Biblical exegesis in Progress. Old and New Testament Essay

di Aletti J. N. - Ska J. L.

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    Biblical Exegesis in Progress, the title of this volume celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Biblicum, was chosen for one main reason that has to do with the word "progress". We would like to show how much exegesis has changed in our Institute since its foundation on the 7th of May, 1909. The first purpose of the Pontifical Biblical Institute was, in the mind of its founders, to defend Christian faith against the attacks of rationalist exegesis. The atmosphere was that of a citadel beleaguered on all sides by enemies who wanted to undermine the biblical foundation of faith and religion. But some of the sentinels very soon discovered that not all alleged "enemies" were real enemies. Many were, by and large, persons of good will sincerely trying to understand better the so-called "Great Code" of our culture (Northrop Frye). The encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) certainly allowed people to let down drawbridges, and to open some doors and some windows. But the major change occurred with the Second Vatican Council and the discussions that surrounded the redaction of what was to be the constitution Dei Verbum. A couple of years later, in 1968, the Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) was held in Rome, and this is one of the many signs that the old citadel had been transformed into a place of lively dialogue and fruitful exchange. The professors at the Biblicum had realized that truth is not a bastion to be defended, but rather a country to be explored and discovered anew every day. The articles collected in this volume testify, each in its own way, with a great variety of methods and approaches, to the progress made by our Institute in biblical research and to some of the radical changes that had occurred between 1909 and 2009. Contributors: Jean-Louis Ska, Norbert Lohfink, José Luis Sicre Díaz, Stephen Pisano, Horacio Simian-Yofre, Maurice Gilbert, Luca Mazzinghi, Gianni Barbiero, Reinhard Neudecker, Klemens Stock, John J. Kilgallen, Robert F. O'Toole, Johannes Beutler, Yves Simoens, Jean-Noël Aletti, Gianfranco Biguzzi.