Archive for the ‘Scriptural Studies’ Category

“BEHOLD! THE LAMB OF GOD”

January 18, 2009

*Dr.Ivo da Conceição Souza

Introduction:

According to the Fourth Gospel, John the Baptizer, seeing Jesus of Nazareth, exclaimed: “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). Likewise, on the following day, this scene repeated, and the Baptizer designated Jesus for the second time as the Lamb of God, before his disciples: “Behold! The Lamb of God! (Jn 1:36). In these two verses of the first chapter of the Johannine Gospel, we encounter for the first time this new formula of Revelation.

In general, the whole Christology of the Precursor/Forerunner in the Fourth Gospel raises a problem for the exegetes. The Christological doctrine of the Baptizer explicitly includes the pre-existence of Jesus (cf. Jn 1:15.27), his divinity (cf. Jn 1:34) and his redemptive mission, symbolized by the title in question. There is a great deal of discussion about the meaning of this symbolic title, as we shall see from the history of exegesis. Without pretending to be exhaustive, we shall discuss the basic principles of interpretation, which may help us here, and limit ourselves to the main suggestions of the scholars about the meaning of this important Johannine theme.

We can refer here, at the very outset, to the Tradition in general: The Western Fathers saw in this symbol of the ‘Lamb of God’ a reference to the Paschal Lamb, while the Eastern Fathers interpreted it in function of the Suffering Servant of Is 53:7, where he is compared to a lamb, led to be slaughtered. But the common point, underlying these interpretations, is that the Tradition understood it unanimously as referring to death of Jesus Christ by which he expiated the sins of the whole world.

a) The Structure of the Text:

Before we proceed to the interpretation of the pericope, let us see the structure of the text, in which this title has been inserted. It may help us to grasp better the biblical thought. This formula follows the Old Testament pattern, as for instance, the one found in 1 Sam 9:17: “When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, ‘Look! Here is the man…who shall rule over my people’”. If we analyse this formula here, we discover the following structure: *a messenger sees a person and says, ‘Look!’; *this is followed by a description, wherein the seer reveals the mystery of the person’s mission: “He shall rule over my people, he shall be a ruler”. However, its use in the New Testament is peculiarly Johannine, for we know that whatever traditional material is found in Jn 1:29 has been recast in a Johannine mould.

The text runs as follows:

The next day, seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. (30)This is the one I spoke of when I said: A man is coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me. (31) I did not know him myself, and yet it was to reveal him to Israel that I came baptizing with water’. (32) John also declared, ‘I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him. (33)I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptize with the Holy spirit’. (34)Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God’” (Jn 1:29-34).

There is a concentric structure/organic circularity in our passage:

V.29):a)”Behold, the Lamb of God (Ide ho amnós tou theou)… b)that takes away the sin of the world (ho airón ten hamartían tou kósmou)…this is the one…coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me. I did not know him myself, …to reveal him…. I came baptizing with water. I saw the Spirit come down…on the one who is going to baptize with the Holy Spirit (houtos estín ho baptízon en pneumatic hagiw) (b’)…I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God (kai memartyreka hóti houtos estín ho eklektós tou theou) (a’).

The second section of the text, where this title recurs for the second time, runs as follows:

(v.35) On the following day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God’. (36)Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. (37)Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi’—which means Teacher—‘where do you live?’ (38) ‘Come and see’, he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour. (40)One of these…Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’—which means the Christ—(41) and he took Simon to Jesus (Jn 1:35-40).

There are several titles of Christ. One of the most contro­versial one is the Lamb of God, found twice in Jn 1:29 and 36. This title comes on the lips of John the Baptizer. He calls Jesus:  “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29.36). The mission of the Baptizer was to witness to Christ before Israel. He confesses his inferiority before Jesus.

We shall proceed, step by step, taking as the starting-point the Messianic connotation of this expression.

c)A Messianic Title:

While in the Synoptics the Precursor of Christ is presented as the ‘preacher of the good tidings’, announcing the coming of the messianic Kingdom (cf. Mt 3:2), in the Fourth Gospel he is shown to be a ‘witness to the Revelation’, charged with the mission of revealing the Messiah to the Jewish people (cf. Jn 1:31). It is in this context of the messianic revelation that comes the designation of Jesus as the “Lamb of God” on the lips of John the Baptizer. It is usually said that this title was given by the Baptizer to Jesus, during his ministry, a little after the Baptism. But according to Marie-Émile Boismard, this witness had place on the very day of his baptism at Jordan. Although it is repeated twice in our text that the theophany of Jordan with the descent of the holy Spirit revealed to the Baptizer the One “whom he did not know” (vv.31.33), to be the Messiah, the Chosen One of God (v.34), it is not probable that the Baptizer did not hear about Jesus’ Messiahship and know him personally, if we can rely on the historical value of the Lukan Infancy Gospel, according to which Mary and Elizabeth were relatives and friends (cf. Lk 1:36-45), as Alfred WIKENHAUSER puts it: “Damit will er nicht etwa eine persönliche Bekanntschaft mit ihm in Abrede stellen, sondern nur ein Wissen um seine Auserwählung zum Messias. Darüber ist er durch eine Offenbarung Gottes, der ihm den Auftrag zu taufen gegeben hat, belehrt worden”.

In the first phase of his activity, the Baptizer seems to have stressed on the Day of Yahweh rather than on the Person of the Messiah. But in the light of Mt 3:14, we can see that the Baptizer had already preached before the Baptism about Jesus’ superiority: “I baptize you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:3.11-15). And when Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John, John tried to dissuade him, “It is I who need baptism from you, and yet you come to me!”, but at last he gave in to him, so as to “do all that righteousness demands”. He cannot, however, witness in favour of Jesus, officially and in public, before he be enthronized as a Messiah; now, this enthronization took place on the day of the Baptism. As we said, the mission of the Baptizer was to reveal the Messiah to Israel (cf. Jn 1:31), and the definitive revelation took place on this occasion: “Ja der eigentliche und letzte Zweck seiner Taufwirksamkeit besteht darin, dass er dadurch die Möglichkeit bekam, Jesus als den Erwarteten zu erkennen und ihn Israel bekannt zu machen”. “Although conscious of this destination, the Baptist should see him before witnessing, for the witness cannot be based on a human esteem, but on a divine certainty”. And F.-M. BRAUN strongly insists on this special divine light, given to the Baptizer, for his messianic proclamation: According to him, the Evangelist, used here the schema of Revelation, as in Jn 1:47-51 and 19:24-27, where God’s messenger sees a person and says, discovering his mystery, “This is…”. And he comments: “Entre l’objet perçu de l’extérieur et celui de la déclaration, il y a une difference, qu’il faudrait renoncer à comprendre si le témoin n’était éclairé d’en haut. En l’occurrence, ils’agit du précurseur; sa révélation est destinée à Israel (1:31)”. This shows the importance attached to this title in the Fourth Gospel.

It was since the Baptism, maybe on the very same day or a little after, that the Baptizer gives witness of Jesus before his disciples. He completed his witness with these words: “Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God” (v.34). As a result, the two disciples of the Baptizer abandoned him and followed Jesus, and recruited other disciples for the same Messiah: “We have found the Messiah” (v.41). This fact can be explained only if they understood the expression in the traditional messianic sense.

We come now to the more specific question: But to which type of Messiah of the Old Testament traditions can this title be related? Let us analyse briefly the major suggestions.

1) THE SUFFERING SERVANT:

At this stage, we must bear in mind that according to the theory, suggested by C.J.BALL, strongly defended by C.F.BURNEY, and commonly associated with the name of Joachim JEREMIAS, “amnós” is a ‘mistranslation’ of the Aramaic word tal e ’ya, corresponding to the Hebrew term ‘ebed, which John the Baptizer would have used in the formula tal e ‘ya d e ’laha’, thinking of the ‘ebed Yahweh’ of the Deutero-Isaian canticles. In itself, the Aramaic word tal e ‘ya can mean either ‘servant/boy’ (pais) or ‘lamb’ (amnós). We accept, with the majority of the exegetes, that John the Evangelist wrote in Greek; the translation with amnós (word used also in the Septuagint) can therefore be attributed to him. We shall see later on why this interpretation was preferred.

Let us remark, in passing, that C.F.BURNEY defended the hypothesis of an Aramaic Original of the Fourth Gospel, and was followed by M.-E.BOISMARD. But Joachim JEREMIAS, Charless DODD, F.-M.BRAUN seem to follow the middle way in this difficult question, namely accepting that there are some Aramaic expressions underlying the Greek Gospel. As F.-M.BRAUN writes: “ S’il paraît encore excessif de penser que le quatrième évangile fût intégralement rédigé dans la langue parlée en Palestine et en Syrie en temps de Jésus, certaines sections pourraient l’avoir été”. The debate is still open.

Let us, then, see first what it meant on the lips of the Baptizer:

With Joachim JEREMIAS, Oscar CULLMANN, Marie-Émile BOISMARD, Ignace de la POTTERIE, we think that the Baptizer, while this word tal e ’ya with double meaning, has primarily designated Jesus as the “servant of God”, and not as the “Lamb of God”. The background of his preaching supports this hypothesis. The text of the Baptizer’s preaching seems to have been taken from the Deutero-Isaiah, the second part of this prophet (Is chs. 40-50). It is mainly from this collection that he quotes, when he designated himself as “the voice which cries in the wilderness” (Is 40:3), and it is to this that he refers in his conclusion (v.34), where he confesses: “Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God”. As we said, with all probability, this reading “Chosen One of God” must be preferred to “Son of God”, which is a later theological interpretation. Now, this reading recalls the beginning of the first Song of the Servant of Yahweh (Is 42:1): “Behold, my Servant whom I uphold, my Chosen One is whom my soul delights. I have endowed him with my Spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations!”. These two epithets “Servant of God” and “Chosen One”, given to the protagonist of the first song, come together on the lips of the Baptizer; and it is the coming down of the Spirit that led the Baptizer to acknowledge the identity of Jesus, as he himself says (vv.32f.), in the same way that in Is 42:1, the Spirit is characteristic of the Servant’s mission. Therefore, the Baptizer is thinking, not of the Fourth Song, but of the First Song, concerning the inauguration of the Servant’s career, for the Baptism of Jesus inaugurated his Public Ministry.

An important confirmation is found in the Synoptic narrative of the Baptism: “The heavenly voice on that occasion stated: ‘You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Mk 1:10); and this is also an allusion to Is 42:1. In the text of this heavenly declaration (the bat-qo” of the Baptism), the word “Servant” was replaced by “Son”, for the One who is to fulfill the mission of the Servant, is the very Son of God. This replacement influenced the textual tradition of Jn 1:34, where the primitive word “Chosen One” gave place to the more theological title of “Son”, betraying thus the passage from the functional Christology to the ontological one.

Finally, our exegesis is confirmed by the enigmatic precision of “of God”, which can be easily explained, if it is due to the translation of tal e ‘ya d e ‘la’ha as “Servant”; it is not at all adapted to the title of “Lamb”.

In conclusion: The fundamental meaning of the two titles, given to Jesus in Jn 1:29 and 1:36, is found in the first song of Deutero-Isaiah; it is due to the pneumatophany of Jordan that the Baptizer recognized in Jesus the Servant of Yahweh, the Chosen One of Yahweh, to whom the book of Consolation (Is 40-50) was referring.

On the other hand, there are authors, like Hans W.WOLFF, who find in this expression exclusively an allusion to the Servant of Yahweh of Is 53:7, where he is compared to a “sheep being led to the slaughter”. It was the prophet Jeremiah who first compared himself to a “Lamb taken to slaughter” (Jer 11:19). This image was then taken by the author of the Book of Consolation, fashioned after the book of Jeremiah, and was later on explicitly applied by Philip to Jesus in his encounter with the eunuch of the Queen of Ethiopia (cf. Acts 8:32): “As a sheep led to the slaughter or a lamb before its shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken up from the earth” (Deutero-Isaiah 53:7f.). And the eunuch accepted Jesus and was baptized (cf. also 1 Cor 5:9 and 1 Pt 1:19).

Can we say that the Baptizer designated Jesus as the Suffering Servant, the Servant of the Fourth Song of Dt-Is 53?

Marie-Émile BOISMARD, who interpreted it only in function of Is 42, clearly discarded this hypothesis: Seeing in Jesus the Servant of Yahweh, the Baptizer does not think of the Suffering Servant of Is 53, but of the Servant of Is 42:1-7, wherein he is introduced as a Prophet and a Teacher, at the very outset of his career. The text fits perfectly well in the situation of our context: The baptism of Jesus constitutes the inauguration of his mission. And Jesus himself declared a little after, in the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4:18), quoting Is 61:1-2, that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and that he had been sent to bring the Good News to the poor, to announce to the prisoners the liberation.

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LIVING WATER: SPIRIT OF GOD

January 18, 2009

*Dr.Ivo da Conceição Souza

Introduction:

One of the best symbols used for divine life and Spirit is that of the living water (cf. John L.McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, Macmillan, New York, 1965, s.v. “water”, pp.921-922). A word on the attitude of the Israelites towards water and “living water” is in order.  We have in the Bible symbolism drawn from water, because Israelite people had an awareness of the meaning of water for life and of the dire consequences which follow when it falls. Though the average rainfall of Palestine was sufficient to support agricul­ture, the country lacked rivers, perennial streams, and lakes. The steppes and the desert lie close to Palestine proper. Water was secured from springs and wells or by preserving rain water in cisterns. Bible mentions a number of pools connected with the town: Gibeon, Hebron, Samaria, Jerusalem (cf.Jn 5:2.4).  Although water was rare, courtesy demanded that a drink be offered to the thirsty traveller, even if it had to be drawn from a deep well (cf. Jn 4:7; Lk 7:44; Mk 9:41; Mt 10:42). Living water“, which is water from the well or spring or stream, is preferred to the water of pools and cisterns. The drawing of water is the work of women (Gn 24:11; 1 Sam 9:11; Jn 4:7).

In biblical imagery, water is life and salvation. Yahweh is a source of living water (Jer 2:13; 17:13). Jesus applies the same figure to himself, promising to give living water which is eternal life (Jn 4:10.13f; 7:37-39). The care and providence of Yahweh are expressed as his leading one beside still waters (Ps 23:2). The righteous is like a tree planted beside living water, which does not fail (Ps 1:3; Jer 17:8).  The mouth of the righteous (Pr 10:11) or the teaching of the wise (Pr 13:14) or wisdom is a spring of life (Pr 16:22). The pleasures of love are compared to refreshing water in the admonition to the husband to drink water from his own cistern (Prv 5:15).  The eschatological Jerusalem cannot be conceived without its stream of living water. Ez 47:1-12 sees a spring which issues from the Temple and becomes a mighty river on its passage to the Jordan valley, regenerating the land with vitality. This image is resumed in Rev 22:1 in the river of the water of life, flowing from beneath the throne in the New Jerusalem. In Rev 7:17; 21:6, the salvation of the righteous is the reception of water from the fountain of life.  In cosmic symbolism, water is a destructive threat, as it is present in the story of deluge/flood (Gn 9/11). These two principal themes  are merged  in  baptism:  immersion  in water is  the  death  of  the neophyte  to sin and self, but the water is at the same time  the water of eternal life.

THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (Jn 4:1-42). Three Stages in Dialogue: i) Jesus gives living water (vv.7-15); Jesus is the Prophet (vv.16-19); iii) Jesus is the Messiah (vv.20-26).

i) Living water can be present or future reality. In the Old Testament it refers to God himself as the source of salvific goods (Jer 2:13) or it may refer to messianic gifts (Ez 47:1; Zc 14:8). In the sapiential literature, it refers to what proceeds from wisdom and law (Pr 13:14). In Judaism, it is wisdom resulting from the stan­dard of Torah. In Judaeo-Christian literature it refers to Reve­lation or Truth. In the New Testament, it refers to Revelation brought by Jesus and to the gift of the Holy Spirit given by the Risen Lord (Jn 7:37-39). The “gift of God” in Judaism is Torah (or Ten Command­ments).  In the New Testament it is salvation (2 Cor 9:15; Eph 4:7) or the Word of God (Jas 1:17; Hb 6:4) or Holy Spirit (Ac 2:38). The present gift is the Law or the Word of Jesus; and the future gift is the Holy Spirit (cf.Jer 31:31; Ez 36:27). In this context, the gift of God, the One who speaks and the living water are identical. The Revelation brought by Jesus, interiorized under the action of the Holy Spirit, will result in eternal life. As a result, he will never thirst (v.14a), but it will well up to the eternal life (v.14b). The description of the “living water” is two-dimension­al: negativehe wills not thirst (vv.13-14a) and positiveit will well up to eternal life (v.14b). The negative aspect ex­presses the relationship of the divine gift of the Spirit to natural benefits.  It quenches in a radical way the thirst for life felt in the physical thirst and it achieves what no earthly sustenance can achieve. But it can work out this effect if Man ceases to search for natural water, as if it will give this life and if s/he ceases to confuse the inauthentic with the authentic. Quenching of thirst is a symbol of salvation in the Old Testament. The positive aspect expresses the inexhaustibility of the gift: fountain constantly welling up and its culmination or result is life.

Vv.16-19: Jesus is the Prophet (vv.16-19):  Second Revelation: Jesus invites her to conversion and manifests his divine knowl­edge of the secret of hearts, as a Prophet. The knowledge of God and knowledge of oneself are inseparable, since the discovery of oneself comes to discovery of God. The Samaritan woman discovers God by discovering herself. Encounter with Jesus means a radical reversal of normal standards. Man for all his possessions is really poor. Jesus’ poverty conceals the riches of his gift.  To recognize the  riches of his gift two conditions are required: i) Knowledge:  “If you knew the gift of God“–the knowl­edge of what one has to receive from God is at once the realiza­tion of his own poverty.

ii) Recognition: “And Who it is that speaks to you“. One must recognize the Revealer when one encount­ers him in tangible/human form.

Vv.20-26:  Jesus is the Messiah. Theme: Place of true wor­ship. Why has she raised the problem of worship?  According to Deuteronomistic legislation, there must be only one place of worship (cf. Dt 12:2-12). This Law was against the Canaanite worship in many places: “Upon every hill and upon every green tree“. There was a conflict between Jesus and Samaritans as to the place of worship, Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim. Samaritans believed that Noah and Abraham offered sacrifices on Gerizim (cf.Dt 11:29). Now, Samaritans hoped that the Messiah would settle this dispute.  But Jesus reveals the true place of worship, the worship in spirit and truth.  Messianic worship is not confined to a particular place (cf. Mal 11). “In spirit and truth“: According to the Prot­estants, it is worship in sincerity, in reality, not in symbols, figures and images. This interpretation is iconoclastic. But the meaning is that God communicates himself in the gift of the Spirit.  The worship should be enlightened and guided by the Spirit and Truth (aletheia), which is the Revelation of God in Jesus of Nazar­eth. The Spirit makes this revelation of Christ the interior source of worship and prayer. Hence, worship in spirit and truth arises from the fullness of faith as its expression. It is Chris­tological and Christocentric. The Risen Christ is the new table of worship and the new worship is Christ-centred. It is also Trinitarian–we worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. We worship him in Christ through the Spirit. Therefore, it does not exclude the worship in signs and symbols. In vv.25-26, “this is the final revelation“. The Samaritan Woman thinks of the Messiah as a result of Jesus’ teaching on true worship.  In this context, Jesus says: “I AM” (Egw Eimi) and reveals himself as the Messiah. The background of  ‘I AM’ is as follows: YHWH promises knowledge of himself through what he does either in saving or judging and  it is through these actions of God that we come to know God. In John’s Gospel ‘I AM’ refers to the Exaltation of Jesus on the Cross (cf. Jn 8:24), which reveals the love of the Father. Therefore, Jesus says, ‘I am the Messiah’, wherein the Presence of God and the Revelation of God are made present.

THE HEALING MINISTRY OF JESUS:

January 17, 2009

Healing Power of Jesus:

Jesus healed and exorcised. Miracles are signs of his divinity, of his messianic mission. They are an integral part of the work given by the Father to him (Jn 5:17.36; 14:10), a continuation of the works of God in the Old Testament, like Creation (Gn 2:2) and the Exodus (Ex 34:10; Ps 66:5). Miracles expressed the saving power of God, shown in his healings, feedings, and even resuscitations of the dead. Jesus pointed out to them as signs of his Messiahship (cf.Lk 7:22). They are linked with faith: “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me” (Jn 10:37; cf.15:24). Even after the multiplication of loaves and fishes, many did not believe in Jesus (cf.Jn 6:26). As a matter of fact, Jesus could not perform miracles in his own home country because of their unbelief; instead, he went among the villages teaching (Mk 6:5f). Miracle narratives are not eye-witness reports or scientific-medical documents, but unsophisticated, popular narratives at the service of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Jesus. Events did take place; Jesus’ enemies did not challenge the cure, but the propriety of curing on the Sabbath (Mk 3:1-6, cf.2).

In the accounts of several miracles, we find many details, human and true to life, suggesting the presence of an eyewitness (cf. Mk 9:14-29).

Jesus had impact upon the people and through his miracles and exorcisms would create a renewed community, sign of the Kingdom of God (cf.Vatican II, LG no.5).

Jesus exorcised and was accused to be in alliance with Beelzebul. Jesus responds to the false accusation of those who attached false labels to his exorcising activity. The activity of Jesus as an exorcist provoked different societal reactions. “The people were amazed, but some of them said: ‘he casts out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the Prince of demons'” (Q 11:14b-15).

The ‘deviant’ nature of the exorcisms of Jesus and societal reaction to them can only be understood in the context of the culture in which he and his accusers lived. Exorcisms were an essential part of Jesus’ activity. Through his response Jesus showed that it was not a deviant, but a normative behaviour. His disciples were sent by him to cast out demons (Mk 6:7). That was his primary activity (Q 10:17; Mk 6:13). Jesus redefined successfully the meaning of his exorcisms. He rejected the accusation of being allied to Beelzebul. The reason is that, if he expels demons by the power of Beelzebul, then the Kingdom of Beelzebul is divided against itself. Beelzebul cannot act against itself (Mt 12:25-26 par.). A divided kingdom/house (most probably the ruler’s family) cannot continue to exist. Jesus does not belong to Satan’s kingdom (basileia). Then Jesus continues to argue ad hominem that if he casts out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the same can be said of them; thus, the shame/deviance that his accusers want to attach to him, reverts to them.

But Jesus offers an alternate explanation of his exorcisms. As he belongs to the Kingdom of God, he is acting, not on behalf of the Prince of demons, but on behalf of the Spirit of God. His exorcisms manifest, not an alliance with Satan, but war against him and victory over him.

On the contrary, Jesus attacks the house of Beelzebul. The reign of Satan is not divided, but under siege (like the ruler’s house attacked by a throne rival–an image that would be familiar to the audience of Jesus).

Demonic possession was frequent. It was an escape-valve. It was a way to cope up with the exploitation, conflicts, colonial domination and revolution. By casting out the demons, Jesus would reintegrate the marginalized people into the society and this would be perceived as a threat to the governing elite. This exorcistic activity had links with his trial and crucifixion. Through exorcism, Jesus was engaged in a cosmic war against Satan. The real meaning and purpose of his exorcisms was to integrate into the renewed society those who were marginalized. Jesus called them to be a part of a new family together with him and his followers. Victory over Satan was the sign of the dawning of God’s rule, which means the creation of a new social order.

This was highly disruptive. The puzzling reaction to his exorcisms by his own family, as well as by the people, the scribes and Herod Antipas suggests that the social reintegration of demoniacs had social and political connotations for Jesus and for his contemporaries that are opaque to us. We can understand also why his table-fellowship with tax-collectors and sinners was resisted. Jesus called his disciples to be with him (Mk 3:13) and then he sent them to proclaim the Gospel and heal (Lk 10:9). His apostles followed the same prophetic and healing line (cf.Acts 5:15).

Dr.Ivo da C.Souza

MHOJI GALILEIA, MHOJI PROZA

January 17, 2009

Prostavna: Nomoskar! Devan, amchea Rochnnaran, eke kherit bhaxen amkam apli ugtthavnni keli mhonn ami kristi lok sotman’tat. He sombhondim Xubhvortoman amkam kollit korta: Jezuchea mukhamollant Dev amkam mellta. Mon’xank somzota, tea sobdamnim Dev amkam uloita. Dev monis zala, hacho orth toch. Devacho Sobd monis zalo ani amche modhim jielo. Hea pustokant tuka hi vollokh-mahiti mellteli. Xubhvortoman ek melolem okxar nhoi, ponn tem jivem-tajem. Tem visrum nozo. Xubhvortoman amchea jivitak uzvadd ani ghottai dita. Xubhvortomanache vak’ke vach. Povitr Pustok hatant ghe. Vatikani Dusre Vixvsobeche dokument-dakhle vach, thoim tuka odhunik Kristi bhavartachi xikovn mellteli. Dev mon’xakulla lagim uloita mhonn amkam thavem zalam. Bhovkorn Xubhvortomanant Dev Uloita: Jezu, Devacho Put, amkam Bapachi Khobor sangta. Hea pustokant ami sobhar vixoi iskuttaun ditelet. Povitr Pustok ani Povitr-sobhechea dakhleamni, bhovkorn Dusre Vatikani Vixvsobhechea pustokamni, amkam khub xikovn mellta, ti ami spoxtt kortelet.

Suchipotr: Poilo Ovesvor: GALILEA Monantlean Gaileak iea. Kitem tuka drixttipoddta? —Khoim poddta? Jezucho Ganv: Hea Ganvcho Mog: Khoincheai ganvant hanv asum, mhojea khaxelea ganvcho odhik mog mhaka astoloch.

Dusro Ovesvor: KAPERNAUM:

Tisro Ovesvor: NAZARETH

Chovtho Ovesvor: HEBREV ani ARAMAIK BHASO

Panchvo Ovesvor: BHAXECHEO MODDI

Sovo Ovesvor: GREST BHAS

Satvo Ovesvor: DUDDU ANI PODVI

Atthvo Ovesvor: DEVACHEM RAJ

Novo Ovesvor: OT’TA TOSLEM MAP

Padri John Wijngaards ani Padri Ivo da Conceicao Souza

Poilo Ovesvor: GALILEA Monantlean Gaileak iea. Kitem tuka drixttipoddta?

—Khoim poddta? Jezucho Ganv: Hea Ganvcho Mog: Khoincheai ganvant hanv asum, mhojea khaxelea ganvcho odhik mog mhaka astoloch. Jezu Nazareth nogrant gelo. Thoinsor to vaddhlolo. Tache sonvoie pormonnem, to Son’varadisa devsthanachea sevadhormak hajir zalo. To vachpak utthlo ani taka Izaias Provadiachem kovl dilem. Tannem tem kovl ugddun, taka oxem boroilolem mell’lem:

“Sorvesvoracho Atmo mhojer asa. Tannem goribank bori khobor haddhche khatir, Koideank suttka porghottche khatir mhaka makhla…” Ten’na Jezun kovl gutthlavn, tem sevokalagim dilem ani To boslo. Soglleanche ddolle devsthanant tacher tharlele aslet (Lk 4:16-20). Nomoskar! Devan, amchea Rochnnaran, eke kherit bhaxen amkam apli ugtthavnni keli mhonn ami Kristi lok sotman’tat. He sombhondim Xubhvortoman amkam kollit korta: Jezuchea mukhamollant Dev amkam mellta. Mon’xank somzota tea sobdamni Dev amkam uloita. Dev monis zala, hacho orth toch. Devacho Sobd Monis zalo ani amche modhim To jielo. Hea pustokant tuka hi vollokh-mahiti mellteli. Xubhvortoman ek melolem okxar nhoi, ponn tem jivem-tajem. Tem visrum nozo. Xubhvortoman amchea jivitak uzvadd ani ghottai dita. Xubhvortomanache vak’ke vach. Povitr Pustok hatant ghe. Vatikani Dusre Vixvsobeche dokument-dakhle vach, thoim tuka odhunik Kristi bhavartachi xikovn mellteli.

GALILEIA: Galileiant, hea lhan nogrant, Kana-nt monantlean bhitor sorum-ia. Kristachea iugachem 28vem vors. Kitem asa tor? Vismit? Hoi, ponn soreant bodol’lelem udok chakunk tuka mellchem na. Dhul’lean bhorlolea rosteacher, matiechea onnttichea ghoram modhim, Jezu ubho asa. Lhan xisancho zomo tachea vangdda asa, tannim novim angvostram ghaleant (Mt 22:11-13). Maria, tachi avoi, ani ier ostorio, hatamnim telache dive ghevn asat (polle Mt 25:1- 12). Suria dharir poddcho asa. Novro-horet aple hoklek tichea avoibapachea ghorantli haddunk gela. Bovall aikum ieta. Pursanv-mirvonnuk suru zalam! Jezu, hoklecho soiro zait, toi hea sontosant vantto gheta. Rongit angvostr ghalun, mathear mukutt ghevn, aplem mukhamoll veil-an dhampun, hokol ieta. Lok pipes ani drums/ghumott vazoun ieta. Gitam ani songitachea nadar nach. Mirvonnuk tharta. Hoklecho bapui cheddvachea thonddavelo rumal/veil kaddta ani to novreachea bhuzar dovorta, mhonnun:

“Ghor-dar tujea bhuzanr poddtelem” (Iz 9:6).

Hokol ani novro ekamekank polletat. Lok kuxal zata ani tallio marta. Jezuche dolle ani novreache-hokleche dolle melltat, ten’na Jezu ham- burko hansta. Hea vellar Jezuchea monant kitem ghollta zait? Novreache ani hokleche ghorabe koblat (ketuba) korun soi martalet, mhonnche logn-moddnnem asot, zalear hoklek arthik surokxa (financial security) astali. Dhormxastri sompeponnim logn-moddnnem (divorce)manun ghetale.

Ponn Jezu hem addvarta: “Devan ektthailam, tem mon’xamni doxim korum noie” (Mk 10:2-12). Jezu logn-moddnneacher lokx hea vellar dovrina, ponn hokle-novreachea sontosant vantto gheta. Lok novea ghoraxim pavta, hea novea ghorant novro-hokol novo ghorabo suru kortelim. Soglleank bhitor ghorant zago na, ponn bhair svat toyear kelea. Randpa-jevnnachi vevhosta kuznant (randnnent) cholta. Hokol ani novro eka fulamni nettoilolea matthvant (canopy, hebrev bhaxen chuppa) asat, apleo angovnneo ekamekank kortat, soro ekach kalxintlem (cup) pietat. Sat axirvad tancher ghaltat.

“Deva Sorvesvora, Prithvechea Raza, tuka mhoima!… Tunvem sontos-sukh, novro-hokol, rochleant, onond, git, mouza (pleasure) ani dhadosponn (delight), mog ani ektthaim-zavop (belonging), xanti ani ixttagot… Novrea-hoklek sukh ditoleak tuka mhoima!”

(Jezuchea kallar logn koxem zatalem, hachi sogli bharik-sarik vollokh na. Adli porampora hangasor monant dovorlea. Axirvadavixoim polle N.MANGEL, Siddur Tehillat Hashem, Brooklyn 1982, p.410). Jezu sontosan bhorta ani vismit korta. “Tenkam soro na” (Ju 2:6). Jezu soro (600 litr) lokak dita. Lognacho sullavo cholta–nach, onond. Udok soreant bodlun, Jezu poilea xenkddeachea Galileikaram modhim mhotvachem korta: ho lok ektthaim jietalo. Jezu tanche sonskrutayent gul’l zala. Jezuk aplea ganva-desacho ani lokacho mog aslo. To dusrea desamni, Fenisia, Dekapolis, Samaria vo Judea, bhonvlo, ponn Galileia sovem apli zobabdari to visrunk na: (Mt 4:14-16, cf.Iz 8:23-9:1). To Jeruzaleak melo, ponn aplea jivontponna uprant to Galileiak portolo. Fonddaxim pavon ostoreamni ek tallo aikolo (polle Mt 28:7; Mk 16:6-7; Lk 24:6). Devan apli ap-proghottnni Galileiak keli. Ponn kiteak mhonn tannem hi svat sodhun kadlea? (polle Ju 7:52). Devacho gutth ho: Devacho Sobd mon’xaponn ghevn, masrogot to zala, amche bhaxen jieta, amcheo poristhiti to on’bhovta (Ju 1:14). Dev khorench monis zala, amche modhim jiela.

Galileia khoim poddta? Sumar don hozar vorsam zalim, Jezu Galileia-nt jiyelo, ten’ na Galileia Judevanchea desancho ek vantto to aslo. Modhle Udentik to des aslo, az Israel ani Jordan amkam melltat. Modhim ason, ontorraxttrik veavhar choltalo. Vhoddlim raxttram, thoinsor vochon, apli podvi choloilea: Ejipt, Hatti, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Gresia ani Rom’. Sobhar nanvam taka favleant: Asyrian Mat Palastu, “Philistinacho dongri des” mhonnun pachartalet. Greg Palestin Syria mhonntale (dekhun Palestin, hem nanv ailam); Adlea Ejiptkar taka Kanaan mhontale (“kanaanacho des”, Gn 11:13; 13:12; 16:3. vo “Amoritancho des”, Jos 24:8: Amos 2:10). Povitr Pustokant dusrim nanvam aslim: Israelacho des ani povitr des. Ozunii ami “povitr des” (Holy Land) mhonntat, kiteak Jezu thoinsor jielo. Jezuchea kallar, Palestinacho des sobhar prantamni vanttlolo aslo. Hea prantamni Judev lok aslo: Judea, Perea ani Galileia; Samaria-nt misoll pilga Judev ani Assyria-chea pordesi (immigrants)- lokanche aslem. Dekapolis ani ier Transjordan prantamni Greg lokankodde misoll zal’lo lok aslo. Phoenisia ut’torek Tyrian, Sidonian ani Syrian, hea lokan bhorloli/vosloli. Lukas Xubhvortomankar Jezuchem bhovxik munniarponn Galileia-nt ghalta (Lk 3:1-2). Ithiasik nodren hi mahiti amkam asa: Galileia-cho orth: GALILEIA (Lk 14:28-32; Mk 12:10) Ghoram bandtastona, oxem ghoddta: vonntteo bandpak upkarona mhonn ek fator bhair uddoila, to fator kon’xea-fator koso manun ghevn, to don-tin onnteank tenko dita. Nazarethcho lok disadisppott’ttim vavr kortalo: ek porsum/follbag (orchard), vo dakunchi/drakxanchi val (dakvell, vine), ani grest zomindarank kullvaddi (tenants) astale. Jezu aplo vavr khub dis kortalo, jen’na sobhar hatanchi goroz astali—dakanchi vali bennavop (to prune vines). Ier kallar to hangasor thoinsor vochon, jin’sanvar vavr kortalo: ghorachem paxtt durust korun (repairing a roof), udkachi tanki ugti korun, novo nangor (plough) haddun; lok taka farik kortalo vostu divn, daneacho danno (grain), tel, vo anjiram (figs). Bailo kheddea ganvant srixttichea/krixi vavrant vantto ghetaleo. Khub vell, vo disant udok haddunk, dhanea/gonv (corn) ddollunk ani familik jevonn toyear korpakhatir zaito vell zai aslo. Dadle ratrche porte ietale. Te bokddeank ani xelliyank haddtale, ani uprant aplea bailam borabor sanjechem jevonn jevtale. Vavr moskil aslo, kiteak bexttim kamam poreant ovghodd, hatancho vavr astalo. Bhetto korunk thoddo vell urtalo, bhailea loka kodde mellave korunk thoddo vell astalo. Ixttmitrank ani soirea-dhaireank mellunk thoddo vell astalo, techporim vorsachea vorsa Jeruzaleak vochunk vell astalo. Ier lok tachea ganvant jiyetalo, te bhaxen Jezu jiyelo. Ponn ek ontor-forok/mothbhed asli. Lhanponninch thann, tannem khup vichar-dhean/somoron (thinking/contemplation) eka eksurea zagear vochun kelam (p.66). Nazarethak vochon, sobhit-sundor dekhave drixttipoddtat. Thoinsor thann dokxinnik pollevn, Jezreel, Mount Karmel-ache ostomtek, ani Mount Tabor-ache udentik. Lukachea Xubhvortomanant amkam ek poramporik kotha (tradition) mellta: bara vorsancho astona, Jezun Jeruzaleachea devmondirant ojapanche vichar kele (Lk 2:41 –52; Mt 6:25-32; Ju 5:17. Sor kor, Ju 5:39-40). Povitr Pustoka vixoim khub xikovnn dili. Judev somudaia lagim ek devsthan aslem, sobhar uxear bhurge Hebrev bhas xiktale ani sobhemazar Povitr Pustok vachtale. Jezu soimache dekhave xiktalo, aplea Svorginchea Bapacho vavr, tachem Utor, tachi preronna, tachi proza. Odhik korun projeche huske taka aslet (p.67).

Nazareth-ak Jezuk Ievkar (Reception): Jezu Kapernaum-ak kitem kortalo, tachi Nazarethchea lokak khobor pavleli. To provochonkar koso yesvont zal’lo, tem aikun, lokak borem disunk na (korsthan rochop: people were intrigued). To lok hem ravonaslo, kiteak to sadho-sudho, hata-vavr korpi (“handyman’) aslo. To kitem mhonn korunk pavtolo aslo? Osli samanea/onvollkhi podvi taka khoim thaun aileli? Jen’na to aplea ganv-ghora gelo, devsthanant prarthon korunk to tanche borobor gelo. Tache lagim Povitr Pustok vachunk maglem, ten’na tannem aplem misanv spoxtt korunk sondh ghetli. Tannem Izaiasacho vak’ko vinchun kaddhlo (Iz 61:1-2). ((Lk 4:17). (Greg kriapodachem rup imperfect dakhoita, tannem sodhun kaddlam mhonnun, taka mellunk na).

“Sorvesvoracho Atmo mhojer asa. Hanv kortam, tem Bapache podven kortam. Tannem mhaka apoila, jeporim provadeank apoil’le. Tannem mhaka dublleank bori khobor proghottunk apoila. Sadhea-sudhea lokak sukhest korunk tannem mhaka ek nirop ghevn dhaddla. Tannem mhaka koideank suttka porghottunk vavr dila, ani kurddeank drixtt divnk mhaka vavr dila, pill’leank meklleponn divnk dhaddla. Krupechem vors kollit korunk mhaka patthoila”. Mhoje vorvim Bap provadeank bhasaileli suttka suru korta”. Jezu aponn Messiah mhonn spoxtt kollit korta, ponn tachea soireank hem sot manunk ovghodd laglem. Tacho vavr mhollear porjek adhar divnk. Soddvonn mhollear tacho poilo-vhoilo vavr. Hem tankam borem lagunk na. Tanche boroborchea aslet, tankam hem borem lagunk na, tannem apnnavixoim vachlam tem, kiteak ho vak’ko Izraelak raxttr koxem onod melltolo, Jeruzalem adlea voibhovan porzollteli mhonn sangta. Jezun mud’dom’ ho vak’ko vinchun kaddhlo: soddvonn/suttka divnk dublleank, kurddeank, piddnukek sampoddloleank, zomindarank farik korunk zaina tea munddkar (tenants). Jezu porje khatir aila. To kiteak vismitam korina, Kapernaum-ak keleant te bhaxen? “Tumkam tor bhavart aslolo, zalear hanv tim kortolom aslom”, oxem to mhonnta. Tum porkeam-bhailea loka khatir kiteak odhik kortai”, oxem te vichar kortat. “Bhailea-porkeank bhavart asa”, oxem to zobab dita. Bhavart rogta-sombhonda poros odhik gorjecho/mhotvacho. Dekhun Elijan Sindon-che randd baile khatir vismit kelem; Elixan Naamanak, Syriachea koddkarak boro kelo. Tea bhair, provadieank apleach ganvant man na. Lok bhejar zalo, ragan bhorlo. Tannim taka xharantlo bhair vhelo ani eka porvotache tonkxer vhelo. Taka sokla uddounk sodhtale. Kiteak tankam ti ek devninda. Dekhun fatramnim taka jivexim marun taka xikxa lavnk sodhtale. See Isaiah 60,1-22; 61,10 – 62,12. Mark 6,5-6. Luke 4,25-27.Luke 4,24. Luke 4,29. (p.69): Te sokla uddoun taka fatramnim martalet. Te dhenvte svater te vhortale ani hem kam’ kortalet. Ponn Jezu modhintlean utrun, nach zalo. Oslem ragixtt dhoron amkam dakhoita lok aplea poramporank koso chikttun aslo to. Poilea Kristanvank hem Izraelechem mhoikarop: Jezuk aplo provadi koso manun ghevnk na. Ponn Jezu dakhounk sodhtalo: to aplea soiream-dhaiream khatir ievnk na, ponn gorjevontachi sevachakri korunk ailolo. Tim tor hem bhesborim zanno aslim. To lokak xikvonn tachea ghorant ditastanam, tachim soirim-dhairim ailim ani taka sodhtalim. To tankam odhik dhean-mon ditolo aslo mhonn ravtalim. Ghoddie to tanchi bhett ghevn, lokak dhanddaitolo aslo mhonn somzotalim ani tankam evkar ditolo aslo. “Polle, tuji avoi ani tujim bapulbhavbhoinnam aileant ani tuka sodhtat.Ponn Jezu zobab dita: “Mhoji avoi konn? Mhojim bhavbhoinnam konn?” Tea sovbhonvtim boslolea lokak hat dakhovn, Jezu mhonnta: “Polle! Tim mhoji avoi ani mhojimbhavbhoinnam”. “Mhojea Bapachi khoxi kortat, tim mhozo bhav, mhoji bhoinn, mhoji avoi” (Mk 3:32-35). (Rajki karonnam asot, hem hanv magir dakhoitolom: Mark 3:31; see 3:20). p.70

MARY, OUR TEACHER:

January 15, 2009

The Heavenly Father destined Mary for a unique role in salvation history, by selecting her from among all the women, for the grace of becoming the mother of the Saviour. God wanted also her to be the spiritual mother of all Christians.

Mk mentions Mary only once (3:31-35)–the faith family takes precedence over the natural family. Matthew repeats this scene (12:46-50) after having introduced her as a part of Jesus’ spiritual family–Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and not by a human father (1:18-23). Mary was Jesus’ Mother on grounds of her discipleship as well as on human grounds.

Luke   portrays Mary as the first, and model   Christian disciple–she hears God’s Word wholeheartedly consents to it. She is characterised by her strong faith (1:45, blessed is she who believed”): a key which unlocks the innermost reality of Mary. Luke even has Mary already begin to proclaim the Good News (1:46-55). Luke makes it clear that Mary has been specially favoured by God and is blessed among all women (1:28.42.48). Mary keeps all these things in her heart (2:19.51). Luke shortens in 8:19-21 the scene of Mk 3:31-35, considering the natural family already to be disciples. In Ac 1:14 he includes Mary and the brothers of Jesus alongside with the Twelve.

In 11:27-32 Luke diverts attention from motherhood understood only as a fleshly bond and directs it towards “those mysterious bonds of the Spirit which develop from hearing and keeping God’s word” (John Paul II). From beginning to end in Luke,  Mary  is  a model  disciple “who accepted the word of God, believed  it,  was obedient  to  it, pondered it in her heart, and by means  of  her whole life accomplished it”(ibid).

At  Cana (Jn 2:1-11), Mary shows herself at Jesus’  disposi­tion (“do whatever he tells you”), and then he changes water into water.  This putting herself between her Son and humanity in  the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings, not as an  outsider or mere friend but in her position of mother Jesus intended  her to  continue even today, as his “last will and testament” on  the Cross reveals.

At the foot of the cross (19:26f), the beloved disciple, who remained faithful even to the cross, is the one who is given to Mary as her son. The natural family and the family of disciple­ship become one, as the disciple’s own mother. By this creative word, Jesus constitutes Mary as the “spiritual mother” of his disciples, in order of grace. We can be sure that here too Jesus is fulfilling his Father’s plan, “for the Son can do nothing of his own accord” (Jn 5:19), but “always the Son can do what is pleasing to the Father” (Jn 8:29).


Jesus’ intention is not to provide for Mary lest she be alone and defenseless in this world (remember that she had other relatives, including those called Jesus’ brothers and sisters), but to provide a mother for his disciples! Jesus begins “that special entrusting of humanity to Mary which is the extension and reflection of her motherhood of Jesus himself” (John Paul II).

Thus,  even though the NT material on Mary is  limited,  the later  make  very clear that by the end of the  first  century  a remarkable  role  in Christian discipleship  and  motherhood  was being attributed to Mary. Succeeding generations of the People of God, basing themselves on this biblical testimony, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, have then continued to deepen their understanding of the role of Mary in Christian life.

The “mysteries” of Christianity can truly benefit only the disciple who receives them with active faith and love!  So too with the mystery of Mary. Her motherhood is real, because of the creative word of God. But for it to be fruitful in  each  disci­ple’s  life, the disciple must practise a warm devotion to  Mary, and  accept  her motherhood with faith and love as  a  gift  from Jesus.

An authentic devotion to Mary will consist of these three necessary elements: i) commemorating what the Church teaches about her; ii) imitating her virtues; and iii) invoking her maternal help for our needs.

True devotion will foster the memory of a Mary who is the “type” and “model” of the Church, and the highest fulfillment of the Gospel values (outstanding faith, hope, and love for neighbour, prayer-life, and courage in facing the Cross).

Sadly, aberrations creep in when what is commemorated  about Mary  is  the product of our piety rather than  what  the  Church teaches, and when our prayer to Mary for favours is not  balanced by  a  desire  to also imitate her virtues of  faith,  hope,  and charity. Also, devotion deviates into superstition if the exter­nal rituals of prayer become more important for the devotee than the inner attitude of humble worship of God and serene commitment to the teachings of Christ.

It is worth noting too that the only “apparition” of Mary which the Church has approved for universal devotion is that of Lourdes (liturgical feast on February 11). All others are for local or private devotion, and many have not yet been approved by the Church. Since it is the Father and Jesus who have gifted Mary with the special mission of being a model and a mother for generations  of Jesus’ disciples,let us turn to Mary with  true  devotion,  rejoicing that all her intercessory powers “flow from  the superabundance of the merits of Christ, are founded on his  medi­tation,  absolutely  depend on it, draw all their  efficacy  from it…and  will  last until the external fulfillment  of  all  the elect” (Lumen Gentium, no.62).

In his letter, dated May 6, 1996, to Bishop Louis Dufaux  of Grenoble, France, to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparition of  Our  Lady at the Alpine village of La Salette, John  Paul  II spoke of the timeliness of her message: “Our Lady call for  people to regain self-control: she invites them to repentance, to perseverance  in  prayer and, in particular,  to  Sunday  observance”. Pilgrims  come to venerate the Mother of the Lord under the  name of  Our Lady, Reconciler of sinners. Mary accomnies  everyone  on the pilgrimage of life. As the preparations for the Great Jubilee of  the Redemption intensify, the year dedicated to the  anniversary  of the apparition of Mary to Maximin and Melanie is a  sig­nificant  step. In that place, Mary, Mother of all  love,  showed her sorrow at humanity’s moral sickness. By her tears, she  helps us to understand better the painful gravity of sin and the rejection of God. The message of La Salette was addressed to two young shepherds at a time of great hardship, when people were afflicted by  famine  and subjected to widespread injustice. In additon, indifference or hostility to the Gospel message was increasing. She shares in the trials of her children and suffers at seeing them estranged from Christ’s Church to the point of forgetting or rejecting  God’s presence in their life and the holiness of  his name. Her words continue to have real timeliness for a world that still suffers the scourges of war and hunger, and so many  evils which  are the signs and often the consequence of human sin.  She wishes to lead us to the joy born of peacefully accomplishing the missions  which God gives us. Mary isa present in the  Church as she was on the day of the Cross, the day of the Resurrection  and the day of Pentecost. She will never abandon men created in the image  and likeness of God and to whom he has given the power  to become  children of God (cf. Jn 1:12). May she lead all  the  nations of the earth to her Son!



BIBLICAL STUDIES TODAY

January 13, 2009

Introduction:

Biblical studies today are, ever increasingly, becoming complex and difficult, given the progress due to multifaceted research, historico-archaeological discoveries, as well as study of literary genres of the Ancient Eastern World. They are being enriched by new discoveries as well as by new exegetical methods, approaches and trends, both in the Old/First Testament and in the New/Second Testament. Studies of the historical Jesus are complicated by the discovery of new kind of historicity of Gospels as faith traditions (or documents of faith). At the same time, they are enriched by the discovery of reflections on the significance of Jesus rather than tape-recorded accounts or sheer history. God works in space and time; therefore, biblical studies should take into account the cultural background and the spatio-temporal circumstances. Theology develops with the progress of human sciences, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology. In this tremendous progress, we have to remember the “golden rule” for the teaching of the Church clearly enunciated by John XXIII, the Pope of “aggiornamento”, at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council. We have to distinguish between the truth and the formulations of faith, within the Scripture or within the Church. We should acknowledge the limitations of the formulations, but at the same time know for certain that there was a grasp of truth in those formulations. There was no distortion in the transmission of Revelation. The good Pope John XXIII opened the windows to new trends in the life of the Church. In his inaugural address, he clearly stated: “One thing is the substance; the other thing is the formulation of doctrine”. The Church has an insight into the Truth, since Jesus promised the Paraclete: “The holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will lead you to the whole truth” (cf.Jn 14:26). In this essay, I shall give a glance through the history of biblical exegesis and the biblical approaches and methods, and then I shall pinpoint a few avenues to face the new challenges in the biblico-theological field.

1.1: Survey of Biblical Studies:

We can divide the Catholic study of the Bible into three periods:

1)Initial Period of Suspicion (1900-1940): It was dominated by the rejection of modern biblical criticism, an attitude forced on the Church by the Modernist heresy. Modernists abused the historico-critical method and discredited the method itself, without being able to integrate the ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ elements of Christian experience.

2)Beginnings of Biblical Criticism and Literary Genres (1940-1970): It involved the introduction of biblical criticism by the encyclical Divino afflante spiritu (DAS, September 30, 1943) by Pius XII (1939-1958). Gradually, but reluctantly, it was accepted by the mainstream of the Church thought.

3)Period of Assimilation (1970-2002): It involves the painful assimilation of the implications of biblical criticism for Catholic doctrine, theology and praxis.

First Period: In modernist crisis, the historico-critical method was abused, in such a way that the result was that together with the modernist crisis the historico-critical method was rejected, or, at least, was placed in suspicion.

Second Period: Scientific progress has been influencing contemporary theological insights, particularly in the biblical-exegetical studies. Historical, archaeological and linguistic methods, known to us only in approximately the last one hundred years, have pro­duced a scientifically critical study of the Bible, a study that has revolutionized views held in the past about the authorship, ori­gin, and dating of the biblical books, their composition and authorship.

After forty years of opposition or at least suspicion, there was a change of climate with Pius XII, who through his encyclical Divino afflante spiritu (September 30, 1943) encouraged the biblical scholars to investigate the literary genres and to adopt methods of a scientific approach to the Bible. It was greatly influenced by Card.Augustine Bea, SJ,–he incidentally was also his confessor–, who submitted to the approval of the Roman Pontiff what Catholic biblical scholars had been doing. Pius XII announced unequivocally to the universal Church his approval. Within a short span of time, biblical criticism entered into Catholic classrooms in seminaries and colleges. It is the period of development of Catholic biblical criticism.

Third Period: The Roman Catholic scholarship is still progressing and is not inferior to the Protestant Movement.

1.2: Biblical Movement:

Leo XIII, with his encyclical Providentissimus Deus (November 18, 1893), with extreme caution, officially ushered Roman Catholicism into the world of critical biblical scholarship. Pius XII continued the movement with greater zeal. At this stage, historical criticism was already firmly established within mainstream Protestantism.

Modernist controversy brought a lot of concern for the Church early in the twentieth century. As a Universal Pastor, Pius X felt that the foundations of faith were threatened, and that it was his duty in conscience to intervene. On March 27, 1906, through his Apostolic Letter Quoniam in re biblica he provided guidelines for the teaching of biblical subjects in the seminaries. Then Pius X published a Decree entitled Lamentabili on July 4, 1907, in which he rejected and condemned the main errors of reformism and modernism in 65 propositions. On September 8, 1907, through his Encyclical Letter Pascendi dominici gregis he tried to defend the historical concept of Christian Revelation against the Modernist theories of vital immanence, permanence or emanation. On November 18, 1907, Pius X through his Apostolic Letter motu proprio Praestantia Scripturae stressed that the decisions of the Biblical Commission against modernist errors were binding in conscience, and those who go against them would incur excommunication in cases, where heresy was involved. On May 7, 1909, Pius X with his Apostolic Letter Vinea electa founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute, as an international “centre of higher biblical studies in order to promote as effectively as possible the teachings of the Bible and all connected studies in accordance with the mind of the Catholic Church”.[1] The hierarchy showed through this Institute its own form of support for biblical scholarship and provided for scripture specialists throughout the Catholic world.

On September 15, 1920, Benedict XV commemorated the fifteenth centenary of the death of St.Jerome, Doctor of the Church, with his Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, in which he reminded the biblical scholars of the directives of his predecessor, Leo XIII, while using new critical methods and discovering “new ways of explaining the difficulties in the sacred texts, whether for their own guidance or to help others” (cf.SP, ibidem, n.494, p.185).

On September 30, 1943, Pius XII published his great Encyclical Letter Divino afflante spiritu, which has been called the Magna Carta of scientific biblical studies. It was a clarion-call for return to biblical studies. In his Encyclical Letter, Pius XII promoted critical scholarship, encouraged the return to the original languages of the texts, study of the cultural milieu and of literary genres, in a particular way he emphasized the role of textual criticism in biblical studies (DAS, ibidem, n.597), the relationship between the literal and the spiritual level of the texts (DAS, ibidem, nn.603-607), the sense of the Church Fathers who had less knowledge of languages and scientific tools, but had a subtle insight, penetrating the innermost meaning of the word, bringing to light what elucidates the teaching of Christ and promotes life (DAS, ibidem, nn.608-610). He challenged scholars, not to fear, but rather to engage difficult and unresolved problems that existed between Scripture and theology (DAS, ibidem, n.624).

On August 14, 1950, Pius XII published an Encyclical Letter Humani generis, subtitled ‘Concerning Some False Opinions Which Threaten to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine’, on issues of the time as polygenism and evolution, and concluded that “it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin” (HG, ibidem, n.693). In such issues let the scholars not transgress the limits established for the protection of the truth of Catholic faith and doctrine. On the other hand, with regard to new questions, “let them engage in most careful research, but with the necessary prudence and caution” (HG, ibidem, n.696). Pius XII, therefore, remained steadfast in his approval of modern criticism.

During this period, there is another significant Roman document, namely the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s Letter to Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris, on January 16, 1948, concerning the sources of the Pentateuch and the historicity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. It follows the same spirit. The Roman commitment to the modern critical methodology was firmly in place by the end of the pontificate of Pius XII.

In the second year of his Pontificate, John XXIII (1958-1963) addressed the Pontifical Biblical Institute on the occasion of its golden jubilee, on February 17, 1960. In his discourse, the good Pope encouraged them to face new problems with “scholarly seriousness” (ibidem, n.719), as well as requested them to be “animated by a pastoral purpose” (ibidem, n.723). This advice foreshadows what is found in Vatican II. In the late fifties and early sixties, the Pontifical Biblical Institute was coming under strong attack particularly from the Lateran University in Rome—one of the Lateran professors, Msgr.Antonino Romeo, wrote a long virulent article on aspects of recent Catholic exegesis in general and against some well known exegetes in particular (eg.Ceslas Spicq, OP, David Stanley, SJ). The article was printed in Civilta Cattolica and was widely distributed in booklet form and translated into a number of languages. The author of the article was convinced that some professors at the Institute were going to the extremes—and this included Luis Alonso-Schoekel, SJ, Maximilian Zerwick, SJ and Stanislas Lyonnet, SJ, who were particularly respected by most students… The damage had been done, and eventually L.Alonso-Schoekel, M.Zerwick and S.Lyonnet, were suspended from teaching for a time. There is evidence that Pope John XXIII was not aware of this and eventually they were reinstated. Cautious progress in biblical scholarship continued.

The Biblical Movement was greatly enhanced by the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC), established on October 30, 1902, by Leo XIII, through his Apostolic Letter Vigilantiae, with the purpose of promoting the scriptural study, of offering guidance to Roman Catholic biblical exegetes, at a time when modern critical scholarship was regarded with suspicion, even though approved by papal authority, but with only the greatest reserve. Its tone of communications was often polemical. Vatican II, with the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, gave its blessing to the scholarly work. The pontificate of Paul VI restored the warmly favourable atmosphere of the days of Pius XII. On April 21, 1964, the PBC issued an ‘Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels’ (Sancta Mater Ecclesia), an encouraging document opening the way to honest biblical criticism in the very sensitive field of Gospel historicity.

Another significant aspect of Roman Catholic participation in the Biblical Movement has been the existence of various scholarly biblical associations throughout the world, many of which sponsor scholarly journals specializing in biblical research, for instance, Catholic Biblical Association (CBA), by a group of Scripture scholars convened in Washington on January 18, 1936. In 1939, the CBA began its publication of its scholarly organ, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly (CBQ). Later on, in 1962, it was decided that CBQ would be devoted exclusively to scholarly research, whereas The Bible Today was designed for the more popular branch of Scripture publication. In 1970, it produced the New American Bible (NAB), translation used for official lectionary. In 1968, the Jerome Biblical Commentary was published, and now in 1990 it was revised as The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. It is an echo of the scholarly work going on throughout the world. Since 1942, the CBA sponsored Catholic Bible Sunday and Catholic Bible Week. Another noteworthy project of the CBA has been its monograph series, begun in 1971 ‘to facilitate the publication of books of scholarly nature in the biblical field that would otherwise find publication difficult to secure”.[2] In India, we have Indian Biblical Association and Society for Biblical Studies. Biblebhashyam is a biblical publication.

2.1: METHODS AND APPROACHES FOR INTERPRETATION:

In the 17th century Richard Simon (1638-1712), a convert from  Protestantism and a priest of the Oratory, inaugurated  the movement  of  modern  biblical criticism  with  his  three-volume Histoire Critique du Vieux Testament (attacked by Bossuet and put on  Index)  on literary and historical analysis,  though  without much  support from Roman authorities. Critical exegesis was  due to  four factors: a)rebirth of the study of classical  Greek  and Latin  literature,  as  well as of  ancient  oriental  languages; b)development of natural sciences; c)appearance of historiography as a scientific and rational discipline; d)and radical change  in the  philosophical field. We have Julius WELLHAUSEN  (Documentary Theory), Hermann GUNKEL (with his Gattungen, ‘literary forms’, and Sitz-im-Leben,  ‘life-situation’,  applied to Gn and  Pss),  Jean Astruc, physician at the court of Louis XIV (with his Conjectures on two sources, A and B, in the Pentateuch).

Today the Bible is being investigated with the help  of all scientific methods. We speak of philologico-literary analysis, historico-critical exegesis, structural  exegesis, sociological reading (Liberation  Theology, Marxist-materialistic Interpretation of the Scripture, Contextu­al  Exegesis,  Ecological Exegesis,  Feminist  Interpretation  of Scripture), psychoanalytic reading, spiritual exegesis,  existential  interpretation,  new  hermeneutic,  semiology,   rhetorical criticism,  canonical exegesis. Each exegetical method  has  its own  merits  and demerits. All of them will help  us  recover  a parcel  of

truth hidden in the rich mines of God’s  Word. Their ultimate  aim  is to provide us with a deep insight  and  meaning into God’s plans and Will. Bible is God’s Word in words of men. It has to be properly interpreted with all tools at our disposal.

2.2: Philological and Contextual Trends: In the history of exegesis there have been major trends in the historical development of hermeneutics. The meaning of the texts can be discovered not only by presuppositions and methods, but also through interpretive keys. The result has been not only a dearth of interpretations, which can be classified under the heading of exegesis, but also several interpretations, which come under the heading of eisegesis, which instead of reading the author’s meaning form the text, has been imparting the reader’s meaning into the text (for instance, Jewish and Christian allegorist, the fourfould medieval exegesis, namely John  Cassian’s four scriptural senses, that is, historical (or literal), allegori­cal, tropological (or moral, today anthropological), and anagogi­cal (or eschatological), the letterism and numerology of the Cabbalists).

1)Historical-Cultural and Contextual Analysis: The exegete has to determine the historical-cultural context, by investigating the general historical situation of the author and his audience, the political, economic, and social situations, their customs and mores, their spiritual background and experience, the major blocks of the material, and the flow of their arguments, the perspective of the author, whether noumenological (from God’s perspective) or phenomenologically (from man’s perspective), providing descriptive or prescriptive truth, destinataries, to distinguish the teaching focus from the incidental details,

2)Philological: Lexical-Syntactical-Literal Analysis: We have to identify the literary genres, the development of the author’s theme, the natural divisions and units of the text, identify the connecting and key words, analyze the syntax, accurately find out the meaning of the words, pay attention to the parallelism (antithetic, synthetic, or spiral). Today philology is the key to philosophy and theology. Etymological root of words provides the true meaning, provided that its evolution is surveyed.

2.3: Historico-critical Method: Exegesis  is the effort to investigate the  text  (eks-egeomai, “to bring  forth  from”). It aims at explanation and  application.  It should investigate the intentionality of the author  (autor-mean­ing), the text and the context. It should investigate the history of  the text (Textual Criticism). Then we have to investigate  the history  (Historical  Criticism),  as well  as  the  sociological context. Biblical Theology aims at a synthesis. It has to be based on the text, scientifically, critically and spiritually interpreted.

With Enlightenment  there came rationalism, skepticism and empiricism. Scholars

applied the methods of other sciences (physical sciences, historical  scienc­es) to the Bible. By using the critical method, they try to study the  historical background and all circumstances in which the  book has been written. So for them the main question was: What did the text  mean for them at that time? They try to ascertain what  was the  meaning  for the writer. Therefore, they investigated the background, the  bias and preconception of the authors  and  the literary genres. This is called “author/text meaning“. With his­torical  positivism in the 19th century, this process  was  empha­sized. As we said, at  the beginning the Church was suspicious because it  was regarded as detrimental for faith. Gradually, it was accepted  by the  Church  on the condition that it be  disassociated  for  its rationalistic  and  empiristic bias. The  historical  method  was regarded to be fruitful because it delves into something which is obscure for us. It was gradually approved by the Church. Since  Christianity is a historical religion, Bible  can  be subjected  to scientific investigation. Bible is the Word of  God in human words (language, culture, history, mentality and thought patterns).  Jesus  was a Jew of Palestine. Therefore, his  back­ground has to be investigated. Also the period of oral  tradition has to be studied. [3]

2.4: Structural Method: Structural  exegesis  ignores   the history  of a text and focuses exclusively on its present  struc­ture.  It is not interested in the ‘original’  meaning  (author’s meaning)  of a text, but in the meaning that the text has in  it­self, found in the ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ structures of the text. Structural  exegesis  can  be  developed  at  three  levels: a)formal  surface structuration; b)deep semantic  structuration; and  c)narrative  structuration of  manifestation.   These  three levels can be called: formal, semantic and narrative. Formal  level comprises of the surface of the text:  vocabulary,  particularly the key-words (like semitic inclusion,  link-word or mot-crochet, chiasmus, concentric symmetry),  grammatical constructions,  formulae strategically repeated in the course  of reading, sequences and sections, internal articulations. Semantic level goes beyond the narrative level and discovers its  semantic  value (meaning). It searches  meaningful  entities (or semes) and studies the play of attractions and repulsions  so as to reduce the literary unit to a coherent system. It includes the  study  of  the vocabulary (or study  of lexemes),  semantic analysis, semantic fields or families, deep structures (or struc­turing matrices), signifying universe (or semantic system) isoto­py. It  tries  to  discover the themes by  analysing  the  words (lexemes)  and its seeds (sememes) (eg.Pentecost:  Spirit  coming down; Parable of the Good Samaritan: Good Samaritan comes down,  takes him,  has compassion for him, pays his bill, in short,  he  gives himself, his love). Lastly, narrative level is one of the  possible  manifesta­tions of signification. A narrative is essentially linear and is characterized by the play of personages and events, in continuous communication with the reader-destinatary. The basic structure of  any narration can be reduced to six actants: A)SENDER— B)OBJECT—  C)RECEIVER—D)SUBJECT—E)HELPER—F)OPPONENT. [4]

Structuralism goes beyond what the author meant. It investi­gates  the text as a fabric of interrelationships and  synchroni­cally (in depth). What is important is not what the author  meant when  he wrote the book, but what the text tells us today.  In  the text  we find a system of signs and by examining it we  have  the meaning effect.

As a word of critique, we can say: It uncovers what the text says, what  it  means for you. But in spite of the difficulties of the method, the exegete does not get much positive message of the text. Its results are not proportional to the intricacies of the method.

2.5: Sociological Interpretation of the Bible: In this sociologico-anthropological approach the exegete studies the  information about Jesus’ time and the context in  which  the Gospels  were written, so as to understand better the  experience of Jesus and the socio-economic and cultural background  of  the Gospels  (e.g. the Pharisees who were severely criticized in  the Gospels are really of a later period than those whom Jesus  would have known).

A)Liberation Theology: It emerged in Latin America  since mid-1960’s. We have Gustavo GUTTIERREZ, Juan Luis SEGUNDO, Jon  SOBRINO, Leonardo  BOFF,  Jose Porfirio MIRANDA, H.ASSMANN.  What  is  the thrust  of  this method? They try to  reinterpret  the Christian message  in  the context of poverty and injustice. They  want  to transform  the  society. The starting-point  is  the  historical situation.  It is the praxis (the concrete Christian living)  and the commitment to liberation and the second point is the critical reflection on the praxis in the light of the Word of God. Guttier­rez  emphasized that liberation from sin and from all its  consequences (individual and societal) is essential part from  oppres­sive socio-economic-cultural structures, from slavery. In his book, “Drink from Our Own Wells“, Guttierrez insists that an encounter with the Lord is essential part of a life according to the Spirit.  There­fore,  the process of political liberation is a deeply  spiritual process, since  it is an encounter with the Risen Lord.  According to  Guttierrez,  nobody can follow Christ without  commitment  to liberation. Love of God is unavoidably expressed through love  of one’s neighbour.

There have  been attempts  to apply it to the Indian context by Sebastian  KAPPEN, Samuel  RYAN,  Tissa  BALASSURYA,  George M.SOARES-PRABHU,  John DESROCHERS.

As a word of critique, we can say that this  is  a valuable method, for it locates a  text  in  its concrete real life and gives insights into its meaningfulness and meaning.  Liberation  theology has made us aware  of  the  social conditioning of the exegete who works, consciously or  unconsciously, with  a pre-understanding, with a commitment to a social  system. Genuine theology follows from a committed praxis.

B)Marxist Interpretation of Scripture: In his book,  Marx  and the  Bible: A Critique of the Philosophy of Oppression, Jose  Por­firio  MIRANDA  compared the teaching of Marx with  that  of  the Bible.  Karl Marx and Bible teach that there is no  love  without justice and no justice without love. Both insist on a  commitment for  a Better World. He is against state absolutisms  and  highly critical  of several aspects of Marxism. The most important  dif­ference  is that Marx does not accept God, whereas the Bible  pro­claims  a living God, fully involved in the human history. In  his book,  Communism in the Bible, Miranda holds that the Bible  teaches communism (Ac 2:42-45). Jesus is a revolutionary, fighting  with his only weapon of selfless love against the unjust structures of the society.

We  cannot accept dialectical materialism, but we  can  only welcome humanism. Christians can accept socialism of Marx, but  not his  atheism. The communitarian model given in Acts 2:42 is  one  of the  models  of Koinonia, as the directive of  love (Lk  6:20)  was applied  in  a concrete way by the earlier Church; but  there  are other  models, such  as developed in Pauline  churches: the  richer churches  sent  collections  to the poorer  churches  though  the Mother-Church, Jerusalem (2 Cor 8-9).

C)Feminist Approach: Critical Feminist Theology of  Libera­tion is a movement for liberation of women with critical  reflec­tion  from  injustice and violence against women  in  a society which is patriarchal and male-dominated, chauvinistic. It  begins with  the  systemically reflected experience of  women  and  hence expresses different perspectives and social-religious  locations. For the last ten years it tries to retrieve the original  authentic material which has been undermined and suppressed by the male dominating  structures. Bible applies female imagery to God,  for example compassion of God is denoted by the womb, semitic way  of expressing emotions (Rahamim, from Rehem, “womb”). Jesus went against the  patriarchal culture of his day and  established  egalitarian society  where  women had the same rights as men. But  the  early Church has suppressed them in order to be in good books with  the Roman Empire.

This is a different, ‘new way’ of doing theology (theologiz­ing). We  should work for a new social order, where there will  be no  more  violence  and injustice towards women.  Men  and  women should  have equal opportunities and equal status, but  we should not  forget  the differentiation of roles which  comes  from  God himself. Women cannot “play men“. Men and women should draw to one another without destroying their identity. [5]

Conclusion: Given the importance of the biblical studies, all efforts should be directed towards the improvement of the syllabus. Cheap certificates in ‘biblical theologies’ are not adequate to meet the present needs. The exegetical task is far too large to be successfully pursued individually, it has to be in a team-work—it calls for a division of labour, specially in research. It demands a team-work among the specialists with interdisciplinary collaboration. New trends and challenges should go in a different direction: At a Conference in New York City in 1988, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger encouraged biblical scholars and theologians to continue to work toward a suitable synthesis between the historico-critical approach to biblical intepretation, namely theological and spiritual approach characteristic of most traditional (or “pre-critical” exegesis), of course, without falling into pre-critical aberrations (fundamentalistic and allegorical interpretation).[6]

Vatican II is clear about the centrality of the role that Scripture consistently plays in the life of the Church:

The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures, as she venerated the body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ…it follows that all…preaching…should be nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture. In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them” (DV n.21; see alson.24).

Preaching should necessarily improve with the biblical wealth. Regarding the formation of the seminarians it states: “The ‘study of the sacred page’ should be the very soul of sacred theology. [7]The ministry of the Word, too—pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride place—is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture” (DV, n.24). In the priestly formation there is a need of a deep knowledge of critical methods. All these methods cannot overlook the work of the Spirit of God, the spiritual meaning of the text. Faith does not detract from the scientific study, on the contrary it enriches it and nourishes the ‘crucified love’ (cf.Gal 5:6). [8]


[1] Cf.Pius X, Vinea electa, May 7, 1909, in: The Church and the Bible.Official Documents of the Catholic Church, Dennis J.Murphy, MSC, ed., Theological Publications in India, 2001, n.308, p.125.

[2]Cf.Michael Monshau, OP, “The Biblical Movement and Vatican II’s Restoration of Liturgical Preaching”, Scripture in Church, vol.33, no.129, January 1-March 31, 2003, pp.114-127.

[3] Cf.The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.Address of John Paul II and the Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, NBCLC, Bangalore, April 15, 1993/1994, pp.29-130; See Henry A.Wirkler, Hermeneutics.Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981, pp.75-209; George T.Montague, SM, Understanding the Bible.A Basic Introduction to Biblica Interpretation, Paulist Press, New York, 1997, pp.137-158

[4]Olivette GENEST, “”Exegesis and Structural Analysis”, in: Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, Rene Latourelle,ed., St.Pauls, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1994, pp.298-306

[5] Cf.Raymond E.BROWN, SS, An Introduction to the New Testament, Theological Publications in India, Bangalore, 2000, pp.20-47.

[6] Cf.Paul T.Stallsworth, “The Story of an Encounter”, in Richard John Neuhaus, ed., Biblical Interpretation in Crisis;The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church (grand Rapids, Michigan:Eerdmans, 1989, pp.107-108.

[7] Cf.Leo XIII, Encycl.PD: EB 114; Benedict XV, Encycl.Spiritus Paraclitus: EB 483. See also OT, n.16.

[8]Cf.Concilio Vaticano II.Comentarios al decreto Optatam Totius sobre la formacion sacerdotal, Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos (BAC), Madrid, 1970, pp.494-498.

*Ivo da Conceicao Souza