Monday, January 14, 2019

Historical Awareness and the Interpretation of the Bible Essay

Christianity holds the largest followers worldwide and holds its imprimatur through what they ask as occurrenceual events in history. However, the field of force of the historicity of the script has do liberal critics challenge the au in that respectforeticity and the validity of the events and teachings that argon found in the watchwords. Liberal critics claim that the Scripture is full of historic errors, kind-hearted biases, religious prejudices and fictional stories.Everything from the sodding(a) Birth to the resurrection of Christ, and from papacy to priesthood, are being rejected, establish on the historic critical approach to Scripture. The reading material of the parole has in that locationfore developed from its true sense to a symbolic interpretation of its theodolites.Interpretations of the playscriptThe news is interpreted in polar focussings barely could be categorized into 2 methods the conservative and liberal interpretation. Conservatives hol d the playscript as deitys divine words from which they interpret it by the letter unless the passage is understandably intended as an allegory, poe estimate or whatever otherwise genre. interpretation the sacred scripture by the letter encompasses a strict interpretation of the passagesthat is to distinguish conservatives interpret the Bible echtly.The Inter national Council on scriptural Inerrancy (1978), a congregation of conservative Christians hold that the unfeigned sense is the meaning which the writer evince and deny the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attri thoes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support. On the other hand, liberal critics interpret the Bible symbolically or allegoricallythat is they treat the Bible as a collection of fictional stories. They use the diachronic-grammatical approach to unc over the meaning of the textual matter by fetching into account cultural and historical background and the literary genre.Problems Re lating to the Literal Interpretation of the Biblethither is little doubt that the Bible has been interpreted in its literal sense before science has explored and observed concepts that are in relation with some biblical passages. The story of creation, as a basic example, could no longer be true in its literal sense, which would otherwise contradict with scientifically proven formulas and generally accepted theories.The knowledge that scientific discoveries and research has provided over the past millennium reveals that idol could not grant made the world as it is in cardinal-spot e finesseh days. Human logic and reason would dictate that in that respect essential(prenominal) be some other explanation why the Bible, as Gods inspired words, are indite in such a manner. God, as the creator of all things and who has knowledge all things, could not take in erred and must take over intended something else in specifying that the world was created in seven days. Hence, it is not only evident but also necessary to understand that literally interpreting at least some portions of the Bible are no longer sufficient.Historical CriticismHistorical criticism is the art of analyzing the factuality of written chronicles and the supposed facts handed down. It organises use of written inventorys, ad-lib evidence and tradition as the source of information. The historical critic must also be guided chiefly by an ardent approve of truth and must be free of any prejudicereligious, national or domesticthat may otherwise affect the historians judgment.The authenticity and integrity of a written document is investigated before it could be passed as a genuine source of evidence. Authenticity includes verifying whether or not it was from the reference who claims it to be, whether such individual existed, and whether or not the document or individual belonged to the specific metre of history in question.Integrity, on the other hand, verifies whether or not the docu ment is in the shape or form from which the author has produced itthat is, whether or not the document is complete, free of decadence and the complexities of translation. It is generally suffice to determine the approximate age of a document using the nature of the material, i.e. papyrus, parchment, cotton, etc., and the character of the writing.It is often very rare that a document that is purported to be an original or an autograph leaves room for honest doubt when it passed a series of tests regarding its authenticity. However, it is also generally held that to translate a word correctly does not unavoidably give its meaning in the context of the particular era to which the manuscript belongs.The investigator must then be careful with interpreting the meaning of the document. The difficulty in analyzing biblical documents is that they survive only in form of copies, or copies of copies. In these cases, manuscripts of quasi(prenominal) content or subject are often compared to each other, sometimes revealing variations in the readings.The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls while providing some of the oldest and the only known copies of scriptural documents look at challenged the theories of the development of the modern Biblical textspecifically those of textual criticism. there are a fewer of the Biblical manuscripts in the Dead Sea Scrolls that differ with Masoretic texts, and or so of them differ only slightly. The fact that Biblical documents have slightly changed over the course of at least three centuries provide confidence on the content of the modern Bible. However, the real question arises not in the actual content of the Bible but on the meaning of its content.Another caper regarding authenticity and integrity of the Biblical manuscripts is the question regarding the knowledge of the author concerning his move around Does the author have proper, first-hand knowledge of the purported fact? Is he altogether open in his disposition concernin g the purported fact? As an example, the integrity of the Gospels is elevated as it has be vex apparent that the ear falsehoodst writings of this type dates 65 years after messiah resurrection.Historicity of the BibleThere are fundamentally two main schools of thought regarding the historicity of the Bible the fundamentalists who believe that everything that is written in the Bible actually happened as it is stated and the liberals who believe that the Bible had no historical valuethat is, historical events purported in the Bible did not really happen.There are two schools of thought on giving weighting to the historical accounts presented in the Bible Biblical maximalism assumes that Biblical narratives are accurate unless proven otherwise and Biblical minimalism. Biblical maximalists tend to interpret the Bible literally. They view accounts specified in the Bible as a start point for constructing history and correct and reinterpret it when archaeological evidences prove contra dicts their viewpoint. On the other hand, Biblical minimalists start from archaeological findings and only consider Biblical accounts of value only when they are consistent with these findings.In relation to Jesus, there are but few historical manuscripts that provide evidence that he is an actual historical figure. His name is briefly mentioned in the works of Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius, but aside from a brief mention and description of the early Christians, only the accounts specified in the New Testament gives a basis for the world of a man named Jesus. The Gospels are the only sources of information virtually the life and works of Jesus and even those are criticized for its historical accuracy.There exists what is known today as the Synoptic Problem which revealed the diversity in the Biblical texts. What catches the interest of critics, however, is not the differences in the versions of the accounts in the life of Jesus, but the striking akinity of th e texts itself. Considering that the Gospels had been written during different times at different locations, questions such as whether the authors of the Synoptic Gospels were using a putting green source, perhaps written or from oral tradition, or not.If there exists an earlier source from which the authors of the Synoptic Gospels based their work, then why where the new Gospels written? Furthermore, if indeed the authors share a common source, why where there differences? Did the authors feel free to interpret and rehearse the Jesus tradition as they wrote?Most theologians would answer that each Gospel writers have their own purpose and interpretations of Jesus from which the differences in similar accounts are attributed. Nevertheless, there is no one solution that offers sufficient enough explanation on the Synoptic Problem. While resolving this issue would not verify the instauration of the historical Jesus, questions regarding the authority of the accounts, particularly tha t of Jesus and his teachings, will be eliminated. cause of Historical Criticism on the Interpretation of the BibleToday, Christianity holds the largest followers worldwide. If Christianity derives its authority from actual historical events, then that claim must be investigated by the most austere standards of historical judgments.The advent of scientific research, particularly that of historical criticism, has put the historicity, as well as the authority and interpretation of the Bible in serious question. Samuel George Brandon (1955) explained that the historical character of Christianity, which was once proclaimed apologetically as the greatest argument for the validity of that faith, has gradually been found to be a source of great perplexity if not of weakness (156).Raymond brownness (1975) explained that physical, historical and linguistic methods, known to us in only nearly the last one hundred years, has produced a scientifically critical study of the Bible, a study that has revolutionalized views held in the past about the authorship, origin and dating of the biblical books, about how they were composed, and what the authors meant No longer did they (Catholic exegetes) hold that Moses was the substantial author of the Pentateuch, that the first chapters of Genesis were really historical, that Matthew was the first Gospel written by an eyewitness etc.Robert Sungenis held that The historical critic will try to convince you that, since Scripture contains historical errors, human biases, religious prejudices and fictional stories, and since Scripture is only free from error when it deals with matters of salvation, then in non-salvific matters (e.g., women priests and homosexuality), the Bible is zip fastener more than an expression of the religious preferences and cultural biases active during the time of the biblical authors writing. Since we in modern times have come of age, as it were, and know that such biases are unecumenical and judgmental, then it is high time we change our interpretation of Scripture. Historical criticism is just the needed cats-paw to do the job.Resolving the ConflictPreviously, last was understood to static and unchanging. However, historical data reveal culture to be more guided by human experience that creates changing values and meanings as predicted by the way of life. It must only be necessary therefore that faith is show and understood in terms of our particular setting. It is in contrast to the sola scriptura principle of conservative Protestants. They claim that faith is to be based on the Bible alone.However, interpreting the Bible in relation to present events does not necessarily imply the interpreter to be a liberal critic. Progressive interpretation look upon the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned. It analyzes the culture from which the authors lived, interpret what is stated in relation to the circumstances of the time it was written, and apply the meaning of the p assage in relation to the present circumstances. After all, Lonergan held that righteousness mediates between a cultural matrix and the significance and role of a religion in that matrix.While it is apparent that some passages in the Bible are clearly not intended to be interpreted in its literal sense, there is still the question whether some of the passages must be taken in its literal meaning or if any passage is to be taken in its literal sense at all. However, taking into consideration the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels which appear to be similar have different versions. Theologians justify these differences through specifying the intents of the authors. In this case, it is only slick to dismiss the particular event as an accurate version in history.Nevertheless, it does not necessarily imply that the event had not taken ordinate at all. Lonergan (1971, 179) held that experience is individual while the data for history lie in the experiences of many. Furthermore, the same event is sometimes interpreted by different individual who have experienced that particular event depending on their perception. The fact that the event is related to us on different accounts, probably by different individuals, may prove that such an event may have occurred. Regardless of the factual historicity of the event specified in the Synoptic Gospels, the justifications made by theologians on the different accounts on Jesus life make it clear that the accounts are not to be interpreted in its literal sense.Lonergan held that the discoveries of the historian are expressed in narratives and descriptions that regard particular persons, places and times. They have no claim to universality they could, of course, be relevant to the understanding of other persons, places and times but whether in fact they are relevant, and just how relevant they are, can be settled only by a historical investigation of the other persons, places and times (180).Furthermore, Lonergan explained that b ecause they have no claim to universality, the discoveries of the historians are not verifiable in the fashion proper to the natural sciences in history verification is parallel to the procedures by which interpretation is judged correct (180).On the other hand, faith has nothing to do with history. Regardless of whether Christian traditions elevate its authority from its historicity or not, what matters is the belief that Christians hold. Faith is a product of the fulfilment that brings a radical peace, the peace that the world cannot give without which opens the way to the trivialization of human life (Lonergan, 1971, 105). That fulfillment, according to Lonergan (1971, 106), is not the product of our knowledge or choice.There is therefore always room to interpret the Scriptures that is not entirely based on historical criticism. Relying on faith alone, the Scriptures should be interpreted basing on the experience of mystery to develop a type of consciousness that deliberates, ma kes judgments of value, decides, and acts responsibly and freely.Works CitedBrandon, Samuel George Frederick, The historical element in primitive Christianity. Numen vol. 2, no. 1, 156-167Brown, Raymond E. Biblical Reflections on Crises Facing the Church. Mahwah, NJ Paulist Press, 1975International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. The sugar statement on Biblical inerrancy. 1978. The Spurgeon Archive. 17 meet 2009 <http//www.spurgeon.org/phil/creeds/chicago.htm>Lonergan, Bernard. Method in Theology. Toronto, Canada University of Toronto Press, 1971Sungenis, Robert. Fr. Raymond Brown and the demise of the Catholic Scripture Scholarship. Catholic Apologetics International. 17 March 2009. <http//www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/articles/pastoral/fr-ray-brown1.htm>

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