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Old 08-21-2001, 07:13 AM   #1
dmvprof
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Question Contextual Approach

In talking with a catholic about the bible, I started pointing out the absurdity of some of the stories if interpreted literally.

He then began to tell me about the Catholic positoin of a contextual approach to the bible which was adopted in the 60's by the Pope.

How is this a departure from earlier beliefs? What does it imply? With this approach, can anything in the bible be taken literally? It sounds to me like the church retreated yet again by softening their position of the literal truth of biblical stories.
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Old 08-21-2001, 02:07 PM   #2
Peter Kirby
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Quote:
Originally posted by dmvprof:
<STRONG>In talking with a catholic about the bible, I started pointing out the absurdity of some of the stories if interpreted literally.

He then began to tell me about the Catholic positoin of a contextual approach to the bible which was adopted in the 60's by the Pope.

How is this a departure from earlier beliefs? What does it imply? With this approach, can anything in the bible be taken literally? It sounds to me like the church retreated yet again by softening their position of the literal truth of biblical stories.</STRONG>
Hello,

In the first part of a New American Bible, you can find the official statement of the Roman Catholic church on matters of inspiritation and interpretation.

Basically, a few things remain dogmatically literal, including the credal statements on the virgin birth and the resurrection. Things not declared doctrine by church tradition may be considered metaphorically, if the "context" suggests such a metaphorical reading. It isn't very clear about how such contextual reading works itself out in specifics.

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Peter Kirby
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Old 08-21-2001, 03:24 PM   #3
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Probably the best book on how Catholics practice Biblical interpretation can be found in St. Augustine's On Christian Doctrine in which he discusses this issue at length. It is a very long book however, and if you can find a hard copy, that may be beneficial. He covers off virtually every exegetical issue imaginable, so if you have any specific questions it should be possible to find the answers there.

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