The Council upholds the traditional conviction that the Four Gospels were all written either by Apostles or “apostolic men,” the latter term being customarily applied to St. Mark and St. Luke, who were trusted companions of the Apostles. Ironically, Catholics began to adopt these errors around the same time that many mainstream Protestants became disenchanted with them, so that our endorsement of “modern” criticism (e.g. [Introduction] [3] The term “fundamentalist” arises from a series of essays known as The Fundamentals (1910-15), which defended long-held Christian doctrines (taking a Reformed or Calvinist theological perspective) against modern liberal denials. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. Transmitting Divine Revelation Paul VI proclaimed the dogmatic constitution on divine revelation Dei Verbum on 19651. © 2014 Daniel J. Castellano. In the sense of Christian revelation, Tradition refers primarily to the teaching authority that is handed from the Apostles to their successors, and also to the content of the teaching proclaimed by such authority. God realized His plan “by deeds and words having an inner unity” and also a clear historical pattern. This does not mean there can be overt falsehood in Scripture, but neither should we demand that the ancient author have a complete knowledge of natural facts. All we can glean is that, though the realities and words of revelation are only those handed down from the Apostles, nonetheless the Holy Spirit may increase our understanding of these realities and words. Thus “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. In the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, the Pope articulated the explicit and implicit doctrines held by modern critics, pointing out their contradiction with faith, and in many cases, with reason. This did not mean that Catholics denied the value of studying Scripture in its original languages. While these sources are themselves informed by Holy Scripture in many respects, this does not excuse preachers of the responsibility of learning Scripture directly insofar as they are able. When treating each of its topics, we will compare the constitution’s teaching with pre-conciliar documents. Higher criticism, also known as form criticism, attempted to determine how and why a text was first composed, mainly by looking at internal literary clues, but also by considering cultural context. The outline is straightforward. In the first chapter (“Revelation Itself”), the Council teaches that God “chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature” (2). It might allow, for example, that St. Matthew’s Gospel was actually written by a companion of the Apostle. This Word is most powerfully manifest in the New Testament, which reveals the Word Incarnate. While the Vatican Council clarified some matters of central importance regarding divine revelation, other questions were left unanswered. Yet it is not enough to read Scripture grammatically, for we must also know what the author intends. Made by. In the nineteenth century, printing had become inexpensive enough for the masses to own books, and universal mandatory education finally became practicable. It might be allowable for Catholics to attribute the authorship of some canonical writings to “apostolic men” (i.e., companions of the Apostles), though not as a pretext for impugning their authenticity as witnesses to apostolic teaching. en The word of God reveals the final destiny of men and women and provides a unifying explanation of all that they do in the world. 5:17), the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old. The Jews regard Holy Scripture as composed of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. Historical Context . Pope Pius did not thereby soften his predecessors’ positions on Scriptural inerrancy; on the contrary, he held that improved knowledge of ancient history and literary modes were necessary aids for the exegete in “explaining the Sacred Scripture and in demonstrating and proving its immunity from all error.”. 1. [1] The Greek term diatheke, translated in Latin as testamentum, encompasses the meanings of both “covenant” and “testament,” hence the two parts of the Christian Bible may be called the Old and New Covenants. In its résumé of the Old Testament, the Council presupposes the historical reality of the covenants with Abraham and Moses, the miraculous manifestations to the Israelites, and the divine inspiration of the prophets. Still, the Magisterium had shown that it would endorse a critical science once it developed reasonably sound methods. There is nothing in Trent or Dei Verbum that positively excludes this opinion. The veneration of Holy Scripture is analogous to, though not identical with, the veneration of the Eucharist. • The Council Fathers desired to lay out “authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on” (DV 1) – The document’s intent is to define doctrine on revelation with the vision of a more coherent … But the Old Testament is also completed in the New. Pope Pius XII noted that the Council of Trent upheld the Vulgate edition as “authentic” only among the Latin versions then in circulation, not to “diminish the authority and value of the original texts.” (Divino Afflante Spiritu, 21). Still, it is inconsonant with the Council’s insistence on apostolic origin to attribute a Gospel to an author who was not a contemporary of the Apostles or had no close association with them. The use of Latin in the liturgy prevented most people from understanding what Scripture was read, though this was remedied by permitting vernacular readings at Mass in the mid-twentieth century. Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), Vatican II on the Lay Apostolate: 1. 7. Conclusion. It was only in the twentieth century that textual criticism possessed both a wealth of manuscript data and sound objective methods, making possible critical editions that might be accepted for public use among Catholics. Yet not even the dissidents themselves pretend that the Magisterium has abandoned its teaching on these issues. The use of literary analysis to determine the human author’s intent is not the final word on the intended meaning of Holy Scripture, for the Council takes seriously the authorship of the Holy Spirit. Dei Verbum: The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation . Yet the use of the term “Yahwist” by no means entails endorsement of a specific hypothesis about how, when, and by whom the Pentateuch was composed. What about subjects in Scripture not pertaining to faith and morals? In this sense, they are all of apostolic origin. Though fairly short, the Constitution is divided into six chapters, and it is interesting that while Tradition is clearly explained and upheld as one of the twin sources of Revelation, there is no separate section on it. DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION DEI VERBUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965. With advances in archaeology and the knowledge of ancient history and literature, it might likewise become possible for at least some parts of “higher criticism” to become less arbitrary and subjective than the speculations of the nineteenth-century German theorists. Some editions even rearrange or delete parts of Scripture on the basis of higher critical theories not supported by extant manuscript readings. The first clause establishes a reasonably clear rule for determining the scope of Biblical inspiration. In Romans 1:16, St. Paul describes the Gospel as “the power of God for the salvation of all who believe,” and the Council regards this phrase as applicable to the word of God more generally. The harmony of the various teachings of Scripture is not always apparent, and cannot be brought out through purely humanistic analysis. It was only appropriate, therefore, now to encourage “frequent reading of the divine Scriptures” by lay Catholics. ) | Aug 03, 2010 Lower criticism involved the comparison of extant manuscripts in order to determine, as closely as possible, the original verbal form of the text, removing copyist errors and editorial glosses. The fifth chapter (“The New Testament”) explains that the four Gospels “faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven” (19), while in the remaining New Testament books “His true teaching is more and more fully stated, the saving power of the divine work of Christ is preached, the story is told of the beginnings of the Church and its marvelous growth, and its glorious fulfillment is foretold” (20). As a result, “fundamentalism” has come to be identified with strict Biblical literalism, and it is wrongly perceived that defenders of Biblical inerrancy are necessarily naive literalists or young-earth creationists. Thus Dei Verbum is not granting anything that was not already permitted by Pope Pius XII. It also attests to reality of His deeds, which manifested Himself and the Father, i.e., the miracles He worked. See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions. The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture aims to serve the ministry of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church. It was the result of the Conciliar fathers who worked in the doctrine of revelation: explaining and developing the understanding of God's communication to the human being. The remainder of the document deals with the inspiration and interpretation of Holy Scripture. Central to the commentary’s approach are the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture “in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written”—that is, interpreting Scripture in its canonical context and in the light of Catholic tradition and the analogy of faith (Dei Verbum, 12). Strictly speaking, it asserts only the Church’s traditional eschatology, that all our activity is oriented toward the full revelation at the end of time. Indeed, St. Paul elsewhere calls Christ “the power of God” (1 Cor. Note that the present Council holds revelation to be a sounder basis for belief than human reason. We have only to determine what the human author intended to assert, and thus learn also what the Holy Spirit asserts. By the time of the Second Vatican Council, near-universal literacy could be assumed in most nations, which was hardly the case at the time of the last Council in 1870. 1. The question arises as to whether the Magisterium has thereby given tacit consent to modern critical hypotheses that openly deny traditional teachings about the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down” (8). Yet it is by no means necessary to compromise the Church’s perennial teaching on the divine inspiration of Scripture in order to avoid the pitfalls of geocentrism, young-earth creationism, and the like. The higher critics claimed to have proven a number of theses that were at odds not only with particular Christian doctrines, but even with the basic authenticity and divine inspiration of Scripture. Others boldly challenged the integrity of Scripture, arguing that certain books were harmonizations of contradictory traditions, or that primitive histories were distorted to serve later theological purposes. There is no indication that such analysis is to be used to determine authorship of the Biblical texts, nor are there grounds for denying the reality of Biblical prophecy and miracles, much less the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Price New from Used from Hardcover "Please retry" $59.95 — … If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off! Still, the purpose of Scripture—to expound the faith and morals necessary for salvation—does have an important exegetical role. Pope Leo had already acknowledged as much, citing St. Augustine and St. Thomas: Since the Holy Spirit was not concerned with teaching men the secrets of nature or other matters unessential to salvation, we should not expect such topics to be discussed with greater precision than the culture of the time permitted. Those Apostles who preached and taught observances from their knowledge of Christ and His Spirit were no less inspired than “those Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing.” (DV, 7). Rom. The Council “unhesitatingly” confirms the historical character of the Gospels. Post-conciliar liturgy has emphasized this unity of the Word revealed in Scripture and in the Eucharist by structuring the Mass as composed of the Liturgies of the Word and of the Eucharist. Then: Furthermore, “this tradition…develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. Christians make no such claim about their Scripture, and freely admit that its literary quality is frequently limited by the skill of its human authors. bio - Without this recognition of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, there would be no reason for us to have any more concern for it than another set of ancient texts. It also clarifies teaching about the authenticity and inerrancy of Holy Scripture, in light of modern developments in exegesis and criticism. Once divine authorship of the Scripture, including all its assertions, is admitted (as Dei Verbum explicitly confirms), it does not matter one whit whether or not a particular assertion is related to the primary purpose of divine revelation. The purpose of these interventions was to prepare a people for the “plan of salvation foretold by the sacred authors” of the Old Testament. The Pontifical Biblical Commission continued to exist after the Council, even to this day, yet it never once in this half-century rescinded or superseded any of its responsa of the early twentieth century. Dei Verbum and the Synoptic Gospels. Accordingly, it falls to the bishops, as guardians of apostolic teaching, “to give the faithful entrusted to them suitable instruction in the right use of the divine books, especially the New Testament and above all the Gospels.” They can do this by authorizing translations of Scripture, with adequate explanations in footnotes, for the use of lay Catholics. At the time, a distinction was made between “lower” and “higher” criticism. The Council emphasizes the dynamic aspect of Tradition: The notion of doctrinal development implied here is much too vague to serve as a useful definition. The word of God, which is the power of God for the salvation of all who … Even when following an authentic edition, an uneducated Catholic might be easily misled by the superficial or apparent meaning of text, if he does not have a comprehensive knowledge of Scripture and Tradition as interpreted by the Church. Tradition in the common sense means any customary belief or practice that is handed down from one generation to another. Yet there is another way in which God reveals Himself: The purpose of this more direct divine revelation is to show the way to salvation. virtues, expressing the desire that faith grow into hope and Prologue (1) Chapter 1: Divine Revelation Itself (2-6) Chapter 2: Transmission of Divine Revelation (7-10) Both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture convey the word of God, so they are depicted as two streams of revelation. This principle guarantees that the meaning of the Scriptures will be generally accessible to us, for this does not demand the impossible task of scrutinizing the mind of God. In exercising this office, the Church is aided by the Holy Spirit, yet this is not a third source of revelation. This is because Sacred Scripture gives us an especially direct and less equivocal expression of the word of God, owing to its particular mode of inspiration. Dei Verbum article 12 then adds two further effects of the Spirit which serve as rules for understanding and explaining the Scriptures: "the living Tradition of the whole Church" and the analogy of faith. Thus it applies only to propositions, not individual words or letters, which standing alone, do not admit of truth or falsity. The responsa of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (the most important of these issued from 1905 to 1915) contradicted a number of widely held critical theses (notably the two-source hypothesis of the Synoptic Gospels), while allowing latitude in other areas (e.g., allowing non-Mosaic glosses in the Pentateuch, permitting denial of Davidic authorship of the Psalms). Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The laity may engage Holy Scripture in different ways; it does not have to be always through direct reading. http://www.arcaneknowledge.org, 8. The interdependence of Tradition, Scripture, and the Magisterium is easy to prove. It is common to dismiss those who uphold the Church’s teaching on Biblical inerrancy with the careless epithet of “fundamentalist.”[3] More substantively, it is a common opinion among Catholic exegetes that inerrancy does not apply to matters not pertinent to faith and morals, and some even quote Dei Verbum as endorsing this position. (Liturgiam authenticam, 24, 37). In 1907, Pope St. Pius X forcefully denounced the ideological underpinnings of critical impieties, under the rubric of “Modernism.” “Modernism” is not a cohesive ideology held by a self-identified group of “Modernists,” but an umbrella term for the heterodox combination of theology with various modern ideological trends, such as relativism, liberalism, and secularism. The Council reaffirms the conviction of the Fathers that the Old Testament prefigured the New, often in types or allegories. Per the modes of writing then current, the Evangelists freely selected and arranged the content of existing oral and written sources, according to the themes and concerns of their churches. Even if we agree that Scripture and Tradition are equally binding in authority, it can hardly be disputed that appeals to Scripture have always been favored by theologians, especially the Fathers, for the firm establishment of doctrine. This sort of exegesis does a real service to the Church, since revealing more exactly what the sacred writer intended to assert also clarifies what the Holy Spirit intended to assert, per the Church’s definition of inspiration. Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church With this background, we can now examine the extent to which Dei Verbum confirms prior teachings or develops them. There is no impiety in subjecting the written Word to the ordinary methods of textual and literary criticism, for this is merely acknowledging the reality of the condescension that God undertook for our benefit. It is precisely because we accept living Tradition that we accept the teaching and practice of the Fathers and incorporate them into the life of the Church. Jaime Bonet in Mallorca, Spain in 1963, receiving Pontifical approval on the 15th April, 2000 as an Institution of Consecrated Life in the Catholic Church. While largely focused on Scripture, Dei Verbum is a teaching about divine revelation as a whole, not just the Bible. Dei Verbum—like all other Magisterial pronouncements—does not presume to solve all Scriptural difficulties. The Holy Spirit can neither deceive nor be deceived, as even liberal Catholics will admit. Description: 508 pages 23 cm: Contents: Part One: Biblical notion of Revelation --I. Thus Pope Leo wrote: From the Council of Trent onward, the Magisterium repeatedly declared that no one should deviate from the sense of Scripture taught by unanimous agreement of the Fathers. Inspiration of Holy Scripture Dei Verbum. It is one thing to deny or compromise Scriptural inerrancy on rationalistic grounds, but quite another to claim that the universal Magisterium has abandoned it. What, exactly, is meant by the divine inspiration of Scripture? Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. Both modes of revelation have the common end of proclaiming the Gospel message of salvation. We ought to give the “obedience of faith” to God who reveals, “offering the full submission of intellect and will… and freely assenting to the truth revealed.” Such faith is possible only by the preceding help of the Holy Spirit, “moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind.” (DV, 5) Thus understanding and acceptance of revelation is not attained by purely natural or human means. They faithfully spread the Gospel by oral preaching, “and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.” (DV, 7) This last statement closely parallels one from the fourth session of Council of Trent: “..this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating..”, Note that Christian revelation is not strictly verbal, but includes practices derived from Christ’s teaching and example, or from the divine inspiration of the Apostles. They relate what Christ really did and taught for eternal salvation. Vernacular translations of the Bible were already permitted by the Church for centuries, though these always used the Vulgate as a template. God does not momentarily or intermittently cease to be Truth and commit error when asserting things incidental to His primary purpose. seems positively retrogressive. They did not aim to reproduce words and phrases with verbatim accuracy—an object that was not valued in a predominantly oral culture—but only to convey faithfully the substantive meaning of Christ’s teaching. In the teachings of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum,the council fathers sought to address certain veins of thought running through Baroque and Neo-scholastic theology, then popular in Catholic seminaries and universities, and “debunk” the Scriptures coming from liberal protestant theologians and Scriptural exegetes, which were slowly infiltrating Catholic academia. Since all clergy, including deacons, were now encouraged to take a role in preaching, it is all the more imperative that they should be hearers of the written Word of God, as should catechists. In the modern era, especially as contrasted with Protestants, it often seemed as though Catholics had relatively little regard for Sacred Scripture, due to the comparative neglect of Biblical study among Catholic laity. This is not cause, however, to deny the divine character of Scriptural teaching, any more than the real humanity of Christ contradicts His divinity. The Church does not allow the use of literary forms as a means of admitting falsehood in Scripture. 17. Finally: Thus it is clear that Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church “are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others” (10). As Peter Williamson, Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major and co-editor of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, observes, Dei … "The living Tradition of the whole Church" obviously derives from the pneumatological principle. Commentary on Dei Verbum. That is the question which the Second Vatican Council set out to answer in its eleventh document on November 18, 1965, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum). As higher criticism was much more interpretive, and less bound by objective criteria than lower criticism, it was much more likely to run afoul of orthodox doctrine. All rights reserved. One must appeal to the Church’s living Tradition, which is itself the work of the Holy Spirit. The last sentence quoted may seem to imply a progressivist, evolutionary notion of ecclesiastical history, in accordance with modern futurism. (The official English translation above, though non-literal, accurately conveys the meaning of analogiae fidei.) Preface. Our Father made an in-depth commentary in issue 51 of the CRC. John 20:22; St. Ambrose, De spiritu sancto, I, 4, 55). Preface. The absence of punishment is merely consequent to the fact that the Church has abandoned the temporal sword (where it has not already been seized from her). Its use of internal evidence is conditioned by well-defined heuristic principles and by external evidence. Even advocates of a strong view of Mosaic authorship allow that Moses used written sources in composing his work, and it has been recognized that there are two accounts of creation in Genesis at least since the time of Flavius Josephus (1st cent.). Here the Council identifies the “word of God,” in the sense of the revealed word for our salvation (manifest in Scripture and Tradition), with the Word who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, i.e., Christ. The Council unequivocally affirms the reality of Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit. 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