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Holy Reading


... is basically a single one line of music in which the length of the notes is ... Free and easy association helps such interpretation. Prayer ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Holy Reading

Holy Reading
  • Lectio Divina

Implicit in the Idea of Scripture
  • One of the key ideas behind Scripture is that the
    text conveys Gods message.
  • This makes every word in the text important.

  • Jewish traditions of close reading began with the
    early rabbis who sought to find in the Torah and
    the Prophets practical guidance for Israel
  • Often this interpretation was connected with the
    translation of the text or its presentation in
    the synagogue which was early seen as a school.

Christian Scriptures
  • The most numerous texts to have survived from
    antiquity are copies of Christian scriptures.
  • To make the Bible more available, the codex form
    was used.
  • The text could be written on both sides of the

Origen I
  • The Early Christian Passion for the Scriptures
    caused some problems. Despite Pauls assurance
    that all Scripture is useful, II Tim 316, it
    did do prove so.
  • Some Scriptures seemed to ancient people to be
    improbable or even immoral.

Origen II
  • Divided all reality into the physical and the
  • Saw the Bible as having both spiritual and
    literal meanings.
  • A good Platonist, Origen believed that the two
    spiritual senses, the moral and the allegorical,
    were more real than the literal sense.

Origen III
  • Much of the later theory and practice of holy
    reading will go back to Origen, implicitly or
  • One of the goals of Holy Reading is to penetrate
    the Bibles outer message to get to the heart or
    kernel of its spiritual truths.

  • The earliest monks followed the Biblical advise
    to meditate on the Bible.
  • The Psalms, which were used in church, became the
    basis of monastic common life from the earliest
    days in the desert.

  • Author of a famous rule that set forth the
    standard form of monasticism in the west.
  • Believed that the religious life should balance
    prayer, work, and study
  • Called the monastery a school.

The Provision in the Rule
  • Idleness is the enemy of the soul. And therefore,
    at fixed times, the brothers ought to be occupied
    in manual labour and again, at fixed times, in
    sacred reading. ... there shall certainly be
    appointed one or two elders, who shall go round
    the monastery at the hours in which the brothers
    are engaged in reading, and see to it that no
    troublesome brother chance to be found who is
    open to idleness and trifling, and is not intent
    on his reading being not only of no use to
    himself, but also stirring up others.

Earliest Sacred Reading
  • May have been noisy.
  • Monks, like many others, read primarily aloud.
  • The text was often recited with a view to memory.
    Few copies which had a high cost.
  • Many Monks knew the Psalter by heart.

The Chant
  • Chanting may have helped the monks learn the
  • A chant is basically a single one line of music
    in which the length of the notes is determined by
    the length of the syllables or vowels.

Example of Plainsong
Silent Reading
  • Evolved slowly.
  • Produced a different type of lectio
  • Forced the process more inside of the person.

Guigo IIThe Ladder of Monastics
  • Used a basically monastic schema for lectio.
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Contemplation

  • One day I was engaged in physical work with my
    hands and I began to think about the spiritual
    tasks that we humans have. While I was thinking,
    four spritual steps came to mind, namely,
    reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
    This is the ladder. . .by which we are lifted up
    from earth into heaven. . . .The lower part is
    fixed on the earth and its top passes through the
    clouds to lay bare the secrets of heaven.

  • While much lectio is continuous or connected to
    the liturgical round, the object is not to get a
    certain amount done.
  • One should work with a passage long enough to
    understand it and be able to put it into action.
  • Practitioners often return to the previous days

  • A simple concept
  • To meditate is simply to think about
  • The text should be questioned. For example if
    the text were John 1515 I have called you
    friends. One might meditate on what it means to
    be called friend by Christ.
  • Free and easy association helps such

  • The meditation becomes the basis of the mental or
    physical prayer that accompanies the lectio.
  • Holy One
  • I give thanks to you that I am your friends and
    not only your servant. As your friend, I enjoy
    your companionship and your help. And I wish to
    help and be with my friend in service to others.

  • Difficult word to define.
  • In this context, contemplation means
    concentration so that the text sinks into the
  • Insight
  • Always a gift.

Holy Reading And Modern Exegesis
  • Origens problem revised.
  • What if the text is one that does not appear to
    be life enhancing?
  • What if the text is one that moves away from
    present-day values?
  • Does Scripture still have a spiritual sense?
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