PG 442 - The Soul of Theology: Interpreting Sacred Scripture with Theologians from the Apostolic Period to Today.

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Module Level

9/10 MTh / PhD / STL Seminar Course

Time Allowance

Semester 1. Wednesdays. Beginning 22/09/21


Each student will present three in-course papers, a final synthesis paper of 5,000 words, and attend a review meeting. A limited number of students may make a class presentation in place of one of their in-course papers.

Module Aims

The aim of this course is to explore the question of Saint John Paul in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, his encyclical of 1994: “to what extent has the Word of God become more fully the soul of theology and the inspiration of the whole of Christian living.”

Furthermore, the course aims to provide a historical overview and hermeneutical critique of the development of biblical interpretation over the last two thousand years.

Finally, it seeks to increase both the rigour of the participants’ research methodology, and their professionalism in presenting the results of their research.

Indicative Syllabus:

By means of seven historical and hermeneutical “windows” the course will explore how the Scriptures have been received in Jewish and Christian traditions down through the ages. Through investigating the reception and reinterpretation of the Scriptures in the apostolic and patristic periods, in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and finally in modernity and beyond, participants will obtain a deeper sense of the richness of the Scriptures, and of how they are the “Word of God” and the soul of theology.” (See Dei Verbum § 21; Verbum Domini § 31; 35).

Timetable: Semester 1: Tuesdays 6.15 to 8.15 pm. First meeting 21/09/21

Learning Outcomes

  • have an appreciation of the various approaches to biblical interpretation through the ages
  • be able to situate theologians who work with scripture in their hermeneutical context
  • be able to describe and critique theologians’ approaches to scripture employing contemporary hermeneutical theory, and specifically the synthesis provided by Sandra Schneiders
  • be attentive to the complexities involved when employing scripture in their own theological reflections


  • Schneiders, Sandra M. The Revelatory Text. Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. 2nd ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999.
  • Collins Billie Jean, Bob Buller and John Kutso eds. The SBL Handbook of Style. 2nd ed. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014.
  • Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini: The Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2010.
  • Carvalho, Corrine L. Primer on biblical methods. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2009.
  • Evans, Gillian R. The Language and Logic of the Bible: The Earlier Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
  • Fishbane, Michael A. Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel. New York; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.
  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Biblical Commission's Document “the Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”: Text and Commentary. Subsidia Biblica 18; Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1995.
  • Fowl, Stephen E., ed. The Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Oxford: Blackwell, 1997.
  • Hauser, Alan J. and Duane F. Watson. eds. A History of Biblical Interpretation. 2 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003-2009.
  • Jeanrond, Werner G. Theological Hermeneutics. Development and Significance. London: SCM, 1991.
  • Paget, James C., Richard Marsden, E. Ann Matter, Euan Cameron, and John Riches, eds. The New Cambridge History of the Bible. 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012–2016.
  • Saebø, Magne ed. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of its Interpretation. 4 vols. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008–2015.
  • Sarisky, Darren, Theology, History and Biblical Interpretation. Modern Readings. London: T&T Clark 2015.
  • Steinmetz, David C., “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis.” Pages 26–38 in The Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Edited by Stephen E. Fowl. Oxford: Blackwell, 1997. Repr. from Theology Today 37 (1980): 27–38.
  • Thiselton, Anthony C. Hermeneutics. An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009.
  • _______________. New Horizons in Hermeneutics. The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.
  • Young, Frances M., Lewis Ayres and Andrew Louth, eds. The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.