Monday, February 28, 2011
Mondays with Verbum Domini
Let us continue our reading of Verbum Domini with paragraph 31:
“The soul of sacred theology”
“The study of the sacred page should be, as it were, the very soul of theology”: this quotation from the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum has become increasingly familiar over the years. Theological and exegetical scholarship, in the period after the Second Vatican Council, made frequent reference to this expression as symbolic of the renewed interest in sacred Scripture. The Twelfth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops also frequently alluded to this well-known phrase in order to express the relationship between historical research and a hermeneutic of faith where the sacred text is concerned. The Fathers acknowledged with joy that study of the word of God in the Church has grown in recent decades, and they expressed heartfelt gratitude to the many exegetes and theologians who with dedication, commitment and competence continue to make an essential contribution to the deeper understanding of the meaning of the Scriptures, as they address the complex issues facing biblical studies in our day. Sincere gratitude was also expressed to the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, past and present, who in close collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continue to offer their expertise in the examination of particular questions raised by the study of sacred Scripture. The Synod likewise felt a need to look into the present state of biblical studies and their standing within the field of theology. The pastoral effectiveness of the Church’s activity and the spiritual life of the faithful depend to a great extent on the fruitfulness of the relationship between exegesis and theology. For this reason, I consider it important to take up some reflections that emerged in the discussion of this topic during the Synod sessions.