Biblical Interpretation

Biblical Interpretation in the Catholic Church, the 1994 Pontifical Biblical Commission Decree

Historically, the Catholic Church has defended itself from attacks, both real and imagined, from enemies of the faith, and this defensiveness also extended to Biblical studies. The twentieth century saw a relaxing of this defensiveness, culminating in the decree Dei Verbum pronounced by Vatican II, encouraging Catholic scholars to use more modern methods of interpreting the Scriptures, under the guidance of the Vatican office, the Pontifical Biblical Commission. […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus Blog 4, Views of Historical Jesus Scholars

We will not be talking about the Jesus of Meier because he respects the Tradition of the Church.  Witherington credits Meier’s work with “caution and careful, detailed argumentation.”  Unlike many other modern scholars, Meier does not dismiss the spiritual Gospel of John as a source of historical data about Jesus.  Like the other historical Jesus scholars, Meier uses criteria to sift through the Gospel material, but he does not use the criteria to discard material, and he uses the criteria more conservatively.  Most importantly, Meier sees the resurrection as a happening in the spiritual realm rather than the historical realm, but that this does not disprove the resurrection. It is still very real to the believer.  Like Johnson, he distinguishes between the historical Jesus and the real Jesus, the Jesus of faith, Jesus who is truly the Son of God. […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 2, Modern Search for Historical Jesus

What is the theological agenda for this third historical Jesus movement? Opposition to fundamentalism. They do not want the fundamentalists to monopolize the airwaves, so they shamelessly promote their views so they fit in thirty second sound bites. They value radical academic independence, and denigrate subservience to tradition, and have no fear for ignoring Scripture they personally do not judge is historical, and for elevating newly discovered gnostic writings over Scripture in their quest for the historical Jesus. Witherington quotes Funk as saying, “methodology is not an indifferent net – it catches what it intends to catch.” […]

Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus, Blog 1, Let us vote on what Jesus really said

Let us vote on each of the sayings on Jesus, a red bead for each truly authentic saying of Jesus, a pink bead when the saying sure sounds like Jesus, gray, maybe, a black bead for a saying Jesus could not have said, although centuries of biblical scholars thought and taught otherwise. Using this voting method, the self-appointed members of the Jesus Seminar in 1985 pronounced that only fifteen sayings were truly said by Jesus, while another seventy-five sayings were probably words of Jesus. […]