Three approaches to reading the Bible: philologically, theologically and spiritually
The Old Testament biblical scholar and evangelical preacher describes in his reflection three different approaches to reading the Sacred text: philological, theological and spiritual. He discusses the specific focus of each of the three modes as well as their tense, however, in the end complementary relationship. The author considers the question with which the reader approaches the text to be the crucial criterion for what the reader hears from the Bible. The question includes both definition of the reader and also the status of the read text and pragmatics of this activity. The author ultimately concludes that the sense of reading and interpreting the Bible is nothing other than walking before the face of God.
Jean-Louis Chrétien – Patrick Faure
Read the Bible today
Speeches at a conference in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris during Lent 2005
The text presents two reflections on what it means to read the Bible today, delivered at a conference held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris during Lent 2005. Philosopher Jean-Louis Chrétiene, using several biblical texts, focuses on the question of what it is today that we are to hear the voice of God. In response, the biblical scholar Patric Faure points to the role of interpretive tradition of which each new reading of the Bible becomes a part.
Are the church fathers able to tell us anything about contemporary biblical exegesis?
In his article French theologian Yves-Marie Blanchard tries to show that in addition to the historical-critical method, which is nowadays considered the basic exegetical approach to the Bible, it is also appropriate to be inspired by patristic exegesis and to draw on its richness. He particularly sees following characteristics of patristic exegesis as relevant: the primacy of Bible’s synchronicity, reflection on the relationship between the Old and New Testament and an intuition of unlimited multiplicity of meanings we can discover in The Holy Scripture.
Heterogeneous Influences on the Reading of Scripture in the Early Church
The article explains some concepts of ancient exegesis and outlines trends in its development. It sheds light on the ancient concept of the two-level reading of Scripture and shows the historical anchoring of the Alexandrian and Antiochian exegetical traditions in contemporary culture and science. It concludes by reflecting on how ancient exegesis can be an example for modern interpretation of Scripture. Finally, he argues that the exegete bears full responsibility for the impact of the exegesis of Christians and cannot blame it on Scripture.
Inspirational features of ancient allegory
The artical recalls some features of allegorical exegesis or the search for a higher meaning of the Bible in late antiquity. With examples of chosen authors (particularly Philo of Alexandria, Origen and Gregory of Nyssa) he presents the relationship between the “body” and the “spirit” of Scripture, the role of foreign philosophy and the motive of pre-image (typos). The attempt to find a non-literal meaning in the Bible is closely linked to the conviction that the Bible speaks about something that necessarily transcends not only reports on history, but also expressive possibilities of human language in general, however, it is possible to speak about it only with these imperfect tools. Allegorical interpretation is introduced as a way which combines a great attention to the literal meaning of the Scripture with a courageous search for its spirit.
Markéta Dudziková – David Vopřada
The Red Sea Crossing as a concrete example of patristic exegesis
The study and at the same time a short reading book of texts presents examples of exegetical interpretation of the Old Testament event of the crossing of the Red Sea by authors such as Philo, Origen, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Quodvultdeus. He shows with the help of allegorical reading, how the Christians of the early centuries could appropriate both the Old Testament narration of the journey out of Egyptian slavery, and various teaching of the Hellenistic schools of philosophy. With this help of which the Christians could better understand the nature of his own slavery and the way out of it. It takes a look at the origin of up to date liturgically connected story of the crossing of the Red Sea and the sacrament of baptism.
Opening the Book of the Word. Survey
(Prokop Siostrzonek OSB, Ludmila Böhmová, Ladislav Heryán SDB, Monika Radovanská, Olga Navrátilová, Martin C. Putna, Denisa Červenková CSTF)
How to read the Scripture, how to learn to understand it, how to live with it and out of it? Several personalities who often open the Bible either to read from it to others or read in it themselves, are offer their experiences with the Word of God. The variety of “lay” and “professional” attitudes refer to a respect towards the Word of God that is possible to show in as many ways as there are readers.
Petr Beneš CSsR
Bible as an Interpretative Key to a Modern Literature
Theologian and literary scholar Petr Beneš gives a comprehensive view of the relationship between the Bible as a central element of Christian faith and modern literature. He shows how our culture and civilisation is influenced and infused by the text of Bible, by the phenomenon of the Book and its reading and how this is reflected, even without awareness, in our perception of literature, even modern one. Benes distinguishes between sovereign aesthetic function of literature and redemptive function of Scriptures, however, he points out their intersections and similarities, he speaks about the principle of the fragment as well as the total claim of literary work to depict reality, he explains insufficiency and danger of a literal reading of any text, let alone the text of the Bible. He deals with the issue of “correct interpretation”.
God seeking a man
In these selected contributions the French philosopher interpretates a few texts that are neither biblical nor part of Christian history, however, she sees strong Christian motives there. The Homeric Hymn Demeter recalls to the Virgin Mary, Narcissus evokes divine beauty, Phaedrus dialogue and the parable of the cave correspond to the Gospel parable of wedding banquet, whose guests are sought at random on the road, Minoan labyrinth symbolizes the wandering of a man who search of God. The Scottish fairy tale of the “Duke of Norway” depicts how God seeks and seizes a man. It is also a reminder of Christ’s suffering. Weil’s interpretations show that an interpretation can be purely Christian in content and yet completely original and unexpected.
Hills like white elephantes
On the possibilities of interpretating literary text
The article presents variety of approaches to the interpretation of a literary text. Using the example of the interpretative schemes used in literary science he illustrates spiritual crisis of the humanities, especially the lack of clarity of its texts and the lack of commitment in the choice of basic topics and criteria. Phenomenological interpretation is introduced as a possibility to see the vital subject of the interpretational work.
Robert V. Novák
This issue of Salve is accompanied by a series of “illustrations” designed especially for our topic by Robert V. Novák (*1962) who is a Czech leading graphic designer, photographer and visual artist whose work spans several disciplines. Firstly Mr. Novák wrote down ideas that came to his mind while contemplating the written texts. He has translated this view of a reader into the view of a child who is just beginning to recognize the shapes of individual letters and to discover the written text. Because of this he has used an old black and white children’s construction set “Alphabet – construction set of letters and numbers”. A reader of Salve is given not only scientific and literary texts but also kind of textual images, mirrors adding another dimension to the rational reflection.