Bible as Dialogue 
From the perspective of the history of religions, the Bible belongs to holy writ (scriptures); i.e. collections of written texts which according to religious believers are to contain revelation. The scriptures usually gather traditions that functioned before (but quite often kept functioning also after the texts had been written down) mainly as oral traditions of a particular religious community. They are believed to have a special power, sanctity and authority arising from a divine inspiration. Moreover, sometimes they are held to be of eternal origin. Their word brings in an effective, transforming and saving power . The Christian Holy Scripture can be placed within such a description: like other holy books it stems from a long oral tradition, and its sanctity and authority are related mostly to its salvific power, transforming particular people as well as the community of believers. Similarly to what is believed in other Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam and religions deriving of them) the books inspired by God are said to give a participation in God’s knowledge to those who accept them with faith. Hence they make the most important basis of cognition, at least in what relates to the sense of human existence and principles of life before God.
The Jewish tradition is extremely diverse, yet what unites all the major branches of the tradition is the sacredness of the Hebrew Bible. The Bible is the most precious word that the Jews possess because for Jews it is Torah min ha-shamayim, “Torah from heaven,” which came into being by way of revelation. The Bible is, therefore, a way through which human beings can encounter the presence of God .
There is no doubt among all adherents to the Abrahamic faiths that God has communicated to certain people known as the Prophets to guide mankind towards their happiness… There is a consistency and homogeny in the message given to the prophets. Muslims believe that the harmony and consistency in the divine creation extends to His revelations. Divine messages communicated to the people through His messengers are to be harmonious too. If they are revealed by the same God to the recipients (human beings) who have the same nature and genuine needs to show them the path towards the maximum possible happiness and salvation they must be similar in nature .
However, a closer examination shows distinctive differences in how various religions understand the intermediary role of the scriptures in learning the divine Truth.
The concept of the revealed truth
In the Jewish tradition “The Pentateuch is the Law, Torah. As such, it demands only explanation, as for a pious Jew the relation with God means directly obeying God’s commandments and putting them into practice” . This is why the Torah is actually not a text that would inspire a theological reflection. The Qur’an plays a similar role for Muslims – it is above all the rule of life leading to salvation. Therefore the text as such is considered the holy intermediary between God and the people. The text of the Qur’an likewise of the Torah have been treated with the highest veneration and utmost care regarding not only all the words used, but also the letters in the holy language in which it had been formulated (Arabic or Hebrew).
At this point it is already easy to notice that the attitude Jews have to the Torah and Muslims to the Qur’an differs from what Christians believe about the Bible. For Christians the plenitude of the word of God is closely tied to, or even identical with, a particular Person. The most complete expression of God is no Book, but a living Man in the human world, Someone who you can simply follow with a full trust. If so, the Holy Scripture, being only a collection of books, no matter how inspired and sacred, cannot be considered direct Revelation, but only a way leading to the Plenitude of Revelation who is Christ. Between the sacred text and God stands the one and only Intermediary, for whom Christians actually look when they get down to reading the Bible. Furthermore, taking into consideration the special, twofold structure of the Christian Bible, the Intermediary (who did not write anything himself ) is placed in between also in relation to it, standing between its two parts: the Old and New Testament, between the books formulated before he was born, those which were the Sacred Scripture already for Him, and the books created because of his coming and because of what he has done, but ex post, among his disciples and followers of his unique role in the world’s history.
Christians see themselves as the Church called, gathered and sent by God in order to proclaim to the world the Good News: God has spoken and his Word to people is Jesus Christ. All main sources of the nascent community bear witness to it (though in different manners): this is how Peter is presented, what Paul testifies about himself and his mission, and how John describes his community (cf. Acts 2:36–38; Rom 1:1–4; 1 Jn 1:1–4). The Christ’s Church in statu nascendi is convinced that they should proclaim the ultimate Word of God first to Israel and then also to all nations. The memory of their own beginnings reinforces the fundamental message which the Act of the Apostles ascribe to Peter speaking to the pilgrims on Pentecost in Jerusalem:
“’Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified’. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, ‘What are we to do, my brothers?’ Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’.” (Acts 2:36–38)
The change of life that the apostles call for should be based on the new event, whose Author is God who wants to give his people even more than before, but still in accordance with the old promise that he confided to Israel. Jesus’ disciples and those who joined them talk about what they are convinced they have experienced themselves in the contact with Jesus as the ultimate Word of God. The fundamental truth of this experience of the life that was with the Father and now has been revealed can be briefly recapitulated in a statement: “In this way the love of God has revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him” (1 Jn 4:9) and Jesus’ disciples have repeated it from the beginning. The same message is expressed in the Gospel according to John in the prayer of Jesus to the Father: “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (J 17:3) and in a credo quoted by Paul in one of his first letters: “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist” (1 Cor 8:6).
The Word of God that is Jesus Christ above all tells about the scandal of his death on a cross whose sense is revealed (in the categories of the Scripture) in Jesus’ being raised from death and born to a new life of glory by God: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10); “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the death, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things in him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven” (Col 1:18–20). The core of the Good News is that God has accepted the life and death of Jesus Christ and made it the basis and paradigm of the relationship with God, which bears salvation to anyone who believes. The Christians believe that this very sense is given by the event of Jesus Christ to the message of God contained in the Bible: “For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ…”, living on the earth “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Gal 2:19–20).
The above presented fundamental understanding of Jesus as the Word of God has effect on how Christians understand the role and place of the holy books. According to Christians, the Sacred Scripture is a collection of books  written by people who were given the charisma of God’s inspiration and as such is both divine and human word, combining two different and complementary collections of writings: the Old and New Testament . Even in this provisional definition there are two characteristic features that draw attention: firstly, the focus on the human collaboration in the genesis of the Bible and, secondly, that the Bible consists of two separate parts. Since the “link” between the divine and human cannot be found in the holy text, but in a Person that the writings tell about, Christianity allows for a greater distance from the text itself and acknowledges the human contribution to the forming of the holy writings. Furthermore, because Jesus stands in between the two parts of the Bible, the text becomes discontinuous and by that it reveals its fundamentally dialogical nature – the Old Testament heralds and enables the understanding of the New, while the New Testament explains the Old.
The Word of God and the word of people
For Christians “the Word of God” is not identical with the Holy Scripture but it constitutes – together with “the word of people” one of the two components of the Scripture . “The Word of God” can be defined as the reality through which God establishes contact with people, proclaiming his will and manifesting the creative and saving power. Via the Word of God he enters into the human history, forms and directs it. Since utterance of the Word by God is tantamount to realization of its content, the Word is not limited only to what God says but it also means the works of God in history – accomplished beforehand and now being explained, or happening right now . According to this, the most important deed of God constituting the root cause of the Holy Scripture is not the act of passing a text to people, but forming the history of humankind from inside. Directing the history also, but not exclusively, through manifestations of God’s will (to which the metaphor of “speech” or “words” can be related more directly). God “speaks” also, or, perhaps it should be stated: first of all and above all, by manifesting his creative and salvific power. Hence, the holy text not only had to articulate God’s instructions in a particular human language, but first of all it had to tell about the deeds of God’s power. Each of God’s works can be also called a “word” of his revealing “speech” to people, revealing God’s existence and his saving power, and calling for an answer .
Therefore the addressees of God’s deeds play an active, creative role in the literary process of referring the message they are to deliver. Unquestionably, there is enough space for an important contribution of the “human word”. Speaking of the literary dimension of the Holy Scripture, Catholic biblical scholars (bearing in mind the teachings of the Second Vatican Council’s constitution Dei Verbum ), although cautious in comparing the Bible with any other human words, see the difference between them only when it comes to the Bible being “without error” .
Since biblical studies discovered the complexity of the history of literary layers in the canonical texts, the human authorship is ascribed to every person who, in cooperation with God, took an active part in the process of the Bible’s formation: the authors of particular units that had been passed orally, the compilers and editors of larger entities within particular books and finally of the books in their actual form, as well as to those who arranged the books into one canon, “staying in relationship with the people of God” . Hence, as a general rule applying at least to God’s most essential revealing deeds, the words used in the Bible belong to numerous people, approaching the reality from different perspectives, complementing each other. The five scrolls of Moses  as well as the four gospels constitute the most evident exemplifications of this dialogue of the many texts talking about the appointment of the people of God and the redemption that Jesus Christ carried out in this people.
Christian Bible: dialogue of two “testaments”
However, the most important structure inside the Christian Bible is its being knit together from two “testaments”, in such a way that the New does not abolish the Old Testament or make it irrelevant, although it relativizes its significance. The first Christians strongly believed that their experience was tied to the things that have been “from the beginning”. Christianity comes from the people of Israel that already has had their own inspired, holy Books, revealing the will of God. It emerged from Israel, however, because of the belief that God of Israel has told something new and amazing through Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, from the very beginning Christianity knows the Hebrew Bible (as well as its Greek version, the Septuagint) as the holy word of God. This approach can be clearly illustrated by Paul teaching his disciple who had been brought up in the Jewish environment:
“But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known [the] Holy scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tm 3:14–15).
The formula describing the “Holy scriptures” seems very characteristic of the early Christian way of thinking: the scriptures contain the divine wisdom and are capable of forming a person on the way of salvation. But the salvation Christians mean is salvation “by faith”, moreover, by faith “in Christ Jesus”, that is concretely tied to the person of Jesus who is believed to be the Christ. The wisdom of the Scriptures is useful, but subject to the relationship with Jesus Christ.
The holy writings of Christians consist of the Bible (Scriptures) and “the memoirs of Apostles”; the latter give the Scriptures a new and ultimate sense, proclaiming the Good News which was not revealed beforehand but kept for the “fullness of time”. Therefore, it’s understandable that the Church remembers (and keeps reminding) how Jesus understood and treated the holy Books of Israel:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of the letter will pass the law, until all things have taken place (Mt 5:17–18).
However, we need to remember what Israel from which Christianity emerged was like. At the time it was naturally the Israel of the Law (Torah), but also Israel of the (at least partial) return from exile, with the Temple rebuilt and the worship restored. These new works of God, according to the Prophets, were supposed to overshadow the old Exodus (Isaiah), reintroduce the Law and the Covenant into the hearts of the people (Jeremiah), and revive the bones of Israel with the new breath of the Spirit (Ezekiel). Hence, Israel has been the community believing in the possibility of new interventions of God in the history, interventions that could be understood as the new word of God spoken to the world. The fulfilment of the Law means also the keeping God’s promises given to Israel, the new and complete reign of God .
Such an approach to the Bible is especially characteristic of the first Christians. According to what the disciples remembered, Jesus saw unfaithfulness in Israel’s underestimating the prophets’ teachings. He considered himself to be the complement of the line of the prophets (cf. Mt 21: 33-40; 23: 33-39). Therefore among the Books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Christians attach more importance to the Prophets (and Psalms as coming from David – also understood to be a prophet). The Apostles use the language, images and concepts of the prophets in writing down their own “memoirs” about Jesus, in order to show the deep sense of the events they are relating, and to present them as the new work of God. For Christians, the books of the Old Testament, adopted from Israel, create a horizon for understanding the deeds and words of Jesus, his mission, and identity, while the books of the New Testament present the event of Jesus and its saving meaning for the Church. The old becomes a language that makes it possible to utter the new.
In the eyes of Christians, the Bible is above all the story of the relationship between God and people, in which the story of Jesus plays a special role. They perceive the Bible as the testimony of the history of God’s relationship with humankind, then, since Abraham, the father of believers, with a chosen representation of the humankind: Israel. The story grows and develops, from the Patriarchs, through Moses and the Prophets; successive prophets add to explaining the plan of God hidden in the history and prepare the people for its fulfilment.
Christians use the Bible for interpreting the ultimate and, in a sense, the one and only word of God that they believe is in the coming, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When Matthew begins his Gospel with “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham”, he includes Jesus in the line of people who played important roles in the former stages of the history of salvation; so do also other authors of the New Testament. Here, into the history of God’s speaking to people, especially to the chosen People of Israel, enters the unique, fulfilling Word. Finally, it turns out that each event in the history has a common objective: to help present and understand the Person and the message of Jesus, whose commonly used title “Christ” explains his place in the history of salvation. However, this title is not enough to describe what the Word of God to people actually represents, because Jesus Christ surpasses the expectations Judaism of his times had of Messiah. The authors of the New Testament account for it in many ways: now (when “the fullness of time” came Ga 4: 4) God spoke through “a son” (Heb 1: 1). He is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1: 15), the principle and the firstborn of the whole creation (Heb 1; Col 1), as well as the creative Word that was with God (J 1). He is the Word in the strongest meaning that can be ascribed to God: the Word calling to existence everything that had not existed beforehand, and yet closer to people than ever before, because the Word is a Man who sympathizes with our weaknesses (cf. Heb 4: 15).
At the same time, beside those who accepted this new event in the history, still lasts the religious community of those who keep drawing on the “old” Bible, especially the Five Scrolls of Moses – the Torah. John Paul II sees it as a very special mystery of God’s plan. For him it is distinctly a mystery of dialogue which becomes an inherent part of the Church herself. During one of the first meetings of the Pope with the Jewish community, he was reflecting on the sense of the Christian-Jewish dialogue and shared a thought which he was often to repeat during the pontificate:
The first dimension of this dialogue, that is, the meeting between the people of God of the Old Covenant, never revoked by God [cf. Rom. 11:29], and that of the New Covenant, is at the same time a dialogue within our Church, that is to say, between the first and the second part of her Bible .
What does it actually mean? What is this dialogue “within our Church” about? It seems that above all it concerns the understanding of the Old Testament’s writings in Christ. The great pope finds a confirmation of his intuition in the guidelines for implementing Nostra Aetate and quotes them in the same address: “An effort will be made to acquire a better understanding of whatever in the Old Testament retains its own perpetual value…, since that has not been cancelled by the later interpretation of the New Testament. Rather, the New Testament brings out the full meaning of the Old, while both Old and New illumine and explain each other” . Also reflections of the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s document seem to shed light on this matter:
…Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Holy Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel fashion. Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible .
The Christian partners in the dialogue with the Jews about “their” Torah and their reading of the Book, remembering what they have learned from the Jews, in the Church become partners in the dialogue with those who focus their view on the newness of Christ and the apostolic hermeneutics of the Scriptures. At least this is how the things should be, in accordance with the quoted thought of John Paul II, for whom dialogue always meant a mutual exchange of gifts out of love.
The contemporary reflection on the mutual relation of the two parts of the Bible tends to acknowledge that “the Old Testament in itself seems to lack an ending which it requires, therefore pointing to a reality besides itself, whereas the New Testament in itself seems unfounded, lacking points of reference, and hence uncommunicative, even unintelligible” .
The Old Testament in itself has great value as the Word of God. To read the Old Testament as Christians then does not mean wishing to find everywhere direct reference to Jesus and to Christian realities. True, for Christians, all the Old Testament economy is in movement towards Christ; if then the Old Testament is read in the light of Christ, one can, retrospectively, perceive something of this movement. But since it is a movement, a slow and difficult progression throughout the course of history, each event and each text is situated at a particular point along the way, at a greater or lesser distance from the end. Retrospective re-readings through Christian eyes mean perceiving both the movement towards Christ and the distance from Christ, prefiguration and dissimilarity. Conversely, the New Testament cannot be fully understood except in the light of the Old Testament… Although the Christian reader is aware that the internal dynamism of the Old Testament finds its goal in Jesus, this is a retrospective perception whose point of departure is not in the text as such, but in the events of the New Testament proclaimed by the apostolic preaching .
Therefore we can say that the centre of the whole Bible lies neither in the Old, nor in the New Testament. Both of them orbit, as if they were two stars of a similar mass, around a common “centre of gravity” lying beside them. This metaphor matches the thought about Christ as the “Fullness of Revelation” in a way placed “besides” the Holy Scripture, in between its two main parts. It is acceptable on the ground of Christian theology in its attempt to understand God’s plan in his twofold act: leading humankind through the choice of Israel and gathering of Christ’s Church.
Considering the human dimension, i.e. the literary side, the Old Testament, although actually lacking an ending (especially when it comes to the expanded version which the Catholic Church accepted through the Septuagint), seems much more independent than the New. It has its own world of terms, concepts and problems that do not require the New Testament to be solved, at least in a certain horizon of meaning. The proof for it can be found in the existence and development of a vital Jewish community cultivating the tradition based on the Old Testament (with a special place of the Torah). It is the New Testament that depends much more on the Old, when it comes to concepts, ideas, issues and their formulation. On the other hand, the New Testament tries to, if one may say so, “liberate” its readers form this dependence, as it does not focus their attention on the text of the Bible in itself, but persuades that its objective is to help the readers establish a lively, personal relationship with the Lord who is Jesus (Rom 10:8–12), and in him confidence of access to the Father (Eph 3:12–21). In a sense though, the Revelation to John allows us to say that the New Testament (and hence the whole Christian Bible) has its final “Amen”, therefore it forms a self-contained whole .
The Holy Spirit – instrument of the Hermeneutics of the Scriptures and Director of the Redemption Drama
However, the picture would not be full without mentioning that the final “Amen” of the Revelation to John immediately broadens into a calling “Come, Lord Jesus!”, which reminds us that from the contemporary perspective even the New Testament is an unfinished project. The Acts of the Apostles end even more unexpectedly than the Books of Chronicles or the Books of Maccabees. Both the Old and the New Testament support their communities on the way which is still an unfinished one, and leaving a free space yet to be filled with a content of life oriented towards God – the God whom both of the communities, as the people of God, are to reveal to the world .
As Moses said to Israel:
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the LORD, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’ For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? (Dt 4:5–7)
And Jesus to his disciples:
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (J 13:34–35)
Also in this sense the Bible is only a help, tool of God’s revelation to the world through chosen people and especially communities. Actually, it is them, and not any written words, that according to God’s plan are to make God close to and convincing for humankind.
If so, it calls for an appropriate use of the gift of the Scriptures and of the resultant testimony of life (which includes intellectual comprehension). The interpretation at stake should enable the readers to understand God’s plans towards his people. Moreover, the Bible has to be understood in an engaged and participatory way, yet not an arbitrary one.
Fortunately, since the Holy Scripture can be regarded the joint work of God and people already at the stage of its genesis, also the correct reading of its message seems possible: the people of God has the capability of reading the words of God. According to this concept (based on the teaching of Dei Verbum) the inspiration does not do away with the human “powers and abilities” of the authors, but makes them a tool of the Holy Spirit for expressing the truth, which God “wanted put into sacred writings” (Litteris Sacris consignari voluit) “for the sake of salvation” (nostrae salutis causa) . It is still justifiable to ask to what extent can the Bible be considered “asserted” by the Holy Spirit as his “tool”. On the one hand, the constitution of the Second Vatican Council states distinctly that the truth of the Scripture is expressed in the sense intended by the authors, related to different literary forms used by them. On the other hand, the same document declares that the truth can be fully understood in the context of the unity of the whole Scripture, inside the Church and her Tradition .
Christians are aware that the sense of the Word that comes from God can only be known to the One who has uttered it. The new deed of God calls for a new interpretation of all his words, a new understanding of the whole Bible. This new understanding is given by the Holy Spirit – a Gift as fundamental and as divine and undeserved as the Word that become Flesh, i.e. a particular historic person inside the world’s history, intermediary between God and humankind – Israel. Christians believe they have been given the gift of wisdom that enables them to decipher the sense of the Scripture. According to Paul, “no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11). The Spirit has been promised the disciples by Jesus for the time after he goes to the Father, so that they could observe his teachings (cf. Jn 14:23–26). The teaching and reminding that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Christ grants the believers enables them to understand Jesus’ history in comparison with the Scripture, as Jesus himself believed:
“Everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled” (Lk 24:44; cf. Acts 1: 8). The same Spirit illuminates the sense of the further events founding the new community – the Church of God in Jesus Christ (1 Thes 1:1; 2:14). It is thanks to the Spirit that the Apostles of Jesus Christ know what they should do and say, and remember the words of the Master in the context of new situations and tasks . Moreover, since this is the same Spirit that used to lead the prophets in their preaching and writing down the inspired books (cf. 2 Pt 1:20–21), also the writings of the Apostles, especially Paul’s, share the same authority of divine inspiration as the prophetic books of the Old Testament (cf. 2 Pt 3:16). The various voices of the New Testament join the already existing polyphony of the Old.
If so, does the Holy Spirit “unveil” the truth also through a multitude of (often rival) biblical interpretations of the same salvific deeds – “words” of God? Does the Spirit encourage thinking also using gaps and repetitions in the narrations and meditations over the sense of events? Is the dialogical structure of the Bible a tool of revelation? The answers appear to be positive, since he did not let the Church choose only “the best” versions of presented works and words of God.
What implications does it have for theologians who attempts to look for answers for questions stated by the Church and the world of their times in “the sources of revelation”? What should be their method of approaching the Bible? How should they draw on it in a human as well as “divine” way?
These questions are worth reconsidering, especially today, after the turbulent and complex development of biblical studies, with the awareness of the philosophical hermeneutics and of a new, personalistic view on revelation. As for this book, which, joining in the dialogue inside the Holy Scripture, aims at initiating a systematic theology of dialogue as the form of the Church’s being in the world, I can only describe how and why I draw on the richness of the biblical texts in each of the parts and for what reasons I consider it to be in keeping with the human and the “spiritual” truth of the Bible.
- 1 This part is based on (besides an unpublished synopsis of the lectures) two publications: Ł. Kamykowski, “Pismo Święte a Słowo, które stało się Ciałem. Chrześcijańskie podejście do Biblii” in Księgi święte a słowo boże, ed. Ł. Kamykowski, Z. Kijas (Kraków: WN PAT, 2005) 187-189; Ł. Kamykowski, “Pismo święte – słowo Boże – Objawienie. Biblia jako problem w teologii fundamentalnej – przyczynek do dyskusji” in Scio cui credidi. Księga pamiątkowa ku czci Księdza Profesora Mariana Ruseckiego w 65. rocznicę urodzin (Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL, 2007) 263-272.
- 2 Cf. S. Grodź, “Księgi święte” in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, ed. M. Rusecki, K. Kaucha, I.S. Ledwoń, J. Mastej (Lublin–Kraków: Wydawnictwo M, 2002) 723.
- 3 H. Kasimow, “Księgi święte a słowo Boże – perspektywa żydowska”, in Księgi święte a słowo boże, 161. [Quoted after the original English version – trans. note.]
- 4 Mohammad Ali Shomali, “Boże Objawienie w rozumieniu islamu”, in Księgi święte a słowo boże, 173, 179-180. [Quoted after the original English version – trans. note.]
- 5 H. H. Schmidt, “Vers une théologie du Pentateuque”, in Le Pentateuque en question. Les origines et la composition des cinq premiers livres de la Bible à la lumière des recherches récentes, ed. A. de Pury (Genève: Labor et fides, 1989), 364. [Translatated via Kamykowski’s Polish translation – trans. note].
- 6 Cf. J. Pańkowski, “Pismo Święte w teologii Kościoła wschodniego” in Księgi święte… 55-56.
- 7 Greek ta biblia stands for a particular collection of books.
- 8 Cf. U. Szwarc, “Pismo święte”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 918.
- 9 This idea is distinctly present in the Catholic thought, but it is also familiar to other Christian traditions. Regrettably, their approaches are not to be discussed here for the sake of the limited scope of this presentation. Cf. T. J. Zieliński, “Biblia, Słowo Boże i księgi religii światowych w ujęciach baptystycznych”, in Księgi święte a Słowo Boże, 71-88; B. Milerski, “Teologia słowa i zasada autorytetu Pisma. Ujęcie luterańskie”, in Księgi święte a Słowo Boże, 98-110; etc.
- 10 U. Szwarc, “Słowo Boże”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 1106.
- 11 Cf. I. S. Ledwoń, “Objawienie Boże”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 859. Here Leksykon refers to the entry on dialogue, but there the fundamental concept of dialogue is limited to interpersonal relations – cf. Ł. Kamykowski, “Dialog”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 309-315.
- 12 “For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself” – Dei Verbum 11.
- 13 “In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted… However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, (6) the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words” – Dei Verbum 11-12.
- 14 Cf. U. Szwarc, “Pismo Święte”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 918.
- 15 Cf. H. H. Schmidt, “Vers une théologie du Pentateuque”, in Le Pentateuque en question…, 365.
- 16 “The notion of fulfilment is an extremely complex one, one that could easily be distorted if there is a unilateral insistence either on continuity or discontinuity. Christian faith recognises the fulfilment, in Christ, of the Scriptures and the hopes of Israel, but it does not understand this fulfilment as a literal one. Such a conception would be reductionist. In reality, in the mystery of Christ crucified and risen, fulfilment is brought about in a manner unforeseen.” – The Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, 21.
- 17 John Paul II, Address to Representatives of the West German Jewish Community, Mainz, November 17, 1980, in Dialogika Resources, http://www.ccjr.us/dialogika-resources/documents-and-statements/roman-catholic/pope-john-paul-ii/297-jp2-80nov17.
- 18 Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate (n. 4) , II.
- 19 Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, 22.
- 20 U. Szwarc, “Pismo Święte”, in Leksykon teologii fundamentalnej, 919; cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People…, esp. 21-22.
- 21 Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People…, 21.
- 22 However, a similar role can be ascribed to Mal 3: 19-24 in the Catholic canon of the Old Testament.
- 23 “What has already been accomplished in Christ must yet be accomplished in us and in the world. The definitive fulfilment will be at the end with the resurrection of the dead, a new heaven and a new earth. Jewish messianic expectation is not in vain. It can become for us Christians a powerful stimulant to keep alive the eschatological dimension of our faith. Like them, we too live in expectation” – Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, 21.
- 24 Dei Verbum 11.
- 25 Cf. Dei Verbum 12.
- 26 A good illustration of it can be found in how Peter reports back to his brothers about accepting Cornelius’ – the first pagan house – to the Church (cf. Acts 11: 2-17).