Monday, March 4, 2019
Historical Awareness and the Interpretation of the Bible Essay
Christianity make waters the largest followers gentlemanwide and holds its chest through what they claim as actual terminations in business relationship. However, the study of the historicity of the leger has make boastful critics question the au accordinglyticity and the validity of the vitrines and teachings that ar found in the ledgers. Liberal critics claim that the Scripture is full of historic errors, human biases, sacred prejudices and fictional stories.E very(prenominal)thing from the Virgin Birth to the resurrection of Christ, and from papacy to priesthood, atomic number 18 being rejected, base on the historical critical approach to Scripture. The studyation of the sacred scripture has beca exercise developed from its literal sense datum to a symbolic commentary of its pass advances.Interpretations of the rule bookThe news is construe in disagreeent ways but could be categorized into two methods the conservative and full-grown interpretation. Conse rvatives hold the Bible as Gods divine words from which they interpret it by the garner unless the passage is clearly in leaded as an all(prenominal)egory, poetry or whatever other genre. Interpreting the Bible by the letter encompasses a stiff interpretation of the passagesthat is to say conservatives interpret the Bible literally.The International Council on scriptural Inerrancy (1978), a group of conservative Christians hold that the literal sense is the importee which the writer expressed and deny the legitimacy of each approach to Scripture that attributes to it heart which the literal sense does non support. On the other hand, liberal critics interpret the Bible symbolically or allegoricallythat is they treat the Bible as a collection of fictional stories. They use the historical-grammatical approach to break the meaning of the text by taking into account cultural and historical background and the literary genre. enigmas Relating to the Literal Interpretation of the Bi ble in that respect is petite doubt that the Bible has been taken in its literal sense in the lead science has explored and discovered c erstpts that are in relation with whatever scriptural passages. The story of creation, as a basic example, could no longer be accepted in its literal sense, which would otherwise contradict with scientifically be principles and largely accepted theories.The experience that scientific discoveries and research has caterd over the old millennium reveals that God could non go through made the world as it is in seven earth days. Human logic and reason would set up that there essential be few other explanation why the Bible, as Gods inspired words, are written in such a manner. God, as the creator of all things and who has knowledge all things, could non have erred and must have intended manything else in specifying that the world was created in seven days. Hence, it is not exactly evident but to a fault necessary to say that literally interpreting at least some portions of the Bible are no longer sufficient.historic CriticismHistorical criticism is the art of analyzing the factuality of written schedules and the supposed facts handed down. It makes use of written put downs, unwritten evidence and tradition as the source of information. The historical critic must also be guided chiefly by an ardent love of truth and must be free of any prejudice ghostly, national or domesticthat may otherwise discover the historians judgment.The authenticity and haleness of a written document is investigated before it could be passed as a genuine source of evidence. genuineness includes verifying whether or not it was from the author who claims it to be, whether such individual existed, and whether or not the document or individual belonged to the specific time of history in question.Integrity, on the other hand, verifies whether or not the document is in the shape or form from which the author has produced itthat is, whether or not the document is complete, free of corruption and the complexities of translation. It is generally suffice to determine the approximate age of a document using the nature of the material, i.e. papyrus, parchment, cotton, etc., and the character of the writing.It is a lot very rare that a document that is purported to be an original or an scratch leaves room for reasonable doubt when it passed a series of tests attachmenting its authenticity. However, it is also generally held that to translate a word correctly does not necessarily weaken its meaning in the context of the particular era to which the manuscript belongs.The researcher must then be careful with interpreting the meaning of the document. The bother in analyzing scriptural documents is that they survive provided in form of copies, or copies of copies. In these cases, manuscripts of uniform content or subject are often compared to each other, some time revealing variations in the readings.The discovery of the Dead sea Scrolls while providing some of the oldest and the only known copies of Biblical documents have challenged the theories of the maturement of the modern Biblical textspecifically those of textual criticism. There are a few of the Biblical manuscripts in the Dead Sea Scrolls that differ with Masoretic texts, and most of them differ only slightly. The fact that Biblical documents have slightly changed over the course of at least three centuries brook confidence on the content of the modern Bible. However, the real question arises not in the actual content of the Bible but on the meaning of its content.Another problem regarding authenticity and integrity of the Biblical manuscripts is the question regarding the knowledge of the author concerning his work Does the author have straitlaced, send-off-hand knowledge of the purported fact? Is he altogether sincere in his disposition concerning the purported fact? As an example, the integrity of the evangel is raised as it has become apparent that the earliest literature of this figure dates 65 years after saviour resurrection.Historicity of the BibleThere are basically two main schools of thought regarding the historicity of the Bible the fundamentalists who regard that everything that is written in the Bible actually happened as it is stated and the liberals who gestate that the Bible had no historical valuethat is, historical events purported in the Bible did not really happen.There are two schools of thought on giving weight to the historical accounts flummoxed in the Bible Biblical maximalism assumes that Biblical narratives are faithful unless proven otherwise and Biblical minimalism. Biblical maximalists tend to interpret the Bible literally. They view accounts specified in the Bible as a starting point for constructing history and correct and reinterpret it when archaeological evidences prove contradicts their viewpoint. On the other hand, Biblical minimalists start from archaeological find ings and only consider Biblical accounts of value only when they are consistent with these findings.In relation to Jesus, there are but few historical manuscripts that provide evidence that he is an actual historical figure. His name is briefly mentioned in the works of Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius, but aside from a brief mention and commentary of the early Christians, only the accounts specified in the New Testament channels a basis for the existence of a man named Jesus. The Gospels are the only sources of information more(prenominal) or less the life and works of Jesus and even those are criticized for its historical accuracy.There exists what is known today as the Synoptic Problem which revealed the diversity in the Biblical texts. What catches the interest of critics, however, is not the differences in the versions of the accounts in the life of Jesus, but the striking similarity of the texts itself. Considering that the Gospels had been written during contrary times at divers(prenominal) locations, questions such as whether the authors of the Synoptic Gospels were using a common source, perhaps written or from vocal tradition, or not.If there exists an earlier source from which the authors of the Synoptic Gospels found their work, then why where the new Gospels written? Furthermore, if indeed the authors overlap a common source, why where there differences? Did the authors feel free to interpret and apply the Jesus tradition as they wrote?Most theologians would answer that each Gospel writers have their own purpose and interpretations of Jesus from which the differences in similar accounts are attributed. Nevertheless, there is no one solution that offers sufficient plentiful explanation on the Synoptic Problem. While resolving this issue would not verify the existence of the historical Jesus, questions regarding the authority of the accounts, particularly that of Jesus and his teachings, willing be eliminated.Effects of Historical Criticism on the Interpretation of the BibleToday, Christianity holds the largest followers worldwide. If Christianity derives its authority from actual historical events, then that claim must be investigated by the most austere standards of historical judgments.The advent of scientific research, particularly that of historical criticism, has put the historicity, as well as the authority and interpretation of the Bible in serious question. Samuel George Brandon (1955) explained that the historical character of Christianity, which was once proclaimed apologetically as the greatest argument for the validity of that faith, has in stages been found to be a source of great perplexity if not of weakness (156).Raymond Brown (1975) explained that physical, historical and linguistic methods, known to us in only approximately the last one hundred years, has produced a scientifically critical study of the Bible, a study that has revolutionalized views held in the past about the aut horship, origin and dating of the biblical books, about how they were composed, and what the authors meant No longer did they (Catholic exegetes) hold that Moses was the substantial author of the Pentateuch, that the first chapters of Genesis were really historical, that Matthew was the first Gospel written by an eyewitness etc.Robert Sungenis held that The historical critic will try to convince you that, since Scripture contains historical errors, human biases, religious prejudices and fictional stories, and since Scripture is only free from error when it deals with matters of salvation, then in non-salvific matters (e.g., women priests and homosexuality), the Bible is nothing more than an expression of the religious preferences and cultural biases active during the time of the biblical authors writing. Since we in modern times have come of age, as it were, and know that such biases are unecumenical and judgmental, then it is high time we change our interpretation of Scripture. Hi storical criticism is effective the needed tool to do the job.Resolving the ConflictPreviously, culture was silent to static and unchanging. However, historical information reveal culture to be more guided by human experience that creates changing values and meanings as predicted by the way of life. It must only be necessary accordingly that faith is expressed and understood in terms of our particular setting. It is in contrast to the sola scriptura principle of conservative Protestants. They claim that faith is to be found on the Bible alone.However, interpreting the Bible in relation to yield events does not necessarily imply the interpreter to be a liberal critic. Progressive interpretation look upon the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned. It analyzes the culture from which the authors lived, interpret what is stated in relation to the batch of the time it was written, and apply the meaning of the passage in relation to the present circumstances. Afte r all, Lonergan held that theology mediates between a cultural matrix and the moment and role of a religion in that matrix.While it is apparent that some passages in the Bible are clearly not intended to be interpreted in its literal sense, there is still the question whether some of the passages must be taken in its literal meaning or if any passage is to be taken in its literal sense at all. However, taking into consideration the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels which bug out to be similar have different versions. Theologians justify these differences through specifying the intents of the authors. In this case, it is only plausible to dismiss the particular event as an accurate version in history.Nevertheless, it does not necessarily imply that the event had not taken place at all. Lonergan (1971, 179) held that experience is individual while the data for history lie in the experiences of many. Furthermore, the same event is sometimes interpreted by different individual who have experienced that particular event depending on their perception. The fact that the event is related to us on different accounts, probably by different individuals, may prove that such an event may have occurred. regardless of the factual historicity of the event specified in the Synoptic Gospels, the justifications made by theologians on the different accounts on Jesus life make it clear that the accounts are not to be interpreted in its literal sense.Lonergan held that the discoveries of the historian are expressed in narratives and descriptions that regard particular persons, places and times. They have no claim to universality they could, of course, be pertinent to the understanding of other persons, places and times but whether in fact they are relevant, and just how relevant they are, can be settled only by a historical investigation of the other persons, places and times (180).Furthermore, Lonergan explained that because they have no claim to universality, the discoveries o f the historians are not verifiable in the fashion proper to the natural sciences in history verification is parallel to the procedures by which interpretation is judged correct (180).On the other hand, faith has nothing to do with history. Regardless of whether Christian traditions gain its authority from its historicity or not, what matters is the belief that Christians hold. Faith is a product of the fulfillment that brings a radical peace, the peace that the world cannot give without which opens the way to the trivialization of human life (Lonergan, 1971, 105). That fulfillment, according to Lonergan (1971, 106), is not the product of our knowledge or choice.There is therefore always room to interpret the Scriptures that is not entirely based on historical criticism. Relying on faith alone, the Scriptures should be interpreted basing on the experience of mystery to develop a type of consciousness that deliberates, makes judgments of value, decides, and acts responsibly and freel y.Works CitedBrandon, Samuel George Frederick, The historical element in native Christianity. Numen vol. 2, no. 1, 156-167Brown, Raymond E. Biblical Reflections on Crises Facing the Church. Mahwah, NJ Paulist Press, 1975International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. The Chicago statement on Biblical inerrancy. 1978. The Spurgeon Archive. 17 knock against 2009 Lonergan, Bernard. Method in Theology. Toronto, Canada University of Toronto Press, 1971Sungenis, Robert. Fr. Raymond Brown and the demise of the Catholic Scripture Scholarship. Catholic Apologetics International. 17 March 2009.