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Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

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Presentation on theme: "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation
Dei Verbum Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

2 Status among the 16 Documents
One of four constitutions A dogmatic constitution (also Lumen gentium) The primary constitution, according to the “hierarchy of truths” Revelation Church (ad intra) Lumen gentium Liturgy (ad intra) Sacrosanctum concilium Church and World (ad extra) Gaudium et spes Dei Verbum

3 Pre-History Trent Vatican I
Prevailing Scholastic Approach Before Vatican II Dei Verbum

4 Drafting First Draft Second Draft Third Draft Dei Verbum

5 Voting and Promulgation
Voting 2,344 to 6 Promulgated 18 November 1965 Dei Verbum

6 Structure and Chapter Content
Prologue (#1) 1. Divine Revelation Itself (#2-7) 2. The Transmission of Divine Revelation (#7-10) 3. Sacred Scripture: Its Divine Inspiration and Its Interpretation (#11-13) 4. The Old Testament (#14-16) 5. The New Testament (17-20) 6. Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church (#21-26) Dei Verbum

7 Seven Shifts in Church Teaching
Revelation Faith Primary Receiver of Revelation Tradition and Scripture Magisterium and Revelation Interpretation of Scripture Scripture in Catholic life Dei Verbum

8 Shift 1: The Nature of Revelation
Revelation is the event of God the Father reaching out to humanity, through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit Any “information” about God (that can be formulated into propositions) comes from that primary personal encounter Dei Verbum

9 DV, 2 “It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will, which was that people can draw near to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature. By this revelation, then, the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men and women as his friends, and lives among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company… Dei Verbum

10 “… The pattern of this revelation unfolds through deeds and words which are intrinsically connected: the works performed by God in the history of salvation show forth and confirm the doctrine and realities signified by the words; the words, for their part, proclaim the works, and bring to light the mystery they contain. The most intimate truth thus revealed about God and human salvation shines forth for us in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the sum total of revelation.” Dei Verbum

11 DV, 6 “By divine revelation God wished to manifest and communicate both himself and the eternal decrees of his will concerning the salvation of humankind.” Dei Verbum

12 Paradigm Shift from Vatican I
From a doctrinal-theoretical-propositional-ahistorical notion (Vat I) To an understanding of revelation as God’s trinitarian SELF-communication in history Revelation is God’s outreach to humanity through Christ in the power of the Spirit This more personal-historical-communicative notion nevertheless includes the propositional dimension of that communication. through compromise formulations, the document attempts to hold in tension the two approaches Dei Verbum

13 God’s self-communication
As God’s self-gift As God’s Word or Address to humanity As God’s self-disclosure As God’s self-revelation (Barth) As “the Gospel” itself Dei Verbum

14 Revelation as God’s Word
God “addresses men and women as friends” Scripture as “the written Word of God” “Word” here is a symbol whose referent is the revelation event itself Scripture is not revelation itself, but a potentially revelatory text Dei Verbum

15 “unfolds through words and deeds”
Revelation is not just pure communication of words or information or decrees or propositions of knowledge about God It is a process of coming to know God personally “Paideia” - humanity’s education by God This “personal knowledge” God reveals in human experience through historical events and persons Dei Verbum

16 Normative and Unsurpassable
Jesus Christ is normative revelation All that we say about God must meet the norm of the Christ event (as witnessed to in Scripture and tradition) Jesus Christ is unsurpassable revelation There is no further revelation of God beyond Jesus Christ; revelation “ends” with the apostolic period (as witnessed to in Scripture and tradition). However, the reception of the Christ event by the church is never ending. Dei Verbum

17 Shift 2: The Nature of Faith
a shift from faith predominately understood as assent to beliefs about God this parallels Vatican I’s propositional notion of revelation to primarily a personal loving response to God’s loving outreach this parallels Vatican II’s more personalist notion of revelation Dei Verbum seeks to balance both dimensions Dei Verbum

18 Revelation and the Holy Spirit
Only the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to see, recognise and interpret “the signs of the times” Dei Verbum

19 Faith and the Holy Spirit
“For this faith to be accorded we need the grace of God, anticipating it and assisting it, as well as the interior helps of the holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, and opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’ The same holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that revelation may be more and more deeply understood.” (DV, 5) Dei Verbum

20 Shift 3: Primary Receiver of Revelation - “the entire church”
DV to be read in the light of LG LG, 12: “The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office… The whole body of the faithful who have received an anointing which comes from the holy one cannot be mistaken in matters of belief. It shows this characteristic through the entire people’s supernatural sense of the faith (sensus fidei)…” “Tradition and scripture make up a single deposit of the word of God, which is entrusted to the church. By adhering to it, the entire church, united to its pastors, remains faithful to…” Dei Verbum

21 Shift 4: Tradition and Scripture
through compromise formulations, the document attempts to hold in tension two approaches a rejected but revised two-source theory Scripture and tradition are two sources of revelation the source of revelation is God’s self gift a new approach that sees the Gospel of and about Jesus Christ, the fullness of revelation, as the single source of tradition and Scripture a parallel to the shift from a propositional to a more personalist notion of revelation Dei Verbum

22 Holy Spirit and the Living Tradition DV, 8b
“The tradition that comes from the apostles makes progress in the church, with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are passed on… Dei Verbum

23 This comes about through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts [theology]. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience [sensus fidei] (tum ex intima spiritualium rerum quam experiuntur intelligentia). And it comes from the preaching of those who, on succeeding the office of bishop, have received the sure charism of truth [magisterium]… Dei Verbum

24 Thus, as the centuries go by, the church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in it.” Dei Verbum

25 The Nature of Tradition
a process “traditioning” the products of the process “traditions” doctrines, liturgical traditions, spiritualities, Christian practices Dei Verbum

26 “Living Tradition”: DV, 8b
“What was handed on by the apostles comprises everything that serves to make the people of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith. In this way, the church, in its doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that it itself is, all that it believes.” DV 8 Dei Verbum

27 Scripture and Tradition
“Sacred tradition and sacred scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. Flowing from the same divine well-spring, both of them merge, in a sense, and move towards the same goal…. Both scripture and tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal devotion and reverence.” DV, 9 “Tradition and scripture make up a single deposit of the word of God, which is entrusted to the church.” (DV, 10) Dei Verbum

28 Shift 5: Magisterium and Revelation
the magisterium is not the primary receiver of revelation, but rather “the entire church” like the entire church, the magisterium is a servant to that which the church has received: revelation (the Word of God, witnessed to in the written Word of God) through compromise formulations, the document attempts to hold in tension two approaches Dei Verbum

29 DV, 10: Revelation and Magisterium
“Tradition and scripture make up a single deposit of the word of God, which is entrusted to the church… “This magisterium is not superior to the word of God, but is rather its servant… “It is clear therefore that … sacred tradition, sacred scripture and the magisterium of the church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way under the action of the one holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” DV, 10 Dei Verbum

30 Shift 6: Interpretation of Scripture
1964 Pontifical Biblical Commission Doc acceptance of historical-criticism genres, language, etc Dei Verbum

31 Inerrancy? once again, through compromise formulations, the document attempts to hold in tension two approaches not factual truth but “salvific truth” “that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.” (DV, 11) the purpose of the Scriptures is human salvation “they told us the honest truth about Jesus” (DV, 19) Dei Verbum

32 Shift 7: Scripture in Catholic Life
pre-history Reformation debates on sola scriptura and role of the church as authentic interpreter recognition of Scripture as “the soul of theology” the basis of any “pastoral” renewal in the church another example of the “reception” of Protestant emphases Dei Verbum

33 Unresolved Tensions Ongoing history of salvation and the signs of the times God’s revelation and the “faith” of non-christian believers Dei Verbum

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