In the fourth chapter (“The Old Testament”), the Council outlines the purpose of the books of the Old Testament which, “in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men” (15). It was the result of the Conciliar fathers who worked in the doctrine of revelation: explaining and developing the understanding of God's communication to the human being. … The Magisterium alone is divinely commissioned to interpret the word of God—as revealed in Scripture and Tradition—definitively. It might allow, for example, that St. Matthew’s Gospel was actually written by a companion of the Apostle. The absence of punishment is merely consequent to the fact that the Church has abandoned the temporal sword (where it has not already been seized from her). Next in series: Vatican II on the Lay Apostolate: 1. The Constitution Dei Verbum begins with the words of the first Letter of St. John: “We announce to you the eternal life which was with the Father, and has appeared to us.” (1 John 1:2). Mission. Dei Verbum reaffirms the Council of Trent’s teaching that Scripture is not the only basis of revealed doctrine. While this restricted notion of inerrancy might make exegetes’ lives easier, it is incompatible with the basic logic expounded a couple lines earlier in Dei Verbum. Note also that the kingdom of God is something already established by Christ on earth, and not purely an eschatological reality. ) | Aug 03, 2010 Only the divine author, the Holy Spirit, would have such knowledge, and be able to reveal it, with or without the full understanding of the inspired writer. It emphasized that the authority of the Scriptures comes not from merely ecclesiastical or canonical law, nor from the mere fact of their inerrancy, “but because, having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author.” This traditional view of divine authorship was shared by all the Fathers of the Church. Matt. Generally, these judgments upheld traditional attributions of authorship, as well as belief in the historical genre of much of Scripture, including the first chapters of Genesis. It was only appropriate, therefore, now to encourage “frequent reading of the divine Scriptures” by lay Catholics. After the Council, Catholic critical editions of the Bible have frequently included commentary and footnotes that often seem to deny Scriptural inerrancy (even on matters of morals) or uncritically accept the hypotheses of German higher critics. While the Latin Vulgate remains normative, is it the only authentic form of Holy Writ? While there is nothing in Dei Verbum that positively eliminates the idea that all Christian doctrine is at least implicitly contained in Scripture, the tenor of its argument seems to oppose such an opinion, or at least render it unnecessary. As the inspired authors retained the free use of their faculties, they were not mere puppets or stenographers, but cooperated in the composition of Holy Scripture, using their own literary skills. Dei Verbum clearly endorses the aspect of higher criticism known as “form criticism,” which identifies ancient literary genres of texts and portions of texts. By the time of the Second Vatican Council, near-universal literacy could be assumed in most nations, which was hardly the case at the time of the last Council in 1870. Among all the documents of Vatican II, Dei Verbum most closely resembles a traditional conciliar document in form, declaring and expounding doctrine. The document Dei Verbum (Word of God) is one of only two dogmatic constitutions issued by the Second Vatican Council, the other being Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Since the same Holy Spirit inspired all the authors, it must not be thought that one asserted a doctrine that was essentially opposed to another revealed truth. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. http://www.arcaneknowledge.org, 8. Since all clergy, including deacons, were now encouraged to take a role in preaching, it is all the more imperative that they should be hearers of the written Word of God, as should catechists. In this sense, they are all of apostolic origin. Yet neither the Tridentine synod nor the modern Council have specified if the doctrinal content of Scripture and Tradition are coextensive. The harmony of the various teachings of Scripture is not always apparent, and cannot be brought out through purely humanistic analysis. In a Catholic context, the “analogy of faith” requires us to interpret each part of Scripture in harmony with the whole of Scripture and Sacred Tradition as taught by the Church. The Council upholds the traditional conviction that the Four Gospels were all written either by Apostles or “apostolic men,” the latter term being customarily applied to St. Mark and St. Luke, who were trusted companions of the Apostles. [Introduction] God realized His plan “by deeds and words having an inner unity” and also a clear historical pattern. The Jews regard Holy Scripture as composed of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down” (8). Description: 508 pages 23 cm: Contents: Part One: Biblical notion of Revelation --I. It would contradict the Council to assert that the Gospels contain fabricated accounts with Christ inserted as the protagonist or speaker. Bultmann, Wellhausen, etc.) J. Ratzinger, Commentary on Dei Verbum Articles 8-10 - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or view presentation slides online. Many of the essays cogently upheld the inerrancy of Scripture against the claims of higher criticism, while others, less convincingly, defended a plain literal interpretation of Genesis against the theory of evolution. Both Scripture and the Eucharist present the saving Divine Word, though only in the latter is Christ substantially present. This was the case with so-called “lower criticism,” which was praised by Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu: By the mid-twentieth century, textual (formerly “lower”) criticism had adopted rather firm, objective criteria for determining the more probable original reading among variants. In the early Tridentine period, vernacular Bibles were generally viewed with scorn by Catholics, since the act of translation could and did occasion much doctrinal mischief. 1. Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, identified three overall themes in Dei verbum: (1) the new view of the phenomenon of tradition; (2) the theological problem of the application of critical historical methods to the interpretation of Scripture; and (3) the biblical movement that had been growing from the turn of the twentieth century. The Pontifical Biblical Commission continued to exist after the Council, even to this day, yet it never once in this half-century rescinded or superseded any of its responsa of the early twentieth century. Everything asserted by the inspired authors is also asserted by the Holy Spirit. While largely focused on Scripture, Dei Verbum is a teaching about divine revelation as a whole, not just the Bible. The question arises as to whether the Magisterium has thereby given tacit consent to modern critical hypotheses that openly deny traditional teachings about the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. The word of God, which is the power of God for the salvation of all who … Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. Any expression of the divine Word in human language necessarily entails a great condescension on the part of God, akin to the humility and solicitude for human welfare shown in the Incarnation. Jaime Bonet in Mallorca, Spain in 1963, receiving Pontifical approval on the 15th April, 2000 as an Institution of Consecrated Life in the Catholic Church. Every age finds its own set of problems in Scripture, depending on its perspective. Pope Pius XII noted that the Council of Trent upheld the Vulgate edition as “authentic” only among the Latin versions then in circulation, not to “diminish the authority and value of the original texts.” (Divino Afflante Spiritu, 21). This nomenclature is purely Christian, and has no Jewish antecedent. This broad notion of Tradition includes liturgical, devotional and canonical customs, not all of which are immutable, though all contribute to holiness of life in their time and place. The laity may engage Holy Scripture in different ways; it does not have to be always through direct reading. The Council “unhesitatingly” confirms the historical character of the Gospels. As Pope Leo XIII wrote: Still, the Vulgate remained the only doctrinally normative text acceptable for use in the Latin Church, per decree of the Council of Trent. In Romans 1:16, St. Paul describes the Gospel as “the power of God for the salvation of all who believe,” and the Council regards this phrase as applicable to the word of God more generally. His New Testament text was reconstructed by Protestant scholars in what is known as the Stuttgart Vulgate (1969). They may even authorize editions “for the use of non-Christians and adapted to their situation.” (DV, 25). Central to the commentary’s approach are the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture “in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written”—that is, interpreting Scripture in its canonical context and in the light of Catholic tradition and the analogy of faith (Dei Verbum, 12). It is one thing to deny or compromise Scriptural inerrancy on rationalistic grounds, but quite another to claim that the universal Magisterium has abandoned it. 21:42), and He repeatedly quoted Scripture to confirm His teaching and His divine authority. There must be sound reasons, grounded in comparative literature, for supposing that the author himself deliberately intended to relate something other than history. God does not merely reach people through didactic inspiration, but through direct engagement with man at specific points in history. Holy Scripture—not the paper and ink, before which we do not genuflect, but its message—demands the highest degree of veneration and Christian submission, since it is no less truly the Divine Word than Christ in the flesh. Thus the decrees of the Magisterium do not constitute a new body of revelation. With this background, we can now examine the extent to which Dei Verbum confirms prior teachings or develops them. Tradition in the common sense means any customary belief or practice that is handed down from one generation to another. These and other questions attained greater prominence in the last decades of the nineteenth century, as textual criticism of the Bible became more developed as a science, due to the discoveries of more ancient manuscripts and an increase in philological and archaeological knowledge. In the sixth and last chapter (“Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church”), the Council emphasizes that the preaching of the Church must be nourished by Sacred Scripture (21), easy access to Scripture should be provided for all the faithful (22), the Eastern and Western Fathers as well as the early liturgies should be studied along with Scripture (23), and “sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation” (24). © 2014 Daniel J. Castellano. vatican.va. This principle guarantees that the meaning of the Scriptures will be generally accessible to us, for this does not demand the impossible task of scrutinizing the mind of God. The Holy Spirit can neither deceive nor be deceived, as even liberal Catholics will admit. The successors of the Apostles preach the Gospel in their place, and the inspired books are but one means of preserving the Apostolic preaching, and proving that the successors are faithfully adhering to what they have received. 1. The ancient Hebrews commonly used physical images or figures of speech to represent more abstract ideas, and the interpreter would do well to reveal the intended meaning behind the proper literal sense. Another aspect of the Council’s teaching is the unity of the plan of salvation across time. THE year 1964 was a seminal year for Gospel studies. Vernacular translations of the Bible were already permitted by the Church for centuries, though these always used the Vulgate as a template. The first two chapters are especially important in that they explain the overall nature of Revelation and its mode of transmission. A decade later, in Vigilantiae studiique (1902), Pope Leo established the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which had the task of answering questions as to which critical theses may be licitly held by Catholics. The responsa of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (the most important of these issued from 1905 to 1915) contradicted a number of widely held critical theses (notably the two-source hypothesis of the Synoptic Gospels), while allowing latitude in other areas (e.g., allowing non-Mosaic glosses in the Pentateuch, permitting denial of Davidic authorship of the Psalms). 1. Both Tradition and Scripture derive their authority from the Apostles, who alone were commissioned by Christ to preach the Gospel. First and foremost, Sacred Scripture is truly divine revelation; God revealed who He is to us so that we might know Him. 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