Friday, December 20, 2013

Benedict XV on "True Interpretation"

“St. Jerome lays down that we have got to keep to the ''true interpretation, and that the real function of a commentator is to set forth not what he himself would like his author to mean, but what he really does mean.'”
--Pope Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus (Encyclical Letter On the Fifteenth Centenary of the Death of St. Jerome)(1920), no. 55 citing St. Jerome, Epist. ad Pammachium, 49, 17, 7.

1 comment:

Andy said...

This quote is one which even if not directly intended, could be applicable to scripture itself. Of course if this is the case, than the we have to acknowledge who the author is. The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit Himself is the author of scripture. In this case, we have to then ask: what does the Holy Spirit mean of any given passage in scripture? Outside the living tradition of the Church this becomes a shade of grey. But as long as we are within the living tradition of the Church, than I think there is some flexibility for what the author really means. And that is precisely what makes the scriptures rich. The more you study them, the more you immerse yourself in them, the more you become aware that there are multiple meanings beyond one sense, or pertaining to one element the more you are able to see the beauty of each passages it in an historical sense or simply an interpretation.....Last week I made a comment on this regarding the historical, stating that some passages (more specifically verses within passages) of the prophets appear to have greater fulfillment in the future sense with escatan over Christ himself and that others more with Christ and that both are superior to the immediate. Is this true? The more I reflect on it, the more Im prone to say this is an incorrect interpretation... for the quote brings up a good point: In sripture at least, the author can mean multiple things at once. There is beauty not just in all three historical senses of scripture, as well as multiple interpretation of indiivdual passages outside an historical sense so long as all interpretation is being made within the living tradition of the Church.