The prolific pontiff has unexpectedly issued a lengthy, major document on scripture, which biblical scholars will certainly be poring over:
Pope Benedict XVI has issued a lofty and impassioned plea for everyone in the Church to rediscover the Bible and to grow in “an ever greater love of the Word of God.”
“We must never forget that all authentic and living Christian spirituality is based on the Word of God proclaimed, accepted, celebrated and meditated upon in the Church.
The Pope’s new apostolic exhortation, “Verbum Domini” (The Word of the Lord), issued Nov. 11, is a book-length response to a special 2008 Synod for Bishops on the Bible and the life of the Church.
In this document, the Pope offers a rich theological reflection on the meaning of the Word of God becoming flesh and the meaning of the Scriptures as the Word of God.
The Pope reaffirms forcefully the Church’s traditional teaching that the Bible is the revealed Word of God written by human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit. He notes that it conveys not just moral and spiritual truths but also truths about “the reality of human history.”
“The history of salvation is not mythology, but a true history,” the Pope said.
He added: “It must be remembered first and foremost that biblical revelation is deeply rooted in history.”
But the Pope declined to wade into the controversial question of how “true” Scripture is when it speaks of historical events.