche Kanon wurde dann auch 1.500 Jahre lang von der gesamten Christenheit verwendet. Niemand kam auf die Idee, daran zu zweifeln.

Was die sieben Buecher angeht, die vom rabbinischen Judaismus abgelehnt wurden, so sei darauf verwiesen, dass die fruehen Kirchenvaeter sie als “Schrift” und als inspiriert bezeichnet haben – und dies in einem Atemzug mit den bestehenden Buechern, die von niemanden bestritten wurden.

Erst 1529 kam Martin Luther auf die Idee, doch wieder nur die 39 Buecher des rabbinischen Judaismus fuer das Alte Testament zu verwenden. Er gab hierfuer an, der hl. Jerome um 400 daran zweifelte, dass es fuer diese sieben Buecher hebraeische Entsprechungen gab. Inwischen ergab die Forschung jedoch, dass bei den Schriftrollen, die man bei Qumran fand, alte hebraeische Kopien von einigen dieser umstrittenen Buecher waren! Dieses Argument ist also haltlos. Luther – und mit ihm viele heutige Protestanten - hatte wohl noch einen anderen Grund, diese Buecher abzulehnen: sie widersprachen seinen Theorien, etwa was das Fegefeuer oder das Beten zu Verstorbenen (etwa 2 Makk 12, 42-45) anging. Luther fuehlte sich ja auch frei, Woerter in seine Uebersetzung einzufuegen und wollte sogar Jakobus (sowie Esther und die Offenbarung) aus dem neutestamentlichen Kanon  nehmen, da er seinem Konzept von “sola fide” (allein durch den Glauben und nicht durch Glauben und Werke sind wir gerettet) widersprach. Kurz: Luther mochte diese Buecher einfach nicht. Hier sollten sich “bibeltreue” Christen doch einmal ueberlegen, welche Bibel sie denn eigentlich verwenden. Sie werfen ja oft Katholiken vor, sie wuerden der Bibel etwas hinzufuegen (etwa durch “von Menschen gemachte Traditionen”). Sie selbst aber kuerzen die Bibel, die von den Katholiken 2.000 Jahre lang unangetastet blieb und auch fuer immer bleiben wird! Wer ist hier nun “unbiblisch”? Oder sie verwenden die Bibel Luthers, die er eigenmaechtig erweitert hat!

Welche Buecher wuerdest du denn fuer das Alte Testament verwenden? Diejenigen, die auch Jesus, die Schreiber des Neuen Testaments und die fruehe Kirche verwendet hat, oder die Buecher, die erst spaeter von Juden verwendet wurden, die Jesus abgelehnt und die Christen verfolgt hatten?


Das Neue Testament

Das erste Buch des NT ist der 1. Thessalonicherbrief. Er wurde um 50 n. Chr. geschrieben. Die Offenbarung schliesst den Kanon des NT. Sie wurde um 90-100 n. Chr. verfasst. All die 27 Buecher des NT werden sowohl von Protestanten wie von Katholiken als Teil des biblischen Kanons und von Gott inspiriert angesehen. Wer aber hat bestimmt, dass diese 27 Buecher den Kanon des NT ausmachen? Woher koennen wir wissen, dass wir diesen Schriften trauen koennen? Listen von biblischen Buechern wurden von verschiedenen Bischoefen verfasst (Mileto, Bischof von Sardis, 175 n. Chr.; St. Irenaeus, Bischof von Lyon, 185 n. Chr.; Eusebius, Bischof von Caesarea, 325 n. Chr.; Papst Damasus, 382 n. Chr. – auf Draengen des Konzils von Rom verfasste er ein Dekret, in dem er den gegenwaertigen Kanon von 73 Buechern auflistete. Das Konzil von Hippo in Nordafrika bestaetigte 397 n. Chr. den alt- und neutestamentlichen Kanon. Dieses Konzil sehen viele Protestanten als die Autoritaet fuer das NT an. Papst Innozenz  (401 – 417) schliesslich schloss 405 n. Chr. den biblischen Kanon, in dem er die 73 Buecher bestaetigte).

Es war also die Katholische Kirche - ihre Konzile und Paepste, die im 4. Jh. offiziell die den Inhalt der Bibel bestimmten. Bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt aber gab es eine Menge Diskussionen. Schriften wie der Hebraeerbrief, Judas, die Offenbarung, 2. Petrus hielten manche fuer nicht inspiriert, wohingegen andere Schriften wie den Hirten Hermas, das Petrus- und Thomasevangelium, die Briefe von Barnabas und Clemens fuer inspiriert hielten.

Durch diese offizielle Entscheidung der Kirche war das Thema erst einmal erledigt. Zumindest fuer die naechsten 1.100 Jahre – bis zur Reformation.

Die Autoritaet der Katholischen Kirche, die ihr von Jesus selbst gegeben wurde, bestimmte den Inhalt der Bibel und bestaetigte deren goettliche Inspiration. Diese Tatsache gab sogar Martin Luther zu: ohne die Katholische Kirche haetten wir keine Ahnung, welche biblischen Buecher goettlich inspiriert waeren.

Die Bibel ist also eindeutig ein katholisches Buch. Es waren Katholiken, die das Neue Testament schrieben, kopierten und sammelten. Der offizielle biblische Kanon wurde von der Katholischen Kirche bestimmt.

Die Kirche aber, die die Autoritaet hat, das unfehlbare Wort Gottes zu bestimmen, muss damit auch die unfehlbare Fuehrung und Autoritaet des Heiligen Geistes haben. Wer auf die Autoritaet der Bibel vertraut, vertraut damit auch auf die Autoritaet der Kirche, die uns diese Bibel gegeben hat und die uns damit die Sicherheit verschafft hat, dass das, was in der Bibel steht, das wirkliche Wort Gottes ist. Wer die Bibel annimmt, aber die Kirche, die uns diese Bibel gegeben hat, zurueck weist, widerspricht sich selbst.

Es macht also keinen Sinn, wenn Protestanten die Bibel zitieren, um ihre Thesen zu belegen, da sie ja nicht wissen koennen, welche Buecher zum biblischen Kanon gehoeren – ausser sie akzeptieren die Autoritaet der Katholischen Kirche.


(Quelle: u.a. “Beginning Apologetics 1 – How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith”, Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, San Juan Catholic Seminars, www.catholicapologetics.com, erhaeltlich auch bei www.familylifecenter.net)

 

The Word is Alive!!

Lasst uns eines nie vergessen:

Jesus ist nicht einfach gestorben und hat uns ein Buch hinterlassen. Er hat uns nicht einfach verlassen und wird dann irgendwann in ferner Zukunft wiederkommen.

"Das Wort" ist nicht nur das geschriebene Wort Gottes (die Heilige Schrift), sondern es ist Fleisch geworden und hat unter uns gewohnt: JESUS ist das lebendige Wort Gottes!

Und er ist immer noch bei und in uns - durch den Heiligen Geist.

"Das Wort" ist auch das überlieferte Wort, die Tradition, sowie das kirchliche Lehramt und unter Umständen auch persönliche Offenbarungen.

In all dem offenbart sich Gott dem Menschen. In all dem können wir Ihn wiederfinden und uns von Ihm leiten lassen!

 

Was ist das eigentlich, das "Wort Gottes"?

Die meisten würden nun antworten: "Ist doch klar, die Bibel".

Ganz so klar ist es aber dann doch nicht.

Das "Wort Gottes" ist alles, wodurch sich Gott uns offenbart.

In der Heiligen Schrift bedeutet das "Wort Gottes" im Alten Testament etwa:

Das prophetische Wort. Proheten nennen ihre Rede "Spruch" und reden im Namen Gottes, also mit Gottes Autorität. Ihre Rede ist zugleich kritisch und mahnend, verspricht aber auch Heil und ermutigt somit auch. Das "Wort Gottes" wird hier in menschlicher Sprache offenbar und man kann es zitieren. (siehe auch: Jes 6,8; Jer 1,4.9.11; 20,8ff).

Es bedeutet im Alten Testament auch Vorgänge der Berufung, der Verheißung und der Führung (siehe hierzu Gen 12,1ff; 15,1.12; 28,12). Gott teilt sich hier etwa mit durch "Erscheinungen", durch Traum und Vision.

Ferner bedeutet es die gesamte Geschichte Israels sowie die Welt als Gottes Schöpfung, die auf das "Sprechen" und das "Wort Gottes" zurückgeführt werden kann. (vgl. Dtn 8,3; Ps 107,20; Weish 16,26; 18,14ff; Gen 1,1ff; Ps 33,6.9).


Im Neuen Testament bedeutet "Wort Gottes":

Das Gotteswort des Alten Testaments ((vgl. Mk 7,13; Joh 10,35).

Die Worte Jesu sowie Seine gesamte Verkündigung (vgl. Mk 1,14.22; 13,31; Mt 11,25-27; Joh 14,10.24; 17,8).

Die Verkündigung der Apostel vom Heilswirken Gottes in Jesus (vgl. Apg 4,31; 6,2.7; 1 Thess 2,13).

Schließlich auch Jesus Christus selbst, der das göttliche "Wort" ist, das "Fleisch geworden ist" (vgl. Joh 1,1f.14; 1 Joh 1,1; Offb 19,13)



In der Theologie bedeutet das "Wort Gottes":

In der biblischen Theologie die Bedeutungen des biblischen Stichworts im gesamten Kontext der Heiligen Schrift.

In der Trinitätslehre ist das ewige "Wort Gottes" die zweite Person der Dreieinigkeit.

In der Fundamentaltheologie wird erklärt, was es bedeutet, wenn von der Bibel als "inspiriertes Wort Gottes" die Rede ist.

Die "Theologie der Verkündigung" erläutert, wie dieses "Wort Gottes" entsprechend zum Wort der Apostel im kirchlichen "Dienst am Wort" gegenwärtig und Realität wird.



Wenn wir vom "Wort Gottes" sprechen, beziehen wir uns zunächst einmal auf Gott selbst als Urheber dieses Wortes. Er hat sich den Menschen durch sein Wort zugewandt (vgl. Dtn, 4,6ff; Jes 55,8-11; Ps 147,20; Joh 1,1f.14. Siehe auch Joh 1,18).

Das "Wort Gottes" bezieht sich aber nicht nur auf die Herkunft von Gott, sondern weist auch darauf hin, dass sein Inhalt von Gott handelt. Da, wo Gott sich selbst den Menschen in irgend einer Form mitteilt, sprechen wir vom "Wort Gottes". Gott hat sich etwa in Israel (vgl. Ex 3,14; Jer 30,21f) sowie in der Geschichte Israels in Jesus mitgeteilt (vgl. Eph 1,5).





Wenn es in der Liturgie nach den Lesungen heisst "Wort des lebendigen Gottes", drückt man sich dann wirklich klar und richtig aus? Können alle Texte der Bibel so bezeichnet werden?

Ja, aber nur wenn es darum geht, Texte im Gesamtzusammenhang der Heiligen Schrift zu sehen. Einzelne biblische Texte sind also nur im Kontext der gesamten Bibel "Wort Gottes" und können nur so richtig gesehen, interpretiert und letztlich verstanden werden.

Gott offenbart sich - in menschlichen Sprachen und in begrenzten und endlichen Medien. Daran muss man immer denken, da eine Sprache auch immer eine bestimme Zeit und die Charakteristika ihrer Autoren wiederspiegelt.

Menschliche Worte können also von Gott sprechen und Ihn so erfahrbar machen, allerdings hat in einer solchen Verkündigung zum Ausdruck zu kommen, dass Gottes Macht eine befreiende, richtende und erlösende ist.

Somit kann Verkündigung auch "indirekt" - etwa in Büchern und Filmen geschehen. Diese sind zwar nicht mit der Heiligen Schrift gleichzusetzen. In der Bibel alleine kommt Gott zur Sprache. Die Bibel ist vom Heiligen Geist gewirkt und inspiriert und zeugt somit von Gott.

(Quelle: www.fernkurswuerzburg.de. Go and get it!)

"Das Auto ist im Eimer"?

Manchmal vergessen wir, dass die Bibel zwar von Gott inspiriert wird, aber oft Bilder und Vergleiche verwendet, die den Menschen zur damaligen Zeit sehr geläufig und vertraut waren, von uns aber ohne den nötigen Hintergrund nicht mehr verstanden werden können.

Ein Beispiel: Wenn wir heute sagen "das Auto ist im Eimer", ist uns klar, was damit gemeint ist. Wenn aber jemand viele Hundert Jahre später denselben Satz liest, darf er diesen nicht einfach mit seinem aktuellen Verständnis lesen, also"wörtlich nehmen". Wie kann ein Auto denn in einen Eimer passen? Nein, er muss wissen und verstehen, was die Menschen damals mit diesem Ausdruck gemeint haben und was sie damit sagen wollten!

(in Anlehnung an Bruder Elias von den Karmelitern in Straubing)

 

Im Konzil von Trient wurden 1546 die apokryphischen Schriften von der Katholischen Kirche der Bibel hinzugefügt!

Derartige Mythen entstammen zumeist der anti-katholischen „Bibel“ von Loraine Boettner: „Roman Catholicism“. Dieses Buch greift zum einen die Katholische Kirche an, zum anderen verteidigt es die privaten Ueberzeugungen von Boettner. Aus intelektueller und wissenschaftlicher Sicht ist dieses Buch schlichtweg inakzeptabel. Dennoch aber fallen immer noch Christen darauf herein und zitieren ungeprueft „Fakten“ aus diesem Werk. Die ersten paar hundert Jahre Kirchengeschichte und deren Schriften scheinen ebenso spurlos an Boettner voruebergezogen zu sein. Offensichtlich kennt er die Schriften der Kirchenvaeter noch nicht einmal. Hingegen scheint er kritiklos jede These als wahr anzunehmen, sofern sie nur von einem Gegner der Katholischen Kirche aufgestellt wurde. Seine Zitate und Referenzen scheint er nicht einmal ueberprueft zu haben. Tut man dies, findet man schnell heraus, dass so einiges einfach falsch ist, sprich die Zitate teils noch nicht einmal existieren, also keinen realen Hintergrund haben. Das theologische Forschungsergebnis dieses Buches ist schlichtweg gleich Null. Referenzen auf katholische Werke sind in diesem Buch so vage, dass es den Anschein hat, als wolle er den Leser entmutigen, die Behauptungen dort nachzulesen (nicht-katholische Werke werden jedoch mit Titel und Seite zitiert!). Teils fehlen Zitate und Referenzen voellig. Dieses Buch ist ganz einfach bodenlos – und dennoch haben viele Christen offenbar kein Problem damit, daraus zu zitieren und ihre Behauptungen unter die Menschen zu bringen. Auf Basis des christlichen Glaubens sollte man doch vielleicht ueberlegen, ob das die richtige Einstellung sein kann. Boettner interessiert sich scheinbar ueberhaupt nicht dafuer, was die Katholische Kirche glaubt und warum sie es glaubt. Ebensowenig interessiert ihn, wie Katholiken seine Einwaende erwiedern wuerden. Oder er weiss es ganz einfach nicht. Er stellt nicht die katholische Position sachlich und fair dar und versucht dann, diese zu widerlegen, sondern er macht eine Parodie aus derselben – und widerlegt dann die Parodie. Ferner gibt es hunderte von faktischen Fehlern in diesem Buch – teilweise sogar richtig gravierende Fehler (etwa falsche Zitate, also Zitate, die den falschen Autoren zugeschrieben werden oder nicht als Faelschungen erkannt wurden, obwohl dies unschwer herauszubekommen gewesen waere), die sich nicht einfach nur mit Nachlaessigkeit erklaeren lassen.

So ist Boettner auch der Meinung, die Katholische Kirche habe die „Einfachheit des Evangeliums“ verlassen und Glaubensueberzeugungen und Praktiken hinzugefuegt, die der Bibel widersprechen. Menschliche Erfindungen haetten biblische Wahrheiten ersetzt.

Eine seiner Behauptungen ist etwa die oben genannte: Das Konzil von Trient haette 1546 die apokryphischen Buecher der Bibel hinzugefuegt.

Fakt ist: Das Konzil von Trient hat der Bibel nicht das hinzugefuegt, was Protestanten die apokryphischen Buecher nennen. Ganz im Gegenteil: Die Reformer liessen Buecher fallen, die seit Jahrunderten im allgemeinen Gebrauch waren! Das Konzil von Trient kam zusammen, um katholische Doktrinen zu bekraeftigen und der Katholischen Kirche neues Leben zu geben. Das Konzil von Trient erklaerte, dass diese Buecher immer zur Bibel gehoert hatten und deshalb auch Bestandteil der Bibel bleiben muessten. Vergessen wir nicht, dass es die Katholische Kirche war, die im 4. Jahrhundert entschieden hatte, welche Buecher Bestandteil der Bibel waren und welche nicht! Das Konzil von Trient kam erst ca. 1.200 Jahre spaeter auf die Bildflaeche und bekraeftigte schlichtweg nur die alte Position.

Um es nochmals anders zu sagen: Es war NICHT die Katholische Kirche, die der Bibel irgendwelche Buecher hinzugefuegt hatte, sondern die Protestanten, die diese „deuterokanonischen“ Buecher viele Jahrunderte spaeter aus der Bibel entfernt hatten. Die fruehe Kirche hatte mit diesen Buechern kein Problem und sah sie als Bestandteil der Bibel an. Auch ein Punkt, der denen, die das „Urchristentum“ widerherstellen moechten, zu denken geben sollte.

Von welchen Buechern reden wir hier ueberhaupt? Nun, es sind diese: Tobit, Judit, das erste und zweite Buch der Makkabaeer, das Buch der Weisheit, Jesus Sirach und Baruch.

Katholische Bibeln enthalten ausserdem auch zusaetzliche sechs Kapitel (107 Verse) in Esther und drei Kapitel (174 Verse) in Daniel.

Selbst etliche protestantische Theologen und Historiker geben zu, dass die Fuehrer der Kirche in den ersten vier Jahrhunderten diese sieben Buecher als Bestandteil der Bibel sahen. Sie folgten damit der Septuaginta, der griechischen Uebersetsetzung des Alten Testaments sowie dem Konzil von Rom 382.

Es gibt weiterhin eine Uebereinstimmung unter Gelehrten, dass dieser Kanon vom vierten bis zum 16. Jahrhundert allgemein anerkannt war. Die fruehesten griechischen Manuskripte des Alten Testaments – der Codex Sinaiticus aus dem vierten Jahrhundert und der Codex Alexandrinus (450) enthalten diese deuterokanonischen Buecher.

Die Schriftrollen, die man in Qumran am Toten Meer fand, enthielten zwar nicht Esther, aber sehr wohl Tobit.

Manche Protestanten moegen hier einwenden, dass der Hl. Jerome, der groesste biblische Gelehrte der fruehen Kirche, diese Buecher nicht akzeptiert hatte. Was tatsaechlich Bestandteil des Alten Testaments war, wissen wir von der juedischen Synode von Jamnia (A.D. 90) – und diese hat die apokryphischen Schriften nicht angenommen. Die Juden muessen doch aber am besten wissen, welche Buecher Bestandteil des Alten Testaments waren!

Jamnia aber war nicht ein Konzil, das irgendeine Autoritaet hatte, sondern schlichtweg eine Versammlung von Gelehrten. In Jamnia wurde uebrigens auch bestritten, dass Buecher wie Esther, Prediger und das Hohelied zum biblischen Kanon gehoeren. Diese Buecher werden aber sowohl von Protestanten wie von Katholiken akzeptiert! Auf dem Konzil von Jamnia wurde also nichts entschieden. Die Juden diskutierten noch darueber, welche Buecher zum Kanon gehoeren sollten (hierzu gehoerte uebrigens auch Sprichwoerter). Diese Diskussion zog sich bis in das fruehe zweite Jahrhundert hin.

Ausserdem war die Position des Hl. Jerome nicht so klar, wie manche meinen moegen. In seiner lateinischen Uebersetzung der Bibel, der Vulgate, waren die deuterokanonischen Buecher sehr wohl enthalten! Auch verteidigte er die Tatsache, dass Judit goettlich inspiriert sei. Es gibt also keinen klaren Beweis, dass der Hl. Jerome diese sieben Buecher abgelehnt haette. Es gibt aber sehr wohl Grund zur Annahme, dass er sie zum biblischen Kanon zaehlte. Der Hl. Jerome oder irgendein anderer Kirchenvater hat ausserdem nicht die letzte Autoritaet in der Kirche.

(Quelle: Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism. The Attack on „Romanism“ by „Bible Christians“. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988. Dave Armstrong, The One-Minute Apologist. Essential Catholic Replies to Over Sixty Common Protestant Claims. Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2007. Go and get them!)

 

Ein Freund von mir hat gesagt, dass seine Kirche die Bibel wörtlich nimmt, die Katholische Kirche aber nicht - ist das wahr?

Daran ist absolut gar nichts wahr. Katholiken interpretieren die Bibel in einem „wörtlichen“ Sinn, während viele Fundamentalisten, Evangelikale und andere die Bibel in einem anderen Sinn interpretieren.

Die „wörtliche“ Bedeutung eines biblischen Verses ist die Bedeutung, die der Autor dieses Verses vermitteln wollte. Die Interpretation, wie sie jedoch bei einigen Protestanten üblich ist, ist folgende: „Das, was dieser Vers sagt, ist das, was er bedeutet“.

Ein Beispiel, das mir einmal ein Karmelitenpater erzählt hat: Stell dir vor, du verwendest den Ausdruck „das Auto ist im Eimer“. Heute würde jeder Mensch verstehen, was damit gemeint ist: das Auto ist kaputt. Wenn jedoch in 2.000 Jahren jemand dies liest und diesen Ausdruck nicht kennt, kann er versucht sein, ihn nicht so zu verstehen, wie ihn der Autor gemeint hat, sondern ihn wörtlich zu nehmen und alle anderen, die nicht der Meinung sind, dass das Auto in einem Plastikeimer steckt, mit den besten Absichten, aber doch grundfalsch als „unbiblisch“ bezeichnen.

(Quelle: u.a. Dr. John Martignoni www.biblechristiansociety.com)

Unterschiede im Bibelverständnis zwischen Katholiken und "Freikirchlern"

Eine gängige Praxis bei evangelikalen oder anderen nicht-katholischen Christinnen und Christen:

Um zu erfahren, was die Bibel zu einem bestimmten Thema sagt, suchen sie nach Bibelstellen hierzu - also Bibelstellen, die genau dieses Wort oder Thema enthalten. Diese Bibelstellen werden dann als "Beleg" für Aussagen der Bibel zu diesem Thema verwendet und im täglichen Leben angewandt.

Das ist eine sehr ehrenwerte Einstellung, aber unvollständig.

Katholiken sehen die Bibel als Ganzes, als eine Einheit. Sie verstehen, dass das Neue Testament bereits im Alten "verborgen" ist und das Alte Testament im Neuen enthüllt wird. Beides kann nur zusammen gesehen werden. Auch verstehen sie, dass Bibelverse, die aus dem Zusammenhang gerissen werden, um irgendwelche Aussagen zu treffen, verzerrte bzw. missverständliche Ergebnisse bringen können.

Betrachtet man die Bibel als Ganzes und beachtet vor allem auch alle Prinzipien der Bibelauslegung, so stellt man oft fest, dass die Bibel zu bestimmten Einzelthemen keine direkten Aussagen macht, wohl aber die Standards setzt, nach denen diese Einzelthemen beurteilt werden können.

The Canon of the Bible

All Christians realize that if God has revealed Himself by communicating His will to man, man must be able to know with assurance where that revelation lies. Hence the need for a list (i.e. canon) of books of the Bible. In other words, man needs to know without error (i.e. infallibly) what the books of the Bible are. There must be an authority which will make that decision.

The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included therein. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. "Canon" (Greek kanon) means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure. Because God did not explicitly reveal what books are the inspired books of the Bible, title by title, to anyone, we must look to His guidance in discovering the canon of the Bible.

Jesus has told us that he has not revealed all truths to us.

Jn 16:12-13
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

Jesus then told us how he was planning to assist us in knowing other truths.

Jn 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.
Jn 15:26
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

The New Testament writers sensed how they handled truth-bearing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

1 Cor 15:3-4
For I handed on (paredoka) to you as of first importance what I also received ...
2 Tim 2:2
And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust (parathou) to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.

There was a constant history of faithful people from Paul's time through the Apostolic and Post Apostolic Church.

Melito, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor (see Rev 3), c. 170 AD produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.
The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today's canon. This was one of the Church's earliest decisions on a canon.
Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today's canon.
The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus' Decree.
Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.
The Council of Hippo, a local north Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today.
The Council of Carthage, a local north Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397. This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.
Since the Roman Catholic Church does not define truths unless errors abound on the matter, Roman Catholic Christians look to the Council of Florence, an ecumenical council in 1441 for the first definitive list of canonical books.
The final infallible definition of canonical books for Roman Catholic Christians came from the Council of Trent in 1556 in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books from the canon of scripture to that time.

There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible. It was the Church--her leadership, faithful people--guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. Fixed canons of the Old and New Testaments, hence the Bible, were not known much before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century.

Catholic Christians together with Protestant and Evangelical Christians hold the same canon of the New Testament, 27 books, all having been originally written in the Greek language.

Catholic Christians accept the longer Old Testament canon, 46 books, from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Alexandrian Canon.

Protestant and Evangelical Christians, from the Reformers onward, accept the shorter Old Testament canon, 39 books, from the Hebrew Palestinian Canon. Jews have the same canon as Protestants.

Canonical books are those books which have been acknowledged as belonging to the list of books the Church considers to be inspired and to contain a rule of faith and morals. Some criteria used to determine canonicity were

    • special relation to God, i.e., inspiration;
    • apostolic origin;
    • used in Church services, i.e., used by the community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit.

Other terms for canonical books should be distinguished: the protocanonical books, deuterocanonical books, and the apocryphal books.

The protocanonical (from the Greek proto meaning first) books are those books of the Bible that were admitted into the canon of the Bible with little or no debate (e.g., the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the Gospels)

The deuterocanonical (from the Greek deutero meaning second) books are those books of the Bible that were under discussion for a while until doubts about their canonicity were resolved (e.g. Sirach and Baruch of the Old Testament, and the Johannine epistles of the New Testament).

The apocryphal (from the Greek apokryphos meaning hidden) books have multiple meanings:

    • complimentary meaning - that the sacred books were too exalted for the general public;
    • pejorative meaning - that the orthodoxy of the books were questioned;
    • heretical meaning - that the books were forbidden to be read; and lastly
    • neutral meaning - simply noncanonical books, the meaning the word has today.

Another word, pseudepigrapha (from the Greek meaning false writing) is used for works clearly considered to be false.

 

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Hermeneutics: Understanding Revelation

In all human communication, the receiver must create meaning from the symbols (the message) used by the communicator. All Christians must discover the meaning intended by the author(s) of the books of the Bible to understand what God is revealing. The process of discovering meaning from the Bible is called hermeneutics. All Christians recognize that how we approach the Bible determines often what we take from it. Understanding what God would have us know from the Bible is made difficult by many factors:

  •  
    • The Bible contains some very ancient books;
    • Sometimes it is not even known who the author of a book really was;
    • Not knowing for certain who an author was is complicated by the period of time in which an author lived;
    • Since many authors were ancient Semites, their way of thinking and manner of expressing themselves differ from our own;
    • Since we do not possess any original manuscripts of the books of the Bible, we have to contend with copying and editing which occurred over time;
    • Then the issue of the multiplicity of human authors and editors complicates our understanding;
    • Finally, the fact of both a divine and a human author makes understanding a challenge.

Hermeneutics (from the Greek word hermeneia which means speech or interpretation) is used to cover a broad scope in the process of understanding. It refers to

  •  
    • interpretation by speech itself, as language interprets the mind;
    • the process of translation from an unintelligible language to an intelligible one (cf. 1 Cor 12:10);
    • interpretation by commentary and explanation.

Roman Catholic Christians have often been accused of not being allowed to read the Bible on their own. This could not be further from the truth. When, in history, Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible it was a particular translation which usually was unauthorized and highly illiterate in its fidelity to original sources. In other words, unauthorized versions were often just simply bad translations.

It is often said Roman Catholics cannot interpret the Bible on their own. The Papal Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritus, of Pope Pius XII in 1943 attempted to counteract this error by stating that there are but few texts whose understanding has been determined by the teaching authority of the Church; and Catholics do indeed have freedom to interpret the Scriptures.

The Catholic Church has been solicitous over the way in which the Bible is interpreted. Experience teaches us that it is easy to find even contradictory meanings from the same Scripture with an unbridled approach to reading and interpreting the Bible.

The Catholic Church teaches that the first principle of hermeneutics is the literal meaning of the text.

Spiritus Paraclitus (Benedict XV, September 15, 1920)
As Jerome insisted, all biblical interpretation rests upon the literal sense ...
Divino Afflante Spiritus (Pius XII, September 30, 1943)
... discern and define that sense of the biblical words which is called literal ... so that the mind of the author may be made clear.... the exegete must be principally concerned with the literal sense of the Scriptures.

Literal Sense

The first sense then for understanding the Bible is the literal sense.

Definition: the literal sense of Scripture is the meaning which the human author directly intended and the author's words convey.

Criteria to understand the literal sense:

  •  
    • The literary form that the author used is the first aid in determining what the author meant. If the author wrote poetry instead of history, then the literary form of poetry assists in determining the meaning intended by the author. Some other literary forms of the Bible include history, law, songs, love stories, stories (parables), etc.
    • The literary history of the biblical book or of the section of the Bible that contains the book also aids in determining the meaning intended by the author. Literary history of a book includes what is known about the author, his background, his historical period of Israel's history, etc.

An example of the Church using the literal sense of a scripture passage in order to understand what meaning we should get from it is the 6th chapter of the Gospel according to John.

Literary Form of John 6:25-69:

Most scripture scholars today affirm that John's gospel is historical in nature. Hence we believe that John strove to preserve both the words and actions of Jesus. Unlike the Synoptics, John wrote through the eyes of the faith of the late Apostolic Church in light of the way that faith translated into practice and worship.

Where John is clearly biographical, the literal meaning is emphasized by linguistic psychology: multiple repetition of the message in different words. Where literalness is intended, intended meaning is reinforced by recording the reaction to literal meaning by the hearers without the speaker's correction.

Literary History of John 6:25-69:

The apostle John was an eyewitness to the life and teachings of Jesus. He was one of the Twelve. He was also the last of the Apostles to write and to die. He refers to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved."

Interpretation of John 6:25-69:

Following the details of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes--biographical, Jesus walking on the sea--biographical, Jesus reacts to the crowds' need for signs. Jesus takes them from manna, bread from heaven, to "true bread from heaven (v. 32)" ... "I am the bread (v. 35)." "I am the bread that came down from heaven (v. 41)." This is God saying this: "I am the bread that came down from heaven." If He was not really the bread that came down from heaven, His omnipotent and creative Word would then have made it so.

Five times in different verbal expressions, Jesus confirmed the reality of the meaning he intended.

Jn 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
Jn 6:53
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."
Jn 6:54
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
Jn 6:55
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Jn 6:56
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

The best way a person can make a clear literal point is repetition of the same message in different ways. Jesus did this. Those around him clearly understood what he was saying--cannibalism and the drinking of blood--both forbidden by Mosaic Law.

Jn 6:60,66
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" ... As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Had these disciples mistaken the meaning of Jesus' words, Jesus, knowing their thoughts and their error, would surely have known and corrected them. He didn't. They had clearly understood his meaning--Jesus' flesh was to be really eaten; his blood to be really drunk.

Fuller Sense

But the Bible has God, a divine author, besides the human author. The Church teaches that there exists a more-than-literal meaning for understanding the Bible: a fuller sense.

Definition: The fuller sense is the deeper meaning intended by God as divine author. The fuller sense of Scripture, since it is the meaning intended by God, may not have been clearly known and intended by the human author.

Criteria to establish the fuller sense:

  •  
    • Because the Catholic Church holds that there are two revealing authorities of Divine Revelation, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, the fuller sense of the Bible can be found in the authoritative interpretation of those revealing authorities. Some of these authorities are the New Testament itself, the Fathers of the Church, the Church in Council (cf. Acts 15 model), the "faithful people" faithful to what was handed down to them, etc. The Spirit of Truth is entrusted to faithful people as an authority in the Church.
    • The fuller sense of any Scripture text has to be in agreement with the literal sense of the words. This fuller sense must be a consequential development of what the human author of the text intended to say.

An example of the fuller sense in the interpretation of Scripture is found by looking at the New Testament.

In the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 23, Matthew says that the conception of Jesus by Mary was a virginal conception and took place so that the words of the prophet Isaiah (7:14) might be fulfilled.

Isaiah gives no evidence that the prophet had Jesus' conception in the womb of Mary in mind. Isaiah does not speak of a virgin in the strict sense--merely an unmarried woman. Isaiah is not clear that he is even speaking to a distant future conception. The whole meaning of Isaiah's chapter appears to imply that the birth he prophesies will take place about 735 B.C. during the reign of King Ahaz the father of the future King Hezekiah. The words of Isaiah may have literally meant the conception of the future King Hezekiah. At the time of Isaiah's words in chapter 7, the mother of the future King Hezekiah would have been unmarried.

Matthew, on the other hand, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, creates an interpretation of Isaiah which is definitely not literal. Matthew clearly interprets Isaiah in a fuller sense: the unmarried woman is the virgin Mary, and God-with-us is Jesus.

Typical Sense

Following the lead of Paul himself (cf. Rom 5:14) there is another way for creating meaning in the Bible: the typical sense.

Definition: The typical sense of Bible texts is the deeper meaning that some elements (persons, places, things and events) of the Bible have because God, the divine author of the Bible, intended that these elements foreshadow/shadow further things.

Criteria to understanding the typical sense:

  •  
    • The typical sense of the Bible is created by continuing revelation or growth in the understanding the Word of God. Extra-biblical growth in understanding the Word of God is evidenced in the growth and development of the understanding of the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc. Types--the typical sense--are discovered in the New Testament, or in the agreement among "faithful people" faithful to what was handed down to them--the Fathers of the Church, in worship-- the liturgy--and its development through the ages, in the documents of the Church, etc. The Catholic Church believes that the Holy Spirit is a revealing authority in the Church and reveals Himself to "faithful people" in all ages.
    • The other criterion for discovering the typical meaning of Scripture is understanding that any type found in the text of the Bible has to be related to the anti-type (e.g., Christ to Adam). This confirms that God planned the relationship of the type to the anti-type.

An example of the typical meaning in the Bible is in Paul's writings. Paul appears to delight in establishing types between the New Testament and the Old Testament. In 1 Cor 10:6 Paul typifies those events which occurred to the Israelites in the desert of Sinai throughout the Exodus to those things that happen to Christians.

Another example of a type--the typical meaning in the Bible--is the bronze serpent raised by Moses in the desert. The evangelist John presents raising the bronze serpent as a type of Christ crucified (3:14).

(Quelle: http://romanticcatholic.com/apologetics.html - used with permission)

 

Dei Verbum

DOGMATISCHE KONSTITUTION
DEI VERBUM
ÜBER DIE GÖTTLICHE OFFENBARUNG

VORWORT

 

1. Gottes Wort voll Ehrfurcht hörend und voll Zuversicht verkündigend, folgt die Heilige Synode den Worten des heiligen Johannes: "Wir künden euch das ewige Leben, das beim Vater war und uns erschien. Was wir gesehen und gehört haben, künden wir euch, damit auch ihr Gemeinschaft habt mit uns und unsere Gemeinschaft. Gemeinschaft sei mit dem Vater und mit seinem Sohn Jesus Christus" (1 Joh 1,2-3). Darum will die Synode in Nachfolge des Trienter und des Ersten Vatikanischen Konzils die echte Lehre über die göttliche Offenbarung und deren Weitergabe vorlegen, damit die ganze Welt im Hören auf die Botschaft des Heiles glaubt, im Glauben hofft und in der Hoffnung liebt (1).

KAPITEL I

DIE OFFENBARUNG IN SICH

2. Gott hat in seiner Güte und Weisheit beschlossen, sich selbst zu offenbaren und das Geheimnis seines Willens kundzutun (vgl. Eph 1,9): daß die Menschen durch Christus, das fleischgewordene Wort, im Heiligen Geist Zugang zum Vater haben und teilhaftig werden der göttlichen Natur (vgl. Eph 2,18; 2 Petr 1,4). In dieser Offenbarung redet der unsichtbare Gott (vgl. Kol 1,15; 1 Tim 1,17) aus überströmender Liebe die Menschen an wie Freunde (vgl. Ex 33,11; Joh 15,14-15) und verkehrt mit ihnen (vgl. Bar 3,38), um sie in seine Gemeinschaft einzuladen und aufzunehmen. Das Offenbarungsgeschehen ereignet sich in Tat und Wort, die innerlich miteinander verknüpft sind: die Werke nämlich, die Gott im Verlauf der Heilsgeschichte wirkt, offenbaren und bekräftigen die Lehre und die durch die Worte bezeichneten Wirklichkeiten; die Worte verkündigen die Werke und lassen das Geheimnis, das sie enthalten, ans Licht treten. Die Tiefe der durch diese Offenbarung über Gott und über das Heil des Menschen erschlossenen Wahrheit leuchtet uns auf in Christus, der zugleich der Mittler und die Fülle der ganzen Offenbarung ist (2).

3. Gott, der durch das Wort alles erschafft (vgl. Joh 1,3) und erhält, gibt den Menschen jederzeit in den geschaffenen Dingen Zeugnis von sich (vgl. Röm 1,19-20). Da er aber den Weg übernatürlichen Heiles eröffnen wollte, hat er darüber hinaus sich selbst schon am Anfang den Stammeltern kundgetan. Nach ihrem Fall hat er sie wiederaufgerichtet in Hoffnung auf das Heil, indem er die Erlösung versprach (vgl. Gen 3,15). Ohne Unterlaß hat er für das Menschengeschlecht gesorgt, um allen das ewige Leben zu geben, die das Heil suchen durch Ausdauer im guten Handeln (vgl. Röm 2,6-7). Später berief er Abraham, um ihn zu einem großen Volk zu machen (vgl. Gen 12,2), das er dann nach den Patriarchen durch Moses und die Propheten erzog, ihn allein als lebendigen und wahren Gott, als fürsorgenden Vater und gerechten Richter anzuerkennen und auf den versprochenen Erlöser zu harren. So hat er dem Evangelium den Weg durch die Zeiten bereitet.

4. Nachdem Gott viele Male und auf viele Weisen durch die Propheten gesprochen hatte, "hat er zuletzt in diesen Tagen zu uns gesprochen im Sohn" (Hebr 1,1-2). Er hat seinen Sohn, das ewige Wort, das Licht aller Menschen, gesandt, damit er unter den Menschen wohne und ihnen vom Innern Gottes Kunde bringe (vgl. Joh 1,1-18). Jesus Christus, das fleischgewordene Wort, als "Mensch zu den Menschen" gesandt (3), "redet die Worte Gottes" (Joh 3,34) und vollendet das Heilswerk, dessen Durchführung der Vater ihm aufgetragen hat (vgl. Joh 5,36; 17,4). Wer ihn sieht, sieht auch den Vater (vgl. Joh 14,9). Er ist es, der durch sein ganzes Dasein und seine ganze Erscheinung, durch Worte und Werke, durch Zeichen und Wunder, vor allem aber durch seinen Tod und seine herrliche Auferstehung von den Toten, schließlich durch die Sendung des Geistes der Wahrheit die Offenbarung erfüllt und abschließt und durch göttliches Zeugnis bekräftigt, daß Gott mit uns ist, um uns aus der Finsternis von Sünde und Tod zu befreien und zu ewigem Leben zu erwecken. Daher ist die christliche Heilsordnung, nämlich der neue und endgültige Bund, unüberholbar, und es ist keine neue öffentliche Offenbarung mehr zu erwarten vor der Erscheinung unseres Herrn Jesus Christus in Herrlichkeit (vgl. 1 Tim 6,14 und Tit 2,13).

5. Dem offenbarenden Gott ist der "Gehorsam des Glaubens" (Röm 16,26; vgl. Röm 1,5; 2 Kor 10,5-6) zu leisten. Darin überantwortet sich der Mensch Gott als ganzer in Freiheit, indem er sich "dem offenbarenden Gott mit Verstand und Willen voll unterwirft" (4) und seiner Offenbarung willig zustimmt. Dieser Glaube kann nicht vollzogen werden ohne die zuvorkommende und helfende Gnade Gottes und ohne den inneren Beistand des Heiligen Geistes, der das Herz bewegen und Gott zuwenden, die Augen des Verstandes öffnen und "es jedem leicht machen muß, der Wahrheit zuzustimmen und zu glauben" (5). Dieser Geist vervollkommnet den Glauben ständig durch seine Gaben, um das Verständnis der Offenbarung mehr und mehr zu vertiefen.

6. Durch seine Offenbarung wollte Gott sich selbst und die ewigen Entscheidungen seines Willens über das Heil der Menschen kundtun und mitteilen, "um Anteil zu geben am göttlichen Reichtum, der die Fassungskraft des menschlichen Geistes schlechthin übersteigt" (6). Die Heilige Synode bekennt, "daß Gott, aller Dinge Ursprung und Ziel, mit dem natürlichen Licht der menschlichen Vernunft aus den geschaffenen Dingen sicher erkannt werden kann" (vgl. Röm 1,20); doch lehrt sie, seiner Offenbarung sei es zuzuschreiben, "daß, was im Bereich des Göttlichen der menschlichen Vernunft an sich nicht unzugänglich ist, auch in der gegenwärtigen Lage des Menschengeschlechtes von allen leicht, mit sicherer Gewißheit und ohne Beimischung von Irrtum erkannt werden kann"(7).

KAPITEL II

DIE WEITERGABE DER GÖTTLICHEN OFFENBARUNG

7. Was Gott zum Heil aller Völker geoffenbart hatte, das sollte so hat er in Güte verfügt - für alle Zeiten unversehrt erhalten bleiben und allen Geschlechtern weitergegeben werden. Darum hat Christus der Herr, in dem die ganze Offenbarung des höchsten Gottes sich vollendet (vgl. 2 Kor 1,20; 3,16 - 4,6), den Aposteln geboten, das Evangelium, das er als die Erfüllung der früher ergangenen prophetischen Verheißung selbst gebracht und persönlich öffentlich verkündet hat, allen zu predigen als die Quelle jeglicher Heilswahrheit und Sittenlehre (1) und ihnen so göttliche Gaben mitzuteilen. Das ist treu ausgeführt worden, und zwar sowohl durch die Apostel, die durch mündliche Predigt, durch Beispiel und Einrichtungen weitergaben, was sie aus Christi Mund, im Umgang mit ihm und durch seine Werke empfangen oder was sie unter der Eingebung des Heiligen Geistes gelernt hatten, als auch durch jene Apostel und apostolischen Männer, die unter der Inspiration des gleichen Heiligen Geistes die Botschaft vom Heil niederschrieben (2).

Damit das Evangelium in der Kirche für immer unversehrt und lebendig bewahrt werde, haben die Apostel Bischöfe als ihre Nachfolger zurückgelassen und ihnen "ihr eigenes Lehramt überliefert" (3). Diese Heilige Überlieferung und die Heilige Schrift beider Testamente sind gleichsam ein Spiegel, in dem die Kirche Gott, von dem sie alles empfängt, auf ihrer irdischen Pilgerschaft anschaut, bis sie hingeführt wird, ihn von Angesicht zu Angesicht zu sehen, so wie er ist (vgl. 1 Joh 3,2).

8. Daher mußte die apostolische Predigt, die in den inspirierten Büchern besonders deutlichen Ausdruck gefunden hat, in ununterbrochener Folge bis zur Vollendung der Zeiten bewahrt werden. Wenn die Apostel das, was auch sie empfangen haben, überliefern, mahnen sie die Gläubigen, die Überlieferungen, die sie in mündlicher Rede oder durch einen Brief gelernt haben (vgl. 2 Thess 2,15), festzuhalten und für den Glauben zu kämpfen, der ihnen ein für allemal überliefert wurde (vgl. Jud 3) (4). Was von den Aposteln überliefert wurde, umfaßt alles, was dem Volk Gottes hilft, ein heiliges Leben zu führen und den Glauben zu mehren. So führt die Kirche in Lehre, Leben und Kult durch die Zeiten weiter und übermittelt allen Geschlechtern alles, was sie selber ist, alles, was sie glaubt.

Diese apostolische Überlieferung kennt in der Kirche unter dem Beistand des Heiligen Geistes einen Fortschritt (5): es wächst das Verständnis der überlieferten Dinge und Worte durch das Nachsinnen und Studium der Gläubigen, die sie in ihrem Herzen erwägen (vgl. Lk 2,19.51), durch innere Einsicht, die aus geistlicher Erfahrung stammt, durch die Verkündigung derer, die mit der Nachfolge im Bischofsamt das sichere Charisma der Wahrheit empfangen haben; denn die Kirche strebt im Gang der Jahrhunderte ständig der Fülle der göttlichen Wahrheit entgegen, bis an ihr sich Gottes Worte erfüllen.

Die Aussagen der heiligen Väter bezeugen die lebenspendende Gegenwart dieser Überlieferung, deren Reichtümer sich in Tun und Leben der glaubenden und betenden Kirche ergießen. Durch dieselbe Überlieferung wird der Kirche der vollständige Kanon der Heiligen Bücher bekannt, in ihr werden die Heiligen Schriften selbst tiefer verstanden und unaufhörlich wirksam gemacht. So ist Gott, der einst gesprochen hat, ohne Unterlaß im Gespräch mit der Braut seines geliebten Sohnes, und der Heilige Geist, durch den die lebendige Stimme des Evangeliums in der Kirche und durch sie in der Welt widerhallt, führt die Gläubigen in alle Wahrheit ein und läßt das Wort Christi in Überfülle unter ihnen wohnen (vgl. Kol 3,16).

9. Die Heilige Überlieferung und die Heilige Schrift sind eng miteinander verbunden und haben aneinander Anteil. Demselben göttlichen Quell entspringend, fließen beide gewissermaßen in eins zusammen und streben demselben Ziel zu. Denn die Heilige Schrift ist Gottes Rede, insofern sie unter dem Anhauch des Heiligen Geistes schriftlich aufgezeichnet wurde. Die Heilige Überlieferung aber gibt das Wort Gottes, das von Christus dem Herrn und vom Heiligen Geist den Aposteln anvertraut wurde, unversehrt an deren Nachfolger weiter, damit sie es unter der erleuchtenden Führung des Geistes der Wahrheit in ihrer Verkündigung treu bewahren, erklären und ausbreiten. So ergibt sich, daß die Kirche ihre Gewißheit über alles Geoffenbarte nicht aus der Heiligen Schrift allein schöpft. Daher sollen beide mit gleicher Liebe und Achtung angenommen und verehrt werden6.

10. Die Heilige Überlieferung und die Heilige Schrift bilden den einen der Kirche überlassenen heiligen Schatz des Wortes Gottes. Voller Anhänglichkeit an ihn verharrt das ganze heilige Volk, mit seinen Hirten vereint, ständig in der Lehre und Gemeinschaft der Apostel, bei Brotbrechen und Gebet (vgl. Apg 8,42 griech.), so daß im Festhalten am überlieferten Glauben, in seiner Verwirklichung und seinem Bekenntnis ein einzigartiger Einklang herrscht zwischen Vorstehern und Gläubigen (7).

Die Aufgabe aber, das geschriebene oder überlieferte (8) Wort Gottes verbindlich zu erklären, ist nur dem lebendigen Lehramt der Kirche anvertraut (9), dessen Vollmacht im Namen Jesu Christi ausgeübt wird. Das Lehramt ist nicht über dem Wort Gottes, sondern dient ihm, indem es nichts lehrt, als was überliefert ist, weil es das Wort Gottes aus göttlichem Auftrag und mit dem Beistand des Heiligen Geistes voll Ehrfurcht hört, heilig bewahrt und treu auslegt und weil es alles, was es als von Gott geoffenbart zu glauben vorlegt, aus diesem einen Schatz des Glaubens schöpft.

Es zeigt sich also, daß die Heilige Überlieferung, die Heilige Schrift und das Lehramt der Kirche gemäß dem weisen Ratschluß Gottes so miteinander verknüpft und einander zugesellt sind, daß keines ohne die anderen besteht und daß alle zusammen, jedes auf seine Art, durch das Tun des einen Heiligen Geistes wirksam dem Heil der Seelen dienen.

KAPITEL III.

DIE GÖTTLICHE INSPIRATION
UND DIE AUSLEGUNG DER HEILIGEN SCHRIFT

11. Das von Gott Geoffenbarte, das in der Heiligen Schrift enthalten ist und vorliegt, ist unter dem Anhauch des Heiligen Geistes aufgezeichnet worden; denn aufgrund apostolischen Glaubens gelten unserer heiligen Mutter, der Kirche, die Bücher des Alten wie des Neuen Testamentes in ihrer Ganzheit mit allen ihren Teilen als heilig und kanonisch, weil sie, unter der Einwirkung des Heiligen Geistes geschrieben (vgl. Joh 20,31; 2 Tim 3,16; 2 Petr 1,19-21; 3,15-16), Gott zum Urheber haben und als solche der Kirche übergeben sind (1). Zur Abfassung der Heiligen Bücher hat Gott Menschen erwählt, die ihm durch den Gebrauch ihrer eigenen Fähigkeiten und Kräfte dazu dienen sollten (2), all das und nur das, was er - in ihnen und durch sie wirksam (3) - geschrieben haben wollte, als echte Verfasser schriftlich zu überliefern (4).

Da also alles, was die inspirierten Verfasser oder Hagiographen aussagen, als vom Heiligen Geist ausgesagt zu gelten hat, ist von den Büchern der Schrift zu bekennen, daß sie sicher, getreu und ohne Irrtum die Wahrheit lehren, die Gott um unseres Heiles willen in heiligen Schriften aufgezeichnet haben wollte (5). Daher "ist jede Schrift, von Gott eingegeben, auch nützlich zur Belehrung, zur Beweisführung, zur Zurechtweisung, zur Erziehung in der Gerechtigkeit, damit der Gott gehörige Mensch bereit sei, wohlgerüstet zu jedem guten Werk" (2 Tim 3,16-17 griech.).

12. Da Gott in der Heiligen Schrift durch Menschen nach Menschenart gesprochen hat (6), muß der Schrifterklärer, um zu erfassen, was Gott uns mitteilen wollte, sorgfältig erforschen, was die heiligen Schriftsteller wirklich zu sagen beabsichtigten und was Gott mit ihren Worten kundtun wollte. Um die Aussageabsicht der Hagiographen zu ermitteln, ist neben anderem auf die literarischen Gattungen zu achten. Denn die Wahrheit wird je anders dargelegt und ausgedrückt in Texten von in verschiedenem Sinn geschichtlicher, prophetischer oder dichterischer Art, oder in anderen Redegattungen. Weiterhin hat der Erklärer nach dem Sinn zu forschen, wie ihn aus einer gegebenen Situation heraus der Hagiograph den Bedingungen seiner Zeit und Kultur entsprechend - mit Hilfe der damals üblichen literarischen Gattungen - hat ausdrücken wollen und wirklich zum Ausdruck gebracht hat (7). Will man richtig verstehen, was der heilige Verfasser in seiner Schrift aussagen wollte, so muß man schließlich genau auf die vorgegebenen umweltbedingten Denk-, Sprach- und Erzählformen achten, die zur Zeit des Verfassers herrschten, wie auf die Formen, die damals im menschlichen Alltagsverkehr üblich waren (8).

Da die Heilige Schrift in dem Geist gelesen und ausgelegt werden muß, in dem sie geschrieben wurde (9), erfordert die rechte Ermittlung des Sinnes der heiligen Texte, daß man mit nicht geringerer Sorgfalt auf den Inhalt und die Einheit der ganzen Schrift achtet, unter Berücksichtigung der lebendigen Überlieferung der Gesamtkirche und der Analogie des Glaubens. Aufgabe der Exegeten ist es, nach diesen Regeln auf eine tiefere Erfassung und Auslegung des Sinnes der Heiligen Schrift hinzuarbeiten, damit so gleichsam auf Grund wissenschaftlicher Vorarbeit das Urteil der Kirche reift. Alles, was die Art der Schrifterklärung betrifft, untersteht letztlich dem Urteil der Kirche, deren gottergebener Auftrag und Dienst es ist, das Wort Gottes zu bewahren und auszulegen (10).

13. In der Heiligen Schrift also offenbart sich, unbeschadet der Wahrheit und Heiligkeit Gottes, eine wunderbare Herablassung der ewigen Weisheit, "damit wir die unsagbare Menschenfreundlichkeit Gottes kennenlernen und erfahren, wie sehr er sich aus Sorge für unser Geschlecht in seinem Wort herabgelassen hat" (11). Denn Gottes Worte, durch Menschenzunge formuliert, sind menschlicher Rede ähnlich geworden, wie einst des ewigen Vaters Wort durch die Annahme menschlich-schwachen Fleisches den Menschen ähnlich geworden ist.

KAPITEL IV

DAS ALTE TESTAMENT

14. Der liebende Gott, der um das Heil des ganzen Menschengeschlechtes besorgt war, bereitete es vor, indem er sich nach seinem besonderen Plan ein Volk erwählte, um ihm Verheißungen anzuvertrauen. Er schloß mit Abraham (vgl. Gen 15,8) und durch Moses mit dem Volke Israel (vgl. Ex 24,8) einen Bund. Dann hat er sich dem Volk, das er sich erworben hatte, durch Wort und Tat als einzigen, wahren und lebendigen Gott so geoffenbart, daß Israel Gottes Wege mit den Menschen an sich erfuhr, daß es sie durch Gottes Wort aus der Propheten Mund allmählich voller und klarer erkannte und sie unter den Völkern mehr und mehr sichtbar machte (vgl. Ps 21,28-29; 95,1-3; Jes 2,1-4; Jer 3,17). Die Geschichte des Heiles liegt, von heiligen Verfassern vorausverkündet, berichtet und gedeutet, als wahres Wort Gottes vor in den Büchern des Alten Bundes; darum behalten diese von Gott eingegebenen Schriften ihren unvergänglichen Wert: "Alles nämlich, was geschrieben steht, ist zu unserer Unterweisung geschrieben, damit wir durch die Geduld und den Trost der Schriften Hoffnung haben" (Röm 15,4).

15. Gottes Geschichtsplan im Alten Bund zielte vor allem darauf, das Kommen Christi, des Erlösers des Alls, und das Kommen des messianischen Reiches vorzubereiten, prophetisch anzukündigen (vgl. Lk 24,44; Joh 5,39; 1 Petr 1,10) und in verschiedenen Vorbildern anzuzeigen (vgl. 1 Kor 10,11). Die Bücher des Alten Bundes erschließen allen entsprechend der Lage, in der sich das Menschengeschlecht vor der Wiederherstellung des Heils in Christus befand, Wissen über Gott und Mensch und erschließen die Art und Weise, wie der gerechte und barmherzige Gott an den Menschen zu handeln pflegt. Obgleich diese Bücher auch Unvollkommenes und Zeitbedingtes enthalten, zeigen sie doch eine wahre göttliche Erziehungskunst (1). Ein lebendiger Sinn für Gott drückt sich in ihnen aus. Hohe Lehren über Gott, heilbringende menschliche Lebensweisheit, wunderbare Gebetsschätze sind in ihnen aufbewahrt. Schließlich ist das Geheimnis unseres Heiles in ihnen verborgen. Deshalb sollen diese Bücher von denen, die an Christus glauben, voll Ehrfurcht angenommen werden.

16. Gott, der die Bücher beider Bünde inspiriert hat und ihr Urheber ist, wollte in Weisheit, daß der Neue im Alten verborgen und der Alte im Neuen erschlossen sei (2). Denn wenn auch Christus in seinem Blut einen Neuen Bund gestiftet hat (vgl. Lk 22,20; 1 Kor 11,25), erhalten und offenbaren die Bücher des Alten Bundes, die als Ganzes in die Verkündigung des Evangeliums aufgenommen wurden3, erst im Neuen Bund ihren vollen Sinn (vgl. Mt 5,17; Lk 24,27; Röm 16,25-26; 2 Kor 3,14-16), wie sie diesen wiederum beleuchten und deuten.

KAPITEL V

DAS NEUE TESTAMENT

17. Das Wort Gottes, Gottes Kraft zum Heil für jeden, der glaubt (vgl. Röm 1,16), kommt zu einzigartiger Darstellung und Kraftentfaltung in den Schriften des Neuen Bundes; denn als die Fülle der Zeit kam (vgl. Gal 4,4), ist das Wort Fleisch geworden und hat unter uns gewohnt, voll Gnade und Wahrheit (vgl. Joh 1,14). Christus hat das Reich Gottes auf Erden wiederhergestellt, in Tat und Wort seinen Vater und sich selbst geoffenbart und sein Werk durch Tod, Auferstehung, herrliche Himmelfahrt und Sendung des Heiligen Geistes vollendet. Von der Erde erhöht zieht er alle an sich (vgl. Joh 12,32 griech.); denn er allein hat Worte des ewigen Lebens (vgl. Joh 6,68). Anderen Geschlechtern ward dieses Geheimnis nicht kundgetan, wie es nun geoffenbart worden ist seinen heiligen Aposteln und Propheten im Heiligen Geist (vgl. Eph 3,4-6 griech.), damit sie das Evangelium verkünden, den Glauben an Jesus als Christus und Herrn wecken und die Kirche sammeln. Dafür sind die Schriften des Neuen Bundes das unvergängliche und göttliche Zeugnis.

18. Niemandem kann es entgehen, daß unter allen Schriften, auch unter denen des Neuen Bundes, den Evangelien mit Recht ein Vorrang zukommt. Denn sie sind das Hauptzeugnis für Leben und Lehre des fleischgewordenen Wortes, unseres Erlösers. Am apostolischen Ursprung der vier Evangelien hat die Kirche immer und überall festgehalten und hält daran fest; denn was die Apostel nach Christi Gebot gepredigt haben, das haben später unter dem Anhauch des Heiligen Geistes sie selbst und Apostolische Männer uns als Fundament des Glaubens schriftlich überliefert: das viergestaltige Evangelium nach Matthäus, Markus, Lukas und Johannes (1).

19. Unsere heilige Mutter, die Kirche, hat entschieden und unentwegt daran festgehalten und hält daran fest, daß die vier genannten Evangelien, deren Geschichtlichkeit sie ohne Bedenken bejaht, zuverlässig überliefern, was Jesus, der Sohn Gottes, in seinem Leben unter den Menschen zu deren ewigem Heil wirklich getan und gelehrt hat bis zu dem Tag, da er aufgenommen wurde (vgl. Apg 1,1-2). Die Apostel haben nach der Auffahrt des Herrn das, was er selbst gesagt und getan hatte, ihren Hörern mit jenem volleren Verständnis überliefert, das ihnen aus der Erfahrung der Verherrlichung Christi und aus dem Licht des Geistes der Wahrheit (2) zufloß (3). Die biblischen Verfasser aber haben die vier Evangelien redigiert, indem sie einiges aus dem vielen auswählten, das mündlich oder auch schon schriftlich überliefert war, indem sie anderes zu Überblicken zusammenzogen oder im Hinblick auf die Lage in den Kirchen verdeutlichten, indem sie schließlich die Form der Verkündigung beibehielten, doch immer so, daß ihre Mitteilungen über Jesus wahr und ehrlich waren (4). Denn ob sie nun aus eigenem Gedächtnis und Erinnern schrieben oder auf Grund des Zeugnisses jener, "die von Anfang an Augenzeugen und Diener des Wortes waren", es ging ihnen immer darum, daß wir die, Wahrheit" der Worte erkennen sollten, von denen wir Kunde erhalten haben (vgl. Lk 1,2-4).

20. Der neutestamentliche Kanon umfaßt außer den vier Evangelien auch die Briefe des heiligen Paulus und andere apostolische Schriften, die unter der Eingebung des Heiligen Geistes verfaßt sind. In ihnen wird nach Gottes weisem Ratschluß die Botschaft von Christus dem Herrn bestätigt, seine echte Lehre mehr und mehr erklärt, die heilbringende Kraft des göttlichen Werkes Christi verkündet; die Anfänge der Kirche und ihre wunderbare Ausbreitung werden erzählt und ihre herrliche Vollendung vorausverkündet. Denn der Herr Jesus ist bei seinen Aposteln geblieben, wie er verheißen hatte (vgl. Mt 28,20), und hat ihnen als Beistand den Geist gesandt, der sie in die Fülle der Wahrheit einführen sollte (vgl. Joh 16,13).

KAPITEL VI

DIE HEILIGE SCHRIFT IM LEBEN DER KIRCHE

21. Die Kirche hat die Heiligen Schriften immer verehrt wie den Herrenleib selbst, weil sie, vor allem in der heiligen Liturgie, vom Tisch des Wortes Gottes wie des Leibes Christi ohne Unterlaß das Brot des Lebens nimmt und den Gläubigen reicht. In ihnen zusammen mit der Heiligen Überlieferung sah sie immer und sieht sie die höchste Richtschnur ihres Glaubens, weil sie, von Gott eingegeben und ein für alle Male niedergeschrieben, das Wort Gottes selbst unwandelbar vermitteln und in den Worten der Propheten und der Apostel die Stimme des Heiligen Geistes vernehmen lassen. Wie die christliche Religion selbst, so muß auch jede kirchliche Verkündigung sich von der Heiligen Schrift nähren und sich an ihr orientieren. In den Heiligen Büchern kommt ja der Vater, der im Himmel ist, seinen Kindern in Liebe entgegen und nimmt mit ihnen das Gespräch auf. Und solche Gewalt und Kraft west im Worte Gottes, daß es für die Kirche Halt und Leben, für die Kinder der Kirche Glaubensstärke, Seelenspeise und reiner, unversieglicher Quell des geistlichen Lebens ist. Darum gelten von der Heiligen Schrift in besonderer Weise die Worte: "Lebendig ist Gottes Rede und wirksam" (Hebr 4,12), "mächtig aufzubauen und das Erbe auszuteilen unter allen Geheiligten" (Apg 20,32; vgl. 1 Thess 2,13).

22. Der Zugang zur Heiligen Schrift muß für die an Christus Glaubenden weit offenstehen. Darum hat die Kirche schon in ihren Anfängen die älteste Übersetzung des Alten Testamentes, die griechische, die nach den Siebzig (Septuaginta) benannt wird, als die ihre übernommen. Die anderen orientalischen und die lateinischen Übersetzungen, besonders die sogenannte Vulgata, hält sie immer in Ehren. Da aber das Wort Gottes allen Zeiten zur Verfügung stehen muß, bemüht sich die Kirche in mütterlicher Sorge, daß brauchbare und genaue Übersetzungen in die verschiedenen Sprachen erarbeitet werden, mit Vorrang aus dem Urtext der Heiligen Bücher. Wenn die Übersetzungen bei sich bietender Gelegenheit und mit Zustimmung der kirchlichen Autorität in Zusammenarbeit auch mit den getrennten Brüdern zustande kommen, dann können sie von allen Christen benutzt werden.

23. Die Braut des fleischgewordenen Wortes, die Kirche, bemüht sich, vom Heiligen Geist belehrt, zu einem immer tieferen Verständnis der Heiligen Schriften vorzudringen, um ihre Kinder unablässig mit dem Worte Gottes zu nähren; darum fördert sie auch in gebührender Weise das Studium der Väter des Ostens wie des Westens und der heiligen Liturgien. Die katholischen Exegeten und die anderen Vertreter der theologischen Wissenschaft müssen in eifriger Zusammenarbeit sich darum mühen, unter Aufsicht des kirchlichen Lehramts mit passenden Methoden die göttlichen Schriften so zu erforschen und auszulegen, daß möglichst viele Diener des Wortes in den Stand gesetzt werden, dem Volke Gottes mit wirklichem Nutzen die Nahrung der Schriften zu reichen, die den Geist erleuchtet, den Willen stärkt und die Menschenherzen zur Gottesliebe entflammt (1). Die Heilige Synode ermutigt die Söhne der Kirche, die Bibelwissenschaft treiben, das glücklich begonnene Werk mit immer neuen Kräften und ganzer Hingabe im Geist der Kirche fortzuführen (2).

24. Die heilige Theologie ruht auf dem geschriebenen Wort Gottes, zusammen mit der Heiligen Überlieferung, wie auf einem bleibenden Fundament. In ihm gewinnt sie sichere Kraft und verjüngt sich ständig, wenn sie alle im Geheimnis Christi beschlossene Wahrheit im Lichte des Glaubens durchforscht. Die Heiligen Schriften enthalten das Wort Gottes und, weil inspiriert, sind sie wahrhaft Wort Gottes: Deshalb sei das Studium des heiligen Buches gleichsam die Seele der heiligen Theologie (3). Auch der Dienst des Wortes, nämlich die seelsorgliche Verkündigung, die Katechese und alle christliche Unterweisung - in welcher die liturgische Homilie einen hervorragenden Platz haben muß - holt aus dem Wort der Schrift gesunde Nahrung und heilige Kraft.

25. Darum müssen alle Kleriker, besonders Christi Priester und die anderen, die sich als Diakone oder Katecheten ihrem Auftrag entsprechend dem Dienst des Wortes widmen, in beständiger heiliger Lesung und gründlichem Studium sich mit der Schrift befassen, damit keiner von ihnen werde zu "einem hohlen und äußerlichen Prediger des Wortes Gottes, ohne dessen innerer Hörer zu sein" (4), wo er doch die unübersehbaren Schätze des göttlichen Wortes, namentlich in der heiligen Liturgie, den ihm anvertrauten Gläubigen mitteilen soll. Ebenso ermahnt die Heilige Synode alle an Christus Glaubenden, zumal die Glieder religiöser Gemeinschaften, besonders eindringlich, durch häufige Lesung der Heiligen Schrift sich die "alles übertreffende Erkenntnis Jesu Christi" (Phil 3,8) anzueignen. "Die Schrift nicht kennen heißt Christus nicht kennen." (5) Sie sollen deshalb gern an den heiligen Text selbst herantreten, einmal in der mit göttlichen Worten gesättigten heiligen Liturgie, dann in frommer Lesung oder auch durch geeignete Institutionen und andere Hilfsmittel, die heute mit Billigung und auf Veranlassung der Hirten der Kirche lobenswerterweise allenthalben verbreitet werden. Sie sollen daran denken, daß Gebet die Lesung der Heiligen Schrift begleiten muß, damit sie zu einem Gespräch werde zwischen Gott und Mensch; denn "ihn reden wir an, wenn wir beten; ihn hören wir, wenn wir Gottes Weisungen lesen" (6). Die kirchlichen Vorsteher, "bei denen die Lehre der Apostel ist" (7), sollen die ihnen anvertrauten Gläubigen zum rechten Gebrauch der Heiligen Bücher, namentlich des Neuen Testamentes und in erster Linie der Evangelien, in geeigneter Weise anleiten durch Übersetzungen der heiligen Texte, die mit den notwendigen und wirklich ausreichenden Erklärungen versehen sind, damit die Kinder der Kirche sicher und mit Nutzen mit den Heiligen Schriften umgehen und von ihrem Geist durchdrungen werden. Darüber hinaus sollen mit entsprechenden Anmerkungen versehene Ausgaben der Heiligen Schrift geschaffen werden, die auch Nichtchristen gebrauchen können und die ihren Verhältnissen angepaßt sind. Die Seelsorger und die Christen jeden Standes sollen auf jede Weise klug für ihre Verbreitung sorgen.

26. So möge durch Lesung und Studium der Heiligen Bücher "Gottes Wort seinen Lauf nehmen und verherrlicht werden" (2 Thess 3,1). Der Schatz der Offenbarung, der Kirche anvertraut, erfülle mehr und mehr die Herzen der Menschen. Wie das Leben der Kirche sich mehrt durch die ständige Teilnahme am eucharistischen Geheimnis, so darf man neuen Antrieb für das geistliche Leben erhoffen aus der gesteigerten Verehrung des Wortes Gottes, welches "bleibt in Ewigkeit" (Jes 40,8; vgl. 1 Petr 1,23-25).

18. November 1965

ANMERKUNGEN:

Vorwort/Kapitel 1:

(1) Vgl. Augustinus, Büchlein vom ersten katechetischen Unterricht, 4: PL 40,316.

(2) Vgl. Mt 11,27; Joh 1,14.17; 14,6; 17,1-3; 2 Kor 3,16; 4,6; Eph 1,3-14.

(3) Brief an Diognet VII., : F. X. Funk, Patres Apostolici I (Tübingen 1901) 403.

(4) I. Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 3: Denz. 1789 (3008).

(5) II. Konzil von Orange, can. 7: Denz. 180 (377); I. Vat. Konzil, a. a. O.: Denz. 1791 (3010).

(6) I. Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 2: Denz. 1786 (3005).

(7) Ebd.: Denz. 1785 und 1786 (3004 und 3005).

Kapitel 2:

(1) Vgl. Mt 28,19-20 und Mk 16,15. Konzil von Trient, Dekret über die kanonischen Schriften: Denz. 783 (1501).

(2) Vgl. Konzil von Trient, a. a. O.; I. Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 2: Denz. 1787 (3006).

(3) Irenäus, Adv. Hær. III.,3, 1: PG 7, 848; Harvey 2,9.

(4) Vgl. II. Konzil von Nicæa: Denz. 303 (602). IV. Konzil von Konstantinopel, Sess. X. can. 1: Denz. 336 (650-652).

(5) Vgl. L Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 4: Denz. 1800 (3020).

(6) Vgl. Konzil von Trient, Dekret über die kanonischen Schriften: Denz. 783 (1501).

(7) Vgl. Pius XII., Apost. Konst. Munificentissimus Deus, 1. Nov. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) 756. Vgl. die Worte Cyprians: "die Kirche, das mit dem Priester vereinte Volk und die ihrem Hirten anhängende Herde", Ep. 66, 8: CSEL 3, 2, 733.

(8) Vgl. I. Vat. KonziI., Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 3: Denz. 1792 (3011).

(9) Vgl. Pius XII., Enz. Humani generis, 12. Aug. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) 568-569; Denz. 2314 (3886).

Kapitel 3:

(1) Vgl. I. Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 2: Denz. 1787 (3006); Bibelkommission, Dekret, 18. Juni 1915: Denz. 2180 (3629) und Ench. Bibl. 420; Hl. Officium, Brief, 22. Dez. 1923: Ench. Bibl. 499.

(2) Vgl. Pius XII., Enz. Divino afflante, 30. Sept. 1943: AAS 35 (1943) 314; Ench. Bibl. 556.

(3) In und durch den Menschen: vgl. Hebr 1,1; 4,7 (in); 2 Sam 23,2; Mt 1,22 und passim (durch); I. Vat. Konzil, Schema über die katholische Lehre, Note 9: Coll. Lac. VII., 522.

(4) Leo XIII., Enz. Providentissimus Deus, 18. Nov. 1893: Denz. 1952 (3293); Ench. Bibl. 125.

(5) Vgl. Augustinus, De Gen. ad litt. 2, 9, 20: PL 34, 270-271; CSEL 28, 1, 46-47 und Brief 82,3: PL 33,277; CSEL 34, 2, 354; Thomas v. Aquin, De ver. q. 12, a. 2, C; Konzil von Trient, Dekret über die kanonischen Schriften: Denz. 783 (1501); Leo XIII., Enz. Providentissimus Deus: Ench. Bibl. 121.124.126-127; Pius XII., Enz. Divino afflante: Ench. Bibl. 539.

(6) Augustinus, De Civ. Dei XVII., 6, 2: PL 41, 537; CSEL 40, 2, 228.

(7) Augustinus, De Doctr. Christ. III., 18, 26: I, L 34, 75-76; CSEL 80, 95.

(8) Pius XII., a. a. O.: Denz. 2294 (3829-3830); Ench. Bibl. 557-562.

(9) Vgl. Benedikt XV., Enz. Spiritus Paraclitus, 15. Sept. 1920: Ench. Bibl. 469; Hieronymus, In Gal. 19-21: PL 26, 417 A.

(10) Vgl. I. Vat. Konzil, Dogm. Konst. über den katholischen Glauben Dei Filius, Kap. 2: Denz. 1788 (3007).

(11) Johannes Chrysostomus, ln Gen. 3,8 (hom. 17, 1): PG 53, 134: "herabgelassen", lateinisch "attemperatio", griechisch "synkatábasis".

Kapitel 4:

(1) Pius XI., Enz. Mit brennender Sorge, 14. März 1937: AAS 29 (1937) 151.

(2) Augustinus, Quæst. in Hept. 2, 73: PL 34, 623.

(3) Irenäus, Adv, Hær. III., 21, 3: PG 7, 950 (- 25, 1: Harvey 2, 115); Cyrill von Jerusalem, Catech. 4, 35: PG 33, 497; Theodor von Mopsuestia, In Soph. 1, 4-6: PG 66, 452 D-453 A.

Kapitel 5:

(1) Irenäus, Adv. Hær. III., 11, 8: PG 7, 885; Ausg. Sagnard, 194.

(2) Vgl. Joh 14,26; 16,13.

(3) Vgl. Joh 2,22; 16,16; vgl. 14,26; 16,12-13; 7,39.

(4) Vgl. die Instruktion Sancta Mater Ecclesia der Päpstlichen Bibelkommission: AAS 56 (1964) 715.

Kapitel 6:

(1) Vgl. Pius XII., Enz. Divino afflante: Ench. Bibl. 551.553.567; Päpstl. Bibelkommission, Instruktion über die rechte Art, in Klerikalseminarien und Ordenskollegien über die Bibel zu dozieren, 30. Mai 1950: AAS 42 (1950) 495-505.

(2) Vgl. Pius XII., ebd. 569.

(3) Vgl. Leo XIII., Enz. Providentissimus Deus: Ench. Bibl. 114; Benedikt. XV., Enz. Spiritus Paraclitus: Ench. Bibl. 483.

(4) Augustinus, Serm. 179, 1: PL 38, 966.

(5) Hieronymus, Comm. in Jes., Prol.: PL 24, 17; vgl. Benedikt XV., Enz. Spiritus Paraclitus: Ench. Bibl. 475-480; Pius XII., Enz. Divino afflante: Ench. Bibl. 544.

(6) Ambrosius, De officiis ministrorum I, 20, 88; PL 16, 50.

(7) Irenäus, Adv. Hær. IV, 32, 1: PG 7, 1071 (= 49, 2: Harvey 2, 255).


 
(Quelle: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_ge.html)

A friend of mine said that his church takes the Bible literally, but that the Catholic Church doesn't...is that true?

Actually, there is no truth to that, whatsoever. Catholics interpret the Bible in a "literal" sense, while many fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and others interpret the Bible in a literalist sense.

The "literal" meaning of a passage of Scripture is the meaning that the author of that passage of Scripture intended to convey. The "literalist" interpretation of a passage of Scripture is: "that's what it says, that's what it means."

Let me give you an example to illustrate the difference. If you were to read a passage in a book that said it was "raining cats and dogs outside", how would you interpret that? As Americans, in the 21st Century, you would know that the author was intending to convey the idea that it was raining pretty doggone hard outside. That would be the "literal" interpretation...the interpretation the author intended to convey. On the other hand, what if you made a "literalist" interpretation of the phrase, "it's raining cats and dogs"?

The "literalist" interpretation would be that, were you to walk outside, you would actually see cats and dogs falling from the sky like rain. No taking into account the popularly accepted meaning of this phrase. No taking into account the author's intentions. The words say it was raining cats and dogs, so, by golly, it was raining cats and dogs! That is the literalist, or fundamentalist, way of interpretation.

If someone 2000 years in the future picked up that same book and read, "It was raining cats and dogs outside," in order to properly understand that passage in the book, they would need a "literal" interpretation, not a "literalist" interpretation. Now, think about that in the context of interpreting the Bible 2000-3000 years after it was written.

Literal, or Catholic, interpretation vs. literalist, or fundamentalist, interpretation.

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute#1. Used with permission)

Why Were the Books of the Old Testament Apocrypha Rejected as Holy Scripture by the Protestants?

This week I want to respond to an article someone sent me that appears on the blueletterbible.org website. It was written by Don Stewart, who is identified as the “Bible Explorer.” The article is an apologetic against the 7 books of the Old Testament that Catholics have in their Bibles that Protestants don’t. I don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to respond to every single point he makes, as some of them are a bit absurd, but I will respond to his main points, which should be enough to show that this guy’s arguments just don’t hold any water.

I will give his point, then I will respond to it. His words will be in italics. You can find all of what he says at this link: http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=395

Challenge/Response/Strategy

Why Were the Books of the Old Testament Apocrypha Rejected as Holy Scripture by the Protestants?

Don Stewart

The Old Testament Apocrypha consists of eleven or twelve books, depending upon how they are divided, that the Roman Catholic Church adds to the Old Testament. The Protestants reject these books as Holy Scripture for the following reasons.

My Response

I’m not really sure where he is getting the number 11 or 12 from.  The Catholic Bible has 73 books, the Protestant Bible has 66, making a difference of 7 books, not 11 or 12.  Those 7 books being: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees. 

Don Stewart

1. The Apocrypha Has Different Doctrine And Practices Than Holy Scripture

There are doctrines and practices contained in the Apocrypha that are contrary to what the Scripture teaches. They include the following.
They Teach A Person Is Saved By Works

In the Apocrypha proof texts can be found to support the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification by human works and not faith alone. The Apocrypha contains the following verses.

    For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life (Tobit 12:9).

In another place in Tobit it says.

    So now, my children see what almsgiving accomplishes, and what injustice does it brings death! (Tobit 14:11).

In the Book of First Maccabees it says.

    Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (First M accabees 2:52).

The Bible, on the other hand, says that a person is saved by grace through faith. It is not based upon our good works.

    For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

My Response
Well, he’s got a problem here, because in the New Testament proof texts can be found to support the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification by human works and not faith alone.  (And, just to be clear, Catholics believe it is not works alone that save us, but faith and works, all done by the grace of God.)  So, if the “Apocrypha” need s to be tossed out of Scripture, then so, too, do a number of New Testament books. The New Testament contains the following verses:

    “For He [God] will give to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well–doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.”  (Romans 2:6–7).

    “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?...If you would enter life, keep the Commandments.”  (Matthew 19:16–17).  

    “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24).

    “Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”  (1 Tim 2:15).

    “And all the churches shall know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.” (Revelation 2:23).

There are many, many more verses in just about every, if not indeed every, book of the New Testament that I could cite, but these will suffice to make the point.  So, will Mr. Stewart argue for these books to be tossed out of the Bible as well?  In addition to the New Testament having passages that support Roman Catholic doctrine, let’s look at the verse he quotes from Tobit, Tobit 12:9, and see if the New Testament doesn’t in fact support this verse.

First, let’s give a bit more of the passage: “Prayer is good when accompanied by fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness.  A little with righteousness is better than much with wrongdoing.  It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold.  For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin.  Those who perform deeds of charity and of righteousness will have fulness o f life; but those who commit sin are the enemies of their own lives.”

Remind you of any New Testament verses?  “It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold.”  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” (Matt 6:19–20).  Also, almsgiving is clearly cited as charity…or love.  So, Tobit is essentially saying that love purges away every sin, not simply the act of almsgiving, but what is behind the act – love.  “Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8).  Love covers a multitude of sins, which is pretty much what Tobit is saying.  And, what about that passage from Matthew 25 – he who feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, etc. (works) will inherit the Kingdom? 

Now, let’s look at the quote he cites from 1 Maccabees, “ ;Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” (First Maccabees 2:52).  It seems the Bible Explorer has a bit of a problem with what it says here.  Yet, it says almost the exact same thing in the New Testament.  Look at this passage: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar [when he was tested]...and the scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’” (James 2:21–23).  James says exactly what Tobit does – that Abraham was justified by what he did.  So, does the Bible Explorer think that James ought to be tossed out of the New Testament?  Of course not.  It seems either the Bible Explorer needs to explore his Bible a little bit more. 

Finally, let’s look at his quote from Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast.”  Amen! says the Catholic.  But, he leaves out Eph 2:10, which says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  So, God prepared these works beforehand, that we should walk in them.  If we don’t walk in them, if we don’t do these works God has prepeared for us to do, are we still saved?  Well, the Bible Explorer undoubtedly says, “Yes,” since works have nothing to do with our salvation.  But, he is wrong, at least, according to the Bible.  If it is God’s will that we walk in the works that he prepared for us beforehand, but we don’t, then we are not doing God’s will.  And, in Matthew 7:21, it says that only those who do the will of God will enter Heaven.  Hmmm….

So, we are indeed saved by grace through faith, but we must also do the works that God has prepared for us.  Works that we cannot boast of, because the only way we can do them is by the grace of God!

Don Stewart

The Non–biblical Doctrine Of Purgatory Is Taught In The Apocrypha

The doctrine of purgatory – a place of purging between heaven and hell – is taught in the Apocrypha. It says.

    So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin (Second Maccabees 12:41–45). 

The Bible teaches that, upon death, one either goes to be with the Lord or is sent away from Him – there is no middle place. The writer to the Hebrews stated.

    Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
   

    My Response

    Indeed, a man dies once and then faces judgment.  That, however, is right in line with the doctrine of Purgatory which states that when a man dies, he faces judgment.  He may be judged damned or saved.  If he is judged saved, he may need to first purge any attachment to sin, any imperfections that he had on his soul at the moment of his death, before being ready to enter Heaven.  We see this in 1 Cor 3:13–15, “Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day [his day of judgment] will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward,.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 

    We see in this passage a purging of a man’s works of hay, stubble, and straw, through fire, after his death.  Where is it that a man can, after his death, suffer loss, as through fire, yet still be saved?  Heaven?  No!  You don’t suffer loss in Heaven.  Hell?  No!  You can’t be saved once you are in Hell.  There must be somewhere else where all of this is taking place. 

    Don Stewart

    According To The Apocrypha God Hears The Prayers Of The Dead

    We find the Book of Baruch teaching that God hears the prayers of those who have died.

        O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hear now the prayer of the dead of Israel, the children of those who sinned before you, who did not heed the voice of the Lord their God, so that calamities have clung to us (Baruch 3:4).

    The dead do not pray for the living. Only the living upon the earth pray for the other living ones on the earth.

    My Response

    Notice, very carefully, that he gave no Scripture verse to support what he says as he has done previously.  Why not?  Because nowhere in the Bible does it state that the members of the Body of Christ in Heaven, do not pray for the members of the Body of Christ on Earth.  He is imposing his own peronal views here and trying to make you believe they come from the Bible, when they do not.  If death does not separate us from the love of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:38–39), that why does the Bible Explorer believe that death will separate us from the love of our fellow Christians?  Will we not still love our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ when we get to Heaven?  After all, the rich man, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, shows concern for his still living brothers and he is in a place of torment (Luke 16:27–30).  If someone in a pla ce of torment shows concern for the living, how much more so would someone in Heaven show concern for the living?  So, will we not continue to pray for the living in Heaven as we did on Earth? 

    Don Stewart

    The Apocrypha Teaches The Pre–existence Of Souls

    The doctrine of the pre–existence of souls is found in the Apocrypha.

        As a child I was naturally gifted, and a good soul fell to my lot; or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body (Wisdom 8:19,20).

    Scripture does not teach that souls have any existence before they are united into a body.

    My Response

    Notice, again, there is no Scripture verse to support his claim.  As I write this, I can’t think of a verse that teaches anything, either way, about the pre–existence of the soul.  So, he is relying on…t radition…for what he is saying here.  Now, Catholics do not believe in the pre–existence of souls.  We believe that God does indeed create the soul at the moment of conception, but the thing is, those verses from Wisdom are not really saying anything contrary to that.  He is deliberately interpreting them in a way that is advantageous to his claims, but which is not necessarily what the author was trying to say. 

    Two things to note: 1) When the author of those verses says he “entered” an undefiled body, there is actually no time frame given.  I would ask Mr. Stewart, when did his soul “enter” his body?  Was it not at the moment of his creation?  Does that mean his soul pre–existed his body?  Not at all.  This is a perfectly legitimate way to speak of the union of body and soul at the moment of creation.

    2) We have to be very careful to make sure we understand what people are ac tually saying when we talk to them face–to–face, how much more so when we simply read their words 2 or 3 thousand years after the fact?  For example, the weatherman on TV this morning said that sunrise was at 6:30 AM this morning.  I could interpret that to mean that my weather man is an idiot who believes the sun revolves around the earth…because that is what the term “sunrise” literally means, or I could realize that he is speaking imprecisely, but in a way that everyone who hears him understands.  In other words, he is using an idiom of speech.  Well, the folks who wrote the Bible quite often used idioms of speech, they spoke imprecisely, but in such a way as the folks of their day and time understood exactly what they meant, whereas, we may have some trouble understanding what their intent was and we need to be very careful when interpreting what they wrote.

    Don Stewart

    It Teaches Creation Out Of Pre–Existent Matter

    The doctrine of creation out of pre–existent matter is taught in the Apocrypha.

        For your all–powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter, did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions (Wisdom 11:17).

    The Bible says that God’s creation was out of nothing.

        By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible (Hebrews 11:3).

         

    My Response

    Uhmm…has he read Genesis, chapter 1?  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and dark ness was upon the face of the deep,” (Gen 1:1–2).  The earth was formless matter, at least, according to Genesis.  So, when God set about creating the Earth – creating the firmament, creating the waters above the earth and the waters on the earth, the dry land (which He called “Earth”), and creating the vegetation, and the animals, and then finally man – He did all of that from formless matter.  To interpret that passage from Wisdom in the manner that he did is a bit ingenous, if not downright deceitful.

    Don Stewart

    The Apocrypha Say The Body Weighs Down The Soul

    The idea of the body as a weight upon the soul is found in the Apocrypha.

        For a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind (Wisdom 9:15).

    The idea that the body weighs down the soul is n ot biblical – the body is not evil.

    All of these doctrines are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture.

    My Response

    Again, I think the Bible Explorer needs to explore the Bible a little bit more.  For example, look at what Paul says in Galatians, chapter 5, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other to prevent you from doing what you would.”  Hmm…seems like Paul is saying the body weighs down the soul, don’t ya think?  I mean if the flesh is against the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – then the flesh would be weighing down the soul, would it not?

    And how about these verses from Romans, chapter 7: “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh, I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.” (Verse 18).  “For I delight i n the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members…who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Verses 22–24).  It seems to me that Paul is saying that the flesh does indeed cause problems for (weighs down) the soul.  Flesh and soul seem to be, at least at times, at war with each other.

    So, I believe I have shown that on this point, the Bible Explorer simply does not know what he is talking about.  In several places he ignores New Testament verses that clearly say the same thing as the verses from the “Apocrypha” that he says are contrary to Scripture.    In other places he simply makes assertions, without any scriptural support, to make his case.  Well, with all due respect, but by what authority does he make these claims?  And, in other places, he twists the meaning of Scripture verses to get them to say what he wants them to say, when it is not at all clear that his interpretation of a particular verse is correct, or it is in fact very clear that his interpretation of a particular verse is clearly wrong. 

    Don Stewart

    2. The Apocrypha Is Never Cited In The New Testament As Scripture

    Though the New Testament cites directly, or alludes to, almost every book of the Old Testament as Scripture, it never cites the Apocrypha as being God’s Word. The Apocrypha was not the Bible of Jesus or His apostles. While Jesus and Hs apostles often quoted from the Septuagint, they never quoted from the Apocrypha….If the writers of the New Testament considered the Apocrypha to be Scripture, we would certainly expect them to refer to it in some way. However we find no direct quotations. This is in contrast to over 250 quotations from the authoritative Old Testament Scriptures.

    The fact that the present canon was repeatedly quoted as being divinely authoritative as well as the absence of any direct quote is another indication of the extent of the canon – it did not include the Apocrypha.

    My Response

    I didn’t include every single point he made here, because I didn’t think it was necessary, as a lot of what he said was a bit tedious.  However, if you would like to read it all, you can check out the link I provided above.  There are a couple of problems with what he has said.  First of all, he is making the assumption that if a book is not mentioned in the New Testament, then it has no claim to be in the Old Testament.  Well, first problem is, where in the Bible do we have this test for the authenticity of Old Testament books?  Nowhere does the Bible say that the canon of the Old Testament should be determined by whether or not an O.T. book is quoted in the N.T.  This is a requi rement that has been made up by a fallible man.  It is not scriptural. 

    Secondly, he needs to be very careful here, because Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, and Nahum are nowhere quoted in the New Testament.  Not quoted and not even alluded to by Jesus or the Apostles.  So, by the Bible Explorer’s reasoning, none of these books should be included in the Old Testament, yet he includes them in his Old Testament.  He is being a bit hypocritical here it seems to me.

    Furthermore, the deuterocanonical books are indeed brought up in the New Testament.  Not by name, but you can see that they are indeed being reference.  Read Wisdom 2:12–20 and see if that doesn’t ring some Gospel bells, particularly Matt 27:42–43.  Paul alludes to Wisdom chapters 12 and 13 in Romans 1:19–25.  Hebrews 11:35 refers to 2 Maccabees 7.  J esus observed the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (John 10:22–36).   But, this Jewish feast is divinely established only in the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees.  Yet, Jesus treats Hanukkah, as a prefiguring of His own consecration to God the Father.  There are a number of other examples I could give, but those suffice to make the point. 

    Don Stewart

    The Apocrypha Has Always Been Rejected By The Jews As Scripture

    My Response

    Well, the Jews have always rejected the entire New Testament as Scripture, too.  Does that mean we should also reject the New Testament, because the Jews do?  This raises the question, though, of why he believes the New Testament is the divinely inspired Word of God?  He obviously doesn’t accept the Jews’ authority for the inspired nature of the New Testament, since they reject it, so whose authority does he accept on this matter?&# 160; Who is it that tells him which books of the New Testament era should and should not be considered the inspired New Testament?  It has to be someone who tells him this, or how else would he know?  It’s not the Bible, since there is no list in the Bible of which books should be in the Bible.  So who told him?  It seems to me he must be relying on tradition to know this.  But, again, which tradition?  Whose tradition?  Well, you know, if you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, who he relied on for his knowledge about the New Testament.  He relied on the authority and the Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. 

    4. The Books Of The Apocrypha Were Written During The Silent Years

    The books of the Apocrypha were written during the four hundred silent years between the Book of Malachi and the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. Jewish and New Testament sources both agree that no divinely inspired prophetic utterance occurred during this time.

    My response

    First of all, Jewish sources should not be quoted to determine what is and is not considered Scripture by Christians.  Second of all, what New Testament sources is he speaking of.  I can’t really respond to him, because for some reason, he doesn’t cite any.

    Now, he had another 20+ reasons he gave in this article for why the Deuterocanon (the 7 books he calls the Apocrypha) should not be considered Scripture.  But, these were his four big ones.  And, as I’ve shown, they have been weighed, they have been measured, and they have been found wanting. 

    He has two big problems in his reasoning: 1) By what authority does he claim the things he claims in this article?  He often just says things without any scriptural support; and he often says things that are clearly contrary to New Testament verses that he claims to believe in.  If asked, I can guarantee that he cannot give the answer to the question of: Who wrote the Gospel of Mark, and how do you know?  Which Mark wrote Mark?  How does he know he was inspired by the Holy Spirit?  Who told him these things?  If he can’t answer those simple questions, which he can’t, how does he then claim to be expert on which books should and should not be considered Scripture? 

    2) He simply does not seem to know the Bible very well.  To say that some of those passages from the 7 books in question are contrary to the rest of the Bible, when there are New Testament verses that say almost the identical thing as the verses he rejects, is just mind–boggling to me.  Bible Explorer?  As I have said a few times, I think he has a bit more exploring that he needs to do.

(Source: The Bible Christian Society, John Martignoni: http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php. Used with permission)

kath.de: Te Deum



Why did God give us the Bible?

One of the reasons God gave us the Bible is to have examples for us to follow or not to follow. Sure we should follow the examples of the righteous one like Abraham. But we should not follow the example of the unrighteous like the kings of old whom went their own way and were later judged by God and were destroyed by Him.
 
Andre

Bible Interpretation


I attended a Conservative Bible College. And I believe that most conservative theologians also agree, that read to Bible for what is says. Take it at face value. Do not squeeze fuzzy interpretations into what it says. And the second rule of thumb is that let the Bible interpret the Bible. As you study scripture nearly 100 % of the time, what the scriptures say in one place can be found in another place or more. Granted there are some passages which are difficult to understand. Pray the Lord to give you understanding in those areas.


André

Scott Hahn- the Significance of the New Testament

The Instruction Book

I think of a regular job one might be at. If you obey the directions of the foreman in a construction job, or any other, the project goes well and is completed well. Likewise, we are given an instruction book with the Bible, God's given Word to us. He is our maker, He knows our entire make up and what is best for us. If we obey and follow His commands, all will go well for us in His  grace and ways. We will complete the race set before us and will be well rewarded.

Andre

Counterfeits

A bank employee learns how to unmask a counterfeit bill by learning what a real one looks like. Then when a fake comes along, he will know it is a counterfeit. We, too, need to be in constant prayer and study in the Word of God so that when Satan and his followers try to fool us, we will know that it is not God but a counterfeit.

Andre

Dig Into God's Word!

Yes.It is absolutely important that we spend lots of quality one on one time with Him, in prayer, reading His Word, in fellowship with other believers and studying His Word as well.You cannot get to know another from far away. When we make friends, we develop that friendship by spending time with them. Like wise we need to do the same with God. His Word contains so much information that we need to dig into that spending only just a few minutes a day is almost worthless. When we read and study His Word, the holy Spirit comes in along side of us and He opens up our hearts and minds to hear and understand the Word. What you learned and read yesterday is great. But the more you read and study, the more you get out of it.Likewise as you would in any other subject in school or whatever. May I encourage to get in there and did. At our kids club at church we call the club " Diggerz" That is we teach them and encourage them to dig into God's Word. We need to, to grow spiritually. So get at it, and dig into His Word.

Andre

The Main Message of Scripture

And that is the main message of scripture. He came for the sole purpose to free us from sins and to reconcile us back into fellowship with God. Keep that thought at all times. And let Him.
 
Andre

Take the Scriptures to Heart!

It is well to know the scriptures well inside out. But if they are not taken to heart, to follow after the Lord Jesus Christ, then all that knowledge is useless knowledge. The Pharisees and Saducees were a good example.

Andre

The Word of God

As food is necessary for the body, the Word of God is necessary for our souls. Study His Word, memorize His word, eat it, sleep it, walk it. Make it your all in all. For by immersing yourself in Him, will you find peace and rest and freedom from the bonds of slavery of sin.
 
Andre

WOW!

Any and every Bible scholar will tell you, that you can read the Bible a million times, but there is always still something new to learn from it. Never stop reading and studying, never stop learning. Imagine what it will be like when God takes us home. He will open up our eyes to many hidden things. Wow, school today will seem like kindergarten and worse as compared to what He will teach us now and then.
 
Go for it. Study, learn and meditate and pray.
 
Andre

Instructions

I was thinking as I read this about how guys have a tendency to ignore instructions that come with things you buy that you need to put together. Granted  many instructions we are given by man suck. But the instructions given by God are perfect. Imagine if we treated God's instructions for us the same way we ignore instructions for bought projects. We may get some of it right. But for the most part we are going to blow it big time. Socially God's.
 
Andre

Quality Time

We all need to be spending lots of quality time reading and studying the Bible. When we do we draw much closer to Him. A few minutes here and there just does not cut it. It's like going to school and taking only a few minutes a day learning a subject. You'll never be proficient at that subject if you only spend a few minutes a day. So jump in and get saturated in His Word. You won't regret it.

 

Andre

Current Doctrinal Relevance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

ADDRESS OF CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER

9 October 2002

 

Current Doctrinal Relevance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Ten years since its publication (11 October 1992)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope John Paul II gave to the Christian world on 11 October 1992, with the Apostolic Constitution "Fidei Depositum", responded to a universal expectation felt everywhere in the Church; while in some segments of the Catholic intellectual world of the West it met skepticism, indeed, rejection. After the epochal turning point of the Second Vatican Council, the catechetical tools used until then seemed insufficient, no longer on a par with the consciousness of faith as it was expressed by the Council. A multiplicity of experiments began - analogous to what happened with the liturgy. Even with all of the valid elements, that could be found in different publications, a vision of the whole was lacking. After the great turning point it seemed to be problematical to know what was still valid and what was not. This meant that Pastors and the faithful awaited a new reliable reference text, to direct catechesis, which would offer a clear synthesis of Catholic teaching according to the directions of the Council. A group of theologians and specialists in catechesis opposed this in their understandable intellectual desire to be able to experiment as much as possible. The certainty of faith appeared as the opposite of the freedom and openness of continuing reflection. But the faith is not primarily the matter for intellectual experimentation, it is rather the solid foundation - the hypostasis, as the Letter to the Hebrews (11,1) tells us - on which we can live and die. As science is not hindered by the certainties reached over time, but rather these certainties provide the conditions for its progress, so also the certainties which faith grants to us open up ever new horizons, while the constant circling around itself of experimental reflection ends in boredom.

In this situation, there was great gratitude for the Catechism, when it was published, since all the members of the Church, bishops, priests, and laity, collaborated in preparing it; while an ever hostile rejection met it that sought even more reasons. The purportedly centralist manner of preparation was criticized, though that objection obviously contradicted historical truth. The content itself was declared to be static, dogmatic, "pre-conciliar". It was said that the Catechism failed to take into account the theological developments of the last century, particularly exegetical developments; it was not ecumenical; it was not dialogical, but apodictic and affirmative. So one could not speak of a current doctrinal relevance - not then, ten years ago, and today naturally still less so.

Meaning and Limits of a Catechism

What should we think of such opinions? In order to see them in the right light and discuss them with their proponents - to the extent in which they are disposed to do so - we must first of all think about what a catechism is and what is its specific literary genre. The Catechism is not a theology book, but a book of the faith, for the teaching of the faith. In present day theological consciousness this fundamental difference is often not sufficiently present. Theology does not invent with its method intellectual reflections that one can believe or not - in such a case the Christian faith would be entirely a product of our own thought and no different from the philosophy of religion. Theology, if rightly understood, is rather the effort to recognize the gift of knowledge that precedes the reflection. On this point, the Catechism cites the noted saying of St Augustine, that classically synthesizes the essence of the theological endeavour:  "I believe in order to understand and I understand the better to believe" (158; Sermo 43, 7, 9). The relation between the given, which God offers to us in the faith of the Church, and our effort to appropriate this given in rational understanding, is a fundamental part of theology. The goal of the Catechism is precisely that of presenting this given that precedes us, whose developing doctrinal formulation of the faith is offered in the Church; it is a proclamation of faith, not a theology, even if a reflection seeking understanding is a natural part of an appropriate presentation of the teaching of the Church's faith and in this sense faith is opened to understanding and to theology. Nevertheless, the difference between the work of proclamation or witness and that of theological reflection is not eliminated.

Universal proclamation, witness

In this way we touch upon the literary genre of the Catechism, which is derived from its purpose. Its literary form is not fundamentally the debate - the "quaestio disputata" in the classic expression of theological work. Its literary form is more than anything else the testimony, the proclamation that comes from the internal certainty of the faith. Even here clarifications have to be made:  this testimony is addressed to another and therefore makes reference to his/her point of view; the testimony contains the intelligent summary of the word received, but remains nevertheless distinct from the language of reason that searches scientifically. In the case of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, yet a further fact is added:  the audience for whom this book is intended, who determines the subsequent form of the dialogue, is manifold and varied. The Pope notes, in the fourth point of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, the progression of those to whom the Catechism is addressed, and to whom he has dedicated the book:  pastors and the faithful, particularly those members of the Church involved in catechesis:  then, "all the faithful", thereby embracing an ecumenical dimension, and finally - as the Pope says - this book "is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. I Pt 3,15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes". If one bears in mind that it is thus addressed not only to individuals with very different levels of preparation, but to all the continents and varied cultural situations, it is evident that this book cannot constitute the point of arrival in a process of mediations, but must undergo further mediations closer to the different situations. If it were to become more directly "dialogical" for a specific milieu - for example the Western intellectuals -, it would adopt their style, and be beyond the grasp of all the others. Therefore, its style had to remain above specific cultural contexts and seek to address people in this way, leaving further cultural mediations to the respective local Churches. The fact that the Catechism has been received positively in completely different regions and social milieux demonstrates that the effort to make it understood beyond differences of preparation and culture has succeeded surprisingly well. That it must be possible to express in words what we believe in a way that will be available for all, and thereby to draft such a book, should not be contested. Indeed, if it were not possible to write such a book, the unity of the Church, the unity of the faith, the unity of humanity, would be a fiction.

But what shall we say now - prescinding from these formal problems - of the current doctrinal relevance of the Catechism? If we wish to respond adequately, one after another we should go through its individual sections from beginning to end. In this way one could make many valuable discoveries and it would be possible to see how profoundly the Catechism has been shaped by the impulses of the Second Vatican Council, how much, even in its restraint from the point of view of specialized theology, it offers new impulses for theological work. A comparative examination of various themes would be instructive, such as, for example, ecumenism, the relationship between Israel and the Church, the relation between the faith and the world religions, faith and creation, symbols and signs, etc. All of this is not possible here. I would like to limit myself to certain exemplary aspects, which have played a large part in the public debate.

The Use of Scripture in the "Catechism'

Particularly strong attacks were directed against the use of Scripture in the Catechism: as previously noted, (it was said) that this work did not take into account a whole century of exegetical work; for example, how could it be so naive as to use passages from the Gospel of John to speak of the historical figure of Jesus; it would be shaped by a literalistic faith which could be called fundamentalist, etc. With regard to the specific task of the Catechism, accurate reflection has to take place on the way in which this book should make use of historical-critical exegesis.

Relative to a work which must present the faith - not hypotheses - and which for a significantly long time must be "a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine" (as the Pope states in the Apostolic Constitution, n. 3), we must keep in mind how rapidly exegetical hypotheses change and, to be honest, how great is the dissent, even among scholars, regarding many theses.

The Catechism has therefore dedicated a special article, numbers 101-104 of the book - to a specific reflection on the right use of Scripture in the witness of the faith. This section has been evaluated by important exegetes as a successful methodological synthesis, which addresses the question not only of the purely historical, but also of the strictly theological, nature of the interpretation of Scripture.

Historical aspect

In this regard, it is necessary to respond to the question:  what exactly is Sacred Scripture? What is it that makes this to a certain extent heterogeneous literary collection, whose period of formation lasts for about a millennium, one single book, one single sacred book, which we interpret as such?

In the deeper examination of this question, we clarify the whole specificity of the Christian faith and of its concept of revelation. The Christian faith has its specificity, primarily in that it refers to historical events, or better to a coherent history, which actually took place as history. In this sense, the question about the fact, the reality of the event, is essential to it, and must make room for the historical method. But these historical events have meaning for the faith only because it is certain that in them God Himself acted in a specific way and the events contain something which surpasses simple historical facticity, something which comes from elsewhere and gives them meaning for all times and for all people. This surpassing element must not be separated from the facts, it is not a meaning which is subsequently added to them from without, but rather it is present in the event itself, and yet it transcends the purely factual aspect.

The meaning of the entire biblical history is found precisely in this transcendence inherent in the fact itself. This specific structure of biblical history is reflected in the biblical books: these are, on the one hand, an expression of the historical experience of a people, but, since history is something more than the action and passion of a people, in reality, in these books, not only do the people speak, but the very God who acts in them and by means of them. The figure of the "author", which is so important for historical research, is therefore articulated on three levels: the individual author is in fact supported in his turn by the people as a whole. This is seen precisely in the ever new additions and modifications of the books. Here source criticism (despite exaggerations and unproven hypotheses) has led to valuable discoveries. In the end, it is not simply an individual author who speaks, rather the texts grow in a process of reflection, culture, and new understanding which surpasses each individual author. It is precisely in this process of continual surpassing, which relativizes the individual authors, that a more profound transcendence is at work: in this process of surpassing, of purification, of growth, the inspiring Spirit is at work, who in the word guides the facts and events and in the events and facts newly inspires the word.

Bible as canon

Whoever reflects upon this drama, here only very summarily treated, of the biblical word becoming Scripture, doubtless sees that its interpretation - even independent of the questions proper to the believer - must be externally complex. One who, however, lives in the faith of this same people and finds himself within this process, in his interpreting, must take into account the ultimate reality which he knows is working in it. Then can one speak of theological interpretation, which in fact does not eliminate the historical, but expands it into a new dimension. Based upon such presuppositions, the Catechism has described the double dimension of correct biblical exegesis, to which the typical methods of historical interpretation belong, while - if one considers this literature as one single book, and still more a sacred book - other methodological forms must be added. In numbers 109 and 110, with reference to Dei verbum, n. 12, the essential needs of an historical exegesis are mentioned: one must pay attention to the authors' intentions, to the conditions of their time and culture, as well as being aware of the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating customary in their time (n. 110). Here one must treat the methodological elements which derive from the understanding of the books as one single book and as the foundation of the life of the People of God in the Old and the New Testament:  to be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture; to read Scripture in the living Tradition of the whole Church; to be attentive to the analogy of faith (nn. 112-114). I would at least like to cite the beautiful text which the Catechism uses to present the significance of the unity of Scripture illustrating it with a quotation from St Thomas:  "Different as the books which comprise it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the centre and heart, open since his Passover. The phrase "heart of Christ' can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted' (St Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in Ps 21, 11)" (n. 112).

Fourfold meaning of Scripture

Also from the complex nature of the literary genre "Bible" comes the fact that the meaning of its individual texts cannot be confined to the historical intention of the first author - for the most part established in a hypothetical manner. All of the texts are actually found in a process of continual rewriting, in which their potential richness of meaning is always being more fully disclosed, and therefore no text belongs simply to a single historical author. Since the text itself has a developmental character, it is not permissible, even based upon its literary genre, to confine it to a determined historical moment and to keep it there; in this case it would be confined to the past, while to read the Scripture as Bible means precisely that the present is found in the historical word, opening up a future. The doctrine of the multiple meanings of Scripture, which was developed by the Fathers and in the Middle Ages was given a systematic form, based today upon this particular concept of the formation of the text is again recognized as scientifically satisfactory. The Catechism therefore briefly illustrates the traditional understanding of the four senses of Scripture - it would be better to say, of the four dimensions of the meaning of the text. There is first of all the so-called literal sense, that is, the historical-literary meaning, which an exegete seeks to re-present as the expression of the historical moment of the origin of the text. There is the so-called "allegorical" sense; unfortunately this discredited term prevents us from grasping exactly what it means. In the word, once you take it out of an earlier limited historical context, it actually contains a method of faith, which inserts this text within the whole of the Bible, and beyond that time directed as is every time, coming from God and going to God. There is also a moral dimension - the word of God always gives direction for the journey, and, finally, there is the eschatological dimension, transcending the here and now, and moving toward what is definitive; tradition calls this the "anagogical sense".

Scripture, Tradition and the Church

This dynamic vision of the Bible in the context of the lived and continuing history of the People of God leads also to a further important insight about the essence of Christianity:  "the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book'", the Catechism states concisely (n. 108). This is an extremely important affirmation. The faith does not refer simply to a book, which as such would be the sole and final appeal for the believer. At the centre of the Christian faith there is not a book, but a person - Jesus Christ, who is Himself the living Word of God and who is handed on, so to speak, in the words of Scripture, which in turn can only be rightly understood in life with Him, in the living relation with Him. And since Christ built and builds up the Church, the People of God, as His living organism, His "body", essential to the relation with him is participation in the pilgrim people, who are the true and proper human author and owner of the Bible, as has been said. If the living Christ is the true and proper standard of the interpretation of the Bible, this means that we rightly understand this book only in the communal, believing, synchronic and diachronic understanding of the whole Church. Outside of this vital context, the Bible is only a more or less heterogeneous literary collection, not the signpost of a journey for our lives. Scripture and tradition cannot be separated. The great theologian of Tübingen, Johann Adam Möhler, illustrated this necessary connection in an unparalleled way in his classic work "Die Einheit in der Kirche" (Unity in the Church), whose study I cannot recommend highly enough. The Catechism emphasizes this connection, which includes the interpretive authority of the Church, as the second Letter of Peter specifically states:  "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation ..." (II Pt 1,20).

Let us rejoice that, with this vision of the interpretation of Scripture, the Catechism is in agreement with important tendencies of the most recent exegesis. The canonical method of exegesis emphasizes the unity of the Bible as the principle of interpretation; synchronic and diachronic interpretation are being increasingly recognized in their equal dignity. The essential connection of Scripture and Tradition is emphasized by the famous exegetes of all confessions; it seems clear that an exegesis separated from the life of the Church and from her historical experience is not binding and cannot go beyond the category of hypothesis, which must always take into account the transcendence of what is said at a given point in time. These are all reasons to rethink the hasty judgements on the simplistic character of the interpretation of Scripture of the Catechism and to rejoice that, without complexity, it connects us to Scripture as a present word and can thus can be shaped by Scripture in all of its parts as by a living spring.

The doctrine of the Sacraments in the "Catechism'

Now, allow me to say something on the ongoing doctrinal relevance of the second and third parts of our book. Since it is completely determined by Vatican II, the newness of the second part which deals with the Sacraments is immediately visible in its title:  "The Celebration of the Christian Mystery". This means that the sacraments are envisaged entirely in terms of salvation history, based upon the Paschal mystery - the Paschal centre of the life and work of Christ - as a re-presentation of the Paschal mystery, in which we are included. This also means that the sacraments are understood entirely as liturgy, in terms of the concrete liturgical celebration. In this the Catechism has accomplished an important step beyond the traditional neo-scholastic teaching on the sacraments. Already medieval theology to a large extent had separated the theological consideration of the sacraments from their liturgical realization and, prescinding from this, treated the categories of institution, sign, efficacy, minister, and recipient, such that only what referred to the sign kept a connection with the liturgical celebration. Certainly, the sign was not considered so much in the living and concrete liturgical form, as it was analyzed according to the philosophical categories of matter and form. Increasingly, liturgy and theology were ever more separated from one another; dogmatics did not interpret the liturgy, rather its abstract theological content, so that the liturgy appeared almost to be a collection of ceremonies, which clothed the essential - the matter and the form - and for this reason could also be replaceable. In its turn, the "liturgical science" (to the extent to which one can call this a science) became a teaching of the liturgical norms in force and thus came closer to becoming a sort of juridical positivism. The liturgical movement of the 1920's tried to overcome this dangerous separation and sought to understand the nature of the sacraments based upon their liturgical form; to understand the liturgy not simply as a more or less casual collection of ceremonies, but as the development of what came from within the sacrament to have its consistent expression in the liturgical celebration.

Mandate of Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Liturgy highlighted this synthesis in an excellent, if very modest, way and so, based upon this connection, offered to theology and to catechesis the mandate of understanding in a new and deeper way the liturgy of the Church and her sacraments.

Unfortunately, until now this mandate has not been fully realized. Liturgical science tends once again to separate itself from dogmatics and to set itself up as a form of technique of liturgical celebration. In its turn, dogmatic theology has not yet assumed the liturgical dimension in a convincing way. A great deal of reforming zeal is founded upon the fact that one continues to see the liturgical form only as a collection of ceremonies, which can be replaced at will with other "inventions". In this regard, in the Catechism one finds these golden words, based on the profound nature of true liturgical understanding:  "For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy" (n. 1125). In its treatment of the liturgy, which introduces and shapes the sacramental part, the Catechism has taken a great step forward and therefore was received with great praise by authoritative liturgists, for example, by the great scholar of Trier, Mons. Balthasar Fischer.

How to achieve unity in the midst of a variety of rites

Without entering into particulars, I would like in a general way to mention certain aspects of the Catechism's teaching on the sacraments, in which, by way of examples its current doctrinal relevance can be discerned. The proposal to illustrate the individual sacraments based upon their liturgically celebrated form, initially faced the obvious fact that, since the liturgy of the Church consists of a plurality of rites, so a unifying liturgical form for the whole Church does not exist. This did not create a problem for a catechism written only for the Western (Latin) Church or for one particular Church. But a Catechism, such as ours which wills to be "Catholic" in the strongest sense, and, therefore, is directed to the one Church with a the plurality of rites, cannot favour one rite exclusively. How then to proceed? The Catechism cites first of all the oldest text of a description of the Christian Eucharistic celebration, which Justin Martyr outlines in an Apology for Christianity addressed to the pagan Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) around the year 155 A.D. (1345).

From this basic text of tradition, which precedes the formation of specific rites, one can determine the essential structure of the Eucharistic celebration, which has remained common to all the rites, the Mass of all the centuries. The recourse to this text thus allows at the same time a better understanding of the individual rites and a discovery within these of the common structure of the central Christian sacrament, which ultimately dates back to the time of the apostles and thus to the institution by the Lord Himself. The solution found here is indicative for the overall concept of the Catechism, which could never be only Western and - as it is at the heart of the Oriental Churches - also never solely Byzantine, but has to take into account the wide breadth of tradition. The many texts of the Fathers and witnesses of the faith of all the centuries - men and women - that are included in it, form one of the most valuable aspects of this book. A glance at the list of names shows that ample space is given to the Eastern and Western Fathers, and the voices of holy women are also strongly present, from Joan of Arc, Juliana of Norwich, and Catherine of Siena, to Rose of Lima, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Teresa of Avila. This treasury of quotations alone gives the Catechism its value both for personal meditation and for the ministry of preaching.

Pneumatology

A further trait in the theology of the Catechism on worship, to which I would like to call attention, includes the emphasis on the pneumatologic dimension of the liturgy, and pneumatology itself - the doctrine on the Holy Spirit - is a theme on which the Catechism should be read in a way that cuts across sections, in order to understand its special physiognomy. The section on the Holy Spirit is basic within the framework of the interpretation of the Profession of faith (nn. 683-747). The book emphasizes above all the profound joining together of Christology and pneumatology, which is already visible, for example, in the name Messiah - Christ - the anointed; in fact "anointing" in the patristic tradition means Christ's being penetrated by the Holy Spirit, the living "ointment".

Especially important and helpful do I find the section on the symbols of the Holy Spirit (nn. 694-701). It shows a typical aspect of the Catechism: its attention to images and symbols. It does not just reflect on abstract concepts, but it highlights symbols. They give us an interior vision, showing the transparency of the cosmos to the mystery of God and at the same time opening the relation with the world of religions. With the emphasis on image and symbol we are therefore already in the realm of liturgical theology, since the liturgical celebration essentially lives on symbols.

The theme of the Holy Spirit returns again in the teaching on the Church (nn. 797-810) - here as an aspect of an essentially Trinitarian vision of the Church. And again we find it amply present in the part on the sacraments (nn. 1091-112), here it belongs to a Trinitarian definition of the liturgy. The pneumatological vision of the liturgy again helps one to have a correct understanding of Scripture - the work of the Holy Spirit. In the liturgical year, the Church traverses the entire history of salvation, and - reading Scripture in a spiritual way, that is, based upon the author who has inspired and inspires it, the Holy Spirit - experiences the today of this history. From here also - from the origin of all Scripture from one single Spirit - even the interior unity of the Old and New Testaments becomes comprehensible; for the Catechism this is also an important item, to demonstrate the profound connection between Jewish and Christian liturgy (n. 1096). In parentheses we can observe in this regard, the theme of the Church and Israel is in fact a theme that cuts across sections, that also permeates the entire work and cannot be judged by a single passage. The fact that the Catechism's strong emphasis upon pneumatology also connects with the Eastern Churches, obviously does not need to be pointed out.

Inculturation: worship, culture

In conclusion, the Catechism has also given proper attention to the theme of worship and culture. It makes sense to speak of inculturation, in reality, only if the dimension of the culture is essential to worship as such. And in turn, an intercultural encounter can be something more than an artificially superimposed external, only if in the developed ritual forms of Christian worship there is pre-contained an inner contact with other ways of worship and cultural forms. The Catechism therefore has clearly highlighted the cosmic dimension of the Christian liturgy, which is essential for the choice and the explanation of its symbols. In this regard it states:  "The great religions of mankind witness, often impressively, to this cosmic and symbolic meaning of religious rites. The liturgy of the Church presupposes, integrates and sanctifies elements from creation and human culture, conferring on them the dignity of signs of grace, of the new creation in Jesus Christ" (n. 1149). Unfortunately, in certain sectors of the Church, liturgical reform was conceived in a unilaterally intellectualistic manner - as a form of religious instruction - and furthermore was often culturally impoverished in a worrying way, both in the realm of images in music and in the configuration of liturgical space and celebration. With an interpretation directed entirely to the community, and focused only upon the needs of the present, the great cosmic inspiration of the liturgy and thus its depth and dynamic were in various ways woefully reduced. Against such mistakes the Catechism offers the needed instruments which the new generation was awaiting.

Christian Moral Teaching in the "Catechism'

Finally, let us look at the third part of the Catechism, "Life in Christ", which treats Christian moral teaching. In the drafting of the book this certainly was the most difficult section, on the one hand, on account of the differences that are debated about the structural principles of Christian morality, and on the other by reason of the difficult problems in the realm of political, social ethics, and bioethics, that are in a continuous process of evolution thanks to constant new facts, as also is the case in the realm of anthropology, while here the debate on marriage and the family, and on the ethics of sexuality, is in full swing. The Catechism does not claim to present the only possible form of moral theology or even the best systematic form of moral theology - this was not its mandate. It sets out the essential anthropological and theological connections that are to be the components of human moral behaviour. Its starting point is found in the presentation of the dignity of the human person, that is at the same time his greatness and the reason for his moral obligation. Then it indicates as the inner stimulus and guide of moral action the human desire for happiness. The primordial human impulse, that no one can deny and which, ultimately, no one can oppose, is the desire for happiness, to have a fulfilled, completed life. Morality, for the Catechism, in continuity with the Fathers, and especially Augustine, is the doctrine of the happy life - so to speak, the development of the rules for happiness. The book connects this innate human tendency with the Beatitudes of Jesus, which free the concept of happiness from all banality, giving it its true profundity and thus revealing the connection between the absolute good, the good in Person - God - and happiness.

The fundamental components of moral action are then developed - freedom, the object and intention of action, the passions, the conscience, the virtues, their distortion in sin, the social character of the human being and, finally the relation between law and grace. Christian moral theology is never simply an ethics of the law, it surpasses even the realm of an ethics of virtue:  it is a dialogical ethics, because the moral human action develops out of the person's encounter with God, therefore it is never an activity in itself, self-sufficient and autonomous, pure human achievement, but a response to the gift of love and thus a being drawn into the dynamic of love - of God Himself - who first of all truly frees the person and brings him to his true high dignity. Moral action is never simply one's own achievement, but neither is it only something grafted on from outside. True moral action is wholly gift, and nevertheless precisely so wholly our own action, while what is our own is only unfolded in the gift of love and in turn the gift does not invalidate the person but rather fulfills him.

I believe that it is very important that the Catechism placed the doctrine of justification at the heart of its ethics, because precisely in this way does the interaction between grace and freedom become understandable as existence coming from another as true existence in itself and moving toward the other. In the discussion on the consensus among Catholics and Protestants with regard to justification, the question has rightly been continually posed of how the doctrine of justification can be made comprehensible and meaningful again for people today. I believe that the Catechism, with its presentation of the theme in the framework of the anthropological question of the right action of the human person, has made great strides towards making such new understanding possible. To show the spirit with which justification is treated in the Catechism, I would like simply to cite three passages each of which belongs to the great tradition of the fathers and the saints. St Augustine maintains that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth", because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect will not pass away" (In ep. Jo. . 72, 3). He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy (n. 1994). Another quotation of St Augustine can be given in the same vein - a prayer of this saint, in which he says to God:  "If at the end of your very good works ... you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your Book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good' since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life (Conf. 13, 36,51)" (n. 2002). And here as well the marvellous phrase of St Thérèse of Lisieux: "After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone.... In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself" (n. 2011). The section on justification is an essential ecumenical contribution of the Catechism. It also demonstrates the way in which the ecumenical dimension of the book cannot be sufficiently revealed if we limit ourselves to searching for quotations from ecumenical documents or if we examine the words which appear in the list of arguments, but only if it is read as a whole so that we understand the way in which the whole is shaped by the search for what unites.

Dialogue and covenant

The Catechism's treatment of moral content is based on the Decalogue:  the Catechism explains the Decalogue - as is right when you start with the Bible - dialogically, that is in the context of the Covenant. Together with Origen it emphasizes that the first word of the Decalogue is freedom - freedom, which under God's direction becomes an event:  "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (n. 2061). Moral action thus appears as a "response to the Lord's loving initiative" (n. 2062). With Irenaeus, the Decalogue is interpreted as a preparation for friendship with God and justice towards our neighbour (n. 2063). If thus on the one hand the Decalogue is seen completely in the context of the covenant and salvation history, as an event of word and response, nevertheless, it is manifested at the same time as a rational ethics, as a reminder of what reason is truly able to perceive. We cite Ireneaus again:  "From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue (Adv. haeres. 4, 15, 1)" (n. 2070). This is an important trait in the ethics of the Catechism: it was the call to reason and to man's ability to understand. The moral teaching developed from the Decalogue is rational morality, which certainly lives with the reason, which God has given to us, while with His word, He reminds us of what is deeply inscribed in the soul of everyone.

Christology and natural law

One could perhaps marvel over the relatively reduced role which Christology has in the structuring of the ethics of the Catechism. In pre-conciliar manuals the general orientation was usually set by natural law thought which largely prevailed. The renewal movement of the period between the two wars pushed strongly towards a theological conception of moral teaching and proposed as its structuring principle the following of Christ or even simply love as the all encompassing place of every moral action. The conciliar Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes) supported this distancing from the purely natural law-centred mentality and emphasized Christology, especially, the Paschal mystery as the centre of Christian moral teaching. An authentically Biblical moral teaching finally should have developed - this was the imperative that the Council made clear, even if the Constitution itself in its individual themes in reality made ample use of rational argumentation and did not intend to be bound to a moral teaching based purely on revelation - precisely for the reason that it presented a dialogue with the non-Christian modern world about all of the common essential values. If the fundamental outlines of the Council can be designated as a return to a moral teaching interpreted in an essentially biblical, Christocentric manner, nevertheless in the post-conciliar period a radical reversal soon took pace. The Bible could not absolutely convey any "categorical" moral teaching; the contents of moral teaching had always to be mediated in a purely rational manner. The importance of the Bible would be found on the level of motivation, not content. Thus from a content-based point of view, the Bible and with it Christology, disappeared from moral theology in a still more radical way than before. The difference with the pre-conciliar period consisted in the fact that now, among other things, even the idea of natural law and natural moral law, which had always maintained faith in creation and the basis of moral theology, were rejected. One returned to a morality of calculation which took ultimately as its only criteria the probable effects of an action and in this regard, the principle of the calculation of goods was extended to the whole of moral action. In this difficult situation the Encyclical Vetitatis splendor offered fundamental clarifications on the proprium of Christian moral teaching and on the right relation between faith and reason in the elaboration of ethical norms. The Catechism - without systematic claims - prepared these decisions. The Christological principle is present, based as much upon the theme of happiness (the Beatitudes) as on that of anthropology, on the theme of law and grace and above all in the Decalogue, to the extent that the concept of Covenant contains the final embodiment of the Covenant in the person of the Word incarnate and His new interpretation of the Decalogue. But the Catechism does not intend to present a closed system. In the search for an ethics inspired by Christology, it is also necessary to remember that Christ is the Logos incarnate, that He wishes therefore to awaken our human reason to its power.

The original function of the Decalogue - to recall to us the ultimate depth of our reason - is not abolished by the encounter with Christ, but only led to its full maturity. An ethics that in listening to revelation also wishes to be authentically rational, in this way responds precisely to the encounter with Christ which the new Covenant gives us.

Those who search for a new theological system in the Catechism, or for surprising new hypotheses, will be disappointed. This is not the concern of the Catechism. Drawing from Sacred Scripture and the complex richness of tradition in its many forms and inspired by the Second Vatican Council, it offers an organic vision of the entirety of the Catholic faith, which is beautiful in its entirety - with a beauty in which the splendour of the truth shines forth. The present relevance of the Catechism is the relevance of the truth formulated and thought afresh once again. This relevance will remain intact far beyond the murmurings of its critics.

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20021009_ratzinger-catechetical-congress_en.html. 31.05.2012)

 

Fr. Bill Casey

DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU

DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON PROMOTING BIBLICAL STUDIES, COMMEMORATING
THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS
TO OUR VENERABLE BRETHREN, PATRIARCHS,
ARCHBISHOPS, AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES
ENJOYING PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE

 

Inspired by the Divine Spirit, the Sacred Writers composed those books, which God, in His paternal charity towards the human race, deigned to bestow on them in order "to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice: that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."[1] This heaven-sent treasure Holy Church considers as the most precious source of doctrine on faith and morals. No wonder herefore that, as she received it intact from the hands of the Apostles, so she kept it with all care, defended it from every false and perverse interpretation and used it diligently as an instrument for securing the eternal salvation of souls, as almost countless documents in every age strikingly bear witness. In more recent times, however, since the divine origin and the correct interpretation of the Sacred Writings have been very specially called in question, the Church has with even greater zeal and care undertaken their defense and protection. The sacred Council of Trent ordained by solemn decree that "the entire books with all their parts, as they have been wont to be read in the Catholic Church and are contained in the old vulgate Latin edition, are to be held sacred and canonical."[2] In our own time the Vatican Council, with the object of condemning false doctrines regarding inspiration, declared that these same books were to be regarded by the Church as sacred and canonical "not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority, nor merely because they contain revelation without error, but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for their author, and as such were handed down to the Church herself."[3] When, subsequently, some Catholic writers, in spite of this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the "entire books with all their parts" as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever, ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals, and to regard other matters, whether in the domain of physical science or history, as "obiter dicta" and - as they contended - in no wise connected with faith, Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII in the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, published on November 18 in the year 1893, justly and rightly condemned these errors and safe-guarded the studies of the Divine Books by most wise precepts and rules.

2. Since then it is fitting that We should commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of this Encyclical Letter, which is considered the supreme guide in biblical studies, We, moved by that solicitude for sacred studies, which We manifested from the very beginning of Our Pontificate,[4] have considered that this may most opportunely be done by ratifying and inculcating all that was wisely laid down by Our Predecessor and ordained by His Successors for the consolidating and perfecting of the work, and by pointing out what seems necessary in the present day, in order to incite ever more earnestly all those sons of the Church who devote themselves to these studies, to so necessary and so praiseworthy an enterprise.

3. The first and greatest care of Leo XIII was to set forth the teaching on the truth of the Sacred Books and to defend it from attack. Hence with grave words did he proclaim that there is no error whatsoever if the sacred writer, speaking of things of the physical order "went by what sensibly appeared" as the Angelic Doctor says,[5] speaking either "in figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even among the most eminent men of science." For "the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately - the words are St. Augustine's - [6] the Holy Spirit, Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things - that is the essential nature of the things of the universe - things in no way profitable to salvation"; which principle "will apply to cognate sciences, and especially to history,"[7] that is, by refuting, "in a somewhat similar way the fallacies of the adversaries and defending the historical truth of Sacred Scripture from their attacks."[8] Nor is the sacred writer to be taxed with error, if "copyists have made mistakes in the text of the Bible," or, "if the real meaning of a passage remains ambiguous." Finally it is absolutely wrong and forbidden "either to narrow inspiration to certain passages of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred," since divine inspiration "not only is essentially incompatible with error but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church."[9]

4. This teaching, which Our Predecessor Leo XIII set forth with such solemnity, We also proclaim with Our authority and We urge all to adhere to it religiously. No less earnestly do We inculcate obedience at the present day to the counsels and exhortations which he, in his day, so wisely enjoined. For whereas there arose new and serious difficulties and questions, from the wide-spread prejudices of rationalism and more especially from the discovery and investigation of the antiquities of the East, this same Our Predecessor, moved by zeal of the apostolic office, not only that such an excellent source of Catholic revelation might be more securely and abundantly available to the advantage of the Christian flock, but also that he might not suffer it to be in any way tainted, wished and most earnestly desired "to see an increase in the number of the approved and persevering laborers in the cause of Holy Scripture; and more especially that those whom Divine Grace has called to Holy Orders, should day-by-day, as their state demands, display greater diligence and industry in reading, meditating and explaining it."[10]

5. Wherefore the same Pontiff, as he had already praised and approved the school for biblical studies, founded at St. Stephen's, Jerusalem, by the Master General of the Sacred Order of Preachers - from which, to use his own words, "biblical science itself had received no small advantage, while giving promise of more"[11] - so in the last year of his life he provided yet another way, by which these same studies, so warmly commended in the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, might daily make greater progress and be pursued with the greatest possible security. By the Apostolic Letter Vigilantiae, published on October 30 in the year 1902, he founded a Council or Commission, as it is called, of eminent men, "whose duty it would be to procure by every means that the sacred texts may receive everywhere among us that more thorough exposition which the times demand, and be kept safe not only from every breath of error, but also from all inconsiderate opinions."[12] Following the example of Our Predecessors, We also have effectively confirmed and amplified this Council using its good offices, as often before, to remind commentators of the Sacred Books of those safe rules of Catholic exegesis, which have been handed down by the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as by the Sovereign Pontiffs themselves.[13]

6. It may not be out of place here to recall gratefully the principal and more useful contributions made successively by Our Predecessors toward this same end, which contributions may be considered as the complement or fruit of the movement so happily initiated by Leo XIII. And first of all Pius X, wishing "to provide a sure way for the preparation of a copious supply of teachers, who, commended by the seriousness and the integrity of their doctrine, might explain the Sacred Books in Catholic schools . . ." instituted "the academic degrees of licentiate and doctorate in Sacred Scripture . . .; to be conferred by the Biblical Commission";[14] he later enacted a law "concerning the method of Scripture studies to be followed in Clerical Seminaries" with this end in view, viz.: that students of the sacred sciences "not only should themselves fully understand the power, purpose and teaching of the Bible, but should also be equipped to engage in the ministry of the Divine Word with elegance and ability and repel attacks against the divinely inspired books";[15] finally "in order that a center of higher biblical studies might be established in Rome, which in the best way possible might promote the study of the Bible and all cognate sciences in accordance with the mind of the Catholic Church" he founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute, entrusted to the care of the illustrious Society of Jesus, which he wished endowed "with a superior professorial staff and every facility for biblical research"; he prescribed its laws and rules, professing to follow in this the "salutary and fruitful project" of Leo XIII.[16]

7. All this in fine Our immediate Predecessor of happy memory Pius XI brought to perfection, laying down among other things "that no one should be appointed professor of Sacred Scripture in any Seminary, unless, having completed a special course of biblical studies, he had in due form obtained the academic degrees before the Biblical Commission or the Biblical Institute." He wished that these degrees should have the same rights and the same effects as the degrees duly conferred in Sacred Theology or Canon Law; likewise he decreed that no one should receive "a benefice having attached the canonical obligation of expounding the Sacred Scripture to the people, unless, among other things, he had obtained the licentiate or doctorate in biblical science." And having at the same time urged the Superiors General of the Regular Orders and of the religious Congregations, as well as the Bishops of the Catholic world, to send the more suitable of their students to frequent the schools of the Biblical Institute and obtain there the academical degrees, he confirmed these exhortations by his own example, appointing out of his bounty an annual sum for this very purpose.[17]

8. Seeing that, in the year 1907, with the benign approval of Pius X of happy memory, "to the Benedictine monks had been committed the task of preparing the investigations and studies on which might be based a new edition of the Latin version of the Scripture, commonly called the Vulgate,[18] the same Pontiff, Pius XI, wishing to consolidate more firmly and securely this "laborious and arduous enterprise," which demands considerable time and great expense, founded in Rome and lavishly endowed with a library and other means of research, the monastery of St. Jerome, to be devoted exclusively to this work.[19]

9. Nor should We fail to mention here how earnestly these same Our Predecessors, when the opportunity occurred, recommended the study or preaching or in fine the pious reading and meditation on the Sacred Scriptures. Pius X most heartily commended the society of St. Jerome, which strives to promote among the faithful - and to facilitate with all its power - the truly praiseworthy custom of reading and meditating on the holy Gospels; he exhorted them to persevere in the enterprise they had begun, proclaiming it "a most useful undertaking, as well as most suited to the times," seeing that it helps in no small way "to dissipate the idea that the Church is opposed to or in any way impedes the reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular."[20] And Benedict XV, on the occasion of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Jerome, the greatest Doctor of the Sacred Scriptures, after having most solemnly inculcated the precepts and examples of the same Doctor, as well as the principles and rules laid down by Leo XIII and by himself, and having recommended other things highly opportune and never to be forgotten in this connection, exhorted "all the children of the Church, especially clerics, to reverence the Holy Scripture, to read it piously and meditate it constantly"; he reminded them "that in these pages is to be sought that food, by which the spiritual life is nourished unto perfection," and "that the chief use of Scripture pertains to the holy and fruitful exercise of the ministry of preaching"; he likewise once again expressed his warm approval of the work of the society called after St. Jerome himself, by means of which the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles are being so widely diffused, "that there is no Christian family any more without them and that all are accustomed to read and meditate them daily."[21]

10. But it is right and pleasing to confess openly that it is not only by reason of these initiatives, precepts and exhortations of Our Predecessors that the knowledge and use of the Sacred Scriptures have made great progress among Catholics; for this is also due to the works and labors of all those who diligently cooperated with them, both by meditating, investigating and writing, as well as by teaching and preaching and by translating and propagating the Sacred Books. For from the schools in which are fostered higher studies in theological and biblical science, and especially from Our Pontifical Biblical Institute, there have already come forth, and daily continue to come forth, many students of Holy Scripture who, inspired with an intense love for the Sacred Books, imbue the younger clergy with this same ardent zeal and assiduously impart to them the doctrine they themselves have acquired. Many of them also, by the written word, have promoted and do still promote, far and wide, the study of the Bible; as when they edit the sacred text corrected in accordance with the rules of textual criticism or expound, explain, and translate it into the vernacular; or when they propose it to the faithful for their pious reading and meditation; or finally when they cultivate and seek the aid of profane sciences which are useful for the interpretation of the Scriptures. From these therefore and from other initiatives which daily become more wide-spread and vigorous, as, for example, biblical societies, congresses, libraries, associations for meditation on the Gospels, We firmly hope that in the future reverence for, as well as the use and knowledge of, the Sacred Scriptures will everywhere more and more increase for the good of souls, provided the method of biblical studies laid down by Leo XIII, explained more clearly and perfectly by his Successors, and by Us confirmed and amplified - which indeed is the only safe way and proved by experience - be more firmly, eagerly and faithfully accepted by all, regardless of the difficulties which, as in all human affairs, so in this most excellent work will never be wanting.

11. There is no one who cannot easily perceive that the conditions of biblical studies and their subsidiary sciences have greatly changed within the last fifty years. For, apart from anything else, when Our Predecessor published the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, hardly a single place in Palestine had begun to be explored by means of relevant excavations. Now, however, this kind of investigation is much more frequent and, since more precise methods and technical skill have been developed in the course of actual experience, it gives us information at once more abundant and more accurate. How much light has been derived from these explorations for the more correct and fuller understanding of the Sacred Books all experts know, as well as all those who devote themselves to these studies. The value of these excavations is enhanced by the discovery from time to time of written documents, which help much towards the knowledge of the languages, letters, events, customs, and forms of worship of most ancient times. And of no less importance is papyri which have contributed so much to the knowledge of the discovery and investigation, so frequent in our times, of letters and institutions, both public and private, especially of the time of Our Savior.

12. Moreover ancient codices of the Sacred Books have been found and edited with discerning thoroughness; the exegesis of the Fathers of the Church has been more widely and thoroughly examined; in fine the manner of speaking, relating and writing in use among the ancients is made clear by innumerable examples. All these advantages which, not without a special design of Divine Providence, our age has acquired, are as it were an invitation and inducement to interpreters of the Sacred Literature to make diligent use of this light, so abundantly given, to penetrate more deeply, explain more clearly and expound more lucidly the Divine Oracles. If, with the greatest satisfaction of mind, We perceive that these same interpreters have resolutely answered and still continue to answer this call, this is certainly not the last or least of the fruits of the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, by which Our Predecessor Leo XIII, foreseeing as it were this new development of biblical studies, summoned Catholic exegetes to labor and wisely defined the direction and the method to be followed in that labor.

13. We also, by this Encyclical Letter, desire to insure that the work may not only proceed without interruption, but may also daily become more perfect and fruitful; and to that end We are specially intent on pointing out to all what yet remains to be done, with what spirit the Catholic exegete should undertake, at the present day, so great and noble a work, and to give new incentive and fresh courage to the laborers who toil so strenuously in the vineyard of the Lord.

14. The Fathers of the Church in their time, especially Augustine, warmly recommended to the Catholic scholar, who undertook the investigation and explanation of the Sacred Scriptures, the study of the ancient languages and recourse to the original texts.[22] However, such was the state of letters in those times, that not many - and these few but imperfectly - knew the Hebrew language. In the middle ages, when Scholastic Theology was at the height of its vigor, the knowledge of even the Greek language had long since become so rare in the West, that even the greatest Doctors of that time, in their exposition of the Sacred Text, had recourse only to the Latin version, known as the Vulgate.

15. On the contrary in this our time, not only the Greek language, which since the humanistic renaissance has been, as it were, restored to new life, is familiar to almost all students of antiquity and letters, but the knowledge of Hebrew also and of their oriental languages has spread far and wide among literary men. Moreover there are now such abundant aids to the study of these languages that the biblical scholar, who by neglecting them would deprive himself of access to the original texts, could in no wise escape the stigma of levity and sloth. For it is the duty of the exegete to lay hold, so to speak, with the greatest care and reverence of the very least expressions which, under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, have flowed from the pen of the sacred writer, so as to arrive at a deeper and fuller knowledge of his meaning.

16. Wherefore let him diligently apply himself so as to acquire daily a greater facility in biblical as well as in other oriental languages and to support his interpretation by the aids which all branches of philology supply. This indeed St. Jerome strove earnestly to achieve, as far as the science of his time permitted; to this also aspired with untiring zeal and no small fruit not a few of the great exegetes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, although the knowledge of languages then was much less than at the present day. In like manner therefore ought we to explain the original text which, having been written by the inspired author himself, has more authority and greater weight than any even the very best translation, whether ancient or modern; this can be done all the more easily and fruitfully, if to the knowledge of languages be joined a real skill in literary criticism of the same text.

17. The great importance which should be attached to this kind of criticism was aptly pointed out by Augustine, when, among the precepts to be recommended to the student of the Sacred Books, he put in the first place the care to possess a corrected text. "The correction of the codices" - so says this most distinguished Doctor of the Church - "should first of all engage the attention of those who wish to know the Divine Scripture so that the uncollected may give place to the corrected."[23] In the present day indeed this art, which is called textual criticism and which is used with great and praiseworthy results in the editions of profane writings, is also quite rightly employed in the case of the Sacred Books, because of that very reverence which is due to the Divine Oracles. For its very purpose is to insure that the sacred text be restored, as perfectly as possible, be purified from the corruptions due to the carelessness of the copyists and be freed, as far as may be done, from glosses and omissions, from the interchange and repetition of words and from all other kinds of mistakes, which are wont to make their way gradually into writings handed down through many centuries.

18. It is scarcely necessary to observe that this criticism, which some fifty years ago not a few made use of quite arbitrarily and often in such wise that one would say they did so to introduce into the sacred text their own preconceived ideas, today has rules so firmly established and secure, that it has become a most valuable aid to the purer and more accurate editing of the sacred text and that any abuse can easily be discovered. Nor is it necessary here to call to mind - since it is doubtless familiar and evident to all students of Sacred Scripture - to what extent namely the Church has held in honor these studies in textual criticism from the earliest centuries down even to the present day.

19. Today therefore, since this branch of science has attained to such high perfection, it is the honorable, though not always easy, task of students of the Bible to procure by every means that as soon as possible may be duly published by Catholics editions of the Sacred Books and of ancient versions, brought out in accordance with these standards, which, that is to say, unite the greatest reverence for the sacred text with an exact observance of all the rules of criticism. And let all know that this prolonged labor is not only necessary for the right understanding of the divinely-given writings, but also is urgently demanded by that piety by which it behooves us to be grateful to the God of all providence, Who from the throne of His majesty has sent these books as so many paternal letters to His own children.

20. Nor should anyone think that this use of the original texts, in accordance with the methods of criticism, in any way derogates from those decrees so wisely enacted by the Council of Trent concerning the Latin Vulgate.[24] It is historically certain that the Presidents of the Council received a commission, which they duly carried out, to beg, that is, the Sovereign Pontiff in the name of the Council that he should have corrected, as far as possible, first a Latin, and then a Greek, and Hebrew edition, which eventually would be published for the benefit of the Holy Church of God.[25] If this desire could not then be fully realized owing to the difficulties of the times and other obstacles, at present it can, We earnestly hope, be more perfectly and entirely fulfilled by the united efforts of Catholic scholars.

21. And if the Tridentine Synod wished "that all should use as authentic" the Vulgate Latin version, this, as all know, applies only to the Latin Church and to the public use of the same Scriptures; nor does it, doubtless, in any way diminish the authority and value of the original texts. For there was no question then of these texts, but of the Latin versions, which were in circulation at that time, and of these the same Council rightly declared to be preferable that which "had been approved by its long-continued use for so many centuries in the Church." Hence this special authority or as they say, authenticity of the Vulgate was not affirmed by the Council particularly for critical reasons, but rather because of its legitimate use in the Churches throughout so many centuries; by which use indeed the same is shown, in the sense in which the Church has understood and understands it, to be free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals; so that, as the Church herself testifies and affirms, it may be quoted safely and without fear of error in disputations, in lectures and in preaching; and so its authenticity is not specified primarily as critical, but rather as juridical.

22. Wherefore this authority of the Vulgate in matters of doctrine by no means prevents - nay rather today it almost demands - either the corroboration and confirmation of this same doctrine by the original texts or the having recourse on any and every occasion to the aid of these same texts, by which the correct meaning of the Sacred Letters is everywhere daily made more clear and evident. Nor is it forbidden by the decree of the Council of Trent to make translations into the vulgar tongue, even directly from the original texts themselves, for the use and benefit of the faithful and for the better understanding of the divine word, as We know to have been already done in a laudable manner in many countries with the approval of the Ecclesiastical authority.

23. Being thoroughly prepared by the knowledge of the ancient languages and by the aids afforded by the art of criticism, let the Catholic exegete undertake the task, of all those imposed on him the greatest, that namely of discovering and expounding the genuine meaning of the Sacred Books. In the performance of this task let the interpreters bear in mind that their foremost and greatest endeavor should be to discern and define clearly that sense of the biblical words which is called literal. Aided by the context and by comparison with similar passages, let them therefore by means of their knowledge of languages search out with all diligence the literal meaning of the words; all these helps indeed are wont to be pressed into service in the explanation also of profane writers, so that the mind of the author may be made abundantly clear.

24. The commentators of the Sacred Letters, mindful of the fact that here there is question of a divinely inspired text, the care and interpretation of which have been confided to the Church by God Himself, should no less diligently take into account the explanations and declarations of the teaching authority of the Church, as likewise the interpretation given by the Holy Fathers, and even "the analogy of faith" as Leo XIII most wisely observed in the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus.[26] With special zeal should they apply themselves, not only to expounding exclusively these matters which belong to the historical, archaeological, philological and other auxiliary sciences - as, to Our regret, is done in certain commentaries - but, having duly referred to these, in so far as they may aid the exegesis, they should set forth in particular the theological doctrine in faith and morals of the individual books or texts so that their exposition may not only aid the professors of theology in their explanations and proofs of the dogmas of faith, but may also be of assistance to priests in their presentation of Christian doctrine to the people, and in fine may help all the faithful to lead a life that is holy and worthy of a Christian.

25. By making such an exposition, which is above all, as We have said, theological, they will efficaciously reduce to silence those who, affirming that they scarcely ever find anything in biblical commentaries to raise their hearts to God, to nourish their souls or promote their interior life, repeatedly urge that we should have recourse to a certain spiritual and, as they say, mystical interpretation. With what little reason they thus speak is shown by the experience of many, who, assiduously considering and meditating the word of God, advanced in perfection and were moved to an intense love for God; and this same truth is clearly proved by the constant tradition of the Church and the precepts of the greatest Doctors. Doubtless all spiritual sense is not excluded from the Sacred Scripture.

26. For what was said and done in the Old Testament was ordained and disposed by God with such consummate wisdom, that things past prefigured in a spiritual way those that were to come under the new dispensation of grace. Wherefore the exegete, just as he must search out and expound the literal meaning of the words, intended and expressed by the sacred writer, so also must he do likewise for the spiritual sense, provided it is clearly intended by God. For God alone could have known this spiritual meaning and have revealed it to us. Now Our Divine Savior Himself points out to us and teaches us this same sense in the Holy Gospel; the Apostles also, following the example of the Master, profess it in their spoken and written words; the unchanging tradition of the Church approves it; and finally the most ancient usage of the liturgy proclaims it, wherever may be rightly applied the well-known principle: "The rule of prayer is the rule of faith."

27. Let Catholic exegetes then disclose and expound this spiritual significance, intended and ordained by God, with that care which the dignity of the divine word demands; but let them scrupulously refrain from proposing as the genuine meaning of Sacred Scripture other figurative senses. It may indeed be useful, especially in preaching, to illustrate, and present the matters of faith and morals by a broader use of the Sacred Text in the figurative sense, provided this be done with moderation and restraint; it should, however, never be forgotten that this use of the Sacred Scripture is, as it were, extrinsic to it and accidental, and that, especially in these days, it is not free from danger, since the faithful, in particular those who are well-informed in the sciences sacred and profane, wish to know what God has told us in the Sacred Letters rather than what an ingenious orator or writer may suggest by a clever use of the words of Scripture. Nor does "the word of God, living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"[27] need artificial devices and human adaptation to move and impress souls; for the Sacred Pages, written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, are of themselves rich in original meaning; endowed with a divine power, they have their own value; adorned with heavenly beauty, they radiate of themselves light and splendor, provided they are so fully and accurately explained by the interpreter, that all the treasures of wisdom and prudence, therein contained are brought to light.

28. In the accomplishment of this task the Catholic exegete will find invaluable help in an assiduous study of those works, in which the Holy Fathers, the Doctors of the Church and the renowned interpreters of past ages have explained the Sacred Books. For, although sometimes less instructed in profane learning and in the knowledge of languages than the scripture scholars of our time, nevertheless by reason of the office assigned to them by God in the Church, they are distinguished by a certain subtle insight into heavenly things and by a marvelous keenness of intellect, which enables them to penetrate to the very innermost meaning of the divine word and bring to light all that can help to elucidate the teaching of Christ and to promote holiness of life.

29. It is indeed regrettable that such precious treasures of Christian antiquity are almost unknown to many writers of the present day, and that students of the history of exegesis have not yet accomplished all that seems necessary for the due investigation and appreciation of so momentous a subject. Would that many, by seeking out the authors of the Catholic interpretation of Scripture and diligently studying their works and drawing thence the almost inexhaustible riches therein stored up, might contribute largely to this end, so that it might be daily more apparent to what extent those authors understood and made known the divine teaching of the Sacred Books, and that the interpreters of today might thence take example and seek suitable arguments.

30. For thus at long last will be brought about the happy and fruitful union between the doctrine and spiritual sweetness of expression of the ancient authors and the greater erudition and maturer knowledge of the modern, having as its result new progress in the never fully explored and inexhaustible field of the Divine Letters.

31. Moreover we may rightly and deservedly hope that our time also can contribute something towards the deeper and more accurate interpretation of Sacred Scripture. For not a few things, especially in matters pertaining to history, were scarcely at all or not fully explained by the commentators of past ages, since they lacked almost all the information which was needed for their clearer exposition. How difficult for the Fathers themselves, and indeed well nigh unintelligible, were certain passages is shown, among other things, by the oft-repeated efforts of many of them to explain the first chapters of Genesis; likewise by the reiterated attempts of St. Jerome so to translate the Psalms that the literal sense, that, namely, which is expressed by the words themselves, might be clearly revealed.

32. There are, in fine, other books or texts, which contain difficulties brought to light only in quite recent times, since a more profound knowledge of antiquity has given rise to new questions, on the basis of which the point at issue may be more appropriately examined. Quite wrongly therefore do some pretend, not rightly understanding the conditions of biblical study, that nothing remains to be added by the Catholic exegete of our time to what Christian antiquity has produced; since, on the contrary, these our times have brought to light so many things, which call for a fresh investigation, and which stimulate not a little the practical zest of the present-day interpreter.

33. As in our age, indeed new questions and new difficulties are multiplied, so, by God's favor, new means and aids to exegesis are also provided. Among these it is worthy of special mention that Catholic theologians, following the teaching of the Holy Fathers and especially of the Angelic and Common Doctor, have examined and explained the nature and effects of biblical inspiration more exactly and more fully than was wont to be done in previous ages. For having begun by expounding minutely the principle that the inspired writer, in composing the sacred book, is the living and reasonable instrument of the Holy Spirit, they rightly observe that, impelled by the divine motion, he so uses his faculties and powers, that from the book composed by him all may easily infer "the special character of each one and, as it were, his personal traits."[28] Let the interpreter then, with all care and without neglecting any light derived from recent research, endeavor to determine the peculiar character and circumstances of the sacred writer, the age in which he lived, the sources written or oral to which he had recourse and the forms of expression he employed.

34. Thus can he the better understand who was the inspired author, and what he wishes to express by his writings. There is no one indeed but knows that the supreme rule of interpretation is to discover and define what the writer intended to express, as St. Athanasius excellently observes: "Here, as indeed is expedient in all other passages of Sacred Scripture, it should be noted, on what occasion the Apostle spoke; we should carefully and faithfully observe to whom and why he wrote, lest, being ignorant of these points, or confounding one with another, we miss the real meaning of the author."[29]

35. What is the literal sense of a passage is not always as obvious in the speeches and writings of the ancient authors of the East, as it is in the works of our own time. For what they wished to express is not to be determined by the rules of grammar and philology alone, nor solely by the context; the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing, so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use.

36. For the ancient peoples of the East, in order to express their ideas, did not always employ those forms or kinds of speech which we use today; but rather those used by the men of their times and countries. What those exactly were the commentator cannot determine as it were in advance, but only after a careful examination of the ancient literature of the East. The investigation, carried out, on this point, during the past forty or fifty years with greater care and diligence than ever before, has more clearly shown what forms of expression were used in those far off times, whether in poetic description or in the formulation of laws and rules of life or in recording the facts and events of history. The same inquiry has also shown the special preeminence of the people of Israel among all the other ancient nations of the East in their mode of compiling history, both by reason of its antiquity and by reasons of the faithful record of the events; qualities which may well be attributed to the gift of divine inspiration and to the peculiar religious purpose of biblical history.

37. Nevertheless no one, who has a correct idea of biblical inspiration, will be surprised to find, even in the Sacred Writers, as in other ancient authors, certain fixed ways of expounding and narrating, certain definite idioms, especially of a kind peculiar to the Semitic tongues, so-called approximations, and certain hyperbolical modes of expression, nay, at times, even paradoxical, which even help to impress the ideas more deeply on the mind. For of the modes of expression which, among ancient peoples, and especially those of the East, human language used to express its thought, none is excluded from the Sacred Books, provided the way of speaking adopted in no wise contradicts the holiness and truth of God, as, with his customary wisdom, the Angelic Doctor already observed in these words: "In Scripture divine things are presented to us in the manner which is in common use amongst men."[30] For as the substantial Word of God became like to men in all things, "except sin,"[31] so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect, except error. In this consists that "condescension" of the God of providence, which St. John Chrysostom extolled with the highest praise and repeatedly declared to be found in the Sacred Books.[32]

38. Hence the Catholic commentator, in order to comply with the present needs of biblical studies, in explaining the Sacred Scripture and in demonstrating and proving its immunity from all error, should also make a prudent use of this means, determine, that is, to what extent the manner of expression or the literary mode adopted by the sacred writer may lead to a correct and genuine interpretation; and let him be convinced that this part of his office cannot be neglected without serious detriment to Catholic exegesis. Not infrequently - to mention only one instance - when some persons reproachfully charge the Sacred Writers with some historical error or inaccuracy in the recording of facts, on closer examination it turns out to be nothing else than those customary modes of expression and narration peculiar to the ancients, which used to be employed in the mutual dealings of social life and which in fact were sanctioned by common usage.

39. When then such modes of expression are met within the sacred text, which, being meant for men, is couched in human language, justice demands that they be no more taxed with error than when they occur in the ordinary intercourse of daily life. By this knowledge and exact appreciation of the modes of speaking and writing in use among the ancients can be solved many difficulties, which are raised against the veracity and historical value of the Divine Scriptures, and no less efficaciously does this study contribute to a fuller and more luminous understanding of the mind of the Sacred Writer.

40. Let those who cultivate biblical studies turn their attention with all due diligence towards this point and let them neglect none of those discoveries, whether in the domain of archaeology or in ancient history or literature, which serve to make better known the mentality of the ancient writers, as well as their manner and art of reasoning, narrating and writing. In this connection Catholic laymen should consider that they will not only further profane science, but moreover will render a conspicuous service to the Christian cause if they devote themselves with all due diligence and application to the exploration and investigation of the monuments of antiquity and contribute, according to their abilities, to the solution of questions hitherto obscure.

41. For all human knowledge, even the nonsacred, has indeed its own proper dignity and excellence, being a finite participation of the infinite knowledge of God, but it acquires a new and higher dignity and, as it were, a consecration, when it is employed to cast a brighter light upon the things of God.

42. The progressive exploration of the antiquities of the East, mentioned above, the more accurate examination of the original text itself, the more extensive and exact knowledge of languages both biblical and oriental, have with the help of God, happily provided the solution of not a few of those questions, which in the time of Our Predecessor Leo XIII of immortal memory, were raised by critics outside or hostile to the Church against the authenticity, antiquity, integrity and historical value of the Sacred Books. For Catholic exegetes, by a right use of those same scientific arms, not infrequently abused by the adversaries, proposed such interpretations, which are in harmony with Catholic doctrine and the genuine current of tradition, and at the same time are seen to have proved equal to the difficulties, either raised by new explorations and discoveries, or bequeathed by antiquity for solution in our time.

43. Thus has it come about that confidence in the authority and historical value of the Bible, somewhat shaken in the case of some by so many attacks, today among Catholics is completely restored; moreover there are not wanting even non-Catholic writers, who by serious and calm inquiry have been led to abandon modern opinion and to return, at least in some points, to the more ancient ideas. This change is due in great part to the untiring labor by which Catholic commentators of the Sacred Letters, in no way deterred by difficulties and obstacles of all kinds, strove with all their strength to make suitable use of what learned men of the present day, by their investigations in the domain of archaeology or history or philology, have made available for the solution of new questions.

44. Nevertheless no one will be surprised, if all difficulties are not yet solved and overcome; but that even today serious problems greatly exercise the minds of Catholic exegetes. We should not lose courage on this account; nor should we forget that in the human sciences the same happens as in the natural world; that is to say, new beginnings grow little by little and fruits are gathered only after many labors. Thus it has happened that certain disputed points, which in the past remained unsolved and in suspense, in our days, with the progress of studies, have found a satisfactory solution. Hence there are grounds for hope that those also will by constant effort be at last made clear, which now seem most complicated and difficult.

45. And if the wished-for solution be slow in coming or does not satisfy us, since perhaps a successful conclusion may be reserved to posterity, let us not wax impatient thereat, seeing that in us also is rightly verified what the Fathers, and especially Augustine,[33] observed in their time viz: God wished difficulties to be scattered through the Sacred Books inspired by Him, in order that we might be urged to read and scrutinize them more intently, and, experiencing in a salutary manner our own limitations, we might be exercised in due submission of mind. No wonder if of one or other question no solution wholly satisfactory will ever be found, since sometimes we have to do with matters obscure in themselves and too remote from our times and our experience; and since exegesis also, like all other most important sciences, has its secrets, which, impenetrable to our minds, by no efforts whatsoever can be unraveled.

46. But this state of things is no reason why the Catholic commentator, inspired by an active and ardent love of his subject and sincerely devoted to Holy Mother Church, should in any way be deterred from grappling again and again with these difficult problems, hitherto unsolved, not only that he may refute the objections of the adversaries, but also may attempt to find a satisfactory solution, which will be in full accord with the doctrine of the Church, in particular with the traditional teaching regarding the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture, and which will at the same time satisfy the indubitable conclusion of profane sciences.

47. Let all the other sons of the Church bear in mind that the efforts of these resolute laborers in the vineyard of the Lord should be judged not only with equity and justice, but also with the greatest charity; all moreover should abhor that intemperate zeal which imagines that whatever is new should for that very reason be opposed or suspected. Let them bear in mind above all that in the rules and laws promulgated by the Church there is question of doctrine regarding faith and morals; and that in the immense matter contained in the Sacred Books - legislative, historical, sapiential and prophetical - there are but few texts whose sense has been defined by the authority of the Church, nor are those more numerous about which the teaching of the Holy Fathers is unanimous. There remain therefore many things, and of the greatest importance, in the discussion and exposition of which the skill and genius of Catholic commentators may and ought to be freely exercised, so that each may contribute his part to the advantage of all, to the continued progress of the sacred doctrine and to the defense and honor of the Church.

48. This true liberty of the children of God, which adheres faithfully to the teaching of the Church and accepts and uses gratefully the contributions of profane science, this liberty, upheld and sustained in every way by the confidence of all, is the condition and source of all lasting fruit and of all solid progress in Catholic doctrine, as Our Predecessor of happy memory Leo XIII rightly observes, when he says: "unless harmony of mind be maintained and principle safeguarded, no progress can be expected in this matter from the varied studies of many."[34]

49. Whosoever considers the immense labors undertaken by Catholic exegetes during well nigh two thousand years, so that the word of God, imparted to men through the Sacred Letters, might daily be more deeply and fully understood and more intensely loved, will easily be convinced that it is the serious duty of the faithful, and especially of priests, to make free and holy use of this treasure, accumulated throughout so many centuries by the greatest intellects. For the Sacred Books were not given by God to men to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research, but, as the Apostle observes, in order that these Divine Oracles might "instruct us to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus" and "that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work."[35]

50. Let priests therefore, who are bound by their office to procure the eternal salvation of the faithful, after they have themselves by diligent study perused the sacred pages and made them their own by prayer and meditations, assiduously distribute the heavenly treasures of the divine word by sermons, homilies and exhortations; let them confirm the Christian doctrine by sentences from the Sacred Books and illustrate it by outstanding examples from sacred history and in particular from the Gospel of Christ Our Lord; and - avoiding with the greatest care those purely arbitrary and far-fetched adaptations, which are not a use, but rather an abuse of the divine word - let them set forth all this with such eloquence, lucidity and clearness that the faithful may not only be moved and inflamed to reform their lives, but may also conceive in their hearts the greatest veneration for the Sacred Scripture.

51. The same veneration the Bishops should endeavor daily to increase and perfect among the faithful committed to their care, encouraging all those initiatives by which men, filled with apostolic zeal, laudably strive to excite and foster among Catholics a greater knowledge of and love for the Sacred Books. Let them favor therefore and lend help to those pious associations whose aim it is to spread copies of the Sacred Letters, especially of the Gospels, among the faithful, and to procure by every means that in Christian families the same be read daily with piety and devotion; let them efficaciously recommend by word and example, whenever the liturgical laws permit, the Sacred Scriptures translated, with the approval of the Ecclesiastical authority, into modern languages; let them themselves give public conferences or dissertations on biblical subjects, or see that they are given by other public orators well versed in the matter.

52. Let the ministers of the Sanctuary support in every way possible and diffuse in fitting manner among all classes of the faithful the periodicals which so laudably and with such heartening results are published from time to time in various parts of the world, whether to treat and expose in a scientific manner biblical questions, or to adapt the fruits of these investigations to the sacred ministry, or to benefit the faithful. Let the ministers of the Sanctuary be convinced that all this, and whatsoever else an apostolical zeal and a sincere love of the divine word may find suitable to this high purpose, will be an efficacious help to the cure of souls.

53. But it is plain to everyone that priests cannot duly fulfill all this unless in their Seminary days they have imbibed a practical and enduring love for the Sacred Scriptures. Wherefore let the Bishops, on whom devolves the paternal care of their Seminaries, with all diligence see to it that nothing be omitted in this matter which may help towards the desired end. Let the professors of Sacred Scripture in the Seminaries give the whole course of biblical studies in such a way, that they may instruct the young aspirants to the Priesthood and to the ministry of the divine word with that knowledge of the Sacred Letters and imbue them with that love for the same, without which it is vain to hope for copious fruits of the apostolate.

54. Hence their exegetical explanation should aim especially at the theological doctrine, avoiding useless disputations and omitting all that is calculated rather to gratify curiosity than to promote true learning and solid piety. The literal sense and especially the theological let them propose with such definiteness, explain with such skill and inculcate with such ardor that in their students may be in a sense verified what happened to the disciples on the way to Emmaus, when, having heard the words of the Master, they exclaimed: "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He opened to us the Scriptures?"[36]

55. Thus the Divine Letter will become for the future priests of the Church a pure and never failing source for their own spiritual life, as well as food and strength for the sacred office of preaching which they are about to undertake. If the professors of this most important matter in the Seminaries accomplish all this, then let them rest joyfully assured that they have most efficaciously contributed to the salvation of souls, to the progress of the Catholic faith, to the honor and glory of God, and that they have performed a work most closely connected with the apostolic office.

56. If these things which We have said, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, are necessary in every age, much more urgently are they needed in our sorrowful times, when almost all peoples and nations are plunged in a sea of calamities, when a cruel war heaps ruins upon ruins and slaughter upon slaughter, when, owing to the most bitter hatred stirred up among the nations, We perceive with greatest sorrow that in not a few has been extinguished the sense not only of Christian moderation and charity, but also of humanity itself. Who can heal these mortal wounds of the human family if not He, to Whom the Prince of the Apostles, full of confidence and love, addresses these words: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. "[37]

57. To this Our most merciful Redeemer we must therefore bring all back by every means in our power; for He is the divine consoler of the afflicted; He it is Who teaches all, whether they be invested with public authority or are bound in duty to obey and submit, true honesty, absolute justice and generous charity; it is He in fine, and He alone, Who can be the firm foundation and support of peace and tranquillity: "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus."[38] This author of salvation, Christ, will men more fully know, more ardently love and faithfully imitate in proportion as they are more assiduously urged to know and meditate the Sacred Letters, especially the New Testament, for, as St. Jerome the Doctor of Stridon says: "To ignore the Scripture is to ignore Christ";[39] and again: "If there is anything in this life which sustains a wise man and induces him to maintain his serenity amidst the tribulations and adversities of the world, it is in the first place, I consider, the meditation and knowledge of the Scriptures."[40]

58. There those who are wearied and oppressed by adversities and afflictions will find true consolation and divine strength to suffer and bear with patience; there - that is in the Holy Gospels - Christ, the highest and greatest example of justice, charity and mercy, is present to all; and to the lacerated and trembling human race are laid open the fountains of that divine grace without which both peoples and their rulers can never arrive at, never establish, peace in the state and unity of heart; there in fine will all learn Christ, "Who is the head of all principality and power"[41] and "Who of God is made unto us wisdom and justice and sanctification and redemption."[42]

59. Having expounded and recommended those things which are required for the adaptation of Scripture studies to the necessities of the day, it remains, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, that to biblical scholars who are devoted sons of the Church and follow faithfully her teaching and direction, We address with paternal affection, not only Our congratulations that they have been chosen and called to so sublime an office, but also Our encouragement to continue with ever renewed vigor with all zeal and care, the work so happily begun. Sublime office, We say; for what is more sublime than to scrutinize, explain, propose to the faithful and defend from unbelievers the very word of God, communicated to men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.?

60. With this spiritual food the mind of the interpreter is fed and nourished "to the commemoration of faith, the consolation of hope, the exhortation of charity."[43] "To live amidst these things, to meditate these things, to know nothing else, to seek nothing else, does it not seem to you already here below a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom?"[44] Let also the minds of the faithful be nourished with this same food, that they may draw from thence the knowledge and love of God and the progress in perfection and the happiness of their own individual souls. Let, then, the interpreters of the Divine Oracles devote themselves to this holy practice with all their heart. "Let them pray, that they may understand";[45] let them labor to penetrate ever more deeply into the secrets of the Sacred Pages; let them teach and preach, in order to open to others also the treasures of the word of God.

61. Let the present-day commentators of the Sacred Scripture emulate, according to their capacity, what those illustrious interpreters of past ages accomplished with such great fruit; so that, as in the past, so also in these days, the Church may have at her disposal learned doctors for the expounding of the Divine Letters; and, through their assiduous labors, the faithful may comprehend all the splendor, stimulating language, and joy contained in the Holy Scriptures. And in this very arduous and important office let them have "for their comfort the Holy Books"[46] and be mindful of the promised reward: since "they that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that instruct many unto justice, as stars for all eternity."[47]

62. And now, while ardently desiring for all sons of the Church, and especially for the professors in biblical science, for the young clergy and for preachers, that, continually meditating on the divine word, they may taste how good and sweet is the spirit of the Lord;[48] as a presage of heavenly gifts and a token of Our paternal goodwill, We impart to you one and all, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, most lovingly in the Lord, the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on the 30th of September, the feast of St. Jerome, the greatest Doctor in the exposition of the Sacred Scriptures, in the year 1943, the fifth of Our Pontificate.

PIUS XII

1. 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

2. Session IV, decr. 1; Ench. Bibl. n. 45.

3. Session III, Cap. 2; Ench. Bibl. n. 62.

4. Address to the Ecclesiastical students in Rome (June 24, 1939); Acta Ap. Sedis XXXI (1939), p. 245-251.

5. Cf. Iª, q. 70, art. I ad 3.

6. De Gen. ad litt. 2, 9, 20; PL 34, col. 270 s.; CSEL 28 (Sectio III, pars. 2), p. 46.

7. Leonis XIII acta XIII, p. 355; Ench. Bibl. n. 106; supra, p. 22.

8. Cf. Benedictus XV, Enc. Spiritus Paraclitus, Acta Ap. Sedis XII (1920), p. 396; Ench. Bibl. n. 471; supra p. 53.

9. Leonis XIII Acta XIII, P. 357 sq.; Ench. Bibl. n. 109 sq.; supra, pp. 23-25.

10. Leonis XIII Acta XIII, p. 328; Ench. Bibl. n. 67 sq.

11. Apostolic Letter Hierosolymae in coenobio, Sept. 17, 1892; Leonis XIII Acta XII, pp. 239-241; v. p. 240.

12. Cf. Leonis XIII Acta XXII, p. 232 ss.; Ench. Bibl. n. 130-141; v. nn. 130, 132; supra. p. 31.

13. Letter of the Pontifical Biblical Commission to their Excellencies the Archbishops and Bishops of Italy, Aug. 20, 1941; Acta Ap. Sedis XXXIII (1941), pp. 465-472; infra, pp. 129-138.

14. Apostolic Letter Scripturae Sanctae, Feb. 23, 1904; Pii X Acta I, pp.176-179; Ench. Bibl. nn. 142-150; v nn. 143-144.

15. Cf. Apostolic Letter Quoniam in re biblica, March 27, 1906; Pii X Acta III, p. 72-76; Ench. Bibl. nn. 155-173; v. n. 155; supra. pp. 36-39.

16. Apostolic Letter Vinea electa, May 7, 1909; Acta Ap., Sedis I(1909), pp. 447-449; Ench. Bibl. nn. 293-306; v. nn. 296-306; v. nn. 296 et 294.

17. Cf. Motu proprio Bibliorum scientiam, April 27, 1924; Acta Ap. Sedis XVI (1924), pp. 180-182: Ench. Bibl. nn. 518-525.

18. Letter to the Most Rev. Abbot Aidan Gasquet, Dec. 3, 1907; Pii X Acta IV, pp. 117-119, Ench. Bibl. n. 285 sq.

19. Apostolic Constitution Inter praecipuas, June 15, 1933; Acta Ap. Sedis XXVI (1934), pp. 85-87.

20. Letter to the Most Eminent Cardinal Casetta Qui piam, Jan. 21, 1907; Pii X Acta IV, pp. 23-25.

21. Encyclical Letter Spiritus Paraclitus, Sept. 15, 1920; Acta Ap. Sedis XII (1920), pp. 385-422; Ench. Bibl. nn. 457-508; v. nn. 457, 495, 497, 491; supra, pp. 43-78.

22. Cf. ex. gr. St. Jerome, Praef. in IV Evang. ad Damasum; PL 29. col. 526-527; St. Augustine, De Doctr. christ. II, 16; PL 34, col. 42-43.

23. De doctr. christ. II, 21; PL 34, col. 40.

24. Decr. de editione et usu Sacrorum Librorum; Conc. Trid. ed. Soc. Goerres, t. V, p. 91 s.

25. Ib., t. X, p.471; cf. t.V, pp. 29, 59, 65; t. X, p. 446 sq.

26. Leonis XIII Acta XIII, pp. 345-346; Ench. Bibl. n. 94-96; infra, pp. 15-16.

27. Hebr. 4:12.

28. Cf. Benedict XV, Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus; Acta Ap. Sedis XII (1920), p. 390; Ench. Bibl. n. 461; supra, pp. 46-47.

29. Contra Arianos I, 54; PG 26, col. 123.

30. Comment. ad Hebr. cap. I, lectio 4.

31. Hebr. 4:15.

32. Cf. v. gr. In Gen. I, 4 (PG 53, col. 34-35); In Gen. II, 21 (ib. col. 121); In Gen. III, 8 (ib. col. 135); Hom. 15 in Joan., ad. I, 18 (PG 59, col. 97 sq.).

33. St. Augustine, Epist. 149 ad Paulinum, n. 34 (PL 33, col. 644); De diversis quaestionibus, q. 53, n. 2 (ib. XL, col. 36); Enarr. in Ps. 146, n. 12 (ib. 37, col. 1907).

34. Apostolic letter Vigilantiae; Leonis XIII Acta XIII, p. 237; Ench. Bibl.n. 136; supra, p. 34.

35. Cf. 2 Tim. 3:15, 17.

36. Lk. 24:32.

37. Jn. 6:69.

38. 1 Cor. 3:11.

39. St. Jerome, In Isaiam, prologus; PL 24, col. 17.

40. Id., In Ephesios, prologus; PL 26, col. 439.

41. Col. 2:10.

42. 1 Cor. 1:30.

43. Cf. St. Augustine, Contra Faustum XIII, 18; PL 42, col. 294; CSEL. XXV, p. 400.

44. St. Jerome, Ep. 53, 10; PL 22, col. 549; CSEL 54, p. 463.

45. St. Augustine, de doctr. christ. III, 56; PL 34, col. 89.

46. 1 Mach. 12:9.

47. Dan. 12:3.

48. Cf. Wisd. 12:1.

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_30091943_divino-afflante-spiritu_en.html. 31.05.2012)

 

EWTN Bookmark - 2012-01-08 - Ignatius Catholic Study Bible - Doug Keck with Dr Scott Hahn

Relationship between Magisterium and exegetes

PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION

On the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission

Relationship between Magisterium and exegetes

 


I chose the topic of my report not only because it concerns the questions which rightly belong to a retrospective of the 100 years of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, but also because it enters, so to speak, into the problems of my own biography:  for more than half a century my personal theological journey has taken place within the particular sphere of this theme.

Two names appear in the decree of the Concistorial Congregation of 29 June 1912, De quibusdam commentariis non admittendis, which have crossed my own life. Friesing professor Karl Holzhey's Introduction to the Old Testament would in fact be condemned; he had died by the time I began my theological studies on the hill of the Cathedral of Friesing in January 1946, but colourful anecdotes about him still circulated. He must have been a rather proud and sensitive man.

The second name which appears is more familiar to me, that of Fritz Tillmann, the editor of a Commentary on the New Testament labelled as unacceptable. In this work, the author of the comment on the Synoptics was Friedrich Wilhelm Maier, a friend of Tillmann, at the time a qualified lecturer in Strasbourg. The decree of the Concistorial Congregation established that these comments expungenda omnino esse ab institutione clericorum. The Commentary, of which I found a forgotten copy when I was a student in the Minor Seminary of Traunstein, had to be banned and withdrawn from sale since, with regard to the Synoptic question, Maier sustained the so-called two-source theory, accepted today by almost everyone.

At the time, this also brought Tillmann's and Maier's scientific career to an end. Both, however, were given the option of changing theological disciplines.

Tillmann took advantage of this possibility and later became a top German moral theologian. Together with Th. Steinbüchel and Th. Müncker, he edited a manual of avant-garde moral theology, which addressed this important discipline in a new way and presented it according to the basic idea of the imitation of Christ.

Maier did not want to take advantage of the offer to change disciplines as he was, in fact, dedicated body and soul to work on the New Testament. So, he became a military chaplain and in this capacity took part in the First World War; following this he worked as a prison chaplain until 1924, when, with the nulla osta of the Archbishop of Breslau (today Wroclaw), Cardinal Bertram, in a by-then more relaxed climate, he was called to the chair of New Testament Studies at the Theological Department there. In 1945, when that Department was suppressed, he went to Munich with other colleagues, where he worked as a teacher.

He never quite got over the humiliation of 1912, notwithstanding the fact that he could now teach his subject practically without restrictions and was supported by the enthusiasm of his students, to whom he was able to transmit his passion for the New Testament and a correct interpretation of it. From time to time in his lessons, recollections of the past came up. I was especially impressed by a statement he made in 1948 or 1949. He said that by then, as a historian, he could freely follow his conscience, but that he had not yet arrived at that complete freedom of exegesis of which he had dreamed. He said, furthermore, that he probably would not live to see this but that he desired at least, like Moses on Mount Nebo, to be able to gaze upon the Promised Land of an exegesis freed from every control and conditioning of the Magisterium.

We note that on the soul of this gifted man, who led an exemplary priestly life founded on the faith of the Church, weighed not only that decree of the Concistorial Congregation, but also the various decrees of the Biblical Commission - on the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch (1906), on the historical character of the first three chapters of Genesis (1909), on the authors and the composition of the Psalms (1910), on Mark and Luke (1912), on the Synoptic question (1912), and so forth - impeding his work as an exegete with fetters which he deemed to be undue.

The impression continued to persist that, due to those Magisterial decisions, Catholic exegetes were hindered from carrying out unrestricted scientific work, and that in this way Catholic exegesis, as opposed to Protestant, could never meet the standard of the times and its scientific seriousness was questioned, in part rightly, by the Protestants.

Naturally, the conviction that a rigorously historical work could authentically ensure the de facto objective data of history, or rather, that this was the only possible way to understand the biblical books which are, precisely, historical books in their true meaning, also had an influence. He took for granted the authenticity and the unequivocal nature of the historical method; the idea that philosophical presuppositions entered into play in this method and that reflection on the philosophical implications of the historical method could become necessary did not affect him, either.

For him, as for many of his colleagues, philosophy seemed a disturbing element, something which could only pollute the pure objectivity of the historical work. The hermeneutical question did not arise, that is, he did not ask himself to what extent the outlook of the questioner determines access to the text, making it necessary to clarify, above all, the correct way to ask and how best to purify one's own questioning. Precisely for this reason, Mount Nebo would surely have held some surprises for him which were completely beyond his horizon.

I would now like to attempt to ascend Mount Nebo with him, so to speak, to observe from that perspective the ground which we have covered in the last 50 years. It might be useful, in this regard, to recall the experience of Moses.

Chapter 34 of Deuteronomy describes how it was conceded to Moses on Mount Nebo to gaze upon the Promised Land, which he saw in its entirety. The look he was conceded was, so to speak, purely geographical, not historical. Nevertheless, one could say that chapter 28 of the same book presents a glance, not on geography, but on the future history in and with the land, and that this chapter offers a very different, much less consoling, perspective:  "And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other.... And among these nations you shall find no ease, and there shall be no rest for the sole of your foot" (Dt 28: 64ff). What Moses saw in this interior vision could be summarized in this way:  freedom can destroy itself; when it loses its intrinsic criteria, it is self-destructive.

What could a historical glance of Nebo over the land of exegesis in the last 50 years have perceived? In the first place, many things that would have been consoling for Maier, the realization of his dream, so to speak.

Already in 1943 the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu introduced a new way of understanding the relation between the Magisterium and the scientific exegesis of the historical reading of the Bible.
Following this the 1960s represent the entrance into the Promised Land of exegetical freedom, to continue the metaphorical image.

First, we encounter the Biblical Commission's instruction of 21 April 1964 on the historical truth of the Gospels, and then, above all, the Conciliar Constitution Dei Verbum of 1965 on divine revelation, with which, in fact, a new chapter in the relation between the Magisterium and scientific exegesis is opened. There is no need to emphasize here the importance of this fundamental text. This primarily defines the concept of Revelation, which is not to be wholly identified with its written testimony which is the Bible, and thus opens the vast historical and theological prospect in which Biblical interpretation takes place, an interpretation that sees in the Scriptures not only human books, but the testimony of divine speech. It thus becomes possible to determine the concept of Tradition, which also goes beyond Scripture while having it as its centre, since Scripture is above all and by nature "tradition".

This leads to the third chapter of the Constitution, dedicated to the interpretation of Scripture; in this chapter, the absolute necessity of the historical method convincingly emerges as an indispensable part of the exegetical effort, but then the precisely theological dimension also appears, which - as has already been said - is essential, if that book is more than human words.

Let us continue our investigation from Mount Nebo: Maier, from his vantage point, could have especially rejoiced in what took place in June of 1971. With the motu proprio Sedula Cura, Paul VI completely restructured the Biblical Commission so that it was no longer an organ of the Magisterium, but a meeting place between the Magisterium and exegetes, a place of dialogue in which representatives of the Magisterium and qualified exegetes could meet to find together, so to speak, the intrinsic criteria which prevent freedom from self-destruction, thus elevating it to the level of true freedom. Maier could also have rejoiced in the fact that one of his best students, Rudolf Schnackenburg, became a member not of the Biblical Commission itself, but of the no less important International Theological Commission, so that he now found himself, as it were, almost a part of that Commission which had caused him so much worry.

We recall another important fact that, from our imaginary Nebo, might have appeared in the distance:  the 1993 document of the Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, in which the Magisterium no longer imposes norms on the exegetes from above, but they themselves are the ones who determine the criteria that indicate the way for a fitting interpretation of this special book, which, when seen only from the outside, constitutes fundamentally nothing other than a literary collection of writings whose composition extends over an entire millennium. Only the subject from whom this literature is born - the pilgrim people of God - makes this literary collection, with all of its variety and apparent contrasts, one single book.

This people knows, however, that it neither speaks nor acts by itself, but is indebted to the One who makes them a people:  the same living God who speaks to them through the authors of the individual books.

So did the dream come true? Have the second 50 years of the Biblical Commission cancelled and overridden what the first 50 years produced?

I would respond to the first question that the dream has become a reality and that it has also been corrected at the same time.

The mere objectivity of the historical method does not exist. It is simply impossible to completely exclude philosophy or hermeneutical foresight. This was already shown while Maier was still living, for instance, in Bultmann's "Comment on John", in which Heideggerian philosophy served not only to make present what historically was distant, so to speak, to transport the past to our today, but also as a bridge which carries the reader into the text.

Now, this attempt has failed, but it has become evident that the pure historical method - as in the case of secular literature as well - does not exist. It is certainly understandable that Catholic theologians, at the time in which the decisions of the Biblical Commission of that time impeded them from a pure application of the historical-critical method, looked with envy at the evangelical theologians who, in the meantime, with their most serious research, were able to present results and new findings on how this literature which we call the Bible was born and grew during the journey of the people of God.

With this, however, the fact that the opposite problem existed in Protestant theology was taken too little into consideration. This is clearly seen, for example, in the conference on the ecclesial responsibility of the student of theology, held in 1936 by Bultmann's great student, Heinrich Schlier, who later converted to Catholicism. At this time evangelical Christianity in Germany was involved in a battle for survival:  the encounter between the so-called German Christians (Deutsche Christen), who, subjecting Christianity to the ideology of National Socialism, distorted its roots, and the Confessed Church (Bekennende Kirche).

In this context Schlier addressed these words to students of theology: "...Reflect a moment on what is better:  that the Church, in a legitimate way and after careful reflection, remove from teaching a theologian of heterodox doctrine, or that the individual freely charges one or another teacher of heterodoxy and protects himself from him? It must not be thought that judging is eliminated when each is allowed to judge ad libitum. Here the liberal vision is consistent in affirming that no decision on the truth of a teaching can exist, that therefore every teaching has something of truth and that thus all teachings must be admitted in the Church. But we do not share this vision. This denies in fact that God truly made a decision among us...".

Those who recall that then a great number of the Protestant Theology Departments were almost exclusively in the hands of the German Christians, and that Schlier had to leave academic teaching for affirmations such as the one just cited, can become aware of the other side of this problematic as well.

We come thus to the second and conclusive question:  how should we evaluate, today, the first 50 years of the Biblical Commission? Was everything only a tragic conditioning, so to speak, of theological freedom, a collection of errors from which we had to free ourselves in the second 50 years of the Commission, or should we not consider this difficult process more articulately?
The fact that things are not as simple as they seemed in the first enthusiasm of the beginning of the Council, emerges perhaps already from what we have just said. It is true that, with the above-mentioned decisions, the Magisterium overly enlarged the area of certainties that the faith can guarantee; it is also true that with this, the credibility of the Magisterium was diminished and the space necessary for research and exegetical questions was excessively restricted.

But it remains likewise true that faith has a contribution to make with regard to the interpretation of Scripture, and that therefore the pastors are also called to offer correction when the particular nature of this book is lost sight of, and objectivity, which is pure in appearance only, conceals what the Sacred Scripture itself specifically has to offer. Laborious research has therefore been indispensable in order that the Bible has its just hermeneutic and historical-critical exegesis its proper place.

It seems to me that two levels of the problem in question, both then and now, can be distinguished.

On a first level, it must be asked how far the purely historical dimension of the Bible extends and where its specificity, which escapes mere historical reasoning, begins. A question within the historical method itself could also be formulated:  what can it in fact do, and what are its intrinsic limits? What other modes of understanding are necessary for a text of this type?

The laborious research to be undertaken can be compared, in a certain sense, to the effort required by the Galileo case. Until that moment it seemed that the geocentric vision of the world was connected in an inextricable way to what was revealed by the Bible; it seemed that those in favour of a heliocentric vision of the world demolished the core of Revelation. The relation between the external appearance and the true and proper message of the whole had to be thoroughly revised, and only slowly would criteria be able to be developed that would permit the placing of scientific reason and the specific message of the Bible in right relation.

Certainly, the contention can never be said to be completely resolved, since the faith testified by the Bible includes the material world as well and affirms something about it, about its origin and that of man in particular. To reduce all of reality as we meet it to pure material causes, to confine the Creator Spirit to the sphere of mere subjectivity, is irreconcilable with the fundamental message of the Bible. This involves, however, a debate on the very nature of true rationality; since, if a purely materialistic explanation of reality is presented as the only possible expression of reason, then reason itself is falsely understood.

A similar affirmation must be made with regard to history. At first it seemed indispensable for the authenticity of Scripture, and therefore for the faith founded upon it, that the Pentateuch be indisputably attributed to Moses or that the authors of the individual Gospels be truly those named by Tradition.

Here too, so to speak, it was necessary gradually to redefine the spheres; the fundamental relation between faith and history was rethought. A similar clarification was not undertaken since it could not be made from one day to the next. Here as well there will always be room for discussion. The opinion that faith as such knows absolutely nothing of historical facts and must leave all of this to historians is Gnosticism: this opinion disembodies the faith and reduces it to pure idea. The reality of events is necessary precisely because the faith is founded on the Bible. A God who cannot intervene in history and reveal Himself in it is not the God of the Bible. In this way the reality of the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary, the effective institution of the Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper, his bodily resurrection from the dead - this is the meaning of the empty tomb - are elements of the faith as such, which it can and must defend against an only presumably superior historical knowledge.

That Jesus - in all that is essential - was effectively who the Gospels reveal him to be to us is not mere historical conjecture, but a fact of faith. Objections which seek to convince us to the contrary are not the expression of an effective scientific knowledge, but are an arbitrary over-evaluation of the method.

What we have learned in the meantime, moreover, is that many questions in their particulars must remain open-ended and be entrusted to a conscious interpretation of their responsibilities.
This introduces the second level of the problem: it is not simply a question of making a list of historical elements indispensable to the faith. It is a question of seeing what reason can do, and why the faith can be reasonable and reason open to faith.

Meanwhile, not only those decisions of the Biblical Commission which had entered too much into the sphere of merely historical questions were corrected; we have also learned something new about the methods and limits of historical knowledge. Werner Heisenberg verified in the area of the natural sciences, with his "Unsicherheitsrelation", that our knowing never reflects only what is objective, but is always determined by the participation of the subject as well, by the perspective in which the questions are posed and by the capacity of perception. All this, naturally, is incomparably most true where man himself enters into play and where the mystery of God is made perceptible.
Faith and science, Magisterium and exegesis, therefore, are no longer opposed as worlds closed in on themselves. Faith itself is a way of knowing. Wanting to set it aside does not produce pure objectivity, but comprises a point of view which excludes a particular perspective while not wanting to take into account the accompanying conditions of the chosen point of view. If one takes into account, however, that the Sacred Scriptures come from God through a subject which lives continually - the pilgrim people of God - then it becomes clear rationally as well that this subject has something to say about the understanding of the book.

The Promised Land of freedom is more fascinating and multiformed than the exegete of 1948 could have imagined. The intrinsic conditions of freedom have become evident. It presupposes attentive listening, knowledge of the limits of the various paths, full seriousness of the ratio, and also a readiness to limit and surpass oneself in thinking and living with the subject, which the different writers of the Old and New Covenant guarantee us is a single work, the Sacred Scripture. We are profoundly grateful for the openings the Second Vatican Council has given us, as the fruit of a long effort of research.

Yet, neither do we lightly condemn the past, even if we see it as a necessary part of a process of knowing which, considering the greatness of the revealed Word and the limits of our abilities, continually places new challenges before us. But its beauty lies precisely in this.

And thus, at the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Biblical Commission, despite all the problems which have arisen during this length of time, we can still look, thankfully and hopefully, upon the path which lies ahead of us.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
and Dean of the College of Cardinals

(Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/pcb_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030510_ratzinger-comm-bible_en.html. 31.05.2012)

 

"Abraham: Father or Master?" Dr. Scott Hahn

Bible Interpretation

Sometimes I wonder if we're not just missing the point with elaborate theological Bible interpretations. Why would God inspire men to write a book where your headache is getting a headache when you try to interprete one of its chapters? Look at the people the Bible talks about, the people God chose: Most of them were regular folks - even less than that. Jesus chose twelve ordinary men. When He sat down with them, He tried to make sure even they got His message - and gave them the Beatitudes. You don't really need to study theology to understand them. Sometimes I read Bible interpretations and I think why, do you really believe God intended to give us such mental gymnastics? In Matthew 11:25 we read: "At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants" (NRSVCE). Somebody might tell me now you can't take the Bible literally. Really? I am talking about a "literal", not a "literalistic" Bible interpretation. For instance: If you say nowadays that it is raining cats and dogs, everybody will understand you are trying to say it is raining heavily. Somebody who reads that in 2000 years needs to know what that saying meant back then. So far, so good. To believe, however, that understanding God's written word is only for some chosen few, completely misses the point. God is a God for all of us, not just for some. Most especially our Lord speaks to those who are most in need of His redemption - and they certainly will not study theology before sorting out what He us trying to tell them. Yes, God know about our deceitful hearts. This is why He gave us both His written and His living Word (Jesus) - to tell us all we need to know and to show us that faith is not just a book, but something that is very much alive! Does that mean we don't need people to help us understand the Scriptures? Yes and no. We don't need somebody to give us "lessons", but we do need an interaction when it comes to making the written Word come alive in our words, hearts and deeds. Modern theology has failed big time and we need to come back to the roots. Back to God Himself and nothing but God!

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Catholic.net: Catholics Are Un-Biblical?

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Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology: How a Catholic Starts to Read the Bible

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EWTN: The Church Fathers on Scripture

Coronum Apologetic Website: The Church Fathers on the 'Catholic Bible'

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Coronum Apologetic Website: St. Athanasius, The Scriptures,s Tradtition & Church

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Coronum Apologetic Website: Sola Scriptura in the Early Church

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Catholic Answers: Should Catholics Go to Non-Denominational Bible Studies?

Answers to 10 Objections Regarding the Apocrypha

Catholic Response: Apocrypha - Did Catholics Add to the Bible?

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Who's Bible Is It, Anyway?

 

Did the Catholic Church Prohibit Bible Reading?

 

Usury and the Scriptures

CNA: Bishop suggests ways to bring the Word of God to the modern world

CNA: Bishops close Synod with poetic message on the Word of God

Catholic Scripture Study International

CNA: Bible can only be understood with the Church, Pope tells scholars

Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture

OpenBible.info

Catholic Principles for Interpreting the Scripture by Peter Williamson

CatholicCulture.org: The MOST Theological Collection: Crisis in Scripture Studies

Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Catholicism and the Bible: An Inerview with Albert Vanhoye. Peter Williamson

Catholicism and the BibCanons and Decrees of the Council of Trent. The Fourth Session. Celebrated on the eighth day of the month of April, in the year 1546. English translation by James Waterworth (London, 1848)

Dei Verbum 35 years later; understanding the Word of God. Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Keynote Address Scripture Conference 2000. Hilton Denver Tech Center South Denver, Colorado. October 20 , 2000

Pastoral Statement for Catholics on Biblical Fundamentalism. National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ad Hoc Committee on Biblical Fundamentalism. Archbishop John Whealon of Hartford, Connecticut, chair. March 26, 1987

Historical-Critical Scripture Studies and the Catholic Faith by Michael Waldstein

URGES DEEPER INTEREST IN SACRED SCRIPTURE. Most Rev. Donald Herlihy, Bishop of Ferns

"Instruction on Scripture and Christology". Pontifical Biblical Commission. 1984

PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS. ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON THE STUDY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE

The early church Fathers on the Scriptures

RENEWED BIBLICAL CATECHESIS WILL LEAD TO A MORE INCISIVE PROMOTION OF VOCATIONS. Pope John Paul II

Mark-Shea.com: The Allegorical Sense of Scripture

The Bible Gap by Benedict M. Ashley, O.P.

The influence of German Biblical criticism on Muslim apologetics in the 19th century by Dr. Christine Schirrmacher

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE IN THE CHURCH. Pontifical Biblical Commission. Presented on March 18, 1994

THE PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION: THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE

OLD TESTAMENT ESSENTIAL TO KNOW JESUS. To the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Pope John Paul II 

The Word of God and its fullness in Christ

TWO VIEWS OF HISTORICAL CRITICISM by John F. McCarthy

Unity And Diversity In The Church by Pontifical Biblical Commission

Catholics United for the Faith: Taking God at His Word: A Catholic Understanding of Biblical Inerrancy

Matt Slick: Introduction to Bible Difficulties and Bible Contradictions: http://carm.org/introduction-bible-difficulties-and-bible-contradictions

Dave Armstrong: Alleged Contradictions Regarding the Twelve Disciples of Jesus (vs. "DagoodS"): http://socrates58.blogspot.de/2006/12/alleged-contradictions-regarding.html

Dave Armstrong: Alleged Bible "Contradictions" and "Difficulties": Master List of Christian Internet Resources for Apologists (Including a Lengthy Bibliography): http://socrates58.blogspot.de/2010/07/alleged-bible-contradictions.html

Dave Armstrong: On the Alleged Contradictions of 2 Samuel 24, and 1 Chronicles 21 and 27 (vs. the Atheist "DagoodS"): http://socrates58.blogspot.de/2006/11/on-alleged-contradictions-of-2-samuel.html

Dave Armstrong: Reply to Alleged Biblical Contradictions Concerning Judas and His Death (vs. Dave Van Allen and Dr. Jim Arvo): http://socrates58.blogspot.de/2007/09/reply-to-alleged-biblical.html

Dave Armstrong: Alleged Bible "Contradictions" and "Difficulties": Master List of Christian Internet Resources for Apologists (Including a Lengthy Bibliography): http://socrates58.blogspot.de/2010/07/alleged-bible-contradictions.html

Steve Ray: Differences Between Catholic and  Protest and Approaches to the Bible

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Resources

Welt und Umwelt der Bibel

Bibel heute

Bibel und Kirche

 

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem: The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

 


NACHSYNODALES APOSTOLISCHES SCHREIBEN VERBUM DOMINI SEINER HEILIGKEIT PAPST BENEDIKT XVI. AN DIE BISCHÖFE, DEN KLERUS, DIE PERSONEN GOTTGEWEIHTEN LEBENS UND AN DIE CHRISTGLÄUBIGEN LAIEN ÜBER DAS WORT GOTTES IM LEBEN UND IN DER SENDUNG DER KIRCHE

 


Henry G. Graham: "Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church" (Catholic Answers)

The Crossroads Initiative: Catholic Bible Study Tools

Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn: Tools for Bible Study


Catholic Bible Dictionary (Gebundene Ausgabe)
von Scott Hahn (Autor)
Gebundene Ausgabe: 1008 Seiten
Verlag: Image (16. Juni 2009)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 0385512295
ISBN-13: 978-0385512299


A Pocket Guide to the Bible (Taschenbuch)
von Scott Hahn (Autor)
Taschenbuch: 80 Seiten
Verlag: Our Sunday Visitor Inc; Auflage: 2008. (4. Juni 2008)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 1592764436
ISBN-13: 978-1592764433


Bible Studies by Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn

Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn: How to Read the Bible (DVD)

"Where does the Bible Come From?" Fr. Mitch Pacwa (CD)

Kenneth A. Kitchen: "On the Reliability of the Old Testament", William B Erdman Co

N. T. Wright: "The New Testament and the People of God", Fortress Pr

Paul Barnett: "Is the New Testament History" (Paternoster Press)

Listen to this mp3-file by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Click here.

Saint Joseph Communications: What Every Catholic Needs to Know About the Bible (DVD)

The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study


The Family Hearth (DVD)

Bob Fishman draws on his religious and cultural heritage to take you inside the fascinating stories and illuminating truths of Sacred Scripture. Using a unique blend of Jewish storytelling and insightful spiritual direction, he reveals how God was alive and active in the lives of the great characters we encounter in the Bible, and how He is alive and active in our own lives. 



Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions

Ken Ham (Author)

Paperback: 141 pages

Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group (Nov 1 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0890516006

ISBN-13: 978-0890516003


Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions, Volume 2

Tim Chaffey (Editor), Bodie Hodge (Editor), Ken Ham (Editor)

Paperback: 169 pages

Publisher: Master Books; Reprint edition (April 20 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0890516499

ISBN-13: 978-0890516492 




Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Commentaries on DVD



IsraelBasar.com:

13-er CD-Box: Die fünf Bücher Mose auf Hebräisch

Das Neue Testament in modernem Hebäisch (MP3 CD)


Scripture 4 All - Hebrew Interlinear Bible (OT)

Scripture 4 All - Greek Interlinear Bible (NT)


OpenBible.info

Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture







Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn's Recommendations


Biblical Resources: Biblical Inspiration and Authority

    * Benoit, Pierre, Aspects of Biblical Inspiration. Chicago: Priory Press, 1965.
    * Benoit, Pierre and P. Synave. Prophecy and Inspiration: A Commentary on the Summa Theologica II, Q. 171-178. New York: Desclee, 1961.
    * Burtchaell, James T. Catholic Theories of Biblical Inspiration Since 1810. New York: Cambridge, 1969.
    * Carson, Donald A. and J. D. Woodbridge (eds.). Scripture and Truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983. {P}
    * Conn, Harvie (ed.). Inerrancy and Hermeneutic: A Tradition, A Challenge, A Debate. Grand Rpaids, MI: Baker, 1988. {P}
    * Farrow, Douglas. The Word of Truth and Disputes About Words. Winona Lake, IN: Carpenter Books, 1987. {P}
    * Geisler, Norman (ed.). Inerrancy. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979. {P}
    * Hagerty, Cornelius. The Authenticity of Sacred Scripture. Houston, TX: Lumen Christi Press, 1969.
    * Hannah, John D. (ed.). Inerrancy and the Church. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984. {P}
    * Levie, Jean. The Bible, Word of God in Words of Men. New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1961.
    * McDonald, H. D. Theories of Revelation: An Historical Study 1700-1960. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979. {P}
    * Most, William. Free From All Error: Authorship, Inerrancy, Historicity of Scripture, and Modern Scripture Scholars. Libertyville, IL: Prow Books Franciscan Marytown Press, 1985.
    * O'Neill, J. C. The Bible's Authority. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1991. {P}
    * Steinmueller, John E. The Sword of the Spirit. Fort Worth, TX: Stella Maris Books, 1977.
    * Walvoord, John F. (ed.). Inspiration and Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957. {P}
    * Wenham, John. Christ and the Bible (3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. {P}


{P}=Protestant



Biblical Resources: History of Interpretation

    * Bartholomew, Craig G, and Stephen C. Evans and Mary Healy. (Eds.). Behind the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.
    * Blowers, Paul M. (ed.). The Bible in Greek Christian Antiquity. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.
    * _____. Exegesis and Spiritual Pedagogy in Maximus the Confessor. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.
    * Brown, Dennis. Vir Trilinguis: A Study in the Biblical Exegesis of Saint Jerome. Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1992.
    * Chau, Wai-Shing. The Letter and the Spirit: A History of Interpretation from Origen to Luther. New York: Peter Lang, 1995.
    * Danielou, Jean. From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Biblical Typology of the Fathers. London: Burns & Oataes, 1960.
    * De Lubac, Henri. Medieval Exegesis (Volume I). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.
    * _____. Scripture in the Tradition. New York: The Crossroad Publisher Company, 2000.
    * De Margerie, Bertrand. An Introduction to the History of Exegesis (3 vols.). Petersham, MA: Saint Bede's Publications, 1993-95.
    * Evans, G. R. The Lauguage and Logic of the Bible: The Earlier Middle Ages. New York: Cambridge, 1984.
    * Finan, Thomas and Vincent Twomey (eds.), Scriptural Interpretation in the Fathers: Letter and Spirit. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1995.
    * Froelich, Karlfried (ed.). Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984.
    * Gorday, Peter. Principles of Patristic Exegesis. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983.
    * Grant, Robert M. The Bible in the Church: A Short History of Interpretation. New York: Macmillan, 1948.
    * _____. The Letter and the Spirit. New York: Macmillan, 1957.
    * Howell, Kenneth. God’s Two Books: Copernican Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
    * McNally, Robert E. The Bible in the Early Middle Ages. Westminster, MD: Newman, 1959.
    * Preus, James S. From Shadow to Promise: Old Testament Interpretation from Augustine to the Young Luther. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969.
    * Reist, Thomas. Saint Bonaventure as a Biblical Commentator. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985.
    * Sadowski, Frank. The Church Fathers on the Bible: Selected Readings. Staten Island, NY: Alba House, 1987.
    * Simonetti, Manlio. Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church: An Historical Introduction to Patristic Exegesis. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994.
    * Smalley, Beryl. The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973,
    * _____. Medieval Exegesis of Wisdom Literature. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986.
    * Trigg, Joseph W. (ed.). Biblical Interpretation. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1988.
    * Valkenberg, Wilhelm G. "Did Not Our Hearts Burn?": The Place and Function of Holy Scripture in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Utrecht: Thomas Instituut te Utrecht, 1990.



Biblical Resources: Introductory Manuals and Commentaries

    * Aquinas, Thomas. Catena Aurea: A Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers (and edited by John Henry Newman). Southampton: Saint Austin Press, 1997.
    * Barber, Michael. Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2005.
    * _____. Singing in the Reign: The Psalms and the Liturgy of God’s Kingdom. Emmaus Road Publishing, 2001.
    * Barrosse, Thomas. God Speaks to Men: Understanding the Bible (2nd ed.). Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1964.
    * Bouyer, Louis. The Meaning of Sacred Scripture. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958.
    * Brown, Raymond et al. (eds.). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (rev. ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.
    * Casciaro, Jose Maria (ed.). The Navarre Bible (New Testament - 12 vols). Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1989-92.
    * Charlier, Dom Celestin. The Christian Approach to the Bible. London: Sands, 1961.
    * Fuentes, Antonio. A Guide to the Bible. Houston, TX: Lumen Christi Press, 1987.
    * Hahn, Kimberly and Michael Barber. Genesis to Jesus. Journey through Scripture Series. Cincinatti, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press and Franciscan Communications, 2007.
    * Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1998.
    * Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (New Testament – 10 vols.) San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2000.
    * Hartman, L. (ed.). A Commentary on the New Testament. Kansas City: Catholic Biblical Association, 1942.
    * Heidt, William G. A General Introduction to Sacred Scripture: Inspiration, Canonicity, Texts, Versions and Hermeneutics. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970.
    * Hornecker, James. A Beginner’s Bible Study on the Gospel of St. Mark. Greenville, SC: Family Life Center International, 2003.
    * Kodell, Jerome. The Catholic Bible Study Handbook. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1985.
    * Kurz, Fr. William. Following Jesus: A Disciple’s Guide to Luke and Acts. Cincinnati, OH: Saint Anthony Messenger Press & Franciscan Communications, 2003.
    * _____. The Acts of the Apostles – Collegeville Bible Commentary #5. Robert J. Karris, ed. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1985.
    * Lattey, Cuthbert. Back to the Bible. Harrison, NY: Roman Catholic Books, 1995.
    * Lapide, Cornelius A. The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide (8 vols.). Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908.
    * Laux, John. Introduction to the Bible. Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1990.
    * Lienhard, Fr. Joseph, S.J. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001.
    * Oden, Thomas (general editor). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (27 vols; 2 presently available). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998-.
    * Orchard, Bernard et al. (eds.). A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. NY: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1951.
    * Pacwa, Fr. Mitch. Saint Paul: A Study Guide for Catholics. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008.
    * Wilken, Robert L. Judaism and the Early Christian Mind: A Study of Cyril of Alexandria’s Exegesis and Theology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1971.
    * Pope, Hugh. The Catholic Student's Aids to the Bible (5 vols., rev. ed.). New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1926-36.
    * Ray, Stephen. St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study and Commentary. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.
    * Rooney, Gerard.Preface to the Bible. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952.
    * Scheck, Thomas. Origen: Commentary on Romans 1-5. Catholic University of America Press, 2001.
    * Shelton, James B. Mighty in Word and Deed: The Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts. Eugene, OR: WIPF & Stock Publishers, 2007.
    * Somers, Gayle. Genesis Part I: God and His Creation. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004. (Also Genesis Part II: God and His Family, 2006).
    * Steinmueller, John E. A Companion to Scripture Studies (3 Vols.). Houston, TX: Lumen Christi Press, 1969.
    * Winzen, Damasus. Pathways in Scripture: A Book-By-Book Guide to the Spiritual Riches of the Bible. Ann Arbor, MI: Word of Life, 1976.



Biblical Resources: Magesterial Teachings
Primary Sources

    * Louis, C. (ed.), Rome & the Study of Scripture: A Collection of Papal Enactments on the Study of Holy Scripture Together with the Decisions of the Biblical Commission (7th ed.). St. Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press, 1964.
    * Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Historicity of the Gospels. Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1964.
    * Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.  Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1993.
    * Pope Leo XIII. Providentissimus Deus (Encyclical on the Study of Sacred Scripture, 1893). Boston: Daughters of St. Paul.
    * Pope Benedict XV. Spiritus Paraclitus (Encyclical on the Fifteenth Centenary of the Death of St. Jerome, 1920). Boston: Daughters of St. Paul.
    * Pope Pius XII. Divino Afflante Spiritu (Encyclical on the Promotion of Biblical Studies, 1943). Boston: Daughters of St. Paul.
    * Vatican II. Dei Verbum (The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 1965). Boston: Daughters of St. Paul.


Secondary Sources

    * Bea, Augustin. The Study of the Synoptic Gospels. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.
    * _____. The Word of God and Mankind. Chicago, IL: Franciscan Herald Press, 1967. F
    * Harrison, Brian W. The Teaching of Pope Paul VI on Sacred Scripture. Rome: Pontificium Athenaeum Sanctae Crucis, 1997.
    * Megivern, James J. (ed.). Official Catholics Teachings: Bible Interpretation. Wilmington, NC: McGrath, 1978.
    * Myers, Edith. What Does the Church Really Say About the Bible? St. Paul, MN: Wanderer Press, 1979.
    * Pope, Hugh. The Catholic Church and the Bible. New York: Macmillan, 1928.



Biblical Resources: Methods and Issues in Biblical Interpretation

    * Felder, Hilarin. Christ and the Critics (2 vols.). London: Burns Oates and Washbourne, 1933.
    * Fitzmyer, Joseph A. An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture (3d ed). Rome: Biblical Institute Press. 1990.
    * Fogarty, Gerald P. American Catholic Biblical Scholarship. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
    * Fowl, Stephen E. (ed.). The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1997.
    * Jeffrey, David L. People of the Book: Christian Identity and Literary Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996.
    * Kelly, George. The Church's Problem With Bible Scholars. Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1985.
    * _____. The New Biblical Theorists. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1983.
    * Linnemann, Eta. Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1990.
    * Maier, Gerhard. The End of the Historical Critical Method. St. Louis: MO: Concordia, 1977. {P}
    * McCarthy, John F. The Science of Historical Theology: Elements of a Definition. Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1991.
    * Meyer, Ben F. Reality and Illusion in New Testament Scholarship. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994.
    * Montague, George. Understanding the Bible: A Basic Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. New York: Paulist Press, 1997.
    * Morrow, Stanley B. Basic Tools of Biblical Exegesis. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978.
    * Neuhaus, Richard J. (ed.). Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989.
    * Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal. Biblical Interpretation in Crisis. Rockford, IL: Rockford Institute, 1988.
    * Robinson, Robert B. Roman Catholic Exegesis Since Divino Afflante Spiritu. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988.
    * Stuhlmacher, Peter. Historical Criticism and Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Towards a Hermeneutics of Consent. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977. {P}
    * Stump, Eleonore and Thomas P. Flint (eds.). Hermes and Athena: Biblical Exegesis and Philosophical Theology. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1993.
    * Taguchi, Paul Cardinal. The Study of Sacred Scripture. Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1974.


{P} = Protestant



Biblical Resources: New Testament

    * Bonsirven, Joseph. Theology of the New Testament. Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1963.
    * Briggs, R.A. Jewish Temple Imagery in the Book of Revelation. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
    * Carson, Donald A. et al. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992. {P}
    * Childs, Brevard S. The New Testament as Canon. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985. {P}
    * Custer, Fr. John S. Holy Gospel: Byzantine Perspective. Zionsville, IN: God With Us Publications, 2004.
    * _____. The New Testament: A Byzantine Perspective, Vol. 2: The Apostolic Writings. Zionsville, IN: God with Us Publications, 2005.
    * _____. Revelation in Color. Zionsville, IN: God With Us Publications.
    * De Grandmaison, Leonce. Jesus Christ: His Person, His Message, His Credentials (3 vols.). New York: Sheed and Ward, 1935.
    * Dumbrell, William J. The End of the Beginning: Revelation 21-22 and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1985.
    * Durwell, F.X. The Resurrection: A Biblical Study. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1960.
    * Kerr, Alan R. The Temple of Jesus’ Body. London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002.
    * Levenson, Jon Douglas. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.
    * Egger, Wilhelm. How to Read the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996.
    * Fillion, L. C. The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical and Apologetic Exposition (3 vols.). St. Louis: Herder, 1948.
    * Fuller, Michael E. The Restoration of Israel: Israel’s Regathering and the Fate of the Nations. Berlin: Walter de Guyter, 2006.
    * Guthrie, Donald. New Testament Introduction (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990. {P}
    * Harrington, Daniel J. Interpreting the New Testament. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990.
    * Hopkins, Martin.God's Kingdom in the New Testament. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964.
    * Hull, Monsignor Michael.Baptism on Account of the Dead (1 Cor 15:29): An Act of Faith in the Resurrection. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005.
    * Johnson, Luke T. The Writings of the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986.
    * Matera, Frank J. New Testament Ethics. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
    * Most, William. The Thought of St. Paul. Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1994.
    * Murray, Robert, S.J. The Cosmic Covenant: Biblical Themes of Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation. London: Sheed and Ward, 1992.
    * Orchard, Dom Bernard, Born to be King: The Epic of the Incarnation. London: Ealing Abbey, 1993.
    * Prat, Ferdinand.Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Work. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1950.
    * _____. The Theology of St. Paul (2 vols.). Westminster, MD: Newman, 1950.
    * Quesnell, Quentin. This Good News: An Introduction to the Catholic Theology of the New Testament. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1964.
    * Schelckle, Karl H. Theology of the New Testament (4 vols). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1971.
    * Spicq, Ceslaus. Agape in the New Testament (3 vols.). St. Louis: Herder, 1963.
    * Sri, Edward P. A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship. Scott W. Hahn, ed. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2005.
    * Wright, Nicholas T.Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1996. {P}
    * _____. The New Testament and the People of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1992. {P}


{P} = Protestant



Biblical Resources: Old Testament

    * Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament (2nd ed.). Chicago: Moody, 1994. {P}
    * Boadt, Lawerence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. NY: Paulist, 1984.
    * Casciaro, J. M. and J. M. Monforte. God, the World and Man in the Message of the Bible. Dublin: Four Courts, 1996.
    * Childs, Brevard S. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979. {P}
    * _____. Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985. {P}
    * Congar, Yves. The Mystery of the Temple. Westminister, MD: Newman Press, 1962.
    * Cross, F.M. “Kinship and Covenant in Ancient Israel,” in From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
    * Custer, Fr. John S. Old Testament: Byzantine Perspective. Zionsville, IN: God With Us Publications, 1995.
    * Danielou, Jean, S.J. From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Typology of the Fathers. London: Burns and Oates, 1960.
    * Davies, John A. A Royal Priesthood: Literary and Intertextual Perspectives on an Image of Israel in Exodus 19.6. New York: T & T Clark, 2004.
    * Dillard, Raymond B. and Tremper Longman III. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994. {P}
    * De Vaux, Roland. Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1961.
    * Duggan, Michael. The Consuming Fire: A Christian Introduction to the Old Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991.
    * Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton. A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991. {P}
    * Hopkins, Martin. God's Kingdom in the Old Testament. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964.
    * Jensen, Joseph. God's Word to Israel. Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1982.
    * Kaiser, Walter. The Messiah in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995. {P}
    * _____. Toward an Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1978. {P}
    * Martin, George. Reading Scripture as the Word of God (3rd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1998.
    * McCarthy, D.J., S.J. Old Testament Covenant: A Survey of Current Opinions. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1972.
    * _____. Treaty and Covenant. 1st ed. Rome: Pontifical Bible Institute, 1963.
    * Merrill, Eugene H. A Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1987. {P}
    * Pitre, Brant. Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement. Ada, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2006.
    * Pope Benedict XVI. Many Religions One Covenant: Israel, the Church and the World. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1999.
    * Sailhamer, John H. Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995. {P}
    * Smith, Archbishop William. The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch (2nd ed.). London: Sands, 1913.
    * Steinmueller, John E. Some Problems of the Old Testament. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1936.
    * Sullivan, Kathryn. God's Word and Work: The Message of the Old Testament Historical Books. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1958.
    * Van Imschoot, Paul. Theology of the Old Testament. NY: Desclee, 1965.
    * Young, E.J. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964. {P}


{P}= Protestant



Biblical Resources: Reference Works

    * The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. 5 vols. Trans. by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Westminister, MD: Christian Classics, 1981. Also available online from New Advent.


    * Aharoni, Yohanan. et al. The Macmillan Bible Atlas (rev. ed.). New York: Macmillan, 1993.
    * Bauer, J. B. (ed.). An Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology. New York: Crossroad, 1981.
    * Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (ed.). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (rev. ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979-1988. {P}
    * Brown, Colin (ed.). The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (4 vols). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1975-86. {P}
    * Danker, Frederick W. Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (rev. ed.). Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
    * Green, Joel B. and Scott McKnight (eds.). Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1992. {P}
    * Hartdegen, Stephen J. Nelson's Complete Concordance of the New American Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1977.
    * Hawthorne, Gerald and Ralph Martin (eds.). Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1992. {P}
    * Leon-Dufour, Xavier (ed.). Dictionary of Biblical Theology (rev. ed.). New York: Seabury, 1973,
    * Negev, Avraham (ed.). The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (rev. ed.). New York: Thomas Nelson, 1986.
    * Spicq, Ceslas. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (3 vols.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.
    * Steinmueller, John E. and K. Sullivan (eds.). Catholic Biblical Encyclopedia. New York: Joseph Wagner, 1956.
    * Tenney, Merrill (ed.). The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (4 vols). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976. {P}
    * Thompson, Newton and Raymond Stock. Complete Concordance to the Bible (Douay Version). St. Louis: Herder, 1945.
    * Whitaker, Richard E. The Eerdmans Analytical Concordance to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (with the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal Books). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.
    * Young, Robert. Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1982.


{P} = Protestant



Biblical Resources: Scripture in the Liturgy and Catechesis

    * Barthelemy, Dominique. God and His Image: An Outline of Biblical Theology. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1966.
    * Bouyer, Louis. The Word, Church & Sacraments. New York: Desclee, 1961.
    * Bradley, Robert I. The Roman Cathechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990.
    * Breck, John. The Power of the Word in the Worshipping Church. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary, 1986.
    * Corbon, Jean. Path to Freedom: Christian Experience and the Bible. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1969.
    * Danielou, Jean. The Bible and the Liturgy. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1956,
    * Deiss, Lucien. God's Word and God's People. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976.
    * Hahn, Scott. Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy. New York: Doubleday, 2005.
    * _____, (ed.). Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology. Steubenville, OH: St. Paul Center for Biblical Studies & Emmaus Road Publishing.

Vol 1: “Reading Salvation: Word, Worship and the Mysteries.” (2005)
Vol 2: “The Authority of Mystery: The Word of God and the People of God.” (2006)
Vol 3: “The Hermeneutic of Continuity: Christ, Kingdom and Creation.” (2007)
Vol 4: “Temple and Contemplation: God’s Presence in the Cosmos, Church & Human Heart.”(2008)
Vol 5: "Liturgy and Empire: Faith in Exile and Political Theology." (2009)

    * Jackson, Pamela, E. J. Journeybread for the Shadowlands: The Readings for the Rites of the Catechumenate. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1993.
    * Nichols, Aiden, O.P. Lovely Like Jerusalem: The Fulfillment of the Old Testament in Christ and the Church. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.
    * Paris, Charles W. Biblical Catechetics After Vatican II. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1971.
    * Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal. The Spirit of the Liturgy. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2000.
    * Vogels, Walter. Reading and Preaching the Bible. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1986.


Biblical Resources: Scripture, Tradition and Canonicity

    * Congar, Yves. Tradition and Traditions: The Biblical, Historical and Theological Evidence for Catholic Teaching on Tradition. Granville, OH: Basilica Press, 1998.
    * Farmer, WIlliam R. and D. Farkasfalvy. The Formation of the New Testament Canon. New York: Paulist, 1983.
    * Graham, Henry G. Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church. Rockford, IL: Tan, 1977.
    * Lienhard, Joseph T. The Bible, the Church, and Authority: The Canon of the Christian Bible in History and Theology. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1995.
    * Michuta, Gary G. Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger: The Untold Story of the Lost Books of the Protestant Bible. Wixom, MI: Grotto Press, 2007.
    * Pelikan, Jaroslav. Whose Bible Is It? A History of the Scriptures through the Ages. New York: Viking, 2005.
    * Shea, Mark P. By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996.
    * Sungenis, Robert (ed.). Not By Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship, 1998.
    * Varillon, Francois. Announcing Christ Through Scripture to the Church. Westminster, MD: Newman, 1963.
    * Whiteford, John. Sola Scriptura: An Orthodox Analysis of the Cornerstone of Reformation Theology. Ben Lomond, CA: Conciliar Press, 1995.



Scripture
Dr. Scott Hahn's Recent Academic Publications
Canon, Cult and Covenant.

Scripture and Hermeneutics Series 7: Canon and Biblical Interpretaion, ed. Craig G. Bartholomew et al. (Zondervan, 2006), pp. 209-235.
Christ, Kingdom and Creation in Luke-Acts

Creazione e salvezza nella Bibbia, ed. Marco Valerio Fabbri and Michelangelo Tábet. (Pontifica Università della Santa Croce, 2008), pp. 167-190.
Liturgy and Empire: Faith in Exile and Prophetic Historiography in 1 and 2 Chronicles

Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology 5 (2009), pp. 13–50.
Temple, Sign, and Sacrament: Towards a New Perspective on the Gospel of John

Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology 4 (2008), pp. 107–143.
Scripture and the Liturgy: Inseparably United

in Origins 35.39 (March 16, 2006), pp. 648-653.
What Laws Were Not Good: A Canonical Approach to the Theological Problem of Ezekiel 20:25-26

with John Bergsma, Journal of Biblical Literature 123.2 (2004), pp. 201-218
Covenant, Cult, and the Curse-of-Death: Diatheke in Hebrews 9:15-22

in Hebrews: Contemporary Methods - New Insights, ed. Gabriella Gelardini (Leiden: Brill, 2005).
A Broken Covenant and the Curse of Death: A Study of Hebrews 9:15-22

in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66.3 (July 2004), pp. 416-436.
Covenant Oath and the Aqedah: Diatheke in Galatians 3:15-18

Catholic Biblical Quarterly 67.1 (2005), pp. 79-100.
Covenant in the Old and New Testaments: Some Current Research (1994–2004)

Currents in Biblical Research 3.2 (2005), pp. 263-292.
Noah’s Nakedness and the Curse on Canaan (Genesis 9:20-27)

with John Seitze Bergsma, Journal of Biblical Literature 124.1 (Spring 2005), pp. 25-40.
Kingdom and Church in Luke-Acts: From Davidic Christology to Kingdom Ecclesiology

in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflections, Formation Scripture and Hermeneutics Series VI; eds., Craig Bartholomew, Joel Green, Anthony Thiselton (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), pp. 294-326.
Worship in the Word: Toward a Liturgical Hermeneutic

Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology 1 (2005), pp. 101-136.
The Authority of Mystery: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology 2 (2006), pp. 97-140.
Christ, Kingdom, and Creation: Davidic Christology and Ecclesiology in Luke-Acts,

Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology 3 (2007), pp. 113-138.
On the Task of Interpreting Scripture

First Comes Love: The Family Spirit (appendix)

Those who are interested in what Dr. Hahn has written about the Holy Spirit may read an online version of the revised and expanded chapter from First Comes Love (pp.152-174), including Sources and References (pp. 201-213). Posted here with the kind permission of Doubleday Random House.

(Sources: http://www.scotthahn.com/catholic-biblical-study.html and http://www.salvationhistory.com/library/category/dr_scott_hahns_recent_academic_publications)

On Bible "Errors" and "Contradictions": A Defense of the Inerrancy of Scripture

© Copyright 1997, Luke Wadel,
AEDIFICATIO

Brief Introduction: Approches to Interpretation

In the midst of human fascination with novelty, the survival of what is "boring" either annoys us, tickles our curiosity, or amazes us further when we think about it. Amazingly in intellectual history, not only has the Bible itself not lost its vitality, but in the face of the novel methods of coping with this fact, the less spectacular method of investigative, eclectic and common-sensical interpretation has continued to thrive and be perfected.

There are two extremes of novelty, each with its own atheistic and religious "fanatics." The first is fundamentalism, which copes with the reality of Sacred Scripture by claiming to interpret it absolutely literally. Unfortunately, no one knows what they mean when they say that they "take everything literally." What, every word? One thinks, surely, the fundamentalist claim is not meant to be taken "literally." In practice, the Fundamentalists themselves do not go so far. The main advocates of this system are the atheists and professionally secular historians. But at least they realize that the boring Bible is, as such, rather worthy of serious attention. The opposite extreme is deconstructionism, which, a self-contradiction in its very title, amazes us by expecting us to be impressed with its boast of taking imaginative self-contradiction and its ignoring of the text seriously as a method of reading.

Accordingly, this document is intended for more boring folk, who will take the time to put the time into what is truly timeless. We are on a quest for the boringness of the Bible, to see how little it lends itself to deconstructionism and to fundamentalism, and to see how far it can be said to contradict the professionally secular historians so excited about its "self-contradictions" and "contradictions of history."

I will defend the Bible as a religious book, but not as a textbook of cosmology or a perfect chronology of the Jewish people. It has been well said, "The Jews were not American reporters." Its genres simply do not correspond exactly to our historic or scientific genres. And I certainly will not defend many translations as being flawless. I believe that Scripture is inerrant in its religious message, and I hope to help bring the truth of this to light for your greater happiness and knowledge as a free service.

Please forgive me if my answers to some charges seem unsympathetic. Readers, I hold you in only the highest esteem for taking the Bible seriously enough to seek to understand it with me. Further, bringing to light difficult passages is a service to truth, which must be served, whether we are Christians, Jews, or atheists. But there are some who go further, who delight in ridiculing Sacred Scripture for the simple pleasure of the impiety of it or for establishing their intellectual superiority. My patience falls a little short with these people, but I will not ignore them. On the one hand, we must not pretend that there are no difficult passages - we must examine them and learn from them. Our faith is not jeopardized by reason, but strengthened. On the other hand, we must not look for every possible excuse to find fault.

Mr. Donald Morgan has compiled large list of passages of Scripture which on the surface seem to contradict one another, history, sound ethics, and/or common sense. I compliment Mr. Morgan for combatting very dangerous and awful theologies which seem to be supported by the Bible, but hope (as time permits) to reply to most or all of his charges. Click here to access his list, but do come back to see the other side of the argument!

(All quotations from Sacred Scripture here are taken from The Revised Standard Version: The Common Bible, An Ecumenical Edition.)
Seek Here and You Will Find

Some common types of objections will not be answered over and over again. So if the verses to which you object or which you wish to understand are not specifically dealt with here, see if one of the following topics are related to your problem. If one is, click on it, and it will bring you to a passage of similar type and its treatment. Or if I have been of no help to you, please email me and I will fix that. (To be notified by email of changes to this work, please click here.)

~ Race in the Old Testament
~ Slavery and other sins of the Jews
~ One or Many Gods?
~ God's Punishments
~ Unedifying Stories in the Bible
~ Justification in the New Testament
~ Difficulties/Mistranslations from Hebrew
~ Prophesies of the Messiah: Genesis"
~ Prophesies of the Messiah: Isaiah"
~ Prophesies of the Messiah: Psalms"

~ Many More Topics not addressed elsewhere. This lengthly document by Scripture scholar William Most is well worth your time; if I have not answered your question, this probably does.
~ Agnostic Biases and the Like Among Certain Scripture Scholars.

(More will be added as I find time to work on this project.)

You can also search for a particular verse. First, click on the general area of the Bible which presents you with a difficult passage:
~ Genesis,
~ Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy,
~ Any other book of the Old Testament;
~ Any book from the New Testament books.

If you cannot stay on the internet long and have much to search for, why not download a program which explains a number of passages of the Bible which people find difficult? Click here. This program contains fewer difficult passages than my web resource, but the answers are less condensed and therefore nicer to read. My compliments to its author, Philip Kapusta.
The Old Testament
Genesis
Gen 1: 1. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Charges: First, the Scripture contradicts contemporary Cosmologists by stating that God created the heavens and the earth. The big bang "created" the universe. Second, the Hebrew word translated "God" here is actually plural: "elohim" or "gods." What of that? Thirdly, does it not seem that the beginning of Genesis is just another creation story, much the same as all the pagan creation stories?
Reply: These are complex issues. The answer to the first charge is answered here. The second is answered here. The third is answered here.

Gen 1: 2. "The earth was without form and void..."
Charge: The definition of the earth does not allow it to be or to have been formless or a void.
Reply: The text plainly means that the earth had not yet come into existence.

Gen 1: 2. "...and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters."
Charge: How can the incorporeal Spirit of God be over the waters? Is he some kind of bird? And what were the waters doing there, when God had not yet spoken words of creation?
Reply. The ancient Hebrews, at least, were not fundamentalists. Nor did they have the deconstructionists' respect for self-contradiction. Therefore "water" is a metaphor for something else, as is the Holy Spirit's relation to it. Various interpretations are possible.

Gen 1:1 - 2:3 vs. Gen 2:4 - 2:24 -The creation accounts-
Charges: (1) It seems that there are two accounts of creation; we gather this from linguistic differences, repetitions and disagreements in the text (to be mentioned shortly). These make it doubtful that Moses wrote Genesis. (2) In the first creation account there were night and day, and plants before there was a sun. Besides being absurd, it is, with the passage of the next charge, contrary to the second account's Gen. 2: 4,7 (below). (3) In Gen 1:26ff, we learn that God actually created man on the sixth "day." And the earth and the heavens were created on the second and third days, two other days.(cf. Gen 1:6-9). But at the start of the second account we read, "In the day that the Lord made the earth and the heavens... the Lord God formed man of dust of the ground..." (Gen 2: 4,7)
Replies: These objections are well thought out and demonstrate a keen and admirable care to detail.
(1) Sure, there are two creation accounts. The supposed contradictions will be taken up shortly. As for Mosaic authorship, so what if he was not the author? Scripture says that Moses wrote books of laws, but it does not say that he wrote Genesis or the rest of the next four books of the Bible for that matter. Moses did not write Isaiah either. Does this mean that it is not Scripture? Certainly not! This being said, as a historical curiosity, I mention that it is quite likely that the books that Moses wrote were at least a primary basis for Genesis and the rest of the Penteteuch. More on the Documentary Theory of authorship is to be found here.
In reply to charges (2) and (3), there are several points. First, the first creation account consists of descriptions of consecutive "days" which read in the Hebrew to be undefined lengths of time (the Hebrew "yom" is quite ambiguous) or something analogous to periods of time. Further, the ordering of the days tells us nothing of chronological arrangement of events, since there is an obvious and typically Hebrew literary parallel between days one and four, two and five, and four and six. The Hebrews were no slouches when it came to the complexity of expression of sublime events. We may as well get used to it and learn to live with it, because we not going to stop seeing this until we reach the end of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.
Nor does the second account indicate exact chronological order, no matter how the "Good News Bible" "translation" reads. Rather, the description of creation now proceeds in a causal order. So the actual text now indicates that man was created, for which reason the animals were created. To insist that this indicates chronological order is to act in desperation.
Yet even if the first account were to be taken literally, and even if the Hebrew word yom, had only the meaning "day," (it has more) still the meaning for "day" in Hebrew has a range of meanings correponding closely to "day" in English, as the B-D-B-G Hebrew Lexicon indicates. Just as we speak of "the day of the Reformation," the Hebrew spoke of "the day when God created" as a period, which itself could be further divided into smaller periods, as any period can be, obviously. So one period can contain another; it can also overlap with one or more previous or following periods. To take an example, the neo-Platonic period in philosophy overlapped with the Stoic period, the Epicurean period, the Peripatetic period and the Skeptical period. Though again, the literary parallelism between the first three days and the second three strongly suggests a non-literal intention of the author anyway.

Gen 2: 18-20 -Adam named the animals-
"[Charge: Noted atheist Colonel] Ingersoll paints the pretty picture! God made all the animals that he might name them. And the animals came like a menagerie into town, and as Adam looked at all the crawlers and jumpers and creepers, this God stood by to see what he would call them!
[Reply:] The appeal to the gallery in the mention of a menagerie and town, and then the omission of all names except crawlers, jumpers and creepers, is evident. 'This God stood by,' is another little lapse. Ingersoll falls down on the simplest Hebraism. The whole passage means that God gave Adam a knowledge suitable to man's estate, and that Adam gave names in human language to the animals of which God gave him intellectual vision. Ingersoll was out of his depth, and had not the intelligence to know it." (Frs. Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies I, 122.)

Gen 3: 1-24. - Story of the Fall of Adam and Eve-
Charge: There are several problems with this passage. How were Adam and Eve able to hear the sound of your incorporeal God walking in the Garden and hide from his sight? How could the snake talk? Why did God make an evil snake? What is wrong with eating fruit from a tree? Since God made the evil tree, he was responsible for Adam's and Eve's sins. If God knows everything, why did he ask Adam questions? Most of all, what is wrong with knowledge of good and evil? Finally, what male chauvinist wrote this? Eve is given all the blame because she is a woman!
Reply: To most of these questions, I ask: Are we incapable of imagining that truths can be told with some use of metaphor and analogy? I suppose we are used to reading nothing more sophisticated than newspapers, which are written to be understood by young teenagers. The use of "fruit," "trees" and "God walking in the garden" needs no further defense. The snake is a metaphor for the devil.
As for blaming God for the devishness of the fallen angel or for Adam's and Eve's sins, the objector thinks a little too much like the devil here, assuming that responsibility for evil action is not an individual's fault, but God's. Intellectually, however, we know that the individual is responsible. The "evil tree" is not itself evil; it seems to be a metaphor for a potentiality of free-will. God's questions to Adam might be explained by the genre, and may also be understood to be the kind of parental questioning which aims not at gaining knowledge but causing the disobedient child to face his conscience.
As for the forbidden knowledge of good and evil, it depends upon what is meant by "knowledge." Intellectual knowledge of good and evil is surely not to be forbidden, and was already possessed by Adam and Eve, for Eve intelligently recounted God's "thou shalt not..." to the devil. The Hebrew and Greek versions of this passage, which I have studied, in their vocabulary unquestionably allow that the type of knowledge obtained by the "tree" was not intellectual knowledge but knowledge from experience. That is to say, it was a knowledge gained by experiencing (practicing) evil as well as good. Logically, since it is clear that Adam and Eve had intellectual knowledge of good and evil, the only possible interpretation of this story is that Adam and Eve were forbidden experiential knowledge of good with evil.
As for Eve, no one puts all the blame on her. The blame for this original sin has always been on Adam, not Eve. St. Paul, in the Jewish and Christian tradition, teaches, "sin came into the world through one man..." (Rom 5: 12) And the blame for Adam's temptation has always been primarily the devil, and secondarily Eve. If we read the text of this passage, in fact we see that everyone is blamed by God, and everyone is punished for their sins. Eve gets no special treatment. (For more on original sin, click here.)

Gen 4 - 11. - Histories of the peoples before Abraham -
Charge: There are many historical problems with Genesis here.
Reply: The charges I do not answer here should be answered here.

Gen 4: 17. "Cain 'knew' his wife..."
Charge: Who was Cain's wife? There was no candidate mentioned - there was only Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and Seth! And don't tell me it was his unmentioned sister, because that is a convenient way out! The notion of marrying one's sister is appalling. Therefore, I will not believe the creation account, but rather evolution.
Reply: Yes, it is a more convenient way out than opponents like to admit, but he also may have married a niece. Marrying a sister or niece was the only option, since undoubtedly even Cain would have found the notion of marrying (the equivalent of) an ape indescribably baser, which is the alternative solution. Reader, would you marry an ape in any circumstances? I do not mind certain theories of evolution, but this is devolution.

Gen 5: 1-32 - Genealogies from Adam to Noah-
Charge: Well, it would seem that humanity is no more than 6000 years old, or less if we are realistic about the age of our ancestors. Archeology strongly disagrees.
Reply: What is at issue here is the Hebrew way of tracing genealogical lines. Two aspects need to be commented upon. First, the Hebrew "yalad" recurring in this passage is not as properly translated "beget" as "bring forth" according to the B-D-B-G Hebrew Lexicon. The bringing forth of children can be quite indirectly done; even midwives are said to "yalad" those children which were not their own. Frequently the relationship is not one of begetting, but of being great, great, great grandfather (or greater) the one "begotten." Accordingly, this charge applies only to translations of Scripture, insofar as they mistranslate these verses. The same goes for cases of the Hebrew "ben" being translated "son." It means "descendant," as is evident again from the lexicon. Second, it is a historical fact that the Jews in their geneologies often skipped generations for brevity.

Gen 5:32; 6:3; 11:22-23. "After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth...Then the Lord said, 'his [man's] days shall be a hundred and twenty years [maximum].'...When [later] Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor; and Serug lived after the birth of Nahor two hundred years, and had other sons and daughters."
Charge: First, it is ridiculous to think that anyone might live 500 years, much more that he would still bear children! Further, the Bible contradicts itself most blatantly here; was everyone prevented from living past 120 years or not?
Reply: This is a good and understandable charge. There is no possibility of exaggeration or metaphor here, but this does fail to understand the basic issues of translation from ancient Hebrew. The Hebrew scholars and translators have a dilemma here. First, they have to produce a translation from the Hebrew text into coherent English. Since the Hebrew of the Old Testament was a dead language and understood only by a few even before Christ was born, several words can only be partially understood now (unless you know all about it). The critical word in this passage, "saneh," is only partially known. In later Hebrew, it unquestionably meant "year," but its precise meaning 500-1000 years earlier had long since been lost.
Meanwhile, the translator must give us the best he has, in coherent English. Accordingly, the translation you read which speaks like this about the "years" of people's lives, is deficient, in the sense that the original language is only partially unknown. "Year" is the only sense the translators knew for "saneh," so it was used. In conclusion, the translation of the Bible which you read is self-contradictory if it reads as above without a footnote describing the inaccuracy and unreliability of this translation. Yet the Bible itself, which is distinct from your translation, is by no means self-contradictory on this matter.

Gen 6: 5-6. "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man upon the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground...for I am sorry that I have made them."
Charge: God cannot be said to be changeless, nor omniscient. For first, he was not grieved only in effect, but 'to the heart.' Secondly, he evidently did not know beforehand what was to come, for he would not have made them, as the text suggests.
Reply: As for the first matter, the attribution of grief to the heart does not itself indicate that the "grief" was not metaphorical, as all positive statements about God must be. (If you disagree, click here.) Now as it was metaphorical, and the point at which God's type of "grief" and "heart" differ from ours is quite unspecified, the charge is found to be logically insufficient. As for the second matter, the context reveals the more accurate interpretation. We find that "man" here means "most men at that time," not "all men." For "I will blot out man" does not refer to Noah or his excellent family, in God's mind or otherwise: The verses which immediately follow make this quite clear. This charge, in its fundamentalism, therefore fails.

Gen 6:13-8:22. - The account of the flood and Noah's Ark-
Charge: This is myth, but the Bible presents it as history. It is myth because not all animals over the whole world were destroyed, for certainly they did not all fit in that most limited ark!
Reply: It cannot be denied that Noah did not have room for every single species of every kind of animal on board. Nor is there any need for such an assertion. For the Hebrew word "'erets," which is here translated "the world" or "the earth" for us, is also commonly and properly translated "land" or "country." So instead of "whole earth," which is erroneous, we ought to read "whole land," which will do no matter how much of the earth was flooded, and still gets the Hebrew right. So this charge fails, just as the one before last, for letting itself get caught in the stranglehold of poor translation.

Gen 17: 1,7. "When Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless...And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you...'"
Charge: This is primitive, to make biological connection or race the basis for favoritism. What an unfair God, to favor this people, the Jews!
Reply: The interpretation's failure to see the context shows primitive reading skills bordering on that theological illiteracy common to professionally secular historians. For it is established for Abraham, for the Jews, and for you right here in the surrounding passage that Abraham's descendants do not refer to biological descendants as such, but rather any who entered into the relationship with God in the terms specified. Circumcision was the first sign and condition, and it applied, in God's words to Abraham about male descendants, "every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or...not of your offspring..."(Gen 17:12-13) The Jewish people, the holy nation and chosen people of the Old Testament, then, were not necessarily biological Jews at all.

Gen 17: 12. - According to God, in Abraham's household, people would be bought and sold as slaves.-
Charge: This amounts to the acceptance of a slave trade on God's part!
Reply: God spoke of those who would be bought into Abraham's house. To speak about them does not mean that he condoned the practice, nor that the Old Testament does. (There are only special occasions when slavery was allowed; this is treated at appropriate length here.) This rule covers many things in the Old Testament. If you mean that by not speaking, God was responsible for evils of the Jews, then I suppose God is responsible for all of your sins since he does not yell down to you from heaven for hours or days with a detailed list of everything you must never do. Even if he came down himself, we would probably crucify him for it. But my point is, sometimes God chooses to speak to us through our reason and hearts, and we either do not think or do not care to listen. It seems that this was the case with Abraham and many of his offspring in regards to slavery and other sins.

Gen 19: 4-8. "But before they [Lot's guests] lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old...surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them [sexually].' Lot went out of the door to the men...and said, 'I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.'"
Charge: The Old Testament once again sets a bad example for us; if I believed in mortal sin, then I would believe that Lot had committed it for how basely he treats his daughters here.
Reply: If you do not believe in mortal sin, then you have a weaker stance against Lot than Jews and Christians. Lot was grievously sinful here. As for bad examples in the Old Testament, click here for more.

Gen 19: 5,9,11-13. "[The Sodomites]...called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may know them [sexually]...[" Then Lot pleaded that this not happen. They retorted against him, "]This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.' Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door... And they [the angels in the form of men] struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great...Then the [angels] said to Lot, '...we are about to destroy this place...'"
Charge: These men did not deserve to be destroyed or blinded. They were just trying to have a good time; maybe they got a little rowdy, but everyone is good deep down. And as homosexuals, they deserve a break; Lot did deserve a bit of pushing for recommending they change their sexual orientation towards women (his daughters). Further, there were young men in the crowd; surely the young should not be punished: they are young! Finally, they did what was right for their society, because everyone was doing it. So they should not have been blinded or burned, but rather treated in a humane manner in a comfortable therapy center.
Reply: Everyone, including youth, have the free will ability to be good or evil, even very good or very evil. This much is self-evident. It is particularly self-evident to those on the receiving ends of profound human goodness and extreme human evil. To suppose that this evil is imagined, or that serious crime does not deserve correspondingly serious punishment must therefore show either a strange lack of ethical perception, or an unwillingness (for whatever reason) to acknowledge it. The average child knows when punishment is deserved and how much. For we are not talking about this or that individual who may be out of his mind or radically chemically imbalanced; Sodom was attempting highly violent and sexual organized mob crime. Sometimes it is clear, there can be no excuse. This is the case with Sodom.

Gen 19: 15,17,26. "When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city [Sodom]"...Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor'rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven...But Lot's wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."
"[Charge:] Can the infallible Catholic Church give me the chemical equation of the reaction which took place when Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt?
[Reply:] The Church does not exist to dispense chemical equations. But your question is not based upon reason. Probably Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by natural agencies set in motion by God, with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Rock-salt abounds in that region, and an upheaval of that material could have overwhelmed and embedded Lot's wife because of her delay, leaving a standing hillock of salt as her memorial." (Frs. Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies, I, 133.)

Gen 19: 31-32,36. "And the first-born [daughter] said to the younger, 'Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring through our father.'...Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father."
Charge: What is sacred in this "Sacred Text"? What scandalous and foul an example this Scripture gives us!
Reply: Not every part of the Bible is meant to edify by itself; certainly this is not edifying. Some parts are meant to give background information to those histories which are important and are edifying. Others provide a contrast between behavior outside of or before the Law, and behavior in accordance with the Law. No one ever said that Scripture was entertainment. As for what example we are to follow, we have the lives of the prophets and saints, and we have the commandments and the law which were introduced to make things more clear and perfect than even you would find easy.

Gen 22: 1-2,9,11-13 "After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here am I.' He said, 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori'ah, and and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell youl'...When they came to the place...Abraham built an alter there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the alter, upon the wood... But the angel of the Lord called down to him from heaven...'Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.'"
Charge: First, the God of Scripture is not omnipotent or changeless, arranging bizarre tests to discover the faithfulness of the man. Further, what kind of sick God would demand a human burnt offering for any reason, much less the beloved son of the man! Do not tell me that this God does not really mean what he says, either. Nor tell me that I should, like Kierkegaard, conclude from this story that self-contradiction is appropriate in faith.
Reply: I shall tell you no such things. "Take your son...and offer him there as a burnt offering..." We resist the obvious solution because we wish there to be some contradiction here. Surely, an easy solution must be wrong because it is easy. You shall be happy, then, if I multiply this problem for you as much as possible: we are all to be offered up "as a burnt offering" to God, as it were. What is really too easy to be taken seriously is further unnecessary insistence upon the "contradiction" in the command.
So Abraham may have failed the test of imagination, not imagining such a thing as non-literal interpretation of a divine command to be possible, but he did pass the test of obedience, for which reason Jews and Christians are edified, and moved to get up on the proverbial wood of sacrifice ourselves, as Christ did. So let us not fail the test of obedience by wishing to find in this text reason not to obey the whole of Sacred Scripture. We see here the reverse of the charge against the text. This does not promote literal human sacrifices; this is what ended human sacrifices for the Jews before it began. In Ur, where Abraham was from, human sacrifices had happened, which is not only repugnant to us, but repugnant to the God of Abraham. And so the purpose of the test was not God's learning experience, but Abraham's, and mine, and yours.

Gen 27: 1-41. - Jacob's deception of Isaac for Esau's blessing-
Charge: What Jacob did was evil, but he was blessed for it by his father!
Reply: This charge is correct, and agrees with Hosea 12: 2-6 and Isaiah 43: 26-28. This is not a charge against Scripture itself, but a popular interpretation of it, which supposes that Jacob acted rightly. As for the blessing from Isaac, this in no way indicates that from God's point of view Jacob acted sinlessly.

Gen 32: 25-31. - Jacob wrestled throughout a night with an angel, and would not let the angel go until the angel blessed him.-
Charge: Is an angel not incorporeal? Is it some leprechan which one catches to force it to give one its pot of gold?
Reply: An angel is in essence incorporeal, but what should stop it from taking on a physical form? The atheists? I suppose there is scientific proof that angels have not this power? We can laugh off leprechans on account of the nature of the mythical and monstrous mythologies from which they come. But the Bible is at the other end of the scale, as this page and others in this site, Eternity Matters, successfully demonstrate. The force of this objection, as with other atheistic objections, comes not from logic, but from jeering.
Please help me by sending me some Bible "contradictions" to resolve, or by debating with me; E-mail me. Thanks, and God bless.

To seek out further treatments of "Bible Errors," click here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7273/biblicalcontradictions.html#seek

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Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn: Tools for Bible Study


Tools for Bible Study PhotoFREE materials from the St. Paul Center:

    * Online Bible studies (Estudio Bíblico Católico)
    * Reflections on the Sunday Mass Readings (Al Partir el Pan)


Dr. Hahn's recommended Bible study tools:

    * Aquinas, Thomas. Catena Aurea: A Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers (and edited by John Henry Newman). Southampton: Saint Austin Press, 1997.
    * Barber, Michael. Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2005.
    * _____. Singing in the Reign: The Psalms and the Liturgy of God’s Kingdom. Emmaus Road Publishing, 2001.
    * Barrosse, Thomas. God Speaks to Men: Understanding the Bible (2nd ed.). Notre Dame, IN: Fides, 1964.
    * Bouyer, Louis. The Meaning of Sacred Scripture. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958.
    * Brown, Raymond et al. (eds.). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (rev. ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.
    * Casciaro, Jose Maria (ed.). The Navarre Bible (New Testament - 12 vols). Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1989-92.
    * Charlier, Dom Celestin. The Christian Approach to the Bible. London: Sands, 1961.
    * Fuentes, Antonio. A Guide to the Bible. Houston, TX: Lumen Christi Press, 1987.
    * Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1998.
    * _____. Understanding “Our Father”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer. Steubenville, OH, Emmaus Road Publishers, 2002.
    * _____. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2003.
    * _____. Understanding the Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study. The Didache Series. Woodridge, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, 2005.
    * _____. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2008.
    * _____. A Pocket Guide to St. Paul. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2008.
    * Hahn, Kimberly and Michael Barber. Genesis to Jesus. Journey through Scripture Series. Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press and Franciscan Communications, 2007.
    * Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2000. (The New Testament books are currently available in ten volumes).
    * Hartman, L. (ed.). A Commentary on the New Testament. Kansas City: Catholic Biblical Association, 1942.
    * Heidt, William G. A General Introduction to Sacred Scripture: Inspiration, Canonicity, Texts, Versions and Hermeneutics. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970.
    * Hornecker, James. A Beginner’s Bible Study on the Gospel of St. Mark. Greenville, SC: Family Life Center International, 2003.
    * Kodell, Jerome. The Catholic Bible Study Handbook. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1985.
    * Kurz, Fr. William. Following Jesus: A Disciple’s Guide to Luke and Acts. Cincinnati, OH: Saint Anthony Messenger Press & Franciscan Communications, 2003.
    * _____. The Acts of the Apostles – Collegeville Bible Commentary #5. Robert J. Karris, ed. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1985.
    * Lattey, Cuthbert. Back to the Bible. Harrison, NY: Roman Catholic Books, 1995.
    * Lapide, Cornelius A.The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide (8 vols.). Edinburgh: John Grant, 1908.
    * Laux, John. Introduction to the Bible. Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1990.
    * Lienhard, Fr. Joseph, S.J. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001.
    * Oden, Thomas (general editor). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (27 vols; 2 presently available). Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1998-.
    * Orchard, Bernard et al. (eds.). A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. NY: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1951.
    * Pacwa, Fr. Mitch. Saint Paul: A Study Guide for Catholics. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008.
    * Pope, Hugh. The Catholic Student's Aids to the Bible (5 vols., rev. ed.). New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1926-36.
    * Ray, Stephen. St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study and Commentary. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002.
    * Rooney, Gerard. Preface to the Bible. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952.
    * Scheck, Thomas. Origen: Commentary on Romans 1-5. Catholic University of America Press, 2001.
    * Shelton, James B. Mighty in Word and Deed: The Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts. Eugene, OR: WIPF & Stock Publishers, 2007.
    * Somers, Gayle. Genesis Part I: God and His Creation. Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004. (Also Genesis Part II: God and His Family, 2006).

(Source: http://www.scotthahn.com/tools-for-bible-study.html)

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Fr. Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss Modernity, the Bible and Theology

Fr. Robert Barron and Dr. Scott Hahn: Biblical Interpretation and the Liturgy