The study of scripture in a classroom takes the reader into the world of Jewish and Christian believers. It requires both an understanding of the history and the values contained in the sacred texts. At CTK we aim to develop our students religious literacy. In this way they can be discerning young people who are able to apply these skills not just in Religious Education but in the complex world we live in.
The Catholic approach to interpreting scripture is summed up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to the person in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words (n.109)
In order to discover the sacred author’s intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current.
“For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression (Dei Verbum, 12)
The Bible is firmly grounded in history; in the history of the Jewish people, the historical events surrounding Jesus of Nazareth and the history of the early Christian communities. However, at no time do Biblical authors claim to present objective history. Each book in the Old and New Testaments has been written from the bias of faith. The aim was never to write history but rather “to proclaim the wonders that God has worked in the midst of people and to interpret those events so that others might have faith” (Stead, 1996). Ordinary, everyday language is inadequate for such a task, so the Biblical authors made extensive use of symbol, metaphor and imagery. Therefore, for the teacher and student of scripture the question is not, ‘Did this (event) really happen?’ but rather, ‘What does this text mean?’
Elliot, M, Stower, L.et al. (2013) Religious Education Curriculum, Archdiocese of Brisbane. Brisbane, Australia. Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane. (p11-12)