Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ratzinger on Biblical Interpretation

"The exegete must realize that he, does not stand in some neutral area, above or outside history and the Church. Such a presumed immediacy regarding the purely historical can only lead to dead ends. The first presupposition of all exegesis is that it accepts the Bible as a book. In so doing, it has already chosen a place for itself which does not simply follow from the study of literature. It has identified this particular literature as the product of a coherent history, and this history as the proper space for coming to understanding. If it wishes to be theology, it must take a further step. It must recognize that the faith of the Church is that form of "sympathia" without which the Bible remains a closed book. It must come to acknowledge this faith as a hermeneutic, the space for understanding, which does not do dogmatic violence to the Bible, but precisely allows the solitary possibility for the Bible to be itself."

--Lecture delivered on 27th January 1988 at Saint Peter's Church in New York, New York.

This entire talk can be read in HarperOne's The Essential Pope Benedict, which is a really good collection of some of Pope Benedict's (Cardinal Ratzinger's) main theological and scriptural works.

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