Pope Benedict XVI on the Bible

This article has been online for a little while, but it seemed right in light of Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the United Kingdom to post a link to it here for readers who have not seen it. In this article in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr. Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J.reflects on “Pope Benedict XVI: Theologian of the Bible.” Fr. Lienhard was being honored with the first “Pastores Dabo Vobis Award in Honor of Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.”  This article is taken from the 15th Annual Peter Richard Kenrick Lecture, which Fr. Lienhard gave at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, on March 18, 2010, according to the article itself.

In this article Fr. Lienhard examines Pope Benedict’s biblical theology, ending with ten key points that emerge from his writings on the Bible and biblical interpretation over the course of his life as Joseph Ratzinger and Pope benedict XVI. There are a few points that Fr. Lienhard draws from the Pope’s writing which I think are fascinating and worthy of further exploration here in this blog; I hope that we can get to some of these points in the coming weeks and months. Here are three key points for me that Fr. Lienhard has outlined, with his original numbering:

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“5. Besides being seen in their historical setting and interpreted in their historical contexts, the texts of Scripture must be seen from the perspective of the movement of history as a whole and of Christ as the central event.

7. The exegetical question cannot be solved by simply retreating into the Middle Ages or the Fathers, nor can it renounce the insights of the great believers of all ages, as if the history of thought began seriously only with Kant (cf. God’s Word, 114 and 125).

8. Dei Verbum envisioned a synthesis of historical method and theological hermeneutics, but did not elaborate it. The theological part of its statements needs to be attended to (cf. God’s Word, 98-99).”

There is much more than this in the article and in Pope Benedict’s biblical theology, of course, so I would encourage you all to take a look at the whole article and the Pope’s writing itself on the Bible. As I said, I hope to return to these themes, and others you might suggest, in the future.

John W. Martens

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
David Nickol
7 years 6 months ago
Most of what I have read about the Gospels for the past many years has been very much historical-critical in nature, and when I read about Jesus, it is usually the ''historical'' Jesus. So when I began reading Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, it seemed rather odd to me. I put it aside after about the first 30 pages, but I do eventually want to get back to it. I do also want to read Fr. Lienhard's article. Maybe the article will be a good preparation for a second try at the book.

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