Faculté de théologie, Université catholique de Louvain
Revue Théologique de Louvain vol:37 issue:4 pages:489-512
Official documents of the Roman Catholic Church make ample use of the Bible. The way the Scripture text functions in magisterial documents depends on the operative theology that underlies these texts. This paper investigates the changes that have occurred in the Church’s understanding and use of Scripture in Magisterial documents, more particularly in texts concerning the social teachings of the church. The study broadly classifies three paradigms of understanding Scripture, citing examples from official documents to illustrate their functioning: 1) The Bible as a collection of doctrinal propositions, 2) the Bible as a record of God’s saving actions in history and 3) the Bible as a vision of full communion with God and neighbour. The latter two paradigms are realised in nascent form in the Vatican II document Dei Verbum, while the former had been prevalent in pre-Vatican II documents and has reappeared after the Vatican II era. The understanding of the Bible as a collection of doctrinal propositions is shown to be relatively oblivious to the respective historical and literary contexts, whereas the other two models demonstrate increasing sensitivity to them by emphasising transformation and communion as opposed to information.