Historical-critical method according to Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict)

Here is an amazing writing by Fr. John Hollowell that writes about the historical-critical method through the writings of the Pope. This is an amazing work, and the section on the historical critical method needs to be read by Catholics who study the Bible. Starting on page 33 is where it begins on the Historical critical method docs.google.com/file/d/0B_rDClByQZkLWjdhZjN6UFo2ZGM/edit?pli=1

I am so glad that you posted this. In the not too recent past I acquired some cassette tapes made by a priest, and it gave me a beginner’s understanding of some things that happened at the Jesus Seminar.

I read a few pages of the writing you provided starting at page 33, and I put it in my favorites so I can get back to it.

From the cassette tapes I have it was easy for me to explain to some Catholic friends basically about the “train wreck” of scripture that had occurred due to going overboard with the Jesus Seminar. It was very helpful to me to learn of what happened back then, and still influences much thinking about scripture.

Thank you again, and I look forward to reading more of Father John Hollowell’s insightful writing!

Looks like we will be publishing it at Consolamini Publications. We recently published a book by Kevin Lents which is awesome.

Glad to hear that!

covenant and communion by Scott Hahn does a very nice job discussung Benidicts biblical scholarship.

For a really thorough treatment of this topic, see Scott Hahn’s Politicizing the Bible

Thanks for this valuable thread.

Here is a link for more information on that book, and the text of Chapter 1.

Father Thomas McGovern writes:

Yet in spite of this clear teaching that a Catholic hermeneutic of Scripture can only be achieved within the context of the Church, [27] authoritative voices speak of a crisis of biblical exegesis at the present time because of a widespread sola Scriptura mentality and the resulting cleavage between the Bible and the Church. Perhaps the most significant critique of biblical exegesis as it has developed since Vatican II is to be found in the writings of the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One of the most compelling statements of this situation is to be found in The Ratzinger Report; it deserves to be quoted in full because of its clarity and precision, penetrating, as it does, to the very roots of the problem: “The bond between the Bible and the Church has been broken… The historico-critical interpretation has certainly opened many and momentous possibilities for a better understanding of the biblical text. But, by its very nature, it can illumine it only in the historical dimension and not explain it in its present-day claim on us. Where it forgets this limit it becomes illogical and therefore also unscientific. But then one also forgets that the Bible as present and future can be understood only in vital association with the Church. The upshot is that one no longer reads it from the tradition of the Church as a point of departure, and with the Church, but, instead, one starts from the newest method that presents itself as ‘scientific.’ With some scholars this independence has become an outright opposition - so much so that for many the traditional faith of the Church no longer seems justified by critical exegesis but appears only as an obstacle to the authentic ‘modern’ understanding of Christianity. . . The separation of Church and Scripture tends to erode both from within. In fact, a church without a credible biblical foundation is only a chance historical product, one organization among others . . . But the Bible without the Church is also no longer the powerfully effective Word of God, but an assemblage of various historical sources, a collection of heterogeneous books from which one tries to draw, from the perspective of the present moment, whatever one considers useful. An exegesis in which the Bible no longer lives and is understood within the living organism of the Church becomes archeology: the dead bury their dead. in any case, the last word about the Word of God as Word of God does not in this conception belong to the legitimate pastors, the Magisterium, but to the expert, the professor with his ever-provisional results always subject to revisions.”

Read whole article here at Mark Alder’s site:


Thanks. I found the comments on the New American Bible on page 36 42nd page of the PDF file ] very interesting.


I enjoyed this article; thanks for the link!

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