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ROSARY presents: 10 Gebote und Regina Pacis – von Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz, ROSARY – 10 Gebote und Regina Pacis Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz  erklärt die Zeichen der Zeit Wie der erste Bund mit den 10 Geboten  mit dem zweiten Bund des Messias in Einklang stehen Offenbarung 12 und 13, sowie 21 plus 5.Mose 5,6-21 10 Gebote und Regina Pacis.wmv <<<<<<< donload HDT Video                     <<<<<<< short url rosary…


ROSARY presents: Vision and Mission on 9

ROSARY presents: Vision and Mission on 9-11 by Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz – 9-11 <===== Life video Mitschnitt der Konferenz Link <<<==== DOnload link für´s video rosary-news

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ROSARY presents: VACATION- Urlaub und Je

ROSARY presents: VACATION- Urlaub und; was wir für Klimaflüchtlinge tun können- von Lord Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz – VACATION – Urlaub und Klima, Hochwasser und Over Sea overseer- Was können wir tun um Klimaflüchtlingen zu helfen? Von  Lord Archbishop Dr. Uwe AE.Rosenkranz Hier das neue Video: Vacation.wmv     >>>>>>>>>>>>>VACATION video <<<<<<<<<<<<<< Was wir tun, um Klimaflüchtlingen zu helfen: Wir gründen Gemeinden wir richten Klimafo…

The Future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship A CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION Johnson, L. T., & Kurz, W. S. (2002). – via LAD ROSARY

The Future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship
Johnson, L. T., & Kurz, W. S. (2002). The Future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship: A Constructive Conversation (S. iii). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


According to my task as PhD. divina et medical doctor, as well as in my duty as Archbishop it is my pleasure and delight to open a constructive converssation about the future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship.


We will have a look on what typically and basically is provided by our bible schools.

In following essays we are going to have a look onto practical Theology, Charity and especially the role of the doctrines, coming from Chair of St.Peter on Rome. Our order Confraternity of the most holy Rosary is giving a white father´s  DOMENICAN scholarship and is providing an ongoing progress of hermeneutics and catholic doctrine according to the vatican law.



Opening the Conversation
In this final part of the book, we want to open up to our readers the conversation about the future of Catholic biblical scholarship. To provide some “conversation starters,” each of us responds to a series of questions that have either been touched on in our separate chapters or have lurked just below the surface. We finish our part with each of us making a closing statement. We hope that these do not close the conversation but help to enable it.
1. Why is it important to claim a distinctive Catholic identity within biblical scholarship?

Johnson: I have always had a deep love for what is particular and embodied. I have tended to distrust the abstract and universal. Part of the joy of being Roman Catholic has for me been embracing Catholicism’s very definiteness, its strong sense of boundaries, its ease at being exactly what it is. To be Roman Catholic means to have a specific place in the world and in history. So one reason to claim a distinctive Catholic identity is simply to celebrate being this odd and different way of being Christian that we call Catholic.
But more than tribal loyalty is involved. I am convinced that the Catholic Tradition contains sensibilities and practices that are true, that are threatened in today’s practice of scholarship, and that therefore need to be nurtured. My sense of urgency is connected to the realization that scholars in my generation represent both a distinctive danger and opportunity. We are the last link with the sort of interpretation that preceded Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) and are capable of bearing living witness to what was good and valuable in that earlier Tradition. But by the same token, we are capable of definitively rejecting that Tradition, so that future efforts to recover it will (like the clumsy gestures toward the Tridentine church evident in many forms of Catholic piety today) be forced and distorted. My sense is that, if we do not think long and hard about “what is Catholic about Catholic biblical scholarship,” there will be a grievous loss both to the study of Scripture and to the spirit of Catholicism itself.

Kurz: I share this urgency to preserve a distinctive Catholic identity within biblical scholarship. Much of Christian biblical scholarship in the 19th and early 20th centuries has been more pertinent to the sensitivities and needs of Protestantism (e.g., some of the trend-setting German scholarship had a distinctively Lutheran set of concerns and presuppositions). More recently, as a much larger percentage of biblical scholars have been trained in nondenominational institutions or approaches, biblical scholarship has diversified to the brink of chaos and has been practiced from increasingly nonreligious academic, liberationist, and/or ideological commitments which are independent from and unrelated or sometimes even hostile to Catholic and other Christian beliefs, practices, and attitudes.
Many acknowledge the dictum, “lex orandi lex credendi,” namely that the ways people worship and pray have a major effect on what they believe. Since it is intuitively obvious that Catholics differ from Christians of other denominations in how they worship, pray, and emphasize sacraments, it stands to reason that Catholics will always have at least some significantly different beliefs from members of other denominations or religions, as well as from nonbelievers, no matter how ecumenical they may endeavor to be. If the Catholic church and Catholic believers have significantly different spiritualities and beliefs and forms of prayer and worship from others, then for Catholic scholars to serve their own church and fellow Catholics they will have to focus at least some of their efforts on addressing explicitly Catholic concerns and needs and to do so from Catholic sensitivities and vantage points. Ideally, Catholic exegetes would experience a genuine reciprocal relationship between study and worship.
I also agree that Catholic approaches to biblical interpretation have important contributions to offer to biblical scholarship in general. To repeat examples mentioned earlier, Catholic approaches can contribute a more explicit and congenial partnership between faith and reason and between Scripture and tradition (including all aspects of church worship, pastoral care, and life).
2. What are or should be the positive characteristics of Catholic biblical scholarship?

Kurz: Both of us have emphasized the distinction (and complementarity) between the relatively more inclusive “both/and” emphasis of Catholicism and the accentuated “either/or” critical priority of both Protestantism and most historical criticism. This “both/and” approach is found in Catholic traditions of interpretation going back to medieval and patristic times, as well as in Catholic liturgy, sacraments, and worship. Exegetical insights can abound even in Catholic liturgical prayers, as when a preface prayer in honor of St. Peter sets Peter’s naming Jesus “the Christ” in parallelism with Jesus’ naming Simon “the Rock” (or Peter, as in Matthew 16).
Furthermore, Catholic doctrines have tended more than Protestant beliefs to emphasize the goodness of creation, in spite of sin and the fall. As a result, Catholic exegetes and religious thinkers have tended to put greater emphasis than their Protestant counterparts on the validity and importance of reason as well as of faith, of reasoning from natural law as well as of citing biblical evidence and revealed law, and of learning from culture as well as from revelation. Consequently, Catholic liturgies and forms of prayer, worship, church architecture and decoration all over the world have generally been less hesitant than Protestant counterparts to incorporate significant elements from the contemporary or indigenous culture. Catholic biblical scholarship should reflect some of these variegated emphases, even for the sake of a richer ecumenical dialogue.

Johnson: Catholic biblical scholarship should, I think, be characterized by a spirit of inclusion and generosity—both terms are encompassed by the term “catholic.” By inclusion, I mean first the participation of all Catholics in the serious and critical study of Scripture. Second, inclusion means the willingness to balance the “both/and” so typical of Catholicism at its best. Catholic biblical scholars are concerned with Scripture, yes, but also with Tradition. They are fascinated by the questions posed by Christian origins, but no less so by the questions of the development of Christianity through time. They seek the historical sense of the text but do not restrict the text’s meaning simply to the historical. They engage in historical criticism but embrace other ways of being critical as well. They are open to Scripture’s capacity to speak in many ways and at many levels, starting with the literal but also including a variety of figural or imaginative senses. They engage the technical discussions of the academy, but are also deeply engaged in the existential questions of the church. They yield to no one in their pursuit of knowledge (scientia), but they are as passionately committed to the pursuit of wisdom (sapientia). I do not suggest that any single Catholic scholar can combine all these elements simultaneously or even sequentially. My point, rather, is that the conversation of Catholic Scripture scholarship should include in principle, and as often as possible in fact, all these dimensions.
By generosity I mean that Catholic biblical scholarship should be characterized by positive attitudes both toward the church and toward its Scripture. I say “its Scripture” deliberately, as a reminder that these ancient texts become Scripture only by being taken up into the canon of the believing community. The Bible is, in the strictest sense of the word, the church’s book. Only by extension has it historically and today exercised a broader influence in the world. The Catholic scholar’s spirit of generosity, then, means first a love and loyalty to the community whose Scripture the scholar studies, a willingness to serve the faith community through the ministry of learning and teaching, a dedication to shaping a scholarship of, for, and by the church, and not only a scholarship of the academic guilds. Such loyalty is the appropriate context for the expression of critical inquiry. The spirit of generosity or love also applies to the reading of Scripture itself, in a willingness to patiently wait for the wisdom that God wishes to speak through these often difficult and even repelling texts, a readiness to recognize both the ways in which Scripture wounds us and the ways in which it also can heal us.
3. In what ways should Catholic biblical scholarship also be ecumenical?

Johnson: Catholic biblical scholarship should be ecumenical in four ways. First and foremost, it must relinquish any vestiges of triumphalism, which show themselves in forms of exegetical special pleading, or in readings that are slanted to support specifically Catholic positions (and refute other interpretations) even at the cost of violence to the plain sense of the text. Second, Catholic scholars should gladly join the common discourse and labor of biblical scholars of whatever persuasion with an attitude of full respect and equality. They can do so because they recognize that a great deal of the work of interpretation involves methods and procedures that cut across denominational boundaries and even the boundary between believer and unbeliever. Historical inquiry, at least in the ideal, can enable scholars of quite divergent perspectives to see and evaluate the same evidence on the basis of agreed-upon criteria. Care must be taken, however, not to reduce biblical scholarship to those tasks which can be carried out in relatively neutral fashion.
Third, Catholic scholars ought to have deep respect for different faith perspectives that are brought to the study of Scripture and be willing to learn from, perhaps even be corrected by, such perspectives. Catholics cannot find in Paul’s language about justification by faith the same depth of significance that Lutheran scholars do. Reformed readers cannot appreciate Paul’s language about sanctification in the same manner as Catholics. Ecumenism does not demand the removing of differences, least of all in the reading of Scripture, but it does demand the willingness to enter into conversation with readings different than our own in a process of mutual gifting. Fourth, ecumenism means that Catholic scholars should celebrate the sensibilities that are distinctively Catholic (e.g., the concern for development as much as origins) and be willing to offer them as gifts to their Protestant colleagues.

Kurz: I second many of the observations above concerning dialogue with (both learning from and contributing to) scholarship from other denominations and backgrounds, and the importance of bringing to this ecumenical dialogue what is distinctive and important to Catholics. I would also like to add further emphasis on the universality of Catholicism (even in the denotation of the term “catholic”). Catholicism has always been a worldwide religion, to the extent that most people in the West would have been aware of the populated “world” in any particular age (cf. the Greek term oikoumenē). With admittedly widely varying degrees of sensitivity, effort, and success, Catholic missionaries have had to make at least some significant adaptations to the new peoples (and their languages and customs) among whom they preached the Good News.
In Western Catholicism (the type with which most of us are more familiar), there has long been a great variety of different, sometimes keenly competing, spiritualities (e.g., Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit) and even theologies (e.g., from traditional Augustinian, Thomistic, Suarezian theological systems to more contemporary competing theologies such as those of Rahner, Lonergan, von Balthasar, and Schillebeeckx). In many Protestant denominations a new theology might periodically result in a schism and consequently a new rival affiliation. But Catholicism for centuries has taken into its tent sharply diverse theologies, often in spite of even quite heated controversies among them.
The media and popular opinion have long placed an exaggerated concentration on the intolerance of diversity by Catholic authorities and on examples like the Inquisition and Index of Forbidden Books (all of which have historical foundation but also ought to be evaluated in relation to their respective historical contexts and situations). I certainly follow the lead of Pope John Paul II in expressing contrition over these and other examples of intolerance and the violence of religious wars and crusades in which Catholics have been guilty of participating over the centuries. But it seems also worth mentioning that some of the worst of these examples are more illustrative of the sinful mindset shared by humans of all (and no) religious affiliations than of bigotry peculiar to Catholic belief and practice. Fairness also might require that if one is to focus on Catholic intolerance, one also acknowledge similar phenomena in other religions and Christian denominations. In comparison to recurrent lack of mutual acceptance and division of many Protestant denominations over theological or interpretive emphases deemed mutually incompatible (such as opposing varieties of millenarianism), one could make a reasonable argument that perhaps Catholicism is today one of the more tolerant forms of Christianity and of religions which have dogmatic content, and even generally has been. Over the centuries up to and including our post-Vatican II time period, the Catholic church has routinely included many rival and sometimes even mutually hostile approaches to Catholicism. The church has been slow to deny the name Catholic even to approaches not currently favored by the hierarchy, unless and until ecumenical councils have judged that these teachings could no longer be reconciled with the apostolic and creedal faith passed on by the church.
4. What do we mean by “critical” scholarship? Does it mean one or several things?

Kurz: One important meaning of “critical” scholarship must be its contrast from “uncritical” interpretation or scholarship. Much damage can be done to the life of believers and to the church from uncritical interpretations of Scripture that interject the reader’s bias into the biblical message in the name of piety or “orthodoxy” or “political correctness,” from either the “right” or the “left.” In both my graduate and undergraduate teaching, I emphasize the need to read scriptural passages carefully and critically. One must first listen intently to the point of view in the biblical text without presuming that it is either identical to one’s own or utterly irreconcilable with it. Only when one pays close attention to the actual meaning of the words and the grammatical and rhetorical structures in their original context (both textual and cultural) can one read Scripture in a receptive and simultaneously intelligent and nonabusive manner. Carefully rooting one’s readings of Scripture in the written text of the passage also provides perhaps the most important common ground from which readers from differing religious and ideological persuasions can begin their conversations about the topic treated in that passage.
A related aspect of “critical” reading might be its contrast from “lazy” or careless reading. A careless reading would not take the trouble to look closely at all the textual evidence, nor to use relevant tools of critical exegesis according to the person’s level of academic training, nor (for students and scholars) to apply strict scholarly standards in their use of languages, methods, and argumentation from evidence. Both of these senses of “critical” scholarship will always have foundational importance for interpretation in the church.
A separate sense of “critical” scholarship might refer to the location of that scholarship on a spectrum of interpretation, ranging from a “hermeneutics of suspicion” to a “hermeneutics of understanding (or consent).” Although it is fervently to be hoped that even a “hermeneutics of consent” would be exercised in a manner befitting critical scholarship (in the senses above), the term “critical” can also relate to differing levels of distance from the point of view in the biblical text. Some critical distance is always necessary, in order to ensure that one is truly listening to the text’s point of view and not just presuming that one’s own viewpoints are being reinforced by the text.
However, beyond a certain point, “critical” distance can become skeptical, alienated, flippant, or even arrogant, in ways that ultimately close the reader’s mind to what the biblical text is communicating. No matter what the text says, a truly alienated or hostile reader might either reject it as unacceptable or even unthinkable, or might make moral judgments about the text that can often (uncritically) presume the unquestioned moral superiority of the reader’s view or contemporary cultural perspective over the viewpoint expressed in the text. For example, an important biblical criterion of measurement, attributed to Jesus himself, is “by their fruits you shall know them.” By this standard, can one simply presume that contemporary moral or family practices or structures, which are correlated to something like a 50-percent rate of broken families, are in all cases morally superior to traditional mores recommended in Scripture, whose “track record” for family fidelity, stability, and happiness has been significantly higher?

Johnson: There are any number of ways to read Scripture. Liturgical reading, for example, is not the same as the sort of reading we call “spiritual,” or “lectio divina.” The Holy Spirit has no constraints on how Scripture can communicate truth. A passage from the Psalms or from the Gospel taken completely out of context can transform a person’s life. An inadequate translation can nevertheless express Scripture’s truth to the discerning mind and heart. God does not need scholarship to do God’s work. But the church needs scholarship in order to do its work faithfully in witness to God. This is why “critical scholarship” must be a reality within the life of the church and not simply within colleges and universities. For the church faithfully to discern God’s word in the fabric of human freedom, it must read and think critically, that is, it must learn to think in the way that scholars do at their best.
The term “critical” should not suggest adopting a superior position that enables one to render judgments on the adequacy of Scripture or distancing oneself so that Scripture has no claim on one’s life. “Critical” means, rather, the practice of close, sustained, careful, attentive, disciplined reading that is characterized above all by the posing of hard questions rather than the harvesting of obvious and easy answers. When reading is genuinely critical, the process of questioning is turned both on the text and on the readers of the text. And because both texts and readers are complex and multidimensional, critical reading should also take many forms. Because the Bible was written by humans in another time and place in languages not our own and within social realities different than ours, the practice of historical criticism is of fundamental importance for any responsible reading. But the texts (like us) also have an anthropological dimension, and a literary dimension, and a religious dimension. Critical thinking is possible (and indeed required) from each of these perspectives. It is appropriate as well to think philosophically about the text and readers. Philosophy includes metaphysics. The lack of any sense of ontology severely limits contemporary scholars reading Scripture. Philosophy also includes moral discourse. Scripture must be tested for its moral adequacy, just as readers need to test themselves for their moral attitudes. In my view, “critical” has many dimensions rather than simply one, but all these dimensions involve a passionate engagement in the form of active and persistent questioning.
5. Of what value is historical study for the theological reading of Scripture?

Johnson: If the question was about the value of studying history for understanding Scripture, it would be easy to answer. Although I am skeptical about our capacity to do an adequate reconstruction of the world that produced the Bible or to recover everything we would want to know about the historical Jesus, a skepticism based in a respect for the potential as well as the limitations of history as a way of human knowing, I also think that undertaking such efforts is legitimate, so long as they operate within the appropriate canons of historical criticism. Even more, I think that all readers must seek to learn as much of the history of the ancient world as they can manage, so they can better understand the words of Scripture. To put this distinction neatly, I think we need to do good history in order to encounter responsibly the Jesus of the Gospels, but I don’t think we should dismantle the Gospels in order to do the sort of bad history that generates countless “historical Jesuses.” History is to help us understand the words of Scripture, rather than Scripture as simply the sources for us to do history.
The question, though, is harder than that. It asks about the connection between historical study and the theological reading of Scripture. It is precisely on this point that scholars today divide, in part because “history” became over the past several centuries the dominant paradigm for all biblical study. An extreme is represented by those who consider historical reconstruction itself to be theologically normative: if we could “find” the historical Jesus, he—and not the Jesus of the Gospels—would be the measure for Christian identity. Less extreme, but still strong, is the position that the “historical sense” of Scripture must be the basis of all theological appropriation within the church. The exegete, then, who controls the original languages and knows history and can “determine” the “original” meaning of the text, becomes the gatekeeper for theological discourse. Theologians within the church (including preachers) must rely on professional exegetes. They are not empowered to read on their own. They need to learn “what the text meant” from the experts, and their ability to say “what the text means” must continue to be guided by those expert opinions.
I find the extreme position that history is itself normative to be wrong. Even when communities of faith agree on what the story of the past was, that story forms only one element in a community’s discernment of what God demands now. And I find the strong position that the historical sense of the text itself shapes all theological appropriation overly restrictive, and contrary to the Catholic spirit of both/and that I have tried to celebrate in this book. First, we must be careful not to identify the “literal sense” of the text (which must always remain primary for all discourse) from the “historical sense.” The literal sense is that meaning which is made accessible by the structure of the grammar and syntax and diction of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts, only imperfectly represented by “literal” translations. The historical sense is what the language of the Bible might have meant in its original context. Note that I say, “might have meant,” for our grasp of those circumstances is as partial as our comprehension of the total linguistic systems of the original languages. It seems to me, on one hand, to be contrary to Catholic sensibility to make the “historical meaning” determinative for all subsequent readings. On the other hand, all subsequent readings must find some basis in the “literal meaning,” even though such readings can range far beyond either what the first authors intended or the original hearers would have understood, so long as such readings respond to the actual language of the text.
Finally, the historical study of the text can serve two important functions for theology. First, if theological claims (as I think they should not be) are based on supposed historical evidence, they can be disconfirmed by other or better historical evidence. History can and should challenge bad theological claims made on the basis of inadequate history. Second, the historical study of Scripture preserves the otherness of the text, enabling it to resist theological appropriations that seek to collapse its voice into that of a contemporary ideology, even that of the church. History can help Scripture maintain its prophetic voice.

Kurz: In addition to these distinctions among literal and historical senses of Scripture, I would refer readers to scholars’ arguments in my chapters above. They include further reasons not to simply identify the “literal sense” of Scripture with the results of historical criticism. One such reason is the fact that religious texts like Scripture include some of the “spiritual sense” within their very literal sense.
History and theological interpretation also intersect because Christianity is not a merely mythological religion, but a historical religion grounded in Jesus of Nazareth and on what happened to him and what he did and what happened to his disciples after his time on earth. Many refer to this “scandal of particularity” about Christianity. How can so much salvific importance for so many people (for all humans in fact) be claimed to ride on one particular individual from one time and place in history? Christian theological claims have their historical grounding in this particular person who lived in this particular time and place. Obviously, to deal with these particulars, a historical element will always be indispensible even for theological interpretation of Scripture.
The historical moment in biblical interpretation is also needed to prevent collapsing together the message of Scripture and one’s preconceived notions and biases, as I too have argued above in slightly different ways. Historical awareness grounds the “prophetic” function of Scripture for challenging and calling for reform and renewal regarding current practices and beliefs of individuals or the church. In addition, my reference above to the application of Jesus’ “woe” in Luke 11:52 (par. Matt. 23:13) to those who monopolize the key to scriptural knowledge and hinder others from entering without entering themselves provide a similar caution against historical scholarship being overly restrictive regarding others’ use of Scripture.
6. What is the role of the teaching office of the church with regard to the interpretation of Scripture? Where is it located, and how does it relate to other sources of authority in the church?

Kurz: The two of us probably overlap in at least some of our perceptions about the role of the teaching office of the church in biblical interpretation and its location and relationship to other sources of authority in the church. But I would not be surprised if we also have some disagreements, or at least differences of emphasis, in answer to particular questions. I would expect us to accentuate different aspects of this question because of the rather dissimilar ways we respectively have experienced church authority and problems stemming from its misuse or its deficiency.
Since 1975, I have encountered numerous serious pastoral problems among ordinary Catholics because of confusion about or simply lack of authoritative church teaching, including lack of pastoral oversight of how Catholics interpret Scripture. I have experienced this lack of pastoral oversight by official church teaching authority on two very different levels. One is the level of pastoring simple believers. Urgent pastoral problems have occured among nonprofessional lay Catholics who were attracted to the use of Scripture by movements like Charismatic Renewal, or by their association with Evangelicals and Pentecostals in prolife activities. Lack of oversight by bishops and parish priests left many such Catholics vulnerable to anti-Catholic fundamentalist forms of biblical interpretation. I know many enthusiastic Catholics who became alienated from the Catholic church in this way. In many such cases, although the pastoral responsibility for their parishioners rested primarily on the parish priests, these priests in turn felt inadequate to guide their people’s biblical interpretation because of deficiencies in their own seminary training. Thus, both professional scholars who were the seminary professors (as many of them were lay as clerical) and priests in pastoral roles appear to share some of the responsibility for this failure in oversight of vulnerable parishioners’ use of Scripture.
The more controversial circumstance regarding oversight by the official teaching office of the church (bishops with pope) has been its task of overseeing what professional scholars have written and taught, especially for popular and pastoral settings. It is unquestionably part of a Catholic scholar’s responsibility to argue with other scholars about serious historical and interpretive issues, even those which have the potential of dramatically affecting the faith and traditional teachings of the church. When, however, their controversial interpretations (such as those which seem to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus, or assert that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not important for Christian faith, or claim that probably dogs ate Jesus’ bones) are presented without disclaimer by scholars, or by teachers and catechists dependent on them, to untrained undergraduate or high school students or to ordinary parishioners, their potential (and actual) damage to the faith of these “little ones” can be devastating.
A serious pastoral problem has arisen because of an acute lack of “self-policing” by professional exegetes, who have been exceptionally reluctant since the 1960s to criticize their peers, no matter how problematic their pronouncements might be. Another implicates the realities of modern media: the former scholarly ideal of interchange in academic journals among only serious scholars of ideas which do not get simultaneously promoted in the popular media, until after they have passed scholarly muster among peers, no longer obtains, if it ever did. However, when ideas which are potentially and actually destructive of the innocent faith of untrained faithful are promoted on a pastoral level by Catholic exegetes without either some public challenge by their professional peers or counterbalancing instruction in the tradition by church authorities who are responsible for protecting the faith of their people, the result is and has been for decades mass confusion among ordinary Catholics.
Scholars ought to take some responsibility for mutual correction of their peers as part of their professional obligations as scholars (regardless of denomination). Still, in my judgment the primary responsibility for protecting the integrity of what gets taught to ordinary Catholics as Catholic teaching (or as compatible with Catholic teaching) seems logically to lie with those authorities who have been explicitly and publicly entrusted with oversight of Catholic teaching—bishops who were ordained by the church particularly for this pastoral role. For example, although as an educated scholar I have been entrusted with university teaching, still in my function as teacher-scholar no one has given me authority to judge or be responsible for the faith content of what Catholics are taught in pastoral, popular, and ecclesial settings. Whatever ecclesial authority I may have over others in the area of faith stems more from my authority as ordained priest and official helper of the bishop to make judgments in the internal forum of the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) or to preach the Gospel in Catholic liturgical settings with the mandate originating from my ordination as deacon and priest.
As priest I in turn am subject in principle (though rarely in practice unless I were notorious for teaching falsehood) to not inconsequential oversight from my bishop or equivalent superior over what I preach or publish especially on the popular and pastoral levels. As scholar and teacher, on the other hand, I enjoy academic freedom from most such oversight over the content of what I teach and write as an academic and university teacher. For me to have authority over what affects the faith of other Catholics, it seems that I myself would need to have someone else in authority over what I teach. That simply does not seem applicable to a scholar as scholar the way it is applicable to those who have been accepted, tested, and ordained to be part of the church’s pastoral and teaching hierarchy, in which authorities are themselves accountable to higher church authorities.
It is for such reasons that I hold to a special authority of the church’s magisterium or official teaching authority, and why I have serious reservations about most theories which claim or imply the existence of a “double magisterium” in the Catholic church—one, ordained bishops and pope; the other, professional theological scholars. I see the role of the magisterium regarding interpretation as protecting the apostolic revelation from errors and misinterpretations and approaches harmful to the faith life and worship and moral teachings of the church and its members. The main reason I resist notions of a “double magisterium” is that it is not private scholars but only bishops and pope who are publicly commissioned by the church for their office to oversee and guide and protect the faith and morals of the community as a whole. Obviously, both charisms of scholar and authority are essential for a healthy church, and ideally they will work closely together with mutual respect. Scholars are needed by the church to help the magisterium by their research and contributions and even criticisms. But scholars as scholars have not been commissioned by the church with any authority over the faith and moral teachings of the ordinary laity. How the recently inaugurated “mandatum” in Catholic schools might affect this state of the question remains to be seen.

Johnson: The Catholic Tradition recognizes the teaching office of bishops as well as the symbolic and real teaching authority of the Bishop of Rome. But the Catholic Tradition has also always honored the special authority intrinsic to the charisms of learning and holiness. Just as great sanctity of life demands that the church pay heed to its witness, so does profundity of theological learning demand that the church pay attention. Catholic biblical scholarship, therefore, should be critically loyal to the teaching of the hierarchy but also loyally critical. In the ideal, Catholic Scripture scholarship and the hierarchy remain in a positive and mutually beneficial conversation. Indeed, many of the great patristic interpreters of Scripture were themselves bishops. Catholic biblical scholars can serve the teaching authority of bishops by engaging those dimensions of Scripture that are theologically important and challenging, by rendering their learning in a form intelligible to readers outside the academic guild, by seeking to interpret for the sake of transformation rather than simply explanation, and by encouraging biblical literacy and interpretive abilities among the laity. Bishops can exercise their teaching authority creatively with respect to biblical scholarship by themselves becoming competent interpreters and preachers, by nurturing and enabling scholarly talent among clergy, religious, and laity, and by taking the best of contemporary biblical scholarship into account in their formal teaching.
Alas, the tradition of a learned hierarchy, even one that is biblically competent, has almost completely vanished, just as fewer Catholic biblical scholars show themselves primarily concerned for the instruction of the church. As a result, mutual suspicion has too often replaced the ideal state of trust and cooperation. It is a sad fracturing of the Catholic ethos when scholars are contemptuous of the Rule of Faith, and when bishops seek to impose ideological conformity. One longs for a situation like the one that obtained briefly during the Second Vatican Council, when scholars and bishops learned together and from each other and, as a result, composed documents that both richly interpreted Scripture and tradition and edified the faithful. Unless that happy state of cooperation is again seriously pursued by all, tension between theological scholarship and the hierarchy seems inevitable. In this situation, it is at least important for scholars and prelates alike to remember that they are all members of Christ’s body, in which no member possesses all the gifts, and in which all members are to serve the greater life of the whole.
7. What is the proper critical function of Scripture scholarship vis-à-vis theology and church life?

Johnson: I think that Scripture scholars best serve theology by engaging the text theologically themselves, and by joining in the larger theological conversation. It is a remarkable aspect of contemporary seminary education, both Catholic and Protestant, that the part of the faculty most resistant to joining theological conversation tends to be the Bible scholars. Scripture scholars can enrich theology within the church by opening the texts to a theological, and not simply a historical, reading. Methods such as literary analysis and rhetorical criticism are helpful, but only when they transcend the technical analysis of biblical texts and engage the implications of the stories and arguments thus identified. Scripture scholars can also contribute to theology by forcefully presenting the powerful and prophetic voice of Scripture. Although historical Jesus research is both historically and theologically suspect, for example, it can serve to remind theologians how central the humanity of Jesus—as depicted in all the writings of the New Testament but above all the Gospels—should be. Likewise, serious consideration of the religious claims of the New Testament letters and the book of Revelation demands recognition of the resurrection not simply as a historical event of the past but as the on-going eschatological premise of all Christian existence, not an event of the liturgical year on which to preach once a year but the theological basis of all preaching and all prayer “in the name of Jesus.”
Scripture scholars can remind theology of the relative weight of scriptural testimony. How much saner would contemporary conversations be if the weighty witness of Scripture on the use of material possessions were given more attention than its relatively slender directions concerning sexual behavior. And Scripture scholars can offer criticism of theological developments that are excessive or dangerous, such as supersessionist theologies that serve to delegitimize Judaism, or the use of the polemical language of the New Testament in support of the demonization of Jews or other non-Christian religions.
Scripture scholars, it should be emphasized, also join the theological conversation by learning from other participants in that conversation, rather than simply dictating to them. Scripture scholars have much to learn about the reading of texts from other theological disciplines, and for that matter, from all other readers of the texts, not least those powerful readers among nonspecialists that God always raises up in each generation. In the same way, if biblical scholars can offer useful criticism of a number of ecclesial practices—as in my own work, for example, I have tried to show how the process of decision-making that does not involve discernment among the faithful is theologically inadequate—it is also the case that biblical scholars can and should be involved in the practices of the community and learn from them.

Kurz: As a complementary perspective to these responses, I suggest focusing on the roles of Scripture and interpretation in any religion which has a canonical set of authoritative writings. If biblical scholars are primarily responsible for articulating the scriptural input into any issue, theologians take relatively more responsibility for finding appropriate applications and interpretations of the fixed canon to the changing circumstances of the living religion. Ideally, collaboration between biblical and theological scholars can help overcome the limits of one’s own expertise and specialization in attending to these cross-disciplinary concerns.
The fixed scriptural norm, which was established in the distant past, provides correctives and limits for applications to the present and guarantees continuity in Catholicism with its origins. But a text which is millennia old also has to be recontextualized and applied to new times and circumstances. The special training and linguistic, historical, and literary skills of Scripture scholars serve theology in the ongoing comparison of contemporary theological developments especially with the apostolic origins of Catholic faith. We can help establish the original context and sense of the church’s biblical norm, against which all subsequent developments are measured.
However, we Scripture scholars can overstep our bounds if we act as overeager “censors” of ordinary piety and theology, which are not simply rationally and logically constructed from the text of Scripture. Catholic piety and theology have also grown and accumulated novel elements from centuries of living worship, doctrinal development, Tradition, church life and practice. As a result, popular piety and devotions and even liturgical growth tend to be more haphazard and “messy” than any particular historical precedent or contemporary liturgical theology. Even the great medieval Catholic cathedrals accumulated elements that were not altogether and mutually consistent over the years and decades that it took to build them. Nor is the Roman Canon (now the first Catholic Eucharistic Prayer) as neatly constructed and liturgically consistent as the early form which now serves as the second Eucharistic Prayer. Yet ordinary people have long received remarkable devotion from many of these practices of piety or liturgical rituals which grew somewhat haphazardly over time. As scholars who function primarily with the rational, we need to respect those religious elements in popular and liturgical piety that have accumulated and been assimilated in nonlogical ways.
8. What factors inhibit Catholic biblical scholars from directing all their efforts to the building up of the church?

Kurz: Both of us have observed in the chapters above how the rewards and strictures of academia are quite foreign and unrelated to the needs of the church. Even in Catholic universities, promotion and tenure will generally be attained not by serving immediate church needs but by publishing articles and books that appeal to secular academic journals, institutions, groups, and tastes. One consequence of this is simply the limitations of time and energy for many biblical scholars and teachers to expend many efforts toward explicitly building up the church; many of their undertakings are devoted initially to academic survival and then to further promotion and salary increases for support of their families.
Within Catholic universities, where my academic career has been spent, it is mostly such everyday considerations of time, energy, salary, promotion, and tenure that appear to me to limit extra service of the church at large, beyond the genuine service which exegetes’ authentic research and publishing already provides to the church. I have not noticed any limitation in principle on lay Catholic colleagues from serving in virtually any capacity within the university, or on diocesan and ecumenical offices, advisory boards, commissions, or the like. Although some church positions are currently limited primarily to clerics, at least in the diocese where I serve I have not seen any lack of opportunities for lay exegetical colleagues to exercise as much meaningful service and advisory and teaching functions on both diocesan and parish (not to mention national) levels as they possibly have time for. For example, one of my current Catholic colleagues is playing a prominent role in the current national New American Bible translation project: she heads one of the translation subcommittees.
Also, although in the mid-20th century Catholic biblical scholars have had justifiable fears of church censorship and were in fact sometimes forbidden to publish, such concerns today do not generally seem to correspond at least to anything that I have observed in teaching at a Catholic university since my doctoral studies. Perhaps others have suffered such censorship, but I personally have not been aware of much more than perceived fears which I have not seen realized. Though I have repeatedly heard apprehension about church censorship of biblical scholars, I have never experienced any confirmation of such concerns. Ironically, the only scholars whom I personally know who have had one or more of their articles forbidden publication have been some “conservative” religious priests censored by “liberal” superiors.

Johnson: Even if Catholic scholars wanted all their scholarship to be in service of the church, they would be blocked from two directions. The first and most serious barrier is that erected by the church itself. Ever fewer biblical scholars are among the ranks of the clergy or religious. Ever more of them are laypeople, and among them ever more are women. As laypeople, they have no official voice or recognized role within Catholicism’s hierarchically-defined structure, even if they teach within Catholic universities or colleges. On the plus side, such lay scholars would seem to have more freedom to speak boldly, since they are not subject to the same sort of direct ecclesiastical discipline as clergy and religious, but that freedom is limited precisely by the degree of official ecclesiastical involvement in the life of those academic institutions. Indeed, the increased presence of such lay scholars in Catholic theological faculties was undoubtedly one of the factors leading to the creation of the mandatum. Whatever the final consequences of this instrument, it has a chilling effect on Catholic scholarship, signalling that not creativity but control is the main concern of the church’s hierarchy. The deep disinterest in biblical scholarship among the Catholic clergy is attested as well by the sparse attendance of priests and bishops at the sort of advanced scriptural workshops that scholars provide. This past summer, at workshops I gave in Detroit and Denver, there were, I would guess, no more than 15 priests among some 300 lay and religious participants.
There is blockage also from the side of the academy. The more Catholic scholars are lay, the more they are found in non-Catholic faculties. Roman Catholic biblical scholars today hold major chairs at Yale, Harvard, Chicago, and Emory. These also happen to be the major producers of Ph.D.s in Bible in this country. But such scholars naturally are pulled away from the sort of communication of scholarship that most benefits the church, to the sort of technical scholarship that best pleases promotion and tenure committees in universities. The academy has its own laws and logic. Increasingly, as universities in this country become more secular in spirit and in fact, biblical scholarship (insofar as it can be called that at all) necessarily responds to that social setting rather than the existential needs of faith communities. And there is little incentive to overcome this inertia toward the purely academic when the Catholic faith community, at least in its official hierarchy, shows little interest in and much suspicion toward the efforts of biblical scholars.
9. How should Catholic biblical scholarship relate to the liturgy and preaching from the lectionary?

Johnson: The public worship of the church has always been the central locus for scriptural interpretation in the Catholic Tradition, through the elaboration of the liturgy itself and through scriptural preaching. With the eucharistic celebration now in the vernacular, the challenge is to recover some of the richness of the interpretive Tradition that was developed in the antiphons and graduals, the versicles and responses, of the medieval liturgy. Catholic scholars who participate in liturgical and musical appropriations of Scripture learn something important about the power of the imagination to see (and hear) things in texts that logical analysis can miss. Catholic scholars ought also to participate in the constructing of the common lectionary. They should be concerned not only with the accuracy and felicity of translation, but also with the theological appropriateness of selections. They are in a position to protest the now-common practice of abbreviating scriptural passages to accommodate reduced attention spans, with abbreviations often also involving the excision of parts that are deemed offensive to contemporary sensibilities. If biblical scholars do not argue for the integrity of Scripture as it is read in the assembly, who will?
The most obvious way that Catholic biblical scholars can help improve the dismal state of Catholic homiletics is by providing, as do their Protestant colleagues, first-rate interpretive materials in easily accessible form. A more enduring contribution would be to produce biblical commentaries and theological readings of Scripture that are aimed at common readers rather than academic peers. Good biblical scholarship need not be loaded down with endless footnotes and technical disquisitions. The classic and influential studies of scholars in both testaments in the last century prove, indeed, that the most significant interpretations are often those that are written with simplicity of thought and style. Finally, the most important contribution of all that scholars can make is to take seriously their role as teachers. In their seminary and college classes, they have an unparalleled opportunity to shape the minds and the practices of future pastors and lay leaders in the church. If their pedagogy produces powerful readers who can in turn empower others to read, then the entire culture of the church can change. Pastors can become better preachers because they read Scripture with others and learn from them, and congregations can grow in maturity as they learn to read critically together.

Kurz: I do not have much to add to these eloquent suggestions, which I would primarily “second.” I am quite proud of the fine service Catholic biblical scholarship has provided for the church’s liturgy in the form of translations, commentaries, guides, and many materials used in the the church’s worship. Scholars have also been quite active in providing materials for Catholic preachers. However, I would like to express a personal caveat from my pastoral experience. For effective homilies that move parishioners’ hearts and change their attitudes and behavior, there comes a point when preachers have to use their own resources, spiritual and life experience, prayer, and study to prepare truly personal (not “canned”) homiletic reflections on the lectionary, for which no preaching aids can substitute. In this regard I suggest that biblical scholars’ contributions come more in the remote preparation and education of the homilists themselves (usually in seminary Scripture courses or in publications read by them) than in immediate homily preparation aids. Another personal caution I might add: biblical scholars need to be careful not to intimidate preachers from doing their own prayerful meditation on lectionary texts and personally applying them to their listeners’ lives. When simple parishioners hear biblical texts and their homiletical expositions, it is not primarily biblical scholars but God who should be speaking directly to their hearts and minds.
10. How important for the future of Catholic biblical scholarship is the empowerment of the laity as readers of Scripture?

Kurz: The desire to help educate and prepare lay students to be intelligent readers who nourish their faith and lives through Scripture has been one of the chief motivations behind my 27 years of academic teaching of Scripture. In my undergraduate classes I have persistently desired to open students’ eyes to the power and meaning of Scripture for their lives. In my graduate classes I have wanted to prepare new generations of teachers of Scripture who, if they wished to do so, would be capable of doing likewise for their own future students. On the few occasions where I was visiting professor of New Testament at seminaries in Milwaukee and Nairobi, Kenya, I also had the privilege of trying to empower future priests and preachers to find in Scripture God’s word and to interpret it intelligently for those whom they would serve.
Even pragmatically, if many students and laity can be empowered and encouraged and have their apprehensions overcome so that they can themselves read Scripture intelligently and responsibly, this will result in more of such laity deciding themselves to become Scripture scholars. It will also provide a larger ready audience for the publications, teaching, and presentations of Scripture scholars, especially when they are pastorally attuned.

Johnson: I think that the creation of strong lay readers of Scripture is key not only to the renewal of Catholic biblical scholarship but to the renewal of the church as well. The great tragedy of the present moment is that the proper and organic connection between the study of Scripture and the life of faith is frayed to the point of breaking. The dream of a Catholic laity capable of active and mature engagement with the Scripture has been realized only sporadically. The best pastoral efforts have not been directed to this goal. And the best Catholic scholars seem less and less interested in or able to engage in such pastoral activity; their own desires and the logic of their careers make their labor ever more purely academic and removed from the life of faith.
In response to the previous question, I touched on the importance of having other powerful readers in each parish besides the preacher. Having a community of disciplined, persistent, and questioning readers in each congregation makes for a more mature and capable community and, not incidentally, saves the mind of the pastor, who does not need to die mentally because of intellectual loneliness. Note my use of the adjectives “disciplined, persistent, and questioning,” the same terms I used to describe “critical” scholarship. I believe that a critical biblical scholarship is possible—indeed, necessary—outside the framework of formal educational institutions (the academy) and in, of, and for the church itself. The place where such scholarship is embodied is in groups of laypeople (and, one hopes, also clergy) who join regularly in such informed and transforming reading of Scripture. The creation and nurturing of such communities of readers ought to be a project on which Catholic biblical scholars and hierarchy ought to be able to collaborate. For scholars, such communities of readers ought to be the “ideal readers” toward whom their scholarly work is most directed. Bishops, in turn, should see such communities of readers as the seedbed of future leaders and future scholars who will understand how Scripture is at the heart of a transformative community of faith.
Final Comments

Johnson: It is our hope that this book is the opening rather than the closing of a conversation about the future of Catholic biblical scholarship. The conversation is truly needed, for the situation is urgent. At stake is also the future health of the church, and in this future, all of us have a stake. We do not pretend to have provided any recipe, but only the best thoughts we are now able to give to the question. We have no greater wisdom than others and therefore ask that others share their wisdom. We recognize that our lives are as implicated in the ambiguities we describe here as are the lives of our colleagues. We are not privileged observers but compromised participants. So we offer these thoughts in the hope that others will take them up, test them, improve them. More conversation among those deeply committed to the Catholic Tradition is needed. And something more than conversation is required. Also demanded of us, I think, is the willingness to change some of our practices as scholars, to undergo something of an intellectual and moral conversion, making the life of faith the starting point and goal of our scholarly efforts. Catholic scholarship will again be truly Catholic, I think, when it uses all of the tools of critical inquiry as a means of strengthening authentic faith, of transforming minds into the mind of Christ, and of building up the church in love.

Kurz: I too hope that this book and this final “conversation” might contribute to the beginning of a further conversation about the future of Catholic Scripture scholarship, and not simply be an end to the conversation that went on between its covers. I have often tried in my responses not merely to echo our common positions but rather to contribute divergent insights that originate in significantly different experiences which I have had. To the extent to which this may have contributed to some negative-sounding observations on my part, I am sorry. Nor do I pretend to absolve myself and the record of my own scholarly and teaching efforts from remarks of mine which might be perceived as criticisms.
The truth is that I too am extremely concerned about preserving and recovering treasures from our Catholic heritage of biblical interpretation that can bless the entire ecumenical church. I too have been profoundly persuaded for decades of the importance for myself and for other Catholic scholars of approaching Scripture study, teaching, and writing from our own faith in service of the Catholic community’s faith. I’m not in this profession of teaching and biblical scholarship for the money (which is certainly nothing special). I teach and write and preach from a strong desire to share treasures with which I have been gifted—my Catholic faith in God and his merciful love, my academic and priestly training, and my experience studying, teaching, and preaching Scripture as God’s loving and healing and saving word for a world that urgently needs it. I hope others will share with us from their treasures.
Johnson, L. T., & Kurz, W. S. (2002). The Future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship: A Constructive Conversation (S. 261–287). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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