Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scriptural Inerrancy & Vatican II

In his December 22, 2005 address to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI commented on two contrary strands of thought following the Second Vatican Council—one which caused confusion, and the other, which “silently and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.”[1] These two “hermeneutics” vary in their take on the effects of Vatican II on the doctrine of the faith and the perpetual teachings of the Church:

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform”, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.[2]

One of the many questions raised in the aftermath of Vatican II relates to the interpretation of scripture in light of new methods of biblical exegesis. Latching onto a phrase in section 11 of Dei Verbum, some scriptural scholars have seen a greater degree of freedom opened up in the study of scripture, a break from the dogmatism and literalism of the past, and an opportunity to inculcate a more modern, scientific perspective on Sacred Scripture. Others saw in the same phrase a continuation of the doctrine and Sacred Tradition as expressed in the writings of the fathers and the doctors of the Church. Was this new treatment of scripture a hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity or a hermeneutic of continuity? Was this “development” actually a completely new development in scriptural hermeneutics, or was it simply the consistent practice in the Church cast into new language due to development in modern research and scholarship?

The traditional doctrine of in errancy was first explicitly taught by Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus in 1893. However, the grounds for this teaching extend far back to the earliest days of the Church. Prior to claims of inerrancy come the insistence on Divine inspiration, which is most clearly asserted in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” but also in 2 Peter 1:21: “because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Just as humans must breathe to produce speech, the Holy Spirit “breathes in” to scripture to make it the Word of God. This inspiration gives scripture a clear authority, demonstrated most clearly in its treatment by Christ in the gospels and by the apostles in their writings. While Christ and the apostles referred to Old Testament scripture, Clement of Rome in his epistle to the Corinthians clearly applied this tradition to the work of St. Paul as well.[3] Even prior to this claim, Clement introduced the notion of inerrancy: “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them.”[4]

While the early Church fathers by no means ignored human agency in the writing of scripture, they clearly attested to inspiration by the Holy Spirit and Divine authorship by God. However, human agency, though prevented from error in the original writing of scripture, is not prevented from error in interpretation. Justin Martyr, in “Dialogue with Trypho,” noted his own fallibility in interpretation:

“[S]ince I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself.”[5]

Irenaeus, writing at about the same time period, also confirmed the perfection of scripture and the imperfection and limited understanding of the human reader:

We should leave things of that nature to God who created us, being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit; but we, inasmuch as we are inferior to, and later in existence than, the Word of God and His Spirit, are on that very account destitute of the knowledge of His mysteries.[6]

Clearly established by the end of the second century, then, is a sense of the inspiration of scripture, its perfection or inerrancy, and the imperfection of the human reader in interpreting the true meaning.

This understanding also appears in the writings of the post-Nicene fathers. In the late fourth century, St. Jerome confirmed his belief in the perfection of scripture when he is accused by some parties of altering some of the text of the Latin Vulgate: “I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lord’s words is either in need of correction or is not divinely inspired[.]”[7] St. Jerome’s contemporary, St. Augustine, also made the same assertion in a letter to the former:

For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the Ms. is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it.[8]

While the term “inerrant” is not present in these translations, certainly the notion is present in the terms “perfect” and “free from error.” However, while the perfection of Sacred Scripture seems to be an article of faith, the ease with which one is expected to grasp the true meaning in scripture is not.

An appreciation for the literal sense is ever present in the writings of the early Church fathers and doctors. Pope Benedict XV in particular notes St. Jerome’s reliance on the literal sense in his encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, as well as the need for a complete reading of the text, including “beginning, middle, and end.”[9] At the same time, he notes clearly that, for Jerome, the literal sense does not exclude figurative or metaphorical usage, “for ‘the history itself is often presented in metaphorical dress and described figuratively.’”[10] Other early Church fathers take considerable liberty with the sense of the text. Justin Martyr does not restrict himself to a literalist interpretation in all cases and explains that proper interpretation of scripture requires the reader to understand the intent of the author and the mode of expression. When questioned by Trypho how God in Genesis 18 could have eaten the food provided by Abraham, Justin resorts to a figurative reading of the text: “So that not even here should we be at a loss about anything, if we are acquainted even slightly with figurative modes of expression, and able to rise above them.”[11] Roland Teske explains, in his edition of two works by St. Augustine, that the Great Doctor wrote of figures in two distinctly different ways: “There are figures of speech (figurae locutionis) and also figures of things (figurae rerum). In DGnM [Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees] 1.22.34 he speaks of a figure of speech and stresses the importance of the rule of this expression for understanding many passages in Scripture.”[12]

That St. Augustine himself struggled with the difficulty of the literal sense is manifest in that he made no fewer than five separate attempts to provide a literal interpretation of Genesis.[13] However, he recognized the inherent problem in attempting to read Sacred Scripture as if one were reading a text on physics or biology, particularly when dealing with educated nonbelievers:

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. [14]

Clearly, St. Augustine saw the absurdity of expecting scientific precision from Old Testament accounts, and his multiple works on Genesis demonstrate the problems one encounters in holding to an overly literalistic understanding of Genesis, without consideration for the modes of expression employed by the author, or the constraints imposed on narrative technique when describing events that precede time itself.

Eight centuries after St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas would reiterate the Great Doctor in what appears to be a narrowing of this concept of inerrancy to matters useful for our salvation:

Therefore, all those things the knowledge of which can be useful for salvation are the matter of prophecy, whether they are past, or future, or even eternal, or necessary, or contingent. But those things which
cannot pertain to salvation are outside the matter of prophecy. Hence, Augustine says: “Although our authors knew what shape heaven is, [the spirit] wants to speak through them only that which is useful for salvation.”href="#_ftn15" name="_ftnref15" title="">[15]

However, the Angelic Doctor notes that while the end of Sacred Scripture is not to relate scientific truths (or historical events, for that matter), such matters can be useful for salvation:

But many things which are proved in the sciences can be useful for this, as, for instance, that our understanding is incorruptible, and also those things which when considered in creatures lead to admiration of the divine wisdom and power. Hence, we find that mention of these is made in Holy Scripture.[16]

While assertions of scientific and historical fact are not the end of Sacred Scripture, these writings cannot be said a priori to speak untruthfully on such matters.

From the first 1200 years of writings by fathers and doctors of the Church, one can come to a few conclusions. First, the concept of scriptural inerrancy is clear. While the fathers and doctors recognized the role that human agency played in the writing of Sacred Scripture, the inspiration and inerrancy of the writings and their authorship by God is affirmed. Second, while the fathers and doctors understood the importance of the literal sense of scripture, this sense in no way excluded figurative language or modes of expression appropriate to the time of the original writing. The importance of literary and linguistic modalities were clear even in the past. Finally, all of the fathers recognized the difficulty of ascertaining the true meaning of scripture, particularly when appearances seemed to indicate errors in scientific understanding or when historical details seemed to be in conflict. In such cases, the early commentators assumed that they had erred and misunderstood the true sense of scripture rather than assuming that scripture itself was in error. Clearly, for both St. Augustine and St. Thomas, the treatment of scripture as scientific treatise would have been considered misguided. From the understanding of the fathers and doctors of the Church and from the analogy of faith, Pope Leo XIII would make his claim of inerrancy in Providentissimus Deus.

While the Council of Trent did not treat the scope of inerrancy, it did confirm the Canon of Scripture, as well as the authority of the Church as the final arbiter of the meaning of scripture.[17] With the storm of the Protestant Reformation gaining force, the fathers of the council focused on preserving those doctrines that were immediately threatened. The matter of scriptural inerrancy would have to wait more than 300 years to come to the forefront. With the impulse of Enlightenment scholarship pushing an evermore skeptical mindset toward matters of spirit, the fathers of the Vatican I council set to this work. In chapter 2 of Dei Filius, the council reiterated the findings of the Council of Trent, with an important addition:

These the Church holds to be sacred and canonical, not because, having been carefully composed by mere human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority, nor merely because they contain revelation with no admixture of error[emphasis added], but because, having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for their author and have been delivered as such to the Church herself.[18]

While affirming the Divine authorship of scripture, this statement also introduces the terminology of inerrancy (“no admixture of error”) into the official doctrine of the Church. What had been held by the common consent of the faithful had now been officially declared as part of the deposit of faith. In addition, the council asserted the Church’s authority in determining the true sense of Sacred Scripture:

In matters of faith and morals, affecting the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of Holy Scripture which Holy Mother Church has held and holds, to whom it belongs to judge the true sense and interpretation of Holy Scriptures. Therefore no one is allowed to interpret the same Sacred Scripture contrary to this sense, or contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.[19]

The juxtaposition of these two phrases, “no admixture of error” and “[i]n matters of faith and morals” would set the stage for additional dispute on the doctrine of inerrancy during following the First Vatican Council.

In 1893, Pope Leo XIII took up the pen in defense of scripture from those who deigned to cast doubt on its truth value, primarily rationalists and those of the school of “higher criticism.” The former he called “true children and inheritors of the older heretics.”[20] His assessment of the latter seems hardly more complimentary: “There has arisen, to the great detriment of religion, an inept method, dignified by the name ‘higher criticism,’ which pretends to judge of the origin, integrity and authority of each Book from internal indications alone.”[21] While the Holy Father certainly wielded his pen with the flair of a duelist, his intent was not simply to deride contemporary scholarship but to provide guidance, which he did. He confirmed both the value of knowledge of natural science[22] as well as the importance of “the witness of history.”[23] More importantly, he set guidelines for interpretation by the faithful:

But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it—this system cannot be tolerated… and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.[24]

Pope Leo XIII confirmed (as this author noted earlier) the constant witness of the fathers and doctors of the Church who “agreed that the divine writings…are free from all error” and who “labored earnestly, with no less skill than reverence, to reconcile with each other those numerous passages which seem at variance[.]”[25] At the same time the Holy Father acknowledged that the Holy Spirit, in the inspiration of the sacred writers, “‘did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation’” and that they indeed used figurative language and modes of expression appropriate to their time.[26]

The doctrine of scriptural inerrancy would develop further during the pontificate of Pope Pius X. While Pius X condemned the errors of modernists in Lamentabili Sane, the findings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission during his pontificate seemed to demonstrate a greater willingness to consider the question of literal historicity. According to Aidan Nichols, the commission rules that “‘certain narratives thought to be properly historical had only the appearance of history.’”[27] In 1909, the same commission addressed questions about the first three chapters of Genesis. Confirming both the witness of the fathers and doctors of the Church, as well as Leo XIII’s acknowledgement of the proper sense of scripture, the commission noted that scholars did not have to take every word in its strictly literal sense and that some passages could be interpreted in their allegorical or prophetic sense. More importantly, the commission confirmed that interpreters were not required to seek the precision of scientific language in these passages:

VII: As it was not the mind of the sacred author in the composition of the first chapter of Genesis to give scientific teaching about the internal Constitution of visible things and the entire order of creation, but rather to communicate to his people a popular notion in accord with the current speech of the time and suited to the understanding and capacity of men, must the exactness of scientific language be always meticulously sought for in the interpretation of these matters?

Answer: In the negative. [28]

The commission, taking a lead from Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus, confirmed that the aim of the writers of Sacred Scripture was not to make scientific assertions but to teach those things profitable for our salvation. Nichols notes that Benedict XV was not quite so ready to make such concessions.[29] However, Leo XIII’s encyclical created an opening or aporia that led to diverging positions on the matter:

Pope Leo’s intervention at a crucial point in the development of Catholic biblical studies was, then, Janus-like. It pointed at once in two directions and was readily susceptible to both a conservative and a liberal interpretation. But it at least identified the problem—how could all Scripture be at every point inerrant if some Scripture were at some points materially errant?[30]

Whether Nichols can correctly assume the admission of material errors in scripture by any of the pontiffs or commissions is debatable. However, the two faces of this doctrine would continue to speak during the 20th century, first in the encyclicals of Pius XII, and then in the dogmatic constitution, Dei Verbum.

Pius XII continued the defense of scripture in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu. While his predecessors sought to protect scripture from improper interpretation by those employing historical or
scientific critiques, Pius XII enlisted these disciplines as means to better determine the literal sense of scripture.[31] Moreover, he insisted on the necessity of understanding the literary mode as a key to the true sense:

Hence the Catholic commentator, in order to comply with the present needs of biblical studies, in explaining the Sacred Scripture and in demonstrating and proving its immunity from all error, should also make a prudent use of this means, determine, that is, to what extent the manner of expression or the literary mode adopted by the sacred writer may lead to a correct and genuine interpretation; and let him be convinced that this part of his office cannot be neglected without serious detriment to Catholic exegesis.[32]

He would later renew his defense against various strains of modern philosophy and political ideology in Humani Generis. While allowing for Catholic theologians and scientists to engage in research and discussions regarding evolution, the encyclical continued to insist on the true historic sense of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. At the same time, Pius XII acknowledged that the sacred writers appropriated language suitable for communicating with the understanding of the people at that time:

[T]he same chapters… in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations… it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents.[33]

The Pontifical Biblical Commission reiterated Pius XII’s call to employ, with caution, these new critical methods, to “diligently employ the new exegetical aids, above all those which the historical method, taken in its widest sense, offers to him.”[34] On the eve of Vatican II, the Church had officially condemned the improper use of science and historical analysis, had provided boundaries for the appropriate Catholic interpretation of Sacred Scripture, had identified some particular areas in which the exegete was permitted broader latitude, and finally had proposed legitimate application of historical-critical methodology to scripture, most specifically in the gospels.

With this openness to new methods of scriptural analysis, the Second Vatican Council began. While the First Vatican Council and Leo XIII’s encyclical focused on inerrancy, the second council focused more on salvific truth, as Depuis and Neuner note: “Instead of ‘inerrancy’, as in the biblical encyclicals, the Council affirms the saving truth of Scripture, as attested in 2 Tim 3:16–17 on the many-sided pastoral efficacy of the Bible.”[35] This refocus on salvific truth would bring its own complications and confusion. Part of this confusion came with the inclusion of a single phrase. Section 11 of Dei Verbum from the new revised edition of Vatican Council II, Vol. 1, contains the following statement concerning scriptural inerrancy:

Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully, and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation[emphasis added], wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures.[36]

While some have taken the phrase “for the sake of our salvation” to designate the purpose of revelation in Sacred Scripture, others have sought to use this phrase to support the concept of limited inerrancy to those matters affecting salvation only.[37] As with the “Janus-like” intervention of Leo XIII, this statement in Dei Verbum would open up its own aporia.

Aidan Nichols acknowledges that considerable debate ensued over the inclusion of this sentence, as evidenced in Fr. Alois Grillmeier’s study of the drafting of Dei Verbum. Yet Nichols sees in this language an acceptable solution:

Yet the underlying theological principle seems eminently acceptable: if the Bible is the record of revelation then it must be ordered to the same goal as revelation itself, humanity’s salvation, and be evaluated in this light. The inerrant truth of Scripture is inerrant saving truth. This means that the absolute, unconditional inerrancy of the Bible is a formal, not a material, inerrancy[.][38]

He reiterates the words of Robert Gnuse from his book, The Authority of the Bible: Theories of Inspiration, Revelation, and the Canon of Scripture: “‘Thus the Roman Catholic Church has rejected several views in the last two centuries…subsequent approval…negative assistance…verbal dictation, inspiration of ideas, inspiration of faith and morals (only), and total inerrancy.”[39]

Thomas Bokenkotter goes a bit further in his assessment that Dei Verbum 11 “leaves room for the more liberal-minded to admit error in the Bible where this does not affect its essential message.”[40] Avery Cardinal Dulles, whom Bokenkotter cites, does not venture his own opinion but outlines three possible interpretations:

While some commentators interpret this sentence as excluding all error from the Bible, it may be read as asserting that, while there may be erroneous statements here or there, they are corrected elsewhere or do not affect the meaning of the whole. Further, the Council’s statement might seem to allow for errors in matters without importance for our salvation.[41]

Ultimately, then, while some such as Nichols see the way out in the difference between formal and material inerrancy, the precise meaning of this phrase from Dei Verbum 11 has not been established.

However, Dei Verbum 12 also provides a solution, one addressed by Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu and Humani Generis and also acknowledged by Nichols,[42] notably the literary form and the medium of the words of the sacred writers: “Hence, the exegete must look for that meaning which the sacred writer, in a determined situation and given circumstances of his time and culture, intended to express and did in fact express, through the medium of contemporary literary form.”[43] What such an exegesis requires, of course, is a return to the literal sense of the scripture—the meaning intended by the sacred writer at the time of composition. Robert Murray points out the problematic term “literal” sense as it typically causes people to think of the factualness of the words on a page. He suggests that the term “natural” sense is more comprehensible.[44] In returning to the “natural” sense, the exegete can apply the tools of historical criticism, being cognizant of the literary form in use and the modes of expression at the disposal of the sacred writer. However, as the Pontifical Biblical Commission pointed out in its 1993 document “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” the historical-critical method must be “freed from external prejudices” and used “[a]long with other methods and approaches.”[45] Dei Verbum 12 also reminds the exegete that one must interpret scripture “taking into account the Tradition of the entire Church and the analogy of faith.”[46] Notwithstanding these warnings to the contrary, Cardinal Dulles, in the February 2006 issue of First Things, points out that some exegetes have tended toward the historical-critical method to the exclusion of traditional hermeneutics: “But unfortunately the post-conciliar reception has practically discarded the theological part of the council’s statement as a concession to the past, thus allowing Catholic exegesis to become almost undistinguishable from Protestant.”[47]

While clearly the notion of absolute inerrancy has come to be questioned following Vatican II, the doctrine of inerrancy appears to remain in a state of dynamic tension, perhaps more so from the point of view of those who lean more heavily upon the historical-critical methods of interpretation. While clearly difficult passages exist in scripture, the analogy of faith and the practice of the fathers and doctors of the Church should inform us to accept that our understanding is limited by the very nature of the object we seek to understand. By attempting to wrench scientific and historical fact out of every difficult passage, such critics commit a categorical error: they attempt to measure the truth statements of one epistemological system (Christian revelation) by another (contemporary empiricism). Leo XIII’s encyclical Aeterni Patris perhaps proves to be prophetic in its call for more emphasis in the study of philosophy.[48] Without a proper grounding in Catholic philosophy and theology, exegetes are bound to mistake one ground of study—revelation—for another and to create a rupture where a true continuity exists.

[1] Benedict XVI, “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia Offering Them His Christmas Greetings,” 22 December 2005, <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia_en.html>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Clement, “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,” Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Vol. 1. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xlvii.html>, 16 February 2007.

[4] Ibid., <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xlv.html>.

[5] Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho,” Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Vol. 1. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.lxv.html>, 16 February 2007.

[6] Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Vol. 1. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iii.xxix.html>, 16 February 2007.

[7] Jerome, Letter 27 to Marcella, Jerome: The Principal Works of St. Jerome,
<http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.v.XXVII.html>, 17 February 2007.

[8] Augustine, Letter 82 to Jerome, The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin, with a Sketch of his Life and Work, ed. Philip Schaff. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf101.vii.1.LXXXII.html>, 16 February 2007.

[9] Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus, 15 September 1920, <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xv/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xv_enc_15091920_spiritus-paraclitus_en.html>, 17 February 2007.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho,” Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Vol. 1., <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.lviii.html>, 16 February 2007.

[12] Augustine, On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees; and, On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis, an Unfinished Book, (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1990) 21, Questia, <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=101602784>, 17 Feb. 2007.

[13] Ibid., <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=101602784>.

[14] ----, St. Augustine, the Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol. 1, Ancient Christian Writers., Vol. 41., Trans. John Hammond Taylor (New York: Paulist Press, 1982) <http://www.holycross.edu/departments/religiousstudies/alaffey/Augustine-Genesis.htm>. 16 February 2007.

[15] Truth, trans. Thomas F. Aquinas and James V. McGlynn, Vol. 2, (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1994) 111, Questia, <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=59845508>, 16 Feb. 2007.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Jacques Depuis and Josef Neuner, eds., The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, 7th edition (New York: Alba House, 2001) 102–103.

[18] Depuis and Neuner, 104.

[19] Ibid., 105.

[20] Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, 18 November 1893, <http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13provi.htm>, 18 February 2007, 10.

[21] Ibid., 17.

[22] Ibid., 18.

[23] Ibid., 17.

[24] Ibid., 19.

[25] Ibid., 21.

[26] Ibid., 18.

[27] Aidan Nichols, The Shape of Catholic Theology (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1991) 135.

[28] “The Replies of the Biblical Commission,” Trans. E. F. Sutcliffe, S.J. <http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/articles/bible/pbc.htm>, 18 February 2007.

[29] Nichols, 135.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu, 30 September 1943. <http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12DIVIN.HTM>, 18 February 2007, 10.

[32] Ibid., 38.

[33] Pius XII, Humani Generis, 12 August 1950. <http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12HUMAN.HTM>, 18 February 2007, 38.

[34] “Instruction Concerning the Historical Truth of the Gospels,” Pontifical Biblical Commission, 21 April 1964. <http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/PBC_HistTruthFitzmyer.htm#PBCText>, 19 February 2007, IV, 1.

[35] Depuis and Neuner, 120.

[36] Austin Flannery, gen. ed., Dei Verbum, from Vatican Council II: Conciliar & Post-Conciliar Documents (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 2004) 757.

[37] Jimmy Akin, “The Accuracy of Scripture,” This Rock, Vol. 16., no. 10, December 2005 <http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0512bt.asp>, 19 February 2007.

[38] Nichols, 137.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Thomas Bokenkotter, Essential Catholicism: Dynamics of Faith and Belief (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1985) 32.

[41] Avery Dulles, “Scripture: Recent Protestant and Catholic Views,” Theology Today, Vol. 37, No. 1, April 1980 <http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/apr1980/v37-1-article1.htm>, 19 February 2007.

[42] Ibid., 135.

[43] Flannery, 757.

[44] Robert Murray, “The Human Capacity for God, and God’s Initiative,” Commentary on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Michael J. Walsh, ed. (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1994) 24–25.

[45] “Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” Pontifical Biblical Commission, April 23, 1993 <http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/PBC_Interp.htm>, 19 February 2007.

[46] Flannery, 758.

[47] Avery Cardinal Dulles, “From Ratzinger to Benedict,” First Things, February 2006. < http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=86>, 19 February 2007.

[48] Leo XIII, Aeterni Patris, 4 August 1879 <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_04081879_aeterni-patris_en.html>, 19 February 2007.
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