Die Entwicklung des katholischen Fundamentalismus im Spiegel der modernen Zeit (German Edition)
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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. 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.
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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. 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.
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. 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:. 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. 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.
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The Papal Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritus , of Pope Pius XII in 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. Definition: the literal sense of Scripture is the meaning which the human author directly intended and the author's words convey. 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.
Most scripture scholars today affirm that John's gospel is historical in nature.
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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. 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.
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. Five times in different verbal expressions, Jesus confirmed the reality of the meaning he intended. 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.
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. 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.
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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. 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 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 B.
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. Following the lead of Paul himself cf.
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Rom there is another way for creating meaning in the Bible: the typical sense. 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 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 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.
Granted there are some passages which are difficult to understand. Pray the Lord to give you understanding in those areas. We all need to be spending lots of quality time reading and studying the Bible.