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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53996
Doc. No:TL23950
Call number:‭3615137‬
Main Entry:Matthew J. Ramage
Title & Author:Towards a theology of Scripture: Joseph Ratzinger's "Method C" hermeneutic and sacra doctrina on the afterlife in the Old TestamentMatthew J. Ramage
College:Ave Maria University
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:237
Abstract:As the first part of its title suggests, the purpose of this dissertation is to elucidate foundational principles for a systematic account of the nature of Sacred Scripture. In view of achieving this end, it looks to Joseph Ratzinger's 1988 "Method C" hermeneutics proposal for guidance and operates within a determinate scope as it seeks to elucidate the principles found therein and to apply them to a specific area of difficulty in Scripture: the Old Testament's portrait of the afterlife. Following Ratzinger's lead, it seeks to wed historical-critical analysis with a theological reading of the Old Testament, insisting that the two elements are mutually enriching and that a theology of Scripture would be unintelligible without both. It furthermore insists that viewing Scripture in terms of sacra doctrina or as part of a "divine pedagogy"--a kind of "sacred teaching" that gradually unfolded within Israel over the centuries--is precisely what makes a theology of Scripture intelligible. To put it briefly, the thesis of the dissertation is that Joseph Ratzinger's hermeneutics proposal provides the proper foundation for a theology of Scripture that takes seriously the element of divine pedagogy in the authorship of Scripture. Ratzinger has described his hermeneutic as the search for a synthesis of the patristic-medieval exegetical approach (which he calls "Method A") and the modern historical-critical approach ("Method B"), a work which takes advantage of the strengths of both methods while recognizing and accounting for their respective shortcomings. Guided by Ratzinger's call, this work first analyzes the Old Testament's developing view of the afterlife such as it appears (at times quite differently) in the MT and the LXX. It gathers insight from a broad array of historical-critical works, particularly the work of N.T. Wright and Robert Martin-Achard as well as Ratzinger's own work on eschatology. By ascertaining the trajectory of historical development within the Old Testament's account of the afterlife, the historical-critical approach makes it easier to see that there was an intelligible "divine pedagogy" at work in Israel leading the nation towards the fullness of truth and preparing them to welcome the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the same time, a historical-critical examination of Old Testament sacra doctrina on the afterlife raises difficulties for the doctrines of scriptural inspiration and inerrancy. It raises the question of what justifies development within Scripture in the first place, as well as the question of how to deal with passages which seem to contradict the Christian view of the afterlife. These difficulties raised by historical criticism are accounted for in light of the other method constitutive of Ratzinger's hermeneutical synthesis, the patristic-medieval method. The works of St. Thomas Aquinas, especially his treatises on faith and prophecy in the Summa and De veritate along with his Scripture commentaries, contain foundational principles that make it possible not only to account for development within the sacra doctrina of Scripture but also to give a reasonable explanation for the apparent errors within it. Finally, it is significant that Aquinas does not simply treat Scripture as a problem to be solved but rather sees in it an opportunity for the believer to encounter the living God. In this his work exemplifies the kind of spiritual exegesis called for in Ratzinger's proposal. In the concluding chapters of this work, particular attention is given to Aquinas' Expositio super Iob ad litteram and his In psalmos Davidis expositio, as well as Bonaventure's Expositio in Ecclesiasten. By making the Old Testament's difficult, and sometimes apparently inaccurate, portrayal of the afterlife relevant to the lives of Christian believers who read the sacred page, the work of these medieval theologians demonstrates why spiritual exegesis constitutes perhaps the most crucial element of Ratzinger's proposed "Method C" synthesis. For when a believer reads the Old Testament's account of the afterlife spiritually, he is not just reading a historical document but encountering a living word that has the power to transform his life today. Such an encounter is precisely what this work seeks to facilitate by pointing towards a theology of Scripture.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Afterlife; Biblical hermeneutics; Ratzinger, joseph; Pope benedict xvi; Saint thomas aquinas; Scriptural interpretation; Religion; Biblical studies; Theology; 0321:Biblical studies; 0469:Theology; 0318:Religion
Added Entry:G. R. Vall
Added Entry:Ave Maria University