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Interpreting the Bible Class Notes. Biblical Archaeology Last 50 yrs have seen a dramatic increase in the number of archeological digs in Israel. Result.

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Presentation on theme: "Interpreting the Bible Class Notes. Biblical Archaeology Last 50 yrs have seen a dramatic increase in the number of archeological digs in Israel. Result."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interpreting the Bible Class Notes

2 Biblical Archaeology Last 50 yrs have seen a dramatic increase in the number of archeological digs in Israel. Result has been the discovery of many ancient texts, artifacts, and buildings. These have helped us to understand more clearly what life was like in biblical times. The Dead Sea Scrolls are believed to have been written and preserved by a Jewish religious community, possibly called the Essenes. They lived sometime between the first century BC and the first century AD. These documents are important to biblical study because they contain pieces of writing from nearly every book in the Old Testament

3 The Dead Sea Scrolls have helped biblical scholars who look carefully at the origin of biblical texts To better understand the meaning the Bible’s human authors intended to convey, biblical scholars analyze the Bible as a literary document. Biblical scholars work to understand how the authors redacted, or edited, other writings to create the books we have in the Bible.

4 St Thomas Aquinas St Thomas Aquinas laid the foundation for modern biblical interpretation. He believed the Sacred Scriptures were packed with rich language that held a special meaning in regard to actual events and people, faith, just action, and everlasting life. He maintained that you can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual. He uses the word senses to refer to different levels of meaning that can be found in the Sacred Scriptures.

5 The Literal Sense Comes from Latin litera meaning “letter”, referring to a form of biblical interpretation that emphasizes the obvious meaning of words according to the literary genre of the text. Obvious meaning of the text Lays the framework for all other senses of the Sacred Scripture. Example of Crossing the Red Sea: tells us God delivered the Israelites by opening the Red Sea. God did it so the Israelites could cross & then he closed the sea to drown Pharaoh’s army.

6 The Spiritual Sense Goes beyond the literal sense of the words to consider what the realities and events of Scripture signify. Spiritual sense can be broken into three categories: allegorical sense moral sense anagogical sense

7 Allegorical Sense Allegory or allegorical sense came from the Greek word allegoreo, meaning “to imply something beyond what is said” Term refers to a type of biblical interpretation that finds symbolic or prophetic meanings beyond the literal text of the Scriptures. Looks at how things in the literal sense point to the mystery of Christ. Example of the crossing of the Red Sea: Just as Moses, through God’s power, led the Israelites from slavery to freedom, so too are we freed from the slavery of sin, death and evil by the power of God manifested in Jesus Christ, the New Moses.

8 Moral Sense Search for what it means to live a just and ethical life. How does a particular passage instruct us to live in right relationship with God, neighbor, self and the earth? Example of crossing the Red Sea: Just as God destroyed Pharaoh’s sinful power in the Red Sea, so also in the waters of Baptism does Christ “drown” and destroy Original Sin so we may live good and moral lives based on the Beatitudes.

9 Anagogical Sense Investigates “realities and events in terms of their eternal significance” (CCC, 117) In what way does the story lead and direct us toward our future heavenly home? Example of Crossing the Red Sea: Just as the Israelites entered the Promised Land, through the waters of the Red Sea, so also do we enter the Promised Land, our heavenly home, by passing through the waters of Baptism.

10 A Look at Biblical Exegesis If you found a letter written by one person to another person, what would you need to consider in order to truly understand it? Biblical exegesis: The critical interpretation and explanation of a biblical text. © Danylchenko Iaroslav /

11 A Look at Biblical Exegesis (cont.) Critical in this sense means doing a thoughtful and thorough review of a particular biblical text, taking all aspects and senses into consideration. What does biblical exegesis do? It looks to understand the language, symbols, culture, and history that influenced the human author. It seeks to understand the intention the human author had in writing the book and what God is revealing through the human author’s words. © Danylchenko Iaroslav /

12 Why Engage in Biblical Exegesis? Have you ever had someone take something you said out of context? It is never good to look at something someone has said or written without looking at the whole context. This is what biblical exegesis does for us. A particular story or passage in the Bible can be fully understood only within the complete picture of both the Old and New Testaments. It also needs to be understood in relationship to the life, teachings, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. © Jason Stitt/

13 An Authentic Interpretation of the Scriptures Biblical exegesis ensures an authentic interpretation of the Scriptures when done under the guidance of the Magisterium. The Church looks at the interpretation of a particular text in light of the whole of Revelation and in light of the doctrines and teachings of the Church. God’s truth never contradicts itself. This is known as the analogy of faith. Image in Public Domain

14 Types of Biblical Criticism Biblical criticism: Another term for biblical exegesis. Textual criticism: Deals with the text itself; it is concerned with finding the most original texts written by the human authors and with creating authentic translations of these ancient texts. Historical criticism: Considers the historical setting of the text. Image in Public Domain

15 Types of Biblical Criticism Literary criticism: Considers the literary forms utilized in the text and how those are used to convey the deeper meaning of the text. Source criticism: Concerns itself with other writings the human author drew on in writing his book and how the Bibles stories compare to other ancient writings. Image in Public Domain

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