May 9, 2009

Exegesis for Everyone

Pauline A. Viviano, PhD

The Church has a rich tradition of interpreting Sacred Scripture. That tradition had begun already in the New Testament, as the Old Testament was interpreted in relationship to Christ, and it was further developed by the early Church Fathers and systematized in the medieval period. Though modern and contemporary biblical scholarship both have adopted “new means and new aids to exegesis” as encouraged by Pope Pius XII, the foundation laid by the early Church Fathers and the medieval Church continues to support subsequent inquiries into the meaning of the biblical text. The early Church Fathers were not bound to one meaning of the text but rather allowed the biblical text to speak its message in various ways. These various ways correspond to the levels of meaning in a text; these levels of meaning we call “the senses of Scripture.” [ ... ]

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