Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Something is taking place ..."

My New Year's posting mentioned Joseph Ratzinger's early book on St. Bonaventure's theology of history, which was written at about the time that René Girard was working out the mimetic anthropology that would eventually throw so much light on the historical meaning of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Apropos of the link between the work of these two important scholars is this from the future pope:
Certainly Scripture is closed objectively. But its meaning is advancing in a steady growth through history; and this growth is not yet closed. As the physical world contains seeds, so also Scripture contains "seeds"; that is, seeds of meaning. And this meaning develops in a constant process of grown in time. Consequently, we are able to interpret many things which the Fathers could not have known because for them these things still lay in the dark future while for us they are accessible as past history. Still other things remain dark for us. And so, new knowledge arises constantly from Scripture. Something is taking place; and this happening, this history, continues onward as long as there is history at all. ... In this way, the exegesis of Scripture becomes a theology of history; the clarification of the past leads to prophecy concerning the future. [The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, p. 9]
In Girard's case, the exegesis of Scripture, performed in light of anthropological data "which the Fathers could not have known," became a theory of culture which coaxed out of the Scriptural canon a new understanding of the unparalleled meaning and significance of the Gospel.

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