The purpose of this course is to provide a clear statement of the Catholic doctrine on the nature of biblical inspiration, by documenting this position with references to some significant documents of the Church, especially the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation “Dei Verbum.” The second aim of this course is to describe the evolution of the biblical canon. Finally the course will confront one of the most challenging issues in contemporary biblical study i.e. hermeneutics, or the interpretation of the Bible.
I. Inspiration: a. The key biblical passages on inspiration: 2 Tim 3:16-17 and 2 Pet 1:19-21 will be examined along with a summary of patristic views and different contemporary theories of inspiration. b. Discussion on Dei Verbum (#11-26) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#101-141). II. Canon: a. The process of the development of the canon will be examined, showing how decisions about canonicity brought an end to this creative process. b. Focus on the books considered divinely inspired and normative for Catholic Christians. Hermeneutics: a. Biblical hermeneutics in general. b. Exercises and examples of methods and approaches for interpreting the Bible. Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course: Students will have acquired a basic knowledge of the Bible, its canonical development and the methods used in its interpretation which will be necessary for the further study of Sacred Scripture and of theology. They will be familiar with the content and language of the decree Dei Verbum and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Scripture’s place in theology and the life of theChurch. They will be able to define, identify and distinguish between the various modern exegetical methodologies, both synchronic and diachronic.
The complete Bible, translated into English. Dei Verbum: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.Vatican II, 1965. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Vatican City, LEV 1994); PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (Vatican City, LEV 1993). FREEDMAN, DAVID NOEL (ed.), The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, Doubleday 1992); GORMAN MICHAEL J., Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A BasicGuide for Students and Ministers (Peabody, Hendrickson 2009); BARTHOLOMEW CRAIG G (ed.), Renewing BiblicalInterpretation (Grand Rapids, Zondervan 2001); ID., “Behind” the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, Zondervan 2003); ID., Canon and Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, Zondervan 2006); COLLINS RAYMOND F., “Inspiration” in The New JeromeCommentary, Edited by RAYMOND E. BROWN (London, Geoffrey Chapman 1989. 1023-1033); BROWN RAYMOND E. and RAYMOND F. COLLINS, “Canonicity”. in: NJBC, 1034-1054; RAYMOND E. BROWN-SANDRA M. SCHNEIDERS, “Hermeneutics” in: NJBC, 1146-1165.