Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pope's 'appearance of special pleading'

Bruce Chilton thinks that the Pope has performed a profound service by writing his book on Jesus' infancy narratives.

Bruce concludes his piece thus:
In urging that template upon his readers' attention, Benedict has performed a profound service for our time, even as he has left to the side historical concerns that cannot escape the curiosity that is native to our epoch. He has met the challenge of interpreting some of the most contentious texts in the New Testament by means of the symbolic reading championed by Irenaeus and Augustine. While those early teachers thought that symbols stood on their own, without the need of history's backing, today any interpretation that avoids asking about actual events can give the appearance of special pleading.
Interpreting the Gospel narratives without historical backing is indeed special pleading. Period.

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