Benedict XVI & the Bible

Here’s the conclusion of a longer article from Fr. Lienhard on BXVI’s approach to Scripture. Well worth reading the whole thing.

“The theology of the Bible elaborated by Pope Benedict XVI in the course of almost fifty years might be summarized in ten theses.

  1. The word of God must be approached with sympathetic understanding, a readiness to experience something new, and a readiness to be taken along a new path (cf. God’s Word, 116).

  2. A true understanding of the Bible calls for a philosophy that is open to analogy and participation, and not based on the dogmatism of a worldview derived from natural science (cf. God’s Word, 118).

  3. The exegete may not exclude, a priori, the possibility that God could speak in human words in this world, or that God could act in history and enter into it (cf. God’s Word, 116).   

  4. Faith is a component of biblical interpretation, and God is a factor in historical events (cf. God’s Word, 126).

  5. Besides being seen in their historical setting and interpreted in their historical contexts, the texts of Scripture must be seen from the perspective of the movement of history as a whole and of Christ as the central event.

  6. Because the biblical word bears witness to revelation, a biblical passage can signify more than its author was able to conceive in composing it (cf. God’s Word, 123).

  7. The exegetical question cannot be solved by simply retreating into the Middle Ages or the Fathers, nor can it renounce the insights of the great believers of all ages, as if the history of thought began seriously only with Kant (cf. God’s Word, 114 and 125).

  8. Dei Verbum envisioned a synthesis of historical method and theological hermeneutics, but did not elaborate it. The theological part of its statements needs to be attended to (cf. God’s Word, 98-99).

  9. Exegesis is theological, as Dei Verbum taught, particularly on these points: (1) Sacred Scripture is a unity, and individual texts are understood in light of the whole. (2) The one historical subject that traverses all of Scripture is the people of God. (3) Scripture must be read from the Church as its true hermeneutical key. Thus, Tradition does not obstruct access to Scripture but opens it; and, conversely, the Church has a decisive say in the interpretation of Scripture (cf. God’s Word, 97).

  10. Theology may not be detached from its foundation in the Bible or be independent of exegesis (cf. God’s Word, 93).”

(Via Carl Olson.)