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 Post subject: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Out of the nowhere the Holy Spirit came to me followed by being aware of my sins. I had thought of other encounters like that. I was reading John Chpt. 4 about the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus unexpectedly at Jacob's well. She encountered Christ then was made aware of her sins. I had learned an evangelical interpretation of this story but am interested in knowing it's Catholic meaning.
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Longing


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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:03 pm 
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http://haydock1859.tripod.com/id95.html

i know this is not what you are asking for, but it might help give you some idea

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Only in a very few cases is there a "Catholic meaning" of a passage of Scripture. Usually one can believe whatever one likes as long as it doesn't conflict with a doctrine of the Church. The link F/S gave you provides some commentary from a Catholic viewpoint, but one can believe all sorts of things in addition to what it says and instead of what it says.

Is there something about the way you read that passage that you'd like us to comment on?

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:33 pm 
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It is rather difficult to say what the Catholic meaning of a verse is. Traditionally we say that scripture has multiple senses.

There is the literal sense. By literal sense I merely mean, what the words signify. Hence even a parable, which need not be real history but just a teaching moment for Christ, has a literal sense. Words refer to things, idea, etc, that is what we mean here. There can even be multiple literal meanings. Good human authors can do this. So sometimes there is a double meaning, a pun, or intentional ambiguity. John 7:37-39 of this chapter is an example of that. Moderns often debate how it should be rendered. On a grammatical level it can go either way. So it can be, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” "if any man thirst, let him come to me, and let the believer in me drink. As the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart.." And as a matter of understanding the literal sense, is the believer the source of the water or Christ Himself?

Now, in fact, it is true to say of either, as other verses show. I think the verse is purposely ambiguous myself. In anycase, under the literal sense is the parabolic (like in parable), the historical, the etiological (what caused what), etc. What we call literal is traditionally called proper, and what we call figurative is called literal, but improper (like metaphor)

Then there are the spiritual senses. Since God is the author of scripture not only do words signify things, but the things signified are themselves sign. Hence, when Moses parted the Red Sea, not only do we have words that are signs of that event (which is what writing does!), but Moses himself is a type of Christ, and the parting of the waters is itself significative of baptism on one hand, and the passage into paradise on the other hand. God is the author of history, so He can do that.

We traditionally divide the spiritual senses into three basic ones. The moral, which instructs us on what to do, by good and bad examples, etc. The allegorical, which teaches about the faith. Hence Moses prefigured Christ, and so too his acts prefigured Christ's acts, like the parting of the sea and baptism. And the anagogical, which is about the "last things" (heaven, hell, judgment, death). Hence one may say that the very land of milk and honey itself, God leading them to it, the very historical reality of that is itself a prefigurement of God leading us to heaven.

My gist in all my rambling here is that there isn't a "the Catholic interpretation" Rather, there are many. The main rule, as laid down, e.g., by St. Augustine in judging such matters is 1) Does it add to charity, i.e. love of God and my neighbor 2) Does it obey the rule of faith? (e.g., an interpretation of a difficult passage could not contradict the meaning of a clearer passage, nor the accepted faith of the Church as informed by scripture).

On this passage, the Catena aurea may be niced. St. Thomas collected excerpts from many Church Fathers on the Gospels into a book. Here is what there is on chapte 4 of John

http://josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CAJohn.htm#4

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. It was a great description of the various
Levels of interpretation. I esp. Liked your description and examples of allegory and the main rule of St. Augustine. I also appreciate the website.
Also do you know of several good books written by modern Catholics on the Book of John?
Thanks,
Longing


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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:23 pm 
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look at the top left of the page...our host is author of "St John's Gospel"

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:13 am 
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Another point to be made is that at that time the Jews hated the Samaritans because they had intermarried and were not keeping the race pure so they did not talk to them, in fact Jews would go out of their way to avoid Samaritans walking for many extra miles just so they did not have to walk through where Samaritans would be. Jesus was using her and the Good Samaritan as an example so the Jews would understand that the Gospel applied to all men and not just the Jews. I know that your main question about sin was already answered and I believe that God wakes us up in different ways to help us recognize that we are in sin and the goal is to turn from sin and strive to be better than we were before. There is a thread on going to confession that I would recommend that you read because it talks about sin and I learned quite a bit from it. Good luck with your studies and goals in life.

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:41 am 
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http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book ... 0300140156

An Introduction to the Gospel of John by raymond brown is probably advisable...he was supposedly an expert on John, but i actually hesitate to recommend the book because i am aware he went off the rails on some things... perhaps some of our other learned board members can comment on this particular book

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:44 am 
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Stay the heck away from Raymond Brown is my advice. :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:52 am 
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that is why i was hesitant...but i thought perhaps he would treat his "specialty" with a little more dignity... okay longing...you have it on excellent authority do not approach my last link ... stick with steve ray's book .... even though i haven't read it, i have complete faith in him and his scholarship

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:53 am 
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faithfulservant wrote:
our host is author of "St John's Gospel"


:shock: Wow! I thought that St. John the Apostle had been dead for a couple thousand years! Who knew!


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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:06 am 
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Raymond Brown is still the 'go to guy' for the historical critical study of the Gospel of John, and probably will remain so for many years due to the fact that his studies were so extensive they are unlikely to be duplicated for the next 200 years or so....

But...the historical critcial approach is not the only one, or even, these days, the most popular one....

The days when the historical critical school were the only approach are long gone, these days the most popular approach to the Gospel of John is the literary approach, i.e. the approach which looks at the gospel as a work of literature and tries to determine what the text means by considering issues like literary form and whatnot...


For this approach, the key text is

The Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel by Alan Culpepper 1983

This is the book which is credited with making the historical critical study of John passe and changing the direction of contemporary studies of the Gospel of John, it is a little technical and will take some time to read....but is well worth the effort...and nearly every book on John's Gospel written since 1983 uses this book as a source....

Another book I recommend is one of a similar bent that was written by a student of Culpepper's

Irony in the Fourth Gospel by Paul Dukes 1984

You should really being with Culpepper, because his work is so frequently cited and because most modern studies of the fourth Gospel assume Culpepper's basic approach and framework, you're really not going to understand most books written about John's Gospel if you don't start with Culpepper.


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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:11 am 
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The problem is that as time when by Brown's version of the historical-critical method became more and more speculative and less and less grounded in anything resembling evidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:18 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The problem is that as time when by Brown's version of the historical-critical method became more and more speculative and less and less grounded in anything resembling evidence.



True....but even Brown's works have their value....provided one is capable of separating the wheat from the chaff....it is in the first volume of his two volume Anchor Bible commentary that I first discovered the way that the first chapters of John deliberately mirror the first three chapters of Genesis, even following a strict '7 day' schedule and that thus he portrays Mary as the New Eve.....and as far as I am aware, Brown is the first commentator to notice this.....at least I've never seen anybody comment or expand upon it without crediting Brown for the original insight....it is when he starts speculating about 'sources' and 'layers' that he starts going off into the stratosphere, but he actually spends far less time on that kind of stuff than you might expect, maybe only about 10-20% of the time (at least in his Anchor Bible volumes) most of the time he devotes his attention to doctrinal issues.....


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 Post subject: Re: Catholic interpretation of Scripture
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Longing wrote:
Out of the nowhere the Holy Spirit came to me followed by being aware of my sins. I had thought of other encounters like that. I was reading John Chpt. 4 about the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus unexpectedly at Jacob's well. She encountered Christ then was made aware of her sins. I had learned an evangelical interpretation of this story but am interested in knowing it's Catholic meaning.
Thanks.

Longing


An aspect of the allegorical interpretation is the fact that the term "baal" can mean husband, but it was also the term for the deities worshipped by the nations that surrounded Israel. So when Jesus tells her that she had 5 husbands/baals, it was a double entendre referring to the false gods that were worshipped.

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