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How the Bible Means

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How the Bible Means Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D. Department of Religious Studies John Carroll University How the Bible Means What is Revelation ? an objective ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How the Bible Means


1
How the Bible Means
  • Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.
  • Department of Religious Studies
  • John Carroll University

2
How the Bible Means What is Revelation?
  • an objective view God makes known the divine
    reality and will via an explicit message
  • exact formulation (doctrine) is content of
    revelation
  • intellectual knowledge of Gods truths is object
    of revelation
  • faith outcome is assent of the mind to these
    divine truths
  • a subjective view God makes self will known
    via an interpersonal relationship
  • establishing relationships with human beings is
    vehicle for revelation
  • the Divine Self is the content of revelation
  • faith outcome is a personal commitment in
    response to the God who reveals

3
How the Bible Means Queries
  • 1 How did you come to know your best friend?
    By hearing things about the person? Or by
    entering into a relationship with the person?
  • 2 Are there things that you know about your
    friend? E.g., can you describe that person to
    another? Can you list her/his character traits?
    Can you tell stories that illustrate what kind of
    person your friend is?
  • 3 Will this description, list, or set of
    stories convey everything your friend is? If
    someone wants to really understand know your
    friend, what would you suggest?

4
How the Bible Means The Paradox
  • the revealing God is beyond human knowing,
  • Yet
  • God is active within human history as Revealer
  • what is one illustration of each of these two
    statements?
  • what do you see as the implications of each of
    these two statements?

5
How the Bible Means Is the Bible Gods Revealed
Word?
  • The revealed Word of God is, in its fullest
    sense, the human person, Jesus, the Christ
  • We also find Gods Word in
  • Jesus words deeds
  • Jesus words deeds in the proclamation of the
    apostles ( the kerygma)
  • the Bible, a written record of the apostolic
    proclamation
  • So, the Bible is derivatively Gods word

6
How the Bible Means
  • Saying The Bible is Gods Word means by reading
    the Bible, we can come to know the God Who
    Reveals
  • Q Do you agree or disagree? Why?

7
How the Bible Means Claim 1 reading the Bible,
we can know God the Revealer
  • Biblical stories illustrate how God interacts
    with the world, especially human beings
  • The stories of Gods activities provide
    directions for understanding characteristics of
    God (e.g., God as giving, loving, faithful,
    merciful)
  • Biblical theologians present their
    interpretations of events and of Gods role in
    them
  • They also present their own ideas of God, which
    give us further directions for understanding
    (i.e., knowing-in-relationship)

8
How the Bible Means
  • Claim 2 The Bible is Gods Word in human words
  • Q1 Do you agree or disagree? Why?

9
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • This is the official teaching of the RC Church
  • God did not write the Bible God inspired human
    authors to write the Biblical materials
  • inspiration guidance, not dictation
  • the authors aimed their messages so they would be
    understood by their own audience (i.e., the one
    at the time when it the text was written)
  • their meaning may not be at all obvious to us now

10
How the Bible Means
11
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • Q2 What are the implications of this statement?
  • A1 Human beings of different times and places
    wrote the Biblical stories, laws, etc.

12
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • there were many human authors to the Bible
  • each book of the Bible (and often even different
    passages within the same Biblical book) is a
    distinct composition written on its own and for
    its own unique purpose
  • these writings were not produced for the
    collection we call the Bible ( the books, the
    library)

13
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • How then do we read the Bible?
  • remember that the human author chose the images
    and shaped the language of each text
  • learn the social, cultural, economic and
    historical context of each text
  • understand the language and use of images in each
    text
  • ask what each author assumed due to cultural
    factors
  • ask what each author might have omitted from the
    text due to social, cultural, or historical
    factors

14
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • e.g., Jesus words are the sayings of Jesus
    the way they are recalled by the Biblical author
  • the authors changed the impact of Jesus sayings
    by collecting them and reporting them seriatum,
    without mentioning their original context
  • the authors adapted Jesus sayings to new
    situations
  • the authors inferred from Jesus teaching and
    deeds what he would have said or done in a new
    situation, and wrote their stories showing this

15
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
human words
  • Why not Gods Dictated words?
  • Exegetes from II CE onward have noticed, e.g.,
    that the four gospels have contradictory details
    about the life and deeds of Jesus
  • Tatians Diatessaron (Harmony of the Four
    Gospels, ca. 150) rejected as wrong strategy
  • Each evangelist offers something unique and
    significant for understanding the person and
    message of Jesus

16
How the Bible Means The Bible is Gods word in
Human words
  • Contradictions exist in the Biblical text, but
    God cannot err or be contradictory
  • Thus, variations and contradictions must arise
    elsewhere
  • The human authors are the only other source for
    the Biblical texts
  • The assumption of early authorship of the gospels
    is not valid
  • No gospel was written during Jesus lifetime
  • The earliest gospel was finished 40 years after
    Jesus death
  • evangelists were not eyewitnesses of Jesus

17
How the Bible Means
  • All the gospel material originated in Oral
    tradition
  • Variations in the gospel reports are due, at
    least in part, to variations in the oral
    tradition which underlie the texts
  • Oral Tradition
  • the rule of three
  • re-contextualization
  • habit of relocating events
  • acquisition of names
  • acquisition of details
  • mnemonic devices

18
How the Bible Means depends upon how we read
  • Four Common Reading Strategies
  • historicist or literalistic reading
  • public reading in churches
  • inspirational/spiritual reading
  • scholarly or analytical method

19
How the Bible Means historicist or literalistic
reading
  • read the Bible text to learn facts about Jesus
    life It happened just like it says.
  • take every text as historically factual
  • add together the details of history and doctrine
    from all the various Biblical books
  • confidence in knowing what God expects of you
  • certainty that the Bible can answer any question

20
How the Bible Means public reading in churches
  • direct proclamation of living word to
    contemporary audience
  • may include some background data in exposition
  • show that interpretation of Scripture must be
    done from within the community of believers
  • discover meaning of text for individual-in-communi
    ty
  • insight into contemporary meaning of text

21
How the Bible Means inspirational/spiritual
reading
  • meditative or imaginative strategies
  • begin with face value of text and engage it
    with the imagination
  • discover personal meaning for me (as an
    individual) today
  • find emotional comfort and personal challenge

22
How the Bible Means scholarly/analytical method
  • reminds us that Jesus time and culture are
    foreign to us
  • provides background for understanding Jesus in
    his own social historical context
  • uncovers the fresh and distinctive message of
    Jesus
  • supplements other ways of reading the Bible
  • shows that the Bible raises important questions
    for us as well as providing answers

23
How the Bible Means depends upon how you read
  • Q1 What do you see as the advantages of each of
    these reading strategies?
  • Q2 What is the cost of each reading strategy?
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