this blog, it occurred to me posting something on what I was just commenting today to my Pentateuch students. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI while talking to a group of seminarians in Freiburg, emphasized the importance of hard studying. He referred to it as “something essential”. As a teacher like him and as a biblical student I totally agree with the Holy Father’s remark. Additionally, in this speech he emphasized on the centrality of faith in order to give meaning to everything the human being does. What I like most here is that Pope Benedict encouraged these students to appreciate how “important is to be informed and to understand, to have an open mind, to learn.”
In a couple of weeks we will be approaching in class several methods of biblical interpretation. I am looking forward to the discussion on how to approach the ‘dark passages of the Bible’. These texts, especially present in the OT, which contain some immoral and violent actions make many students think carefully and ask deep questions about the truth of the Bible. Acts of betrayal, massacre, debauchery and cheating seem to happen with impunity in a way that for some of the readers they may even seem scandalous. However, it is unfortunate that many times Scripture instructors dismiss this kind of texts in class, instead of helping their students to become aware that these difficult passages deserve some attention, since they also are God’s word to humanity.
The key to extract the meaning of those texts relies in their "historical-literary context studied within a Christian perspective". The light of the mystery of Christ should be then the hermeneutical key to approach these perplexing readings (VD, 42). It is in this sense that the critical analysis of these texts becomes essential, since as the Emeritus Pope warns, “we know that tomorrow someone else will have something else to say.” Ignoring our students’ questions or trying to sugarcoat things for them does not help them to find the way to the truth and exposes them to the threats of unjustified criticism of their faith.