Side question, if I may- what does the Church teach about the historicity of the Old Testament? Among other things, scholars seem to be unanimous that the events of Exodus didn’t happen exactly as they are said to have happened, or even didn’t happen at all.
There are many good Catholic scripture sources like this. And healthy Catholic Scripture sense is vital for good evangelization.
Misunderstanding the way the Church reads the scriptures drives people from the Church in droves.
In this day when people have lots of information and are not buying into authority for it’s own sake, we need to explain the faith well. And that includes knowing the senses of scripture, and what Inspiration is, etc…
There’s not an official body in the Catholic Church that dictates how we are to exactly interpret the Old Testament. Scholars generally agree that the narratives in the Old Testament are highly didactic. The militaristic battles in the Old Testament are more about spiritual combat with our own nature or with the devil than they are about historical events, but they are grounded in history to a degree.
The bible is rooted in history. It is written by a specific people at a specific time. It details events that happened in one form or another, or as remembered. It details concepts that an author wants to express. It relays stories to illustrate points. Poetry, praise, prophecy, etc…These things are all written in human history.
the bible is not limited to literalist or journalistic type history. The bible is not limited by it’s own words as we understand them in our bias. This is difficult for moderns, who want material facts. The bible was never meant for limited material considerations, like you would get from videos or recordings.
The bible is human words written in time, but God is not limited to our understanding of literary genres. The words are human, the Inspiration is of God’s power.
The point of Exodus is not the material facts, like what exactly year did this happen, and exactly where, and what were they wearing. The point of Exodus is the meaning and purpose of it that serves God’s will to save us. That saving meaning and purpose are just as alive now as they were when the actual events, whatever they were, happened.
Scripture is the living word of God, not a dead journalistic letter.
One point I might disagree with His Excellency on is at the end he suggests the militaristic metaphors in the Bible are something that no longer resonate with a modern audience. Based on what people consume on Netflix and Amazon I am going to disagree with that
One thing a Bible teacher I respect said is that the Bible tells us what we need to know, not all that there is to know. This came up first in Genesis in regards to the creation of everything, but it applies to all of Scripture.
It is also very important to consider who each book is being written for and by and the essential elements of their culture. Historical Middle Eastern traditions are going to be very different from how things are in modern North America, for instance.