Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Who said this?

No Googling!
...the very nature of biblical texts means that interpreting them will require continued use of the historical-critical method, at least in its principal procedures. The Bible, in effect, does not present itself as a direct revelation of timeless truths but as the written testimony to a series of interventions in which God reveals himself in human history. In a way that differs from tenets of other religions, the message of the Bible is solidly grounded in history. It follows that the biblical writings cannot be correctly understood without an examination of the historical circumstances that shaped them. "Diachronic" research will always be indispensable for exegesis. Whatever be their own interest and value, "synchronic" approaches cannot replace it. To function in a way that will be fruitful, synchronic approaches should accept the conclusions of the diachronic, at least according to their main lines.

But granted this basic principle, the synchronic approaches (the rhetorical, narrative, semiotic and others) are capable, to some extent at least, of bringing about a renewal of exegesis and making a very useful contribution. The historical-critical method, in fact, cannot lay claim to enjoying a monopoly in this area. It must be conscious of its limits, as well as of the dangers to which it is exposed. Recent developments in philosophical hermeneutics and, on the other hand, the observations which we have been able to make concerning interpretation within the biblical tradition and the tradition of the church have shed light upon many aspects of the problem of interpretation that the historical-critical method has tended to ignore. Concerned above all to establish the meaning of texts by situating them in their original historical context, this method has at times shown itself insufficiently attentive to the dynamic aspect of meaning and to the possibility that meaning can continue to develop. When historical-critical exegesis does not go as far as to take into account the final result of the editorial process but remains absorbed solely in the issues of sources and stratification of texts, it fails to bring the exegetical task to completion.

9 comments:

Paul Hoffer said...

I recall Pope Benedict writing something very similar to this. Am I right? Do I get a cookie?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Aw, Paul beat me to it! Pope Benedict, I say!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

John Dominic Crossan?

Hans Kung?

Jae said...

This was a part of the 1993 document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church on the importance of critical study, and most especially of recourse to cultural and human history.

Complete reading:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/CATECHSM/USEOFSCR.HTM

John Bugay said...

Jae is correct! But there is no prize. Just another question.

Now in this case, how is it possible that the Pontifical Biblical Commission is not being "inconsistent" with its adoption of critical scholarship methods?

Paul Hoffer said...

Good job JAE! You have a better memory than me. Of course, Pope Benedict was the head of the PBC then and the statement started off with a preface that he wrote which is why I connected him with the document!

Hello Mr. Bugay, the reason that PBC is not inconsistent is because the statement is not the climax of the document The document goes on to state:

Through fidelity to the great tradition, of which the Bible itself is a witness, Catholic exegesis should avoid as much as possible this kind of professional bias and maintain its identity as a the principal aim of which is the deepening of faith. This does not mean a lesser involvement in scholarly research of the most rigorous kind, nor should it provide excuse for abuse of methodology out of apologetic concern. Each sector of research (textual criticism, linguistic study, literary analysis, etc.) has its own proper rules, which it ought follow with full autonomy. But no one of these specializations is an end in itself. In the organization of the exegetical task as a whole, the orientation toward the principal goal should remain paramount and thereby serve to obviate any waste of energy. Catholic exegesis does not have the right to become lost, like a stream of water, in the sands of a hypercritical analysis. Its task is to fulfill, in the church and in the world, a vital function, that of contributing to an ever more authentic transmission of the content of the inspired Scriptures.

The work of Catholic exegesis already tends toward this end, hand in hand with the renewal of other theological disciplines and with the pastoral task of the actualizing and inculturating of the word of God. In examining the present state of the question and expressing some reflections on the matter, the present essay hopes to have made some contribution toward the gaining, on the part of all, of a clearer awareness of the role of the Catholic exegete.

God bless!

John Bugay said...

Paul Hoffer -- I am being criticized (not by you) for being "inconsistent" in citing someone like Lampe, whose historical conclusions are widely considered as valid.

But if you look back at the writings of Adrian Fortescue, you would see that he places very strong stock in the historicity of the early papacy. Not that it proves the early papacy. But he thought that the evidence was sufficient to do so.

Why did such a smart man as Adrian Fortescue seem to think that history was a very sufficent evidence of the early papacy? It was his "fidelity to the great tradition," the great tradition of a papacy which never failed to beat its chest and crow about how ancient and how divinely-instituted it was.

Now that the smoke is clearing from a major round of historical studies of the papacy over the last century -- not just Lampe but a range of other scholars, virtually all of whom come to the same kinds of conclusions, the official Roman doctrine, which, according to Dominus Iesus, "The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession ..." -- precisely what is the nature of this "historical continuity?

By faithfully following the "great tradition," Fortescue thought it was one thing. Now it is another thing.

At a very minimum I would think, this kind of discrepancy certainly gives one pause to question just how "great" was that particular "tradition." After all, the "great tradition" of Peter and his immediate successors was not only a feel-good kind of thing that the Roman church taught; it was central to its own conception of its own authority.

You are certainly one to be able to discern "extreme fraud" when you think you see it. Don't you agree that this is the kind of gear-shifting that deserves some investigation?

John Bugay said...

By the way Paul Hoffer, just in case you think I'm hiding something about Adrian Fortescue, here's the link:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-they-knew-and-when-they-knew-it.html

natamllc said...

PH,

you wrote: Through fidelity to the great tradition, of which the Bible itself is a witness, Catholic exegesis should avoid as much as possible this kind of professional bias and maintain its identity as a [sic] the principal aim of which is the deepening of faith. This does not mean a lesser involvement in scholarly research of the most rigorous kind, nor should it provide excuse for abuse of methodology out of apologetic concern. Each sector of research (textual criticism, linguistic study, literary analysis, etc.) has its own proper rules, which it ought follow with full autonomy. But no one of these specializations is an end in itself. In the organization of the exegetical task as a whole, the orientation toward the principal goal should remain paramount and thereby serve to obviate any waste of energy.

To which I go, "gulp"!

To the last emphasis, "principal goal" I leave you with these Words of Scripture:

1Ti 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

To the next to the last emphasis, "But no one of these specializations is an end in itself."

Quite right, there!

But, to the first emphasis: "Through fidelity to the great tradition, of which the Bible itself is a witness,..." here is where the division comes along nicely.

Notice something with your premise? It is based on something you do because without "infusion" by the hand of God the Righteousness of Christ you will never come to the end of your faith! Your faithful fidelity is basis God working with you and not solely as John Bugay understands and conveys hereon or any number of others in here of the Reformed Faith, myself included, which by the way is the only Common Faith Christ and the Apostles preached, that it is solely God doing it all with nothing left for us to do, as Paul the Apostle argued in his own defense of the Gospel before King Agrippa, this:

Act 26:19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,
Act 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.


Your righteousness is synergistic while ours is monergistic and any fidelity we experience will be because of the "imputation" of the Righteousness of Christ and until you too repent, the only righteousness you will ever experience will be based in this false doctrine of infusion, as you have established before in other comboxes!