Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Bible Reborn

The following article will be found in the upcoming edition of America magazine as part of their ongoing series on the Bible in Catholic life.  This one is from Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., who is the Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., Distinguished Professor of Old Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  The title of her article is: The Bible Reborn: Rediscovering the Riches of Scripture.  

"A revolution has taken place in the Roman Catholic Church’s understanding of the Bible. As a result, the life and mission of the church have been transformed. Biblical stories and themes formerly unknown have become familiar. This is a relatively recent phenomenon. While the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century championed biblically based preaching and teaching (sola scriptura), the Roman Church focused on traditional doctrine and insisted that its leaders alone were authorized to interpret the Bible. It was not until Pius XII’s encyclical “Divino Afflante Spiritu” (“On Promoting the Study of Sacred Scripture,” 1943) that a dramatic change in church teaching on the Bible was launched. Considered the Magna Carta of the biblical movement, this document inaugurated a new era in Catholic life.
The Second Vatican Council spearheaded a marvelous revitalizing of the Bible in the church. Many of the council participants frequently attended private lectures given by prominent biblical scholars. The Book of the Gospels was solemnly enthroned at the beginning of many general sessions. In 1965, “Dei Verbum” (“The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation”) opened the door to critical approaches to biblical interpretation. It was almost as if the Bible had been rediscovered, and those engaged in Bible study found new meaning in their religious tradition. The study of the Bible became exciting, and this excitement responded to a profound hunger in the people of God for the word of God. In a matter of decades, the hundreds of years of unfamiliarity with the Bible were quickly spanned and many Roman Catholics became as biblically astute as their Protestant sisters and brothers."
Go here for the rest of the article.

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