There seem to be quite a few folks, both Catholic and non-Catholic, on this forum that hold to a literal reading of scriptures. The basis of their argument for this interpretation seems to be that all scripture is inspired by God and therefore must be taken literally regardless of any evidence that brings into question the literal accuracy of parts of scripture.
I was reading a link provided by wildleafblower and came across a link to another document titled “Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1994, chaired by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. There is much discussion about exigesis throughout the document, but there is one section that I think really gets to the heart of the matter.
From the document:
Fundamentalist interpretation starts from the principle that the Bible, being the word of God, inspired and free from error, should be read and interpreted literally in all its details. But by “literal interpretation” it understands a naively literalist interpretation, one, that is to say, which excludes every effort at understanding the Bible that takes account of its historical origins and development. It is opposed, therefore, to the use of the historical-critical method, as indeed to the use of any other scientific method for the interpretation of Scripture.
Fundamentalism also places undue stress upon the inerrancy of certain details in the biblical texts, especially in what concerns historical events or supposedly scientific truth. It often historicizes material which from the start never claimed to be historical. It considers historical everything that is reported or recounted with verbs in the past tense, failing to take the necessary account of the possibility of symbolic or figurative meaning.
The fundamentalist approach is dangerous, for it is attractive to people who look to the Bible for ready answers to the problems of life. It can deceive these people, offering them interpretations that are pious but illusory, instead of telling them that the Bible does not necessarily contain an immediate answer to each and every problem. Without saying as much in so many words, fundamentalism actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide. It injects into life a false certitude, for it unwittingly confuses the divine substance of the biblical message with what are in fact its human limitations.
There is much more there, but I want to be carefull pasting too much into this post. The full discussion on the fundamentalist interpretation can be found in section I F of the document which can be found here:
Now, I know my non-Catholic friends will blow this off because they have nothing but scripture to rely on, but what about my Catholic brothers and sisters? Does this make you stop and think about your position regarding the literal reading of ALL of scripture?