4th Century Bible Online…

This is so cool. The Codex Sinaiticus online. Wow. This is astounding.

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4 responses to “4th Century Bible Online…

  1. I wish I could read Koine.

    I recently showed off my Greek NT (modern Greek) on my Palm Tungsten E to my doctor — and he read some of it aloud. He’s Greek.

    Showoff.. 😛

  2. On the subject of biblical studies:

    David, one of my greatest disappointments when doing my theology degree was having to endure the tedium of having various biblical scholars interpreted to me by lecturers, all apparently without reference to the fact that the Scriptures ought be the bedrock of dogmatic theology… it was Catholic in name only, and incredibly boring for those who wanted spiritual nourishment from Holy Writ rather than a dry-as-dust search for putative sources, as well as engendering a lasting hermeneutic of suspicion directed at one’s teachers (ironically enough, given their own seeming employment of it vis a vis the Magisterium).

    Some went out of their way to state that this, that or the other could not be derived from Scripture – a Jesuit, bending over backwards to placate his ecumenical collection of students, said that Pauline injunctions against unnatural acts were to be ignored; a religious sister, known behind her back as Sr Barbie, went further by stating that no moral norms could be drawn from Scripture (a rather daringly nihilistic view, if she had but the wit to see it, and one that seemed to nullify her own vocation).

    A Dominican friend of mine offered to defend the thesis “the Catholic exegete is the dogmatic theologian” – I suspect those obsessed with all forms of Biblical criticism would be horrified by such a statement, yet surely it must be true!

    I would love to hear who can honestly be recommended these days as a safe and sure guide to Catholic biblical interpretation.

    • Since the Synod on the Word last October, the approach to Biblical “scholarship” that you describe here, Josh, is no longer (if it ever was) an option for Catholic scholars. Pope Benedict has said more than once, and in various different contexts, that we cannot separate the task of the Biblical Exegete from the task of the Dogmatic Theologian. He has even given us a practical demonstration on this path in his book Jesus of Nazareth. The Biblical Scholar and the Theologian can not be and are not two separate vocations. The one must also be the other – even if one or the other pole of that calling takes priority in the individual.

      All that being said, the phenomena you describe is by no means limited to the Catholic community. It has been prevalent in German Protestant theology since at least the end of the 19th Century. At the same time, the German Pietist tradition never lost the strong connection, and there have been a number of scholars in this tradition who always maintained the connection between their biblical exegesis and the Christian faith. This style of exegesis – in its extreme – was often hardly distinguishable from homiletic or devotional treatments of the text.

      I have been very privileged in my own Theological training to have teachers who maintained an emphasis on a scholarly treatment of the text and also on the great Lutheran question “What does this mean for us?” – which was always an attempt to connect the text to the life of the Church and the individiual believer. The little series of locally produced Lutheran commentaries written by Australian Lutheran Scripture scholars called “the Chi-Rho Commentaries” was an excellent example of this kind of spiritual/devotional, yet scholarly, exegesis.

      All that being said, I think one of the most suprising developments in modern scriptural scholarship is the rise of the American Evangelicals. I have been most impressed with the writing of one “Ben Witherington III” – his commentary on Thessalonians is one of the finest. But he also points back regularly to consequences of his exegetical reading for the faith and for the Church. Of course, Tom Wright in England is also a clear case of this relationship between exegesis and dogmatics – his exegesis of Romans has had a shattering effect on the Protestant understanding of Justification.

      Essentially, all it would take for Catholic Biblical scholarship to re-establish the connection between the faith and the text would be Catholic Biblical Scholars who truly believe that what they are exegising is nothing less than the written Word of God. This is the advantage that both the Pietist Lutherans, the modern Evangelicals, and – never to forget – the vast body of Catholics exegetes from ages past never forgot and never forget.

      Lest we forget, also.

  3. I am pretty tired of listening to those who do not explain the scriptures, but explain them away. They are also a great threat to people’s faith.