Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: ICSB Genesis

Last year saw the release of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament. While it took around ten years to be completed, the finished product was quite fantastic. As I wrote last year: "Simply put, it is fantastic and a great tool for Catholics." In much the same way, the ICSB volume on Genesis contains a great deal of study notes, commentary, maps, and charts to delight the average Catholic Bible reader.

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Book of Genesis is available in both paperback and e-book formats. The edition I have is the standard paperback. Unlike most of the individual volumes which came out for the New Testament editions, Genesis is much larger at a size of 8.5" x 11". While the size is massive, certainly in comparison to the earlier editions, the benefit is that you now have ample space to write your own notes due to the very generous side margins. This should not only benefit the individual who is studying Genesis, but also a Bible study leader. My only concern about the size is in regards to a future all-encompassing one volume edition of the ICSB. Let's hope that they produce a completed ICSB that is smaller in size than this edition, as well as the ICSBNT. You can view a sample page here.

The information that accompanies the RSV-2CE text of Genesis is on par with what we have seen with previous editions of the ICSB. Commentary typically takes up about 1/3 of a page, with particular sections of Genesis like Genesis 1-3 and the story of Abraham, taking up anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of the page. As a matter of fact, the commentary on Genesis 1:1-3 takes up over 90% of the page alone. Included with the commentary is a 4 page introduction with book outline, 5 word studies, 4 maps, 2 charts, and 3 topical essays covering "The Abrahamic Covenant", "The Sacrifice of Isaac", and "Blessing and Birthrights". The study questions, which were available in the individual NT volumes, are also contained in the appendix. Like the past editions, the study material is well organized, aided by the use of icon annotations, which alert readers to information on "content and unity of the Scripture", "living tradition", and "analogy of the faith", all well known to readers of Dei Verbum or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Overall, another fine volume from Ignatius Press. I will likely utilize this volume, as well as recommend it, to the intro class I am teaching on the OT next Fall. Again, the ICSB series is intended for the average Catholic, so it isn't "scholarly" like the Anchor Bible or JPS Torah Commentary. Yet, there is a lot of great material in these volumes which can be a benefit for most Catholics. As I have mentioned in previous reviews of the ICSB, the true usefulness of this project will only be fully realized when the one-volume study Bible is completed. In many ways, the ICSB takes serious the Catholic view of Scripture reading, as described in Dei Verbum. A completed ICSB will be a wonderful resource whenever it is finally completed. Although, with the slow pace of releases, one wonders whether we will see even the volume on Exodus in 2011?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NY Times Article on King James Bible

An interesting article from the New York Times on the King James Version (Authorized Version). As most of you know, this year is the 400th Anniversary of the KJV. You can read the article here.

(Thanks to ceflynn for the link.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth II Discussion: Chapter 3

We now turn to chapter three, which deals with the "washing of the feet." This chapter weaves together a number of important themes, including the importance of purification, Christ's "New Commandment", the figures of Judas and Peter, and confession of sin.

"With the Last Supper, Jesus' 'hour' has arrived, the goal to which his ministry has been directed from the beginning (2:4)." -p. 54

"The 'hour' of Jesus is the hour of the great stepping beyond, the hour of transformation, and this metamorphosis of being is brought about through agape. It is agape "to the end"--and here John anticipates the final word of the dying Jesus: tetelestai--"it is finished" (19:30). This end (telos), this totality of self giving, of remolding the whole of being--this is what it means to give oneself even unto death." -p. 55

Of course, the later discussion on the "New Commandment" is meaningless unless one understands the importance of Jesus' self giving.

"In chapter 13 of the Gospel, it is the washing of the feet by Jesus that serves as the way of purification." -p. 59

"For the Christian faith, it is the incarnate God who makes us truly pure and draws creation into unity with God." -p. 60

"It is the God who comes down to us who makes us clean. Purity is a gift." -p. 61

Thus, since we are made pure through Christ, the "New Commandment" can now be given.

"The command to do as Jesus did is no mere moral appendix to the mystery, let alone an antithesis to it. It follows from the inner dynamic of gift with which the Lord renews us and draws us into what is his." -62

"The newness can come only from the gift being-with and being-in Christ." -p. 64

"The gift--the sacramentum--becomes an exemplum, an example, while always remaining a gift. To be a Christian is primarily a gift, which then unfolds in the dynamic of living and acting in and around the gift." -p. 65

How do we respond knowing that being a Christian is a gift?

The Pope then goes on to discuss Christ's interaction with Judas and Peter at the Last Supper. Feel free to comment on this section.

The Pope concludes this section by highlighting the importance of confession as found in Jesus' mysterious words found John 13:10: Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you."

"Yet in this context, the washing of feet acquires another more concrete meaning, over and above its fundamental symbolism, one that points to the practicalities of life in the early Church. What is it? The complete bath that was taken for granted can only mean Baptism, by which man is immersed into Christ once and for all, acquiring his new identity as one who dwells in Christ. This fundamental event, by which we become Christians not through our own doing but through the action of the Lord in his Church, cannot be repeated. Yet in the life of Christians--for table fellowship with the Lord--it constantly requires completion: 'washing of feet'. What is this? There is no single undisputed answer. Yet it seems to me that the First Letter of John points us in the right direction and shows us what is meant. There we read: 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us' (1:8-10). Since even the baptized remain sinners, they need confession of sins, 'which cleans us from all unrighteousness'."
-p. 73

Have a Blessed Triduum!

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

–Philippians 2: 5-11

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NT Wright's New Testament?

According to HarperCollins, a new "contemporary" translation of the New Testament, done by Anglican scripture scholar NT Wright, will be released on September 27th. It will be called The King's Version. My guess, although I haven't looked into it yet, is that it will simply be the New Testament translation he did for the For Everybody series of commentaries published by Westminster John Knox Press.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Auxiliary Bishop for Detroit

From the Archdiocese of Detroit:

Pope Benedict XVI announced that Fr. Arturo Cepeda of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, will be the 28th auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit. He will be ordained with Bishop-designates Hanchon and Byrnes at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on May 5.

For more info, go here.

Welcome to Detroit, Bishop-designate Cepeda!

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The Bible and ecumenism

Conscious that the Church has her foundation in Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Synod wished to emphasize the centrality of biblical studies within ecumenical dialogue aimed at the full expression of the unity of all believers in Christ. The Scriptures themselves contain Jesus’ moving prayer to the Father that his disciples might be one, so that the world may believe (cf. Jn 17:21). All this can only strengthen our conviction that by listening and meditating together on the Scriptures, we experience a real, albeit not yet full communion; “shared listening to the Scriptures thus spurs us on towards the dialogue of charity and enables growth in the dialogue of truth”. Listening together to the word of God, engaging in biblical lectio divina, letting ourselves be struck by the inexhaustible freshness of God’s word which never grows old, overcoming our deafness to those words that do not fit our own opinions or prejudices, listening and studying within the communion of the believers of every age: all these things represent a way of coming to unity in faith as a response to hearing the word of God. The words of the Second Vatican Council were clear in this regard: “in [ecumenical] dialogue itself, sacred Scripture is a precious instrument in the mighty hand of God for attaining to that unity which the Saviour holds out to all”. Consequently, there should be an increase in ecumenical study, discussion and celebrations of the word of God, with due respect for existing norms and the variety of traditions. These celebrations advance the cause of ecumenism and, when suitably carried out, they represent intense moments of authentic prayer asking God to hasten the day when we will all be able at last to sit at the one table and drink from the one cup. Nonetheless, while it is praiseworthy and right to promote such services, care must be taken that they are not proposed to the faithful as alternatives to the celebration of Holy Mass on Sundays or holydays of obligation.

In this work of study and prayer, we serenely acknowledge those aspects which still need to be explored more deeply and those on which we still differ, such as the understanding of the authoritative subject of interpretation in the Church and the decisive role of the magisterium.

Finally, I wish to emphasize the statements of the Synod Fathers about the ecumenical importance of translations of the Bible in the various languages. We know that translating a text is no mere mechanical task, but belongs in some sense to the work of interpretation. In this regard, the Venerable John Paul II observed that “anyone who recalls how heavily debates about Scripture influenced divisions, especially in the West, can appreciate the significant step forward which these common translations represent”.Promoting common translations of the Bible is part of the ecumenical enterprise. I would like to thank all those engaged in this important work, and I encourage them to persevere in their efforts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What to do with the RSV-2CE?

The RSV-2CE from Ignatius Press is truly an enigma. This blog has spent considerable time over the past two years looking at it, dissecting it, and discussing various topics related to it. In many ways it is an improvement over the already established RSV-CE, most notably with the elimination of the archaic "thees and thous", as well as making more than simply "minor" changes to the text. It is also the basis for the wonderful Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. Yet, at least for me, there is something strange about the RSV-2CE. However, I can't really pin down what it is. Is it that there are very few editions of the RSV-2CE available? Maybe. Or is it perhaps the lack of information about the revision coming from Ignatius Press? Maybe. Or perhaps the "hideously garish cover" as commented previously by Theophrastus. Maybe. How about the very little promotion that this translation has received? (See how much press the NABRE received recently?) Many people who I speak with at "Church gatherings" are simply unaware that the RSV-2CE even exists. So what is it about the RSV-2CE? I say this with the belief that if I were to only choose one English Bible translation, I would probably go with the RSV-2CE. Strange.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Release Dates

Two more volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture will be released later this year. According to, First Corinthians by Fr. George Montague, will be released in July, while First and Second Peter, Jude, by Daniel Keating, will be available in early November. I have all of the commentaries that have been released so far and have profited greatly from them. I hope to have a review of Peter Williamson's Ephesians up at some point in the coming weeks. (Although I have been saying that for a while.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Common English Bible is Complete

The Common English Bible committee has completed its work. The first full editions will be available later this year. For more information, go here.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

We continue with another selection from Verbum Domini, this time from paragraph 45:

Dialogue between pastors, theologians and exegetes

An authentic hermeneutic of faith has several important consequences for the Church’s pastoral activity. The Synod Fathers themselves recommended, for example, a closer working relationship between pastors, exegetes and theologians. Episcopal Conferences might foster such encounters with the “aim of promoting greater communion in the service of the word of God”. Cooperation of this sort will help all to carry out their work more effectively for the benefit of the whole Church. For scholars too, this pastoral orientation involves approaching the sacred text with the realization that it is a message which the Lord addresses to us for our salvation. In the words of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, “Catholic exegetes and other workers in the field of sacred theology should work diligently with one another and under the watchful eye of the sacred magisterium. Using appropriate techniques, they should together set about examining and explaining the sacred texts in such a way that as many as possible of those who are ministers of God’s word may be able to dispense fruitfully the nourishment of the Scriptures to the people of God. This nourishment enlightens the mind, strengthens the will and fires the hearts of men and women with the love of God”.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth II Discussion: Chapter 2

Pope Benedict focuses chapter 2 of his book on the great "Eschatological Discourse" of Jesus found in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). In reference to the account in Matthew, Pope Benedict acknowledges that it may be the "most difficult text in the whole of the Gospels (26-27)." Benedict divides this chapter into three areas, The End of the Temple, Times of the Gentiles, and Prophecy and Apocalyptic in the Eschatological Discourse.

End of the Temple

Here we read the very stark words by Jesus that God is withdrawing. The events of 70AD are on the horizon. As Pope Benedict says, "God himself is announcing that he is to depart from the Temple, to leave it "empty" (26). While reading through this section all I could think of was the account of the Glory of the Lord leaving the Temple and Jerusalem before the fall of the First Temple, found in the early part of Ezekiel.

"A historical change of incalculable significance was in the air." -p. 26

"Jesus' words here are intended as continuations of tradition rather than literal descriptions of things to come." -p. 27

I love the quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen, on page 34, which proposes that our patient God only imposes on man things that he is ready for. (He is speaking in particular about the role of the Temple sacrifices and worship in general.)

"That he foretold the demise of the Temple--its theological demise, that is, from the standpoint of salvation history--is beyond doubt." -p. 34-35

"When Paul applies the word hilasterion to Jesus, designating him as the seal of the Ark of the Covenant and thus as the locus of the presence of the living God, the entire Old Testament theology of worship (and with it all the theologies of worship in the history of religions) is "preserved and unsurpassed" and raised to a completely new level. Jesus himself is the presence of the living God. God and man, God and the world, touch one another in him." -p. 39-40

The Time of the Gentiles

"From the content, it is clear that all three Synoptic Gospels recognize a time of the Gentiles: the end of time can come only when the Gospel has been brought to all peoples." -p. 42

Then comes some interesting comments about the relation of the Jews to God's plan and the Church's mission.

"The essential point is that these times were both asserted and foretold and that, above all else and prior to any calculation of their duration, they had to be understood and were understood by the disciples in terms of a mission: to accomplish now what had been proclaimed and demanded--by bringing the Gospel to all peoples." -p. 43

"Here I should like to recall the advice given by Bernard of Clairvaux to his pupil Pope Eugene II on this matter. He reminds the Pope that his duty of care extends not only to Christians, but: 'You also have obligations toward unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile' (De Consideratione III/I,2). Then he immediately corrects himself and observes more accurately: 'Granted, with regard the Jews, time excuses you; for them a determined point in time has been fixed, which cannot be anticipated. The full number of the Gentiles must come in first. But what do you say about these Gentiles?...Why did it seem good to the suspend the word of faith while unbelief was obdurate? Why do we suppose the word that runs swiftly stopped short? (De Consideratione III/I, 3).'" -p. 44-45

Is the Pope saying we should not evangelize the Jews? I don't think he is saying that, certainly not in the individual, person to person sense. I think this has more to do with corporate vs. individual evangelization. The Church is called to take the Gospel to the Gentiles during this Age. In this way, Benedict is emphasizing the Church's first mission which is to "go to the nations" as Christ commissions in Matthew 28:19. The conversion of the Jews, corporately, is in God's hands, as suggested by Benedict's quote from Brem on page 45 as well as the one below. What do you think?

Prophecy and Apocalyptic in the Eschatological Discourse

"Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it "as a whole" at the proper time, when the number of the Gentiles is complete." -p. 46

"What is striking here is that this text is largely composed of Old Testament passages, especially from the book of Daniel, but also from Ezekiel, Isaiah, and other scriptural texts." -p. 49

"The old apocalypic text is given a personalist dimension: at its heart we now find the person of Jesus himself, who combines into one the lived present and the mysterious future." -p. 50

"The personalistic focus, this transformation of the apocalyptic visions--which still corresponds to the inner meaning of the Old Testament images--is the original element in Jesus' teaching about the end of the world: this is what it is all about." -p. 51

"Jesus' apocalyptic words have nothing to do with clairvoyance. Indeed, they are intended to deter us from mere superficial curiosity about observable phenomenona (LK 17:20) and to lead us toward the essential: toward life built upon the word of God that Jesus gives us; toward an encounter with him, the living Word; toward responsibility before the Judge of the living and the dead." -p. 52

With that last quote, all I can say is a hearty Amen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Letter & Spirit #6 Now Shipping

Letter and Spirit, Volume 6: For the Sake of Our Salvation: The Truth and Humility of God's Word is now available for order. This publication, produced by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, looks very promising, particularly the essays devoted to inerrancy and Vatican II. This volume contains the following essays and reviews:

For the Sake of Our Salvation: The Truth and Humility of God's Word
Scott W. Hahn

The Mystery of God's Word: Inspiration, Inerrancy, and the Interpretation of Scripture
Brant Pitre

Magisterial Teaching on the Inspiration and Truth of Scripture: Precedents and Prospects
Pablo T. Gadenz

Analogia Verbi: The Truth of Scripture in Rudolph Bultmann and Raymond Brown
Michael Maria Waldstein

Glory(ing) in the Humility of the Word: The Kenotic Form of Revelation in J. G. Hamann
John R. Betz

The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture
Germain Grisez

The Interpenetration of Inspiration and Inerrancy as a Hermeneutic for Catholic Exegesis
Joseph C. Atkinson

Restricted Inerrancy and the “Hermeneutic Of Discontinuity”
Brian W. Harrison, O. S.

Communal or Social Inspiration: A Catholic Critique
Robert Fastiggi

The Modernist Crisis and the Shifting of Catholic Views on Biblical Inspiration Jeffrey L. Morrow

The Inspiration of Scripture: A Status Quaestionis
Matthew Levering

Divinely Inspired for Teaching Truth and Refuting Error: A Catena of Catholic Sources Editors

The Gospels as History
Thomas McGovern Verbum

Dei Incarnatum and Verbum Dei Scriptum in the Fathers
J. H. Crehan, S. J.

“As I Break Bread for You”: St. Augustine’s Method in Preaching
Thomas F. Stransky, C. S. P.

The Limits of Biblical Inerrancy
Peter Paul Zerafa, O. P.

Vatican II and the Truth of Sacred Scripture
Augustin Cardinal Bea, S. J.

Sacred Scripture and the Errors of the “New” Exegesis
Paul Cardinal Taguchi

Holy Scripture and the Science of Faith
Romano Guardini

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth II Discussion: Chapter 1

Before we begin, I just want to again mention that my role will not be to summarize each chapter, like a poor man's Cliff Notes, but rather to highlight some of the quotes directly from the text, along with proposing some questions to consider. I want the Holy Father to speak for himself. This is intended to be a discussion of the book, so as we proceed from chapter to chapter, please keep the discussion focused on the content of the chapter at hand. Also, please do not limit the discussion to my comments or questions, but feel free to bring to the table any sections of the given chapter that sparked your interest.

I want to mention right at the start that I believe this book, along with volume 1, is the example of Catholic Biblical scholarship which Dei Verbum and all the magisterial documents that followed envisioned. Now I realize that, depending on your theological background, this may seem to be either a bold statement or simply obvious. However, the reason I make this statement is that I am continually impressed at how the Holy Father actively engages the legitimate questions proposed by many of the most important Biblical scholars of the past. In no instance does he simply dismiss them as irrelevant or "off-the-wall", but rather he seeks to converse with them and provide analysis from his own study. Yet, what I think remains key is that his own study is nourished not only by modern methods of scholarship, but more importantly by the living Tradition of the Church, most notably the important insights of the Fathers of the Church. Is not this what the Council called for? (See Dei Verbum 23.)

Chapter 1: The Entrance into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple

On the Entrance:

"The ultimate goal of Jesus' "ascent" is his self-offering on the Cross, which supplants the old sacrafices; it is the ascent that the Letter to the Hebrews describes as going up, not to a sanctuary made by human hands, but to heaven itself, into the presence of God (9:24). This ascent into God's presence leads via the Cross--it is the ascent toward "loving to the end" (Jn:13:1), which is the real mountain of God." - p. 2

"To today's reader, this may all seem fairly harmless, but for the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus it is full of mysterious allusions. The theme of the kingdom and its promises is ever-present. Jesus claims the right of kings, known throughout antiquity, to requisition modes of transport. The use of an animal on which no one had yet sat is a further pointer to the right of kings. Most striking, though, are the Old Testament allusions that give a deeper meaning to the whole episode." -p. 3-4

(Those important OT passages are Genesis 49:10-11, Zechariah 9:9, 1 Kings 1:33-34, and Psalm 118:26)

"This point is made most clearly in Matthew's account through the passage immediately following the Hosanna to Jesus, Son of David: 'When he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying: Who is this? And the crowds said: This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee" (Mt 21:10-11). The parallel with the story of the wise men from the East is unmistakable. On the that occasion, too, the people in the city of Jerusalem knew nothing of the newborn king of the Jews; the news about him caused Jerusalem to be "troubled" (Mt. 2:3). Now the people were "quaking": the word that Matthew uses, eseisthe (seio), describes the vibration caused by an earthquake." -p. 8

"The Benedictus also entered the liturgy at a very early stage. For the infant Church, "Palm Sunday" was not a thing of the past. Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church saw him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine." -p.10

When we reflect upon our own lives as Christians, do we have the same passion for the Lord when he comes to us in the humble form of bread and wine? Are we stirred?

On the cleansing of the Temple:

"In the exegetical literature there are three principle lines of interpretation that we must briefly consider." -p.11

"First, there is the thesis that the cleansing of the Temple constituted and attack, not on the Temple as such, but on its misuse...In acting as he did, Jesus was attacking the existing practice that had been set up by the Temple aristocracy, but he was not violating the Law and the Prophets..." -p.11-12 (Jesus as just Reformer)

"Now we come to a second, conflicting exegesis--the political, revolutionary interpretation of the incident." -p.13 (Jesus as Zealot)

(The third option is to see Jesus in light of a careful reading of "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But you have made it a den of robbers" from Mark 11:17. Here, this option proposed by "Jesus himself" sees the universalist vision combined with the coming destruction of the Temple.)

"The first is the universalist vision of the Prophet Isaiah (56:7) of a future in which all peoples come together in the house of God to worship the Lord as the one God." -p.17

"In the combination of worship and trade, which Jesus denounces, he evidently sees the situation of Jeremiah's time repeating itself. In this sense, his words and actions consitute a warning that could be understood, together with his reference to the destruction of this Temple, as an echo of Jeremiah. But neither Jeremiah nor Jesus is responsible for destroying the Temple: both, through their passion, indicate who and what it is that truly destroys the Temple." -p. 20

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jesus of Nazareth II Discussion

I am planning to begin a discussion series on Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection sometime this week. I hope that some of you have been able to obtain a copy of this fine book. We will start with chapter 1 and progress from there, without any necessary timetable for concluding the discussion. I will not be giving a summary of each chapter, but rather providing a few quotes from parts that I found particularly intriguing, along with some possible questions to help spur discussion. We shall see how it goes. If you are interested, please let me know via the comments of this post.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

We continue our look at Verbum Domini with a selection from paragraph 42. I find this helpful, since this attempts to answer a question I often get from my high school students when we are reading certain passages of the Old Testament.

The “dark” passages of the Bible

In discussing the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments, the Synod also considered those passages in the Bible which, due to the violence and immorality they occasionally contain, prove obscure and difficult. Here it must be remembered first and foremost that biblical revelation is deeply rooted in history. God’s plan is manifested progressively and it is accomplished slowly, in successive stages and despite human resistance. God chose a people and patiently worked to guide and educate them. Revelation is suited to the cultural and moral level of distant times and thus describes facts and customs, such as cheating and trickery, and acts of violence and massacre, without explicitly denouncing the immorality of such things. This can be explained by the historical context, yet it can cause the modern reader to be taken aback, especially if he or she fails to take account of the many “dark” deeds carried out down the centuries, and also in our own day. In the Old Testament, the preaching of the prophets vigorously challenged every kind of injustice and violence, whether collective or individual, and thus became God’s way of training his people in preparation for the Gospel. So it would be a mistake to neglect those passages of Scripture that strike us as problematic. Rather, we should be aware that the correct interpretation of these passages requires a degree of expertise, acquired through a training that interprets the texts in their historical-literary context and within the Christian perspective which has as its ultimate hermeneutical key “the Gospel and the new commandment of Jesus Christ brought about in the paschal mystery”. I encourage scholars and pastors to help all the faithful to approach these passages through an interpretation which enables their meaning to emerge in the light of the mystery of Christ.