Although I have long been fascinated with history and, thus, quite interested in Biblical history, I recently began to take an interest in historical criticism of the Bible. In searching these forums I found that this is a source of great controversy within Catholicism.
Some of the controversy seems to stem from the theological disputes that are raised by it. Which brings us to the classic debate of Biblical (in)errancy.
I want to argue here that Biblical (in)errancy is, for Catholics, a red herring. I invite your response.
Usually we hear about claims of Biblical errancy from atheists and fellow travelers. The Bible is full of errors in history, science, and even morality. It is therefore not to be trusted.
At the other extreme we have fundamentalist Christians who take the position that every sentence in the Bible is a literally true statement literally spoken by God.
But if you don’t take the view that the Bible is literally true in every sentence, what does it mean to claim that it is inerrant? Generally, the Chuch take the view that the Bible is a tool for teaching.
Obviously much of the Bible is regarded by Catholics as reliably true in at least a semi-literal sense (e.g. Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead as related in the NT) but even a work of fiction can be used to teach. If, for example, Job is a fictional story it still would serve a teaching purpose. What would it mean to say the book of Job is in error or not?
The Catholic view is that everything depends on interpretation.