Sunday, January 27, 2013
Lest anyone forget the problems in Missouri's schism were doctrinal...
Joseph Ratzinger, the 265th Bishop of Rome, is a man of the Bible who knows the historical-critical method inside and out — and who has spent the better part of the last three decades trying to repair the damage that an exclusively historical-critical reading of the Old and New Testaments has done to both faith and culture. In the second volume of his trilogy, Jesus of Nazareth, published in 2011, Ratzinger put his intellectual cards on the table, face up: “One thing is clear to me: in two hundred years of exegetical work, historical-critical exegesis has already yielded its essential fruit.” If modern interpretation of the Bible was not to “exhaust itself in constantly new hypotheses,” Ratzinger continued, scholars had to learn to read the Bible again through lenses ground by faith and theology, including the theological reading of Scripture developed in the first Christian centuries and in the Middle Ages. It was necessary, in other words, to practice the ecumenism of time when reading and trying to understand the Bible.
Everyone from Brevard Childs to Joseph Ratzginer (Benedict XVI) has gotten it. The historical critical methodology bore poisoned fruits for the Church. I can remember it well when a friend and colleague listened to a sermon prep presentation from another colleague. It was filled with all the banter of the HC method and nuanced by the points offered by the big name purveyors of this process. At the end of it all, my friend turned to me and said, "There is nothing preachable there." Indeed. If it is not preachable, the methodology has failed us. If it does not lead us from the Scripture back into the Scripture, the Word giving light to the Word, there there is something wrong with our process. If we approach the Scriptures from a critical view point absent of faith, the conclusions we will be led to proclaim will be absent of faith, hope, and life. Nothing preachable here. Ya got that right!!