Day #8: Dei Verbum 12-13

Today we finish Chapter III of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation with paragraphs 12 and 13.

In order to not push the boundaries of fair use, I am going to refrain from posting the entire text of those passages and encourage people to follow the link to the document on the Vatican website. (If I continue to post the full text every day, by the end of the year I would have the entirety of the documents on this website.)

Paragraph 12 is an important companion to paragraph 11.  Where paragraph 11 is all about inspiration, paragraph 12 is all about interpretation.

This passage famously observes that Scripture must be interpreted “in the sacred spirit in which it is written.”  And which spirit is that?  The Holy Spirit, of course.  It also mentions a few key things about interpretation:  identifying the actual intention of the authors, and looking at the living tradition of the Church.  If our interpretation goes against the tradition of the Church, that’s a good clue that we are interpreting it incorrectly.

Paragraph 13 makes the analogy I made yesterday about the Word of God in human language as comparable to the Word of God made flesh.

Here are the footnotes from those paragraphs with links to some of the source documents:

Article 12:

6. St. Augustine, “City of God,” XVII, 6, 2: PL 41, 537: CSEL. XL, 2, 228.

7. St. Augustine, “On Christian Doctrine” III, 18, 26; PL 34, 75-76.

8. Pius XII, loc. cit. Denziger 2294 (3829-3830); EB 557-562.

9. cf. Benedict XV, encyclical “Spiritus Paraclitus” Sept. 15, 1920:EB 469. St. Jerome, “In Galatians’ 5, 19-20: PL 26, 417 A.

10. cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chapter 2, “On Revelation:” Denziger 1788 (3007).

Article 13:

11. St. John Chrysostom “In Genesis” 3, 8 (Homily l7, 1): PG 53, 134; “Attemperatio” [in English “Suitable adjustment”] in Greek “synkatabasis.”

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