Dio ci parla: Chiesa e Bibbia

Abbiamo visto che probabilmente esiste un Dio, che probabilmente coincide con il Dio cristiano e che, anche se parliamo di un Dio d’amore, la presenza del male sulla terra è giustificato. Un Dio del genere probabilmente ci starà vicino facendosi uomo, allevierà la nostra condizione e ci indicherà un modello di perfezione. Ma dopo la morte di Gesù dove reperiremo le indicazioni del Dio vivente?

Risposta: nella sua Chiesa.

Cos’é la Chiesa? Come si legge la Bibbia? Nel libro Was Jesus God?. Richard Swinburne dà risposte che giudico convincenti.

La Chiesa di Cristo prolunga l’ autorità del Figlio incarnato in terra…

… Only when the work of Jesus on earth was finished could there be any authoritative statement about the whole of his life and its significance; and this would have to be provided by the Apostolic Church…

Ma come riconoscere di essere in presenza della Chiesa autentica fondata da Gesù attraverso i suoi apostoli (Chiesa apostolica)?…

… we need evidence that the Apostolic Church founded by Jesus has continued until today and that it provides a plausible account of his actions and teaching and that of the Apostolic Church, and plausible interpretations thereof which are plausibly true….

La Chiesa ha subito molte divisioni al suo interno, ma in molti casi questo non ha pregiudicato la formazione di un corpo unico…

… Ever since its foundation the Church has been subject to divisions about the content of Christian doctrine and about the way the Church should be organized; and these divisions have often led to formal separations, ‘schisms’, resulting in the creation of two or more separately organized ‘churches’ which I’ll call ‘ecclesial bodies’…

Il criterio fondamentale per riconoscere la Chiesa di Gesù è la continuità con una tradizione che discende da un insegnamento originario mai tradito…

… What makes a society (a club or a university, for example) at one time the same society as some society at an earlier time?… continuity of aim…

Facciamo un parallelo con una società di calcio

… Suppose that a football club was founded in 1850; it ceased to play football in 1900, but its members continued to meet and formed themselves into a political party. That party would not be the same society as the original football club because the society no longer had to any extent the same aim. But if it continued to play football but with somewhat different rules…

La continuità si verifica su due elementi: 1. oggetto sociale (dottrina) e 2. organizzazione.

La continuità organizzativa nella società di calcio…

… New members have to be admitted, new officers elected with similar powers in accord with procedures similar to the original procedures…

Esempio di discontinuità nella dottrina

… Some body which advocated polygamy or taught pantheism (that everything was divine) would have doctrines evidently quite contrary to the teaching not merely of Jesus…

Purtroppo,  i casi ambigui sulla dottrina abbondano, per questo giova un criterio di riserva…

… But sometimes, as I shall emphasize shortly, it is not obvious which of two conflicting doctrines follows most plausibly from the teaching of Jesus..  it is important to have also the other criterion: the criterion of continuity of organization…

Tuttavia, i due criteri possono entrare in conflitto…

… When a society splits into two societies, it is sometimes the case that each of the subsequent societies has greater continuity with the original society in a different respect. Suppose a football club votes in accord with its constitution in future to play rugby football instead of soccer, but a minority breaks away and continues to play soccer. The majority may claim greater continuity of organization with the original club, while the minority may claim greater continuity of aim…

Gli scismi possono essere classificati secondo i criteri accennati…

… Schisms are produced both by disagreements about the interpretation of doctrine, and by disagreements about whether Church officers have been properly commissioned and about what their powers are…

Lo scisma ariano è essenzialmente dottrinario…

…  The fourth-century schism between the Catholics (a term used then in a much wider sense than the later Roman Catholics), who claimed that the Son (Jesus) was ‘of the same substance’ as the Father (that is, fully divine), and the Arians, who claimed that the Son was ‘of similar substance’ to the Father (that is, almost divine), was a division solely about doctrine…

Lo scisma ortodosso essenzialmente organizzativo…

… The eleventh-century schism between Roman Catholics and Orthodox was largely concerned with organization. Both agreed that bishops were the Church leaders and they had to be ordained by other bishops. Roman Catholics, however, insisted that the Pope, the bishop of Rome, had great authority over all Christians, while the Orthodox denied this…

Tipico dei cattolici

… Roman Catholics came to insist that, while the natural method of resolving doctrinal differences was by a vote of an ‘Ecumenical Council’ of bishops (who recognized the Pope’s authority) from all parts of the Church, the Pope acting alone had authority to resolve these differences…

L’ infallibilità papale…

… Later Roman Catholics came to insist that a Pope acting alone could issue a doctrinal definition which (unlike most of his doctrinal pronouncements) was infallible (that is, necessarily true, quite incapable of being amended by later decisions)…

La posizione ortodossa

… The Orthodox, however, claimed that only an Ecumenical Council of bishops (and not only ones who recognized the Pope’s authority) could decide issues of doctrine infallibly…

C’è poi lo scisma protestante da intendersi su due fronti: sia dottrinario che organizzativo…

… The sixteenth-century schism between Roman Catholics and Protestants (and Anglicans) turned both on issues of doctrine and on issues of organization…

La posizione protestante su peccato originale e natura umana

… Protestants emphasized (to varying degrees) the depths of original sin and our guilt for it, and the inability of humans to reform themselves, asserting that we could only be saved by a faith in God given to us by God…

Cattolici e libertà dell’uomo…

… Roman Catholics claimed that human free will was not totally damaged by original sin, and that humans need to do more than just believe in God in order to achieve salvation…

La particolare organizzazione protestante

…. the Protestant bodies (but not the Anglicans) claimed that the Church leaders need not be bishops ordained by earlier bishops; they might be ordained by priests or simply by congregations of the baptized. And all Protestants (and most Anglicans) claimed that the only way to resolve doctrinal differences was by deriving doctrines directly from the Bible…

Descritti gli scismi si presentano due alternative: la Chiesa di Cristo presenta nonostante tutto una sua continuità complessiva di fondo

… Despite these differences between Protestants and other Christians, for the past thousand years almost all ecclesial bodies (at least until the last fifty years) satisfied the criterion of continuity of doctrine to a very large extent…. almost all ecclesial bodies had continuity of organization with the Apostolic Church in that (with the exception of a few Protestant groups) they had the same procedure for admitting Church members—baptism—and celebrated the central Christian service of the eucharist…

… oppure la Chiesa di Cristo è fondamentalmente divisa ed occorre approfondire l’analisi…

… But maybe we must say that the Church is divided; and that it can only function properly if reunited…

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Nel corso dei millenni la Chiesa ha messo appunto delle pratiche per derivare e aggiornare la giusta dottrina…

… From at least the second century onwards the Church had a generally recognized procedure (part of what constituted its organization) about the proper way of deriving doctrines…

Un concetto  entrale è quello di Deposito della Fede

… Doctrines should be derived from the record of that teaching contained in ‘the deposit of faith’. The deposit of faith consisted of the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament), often called ‘Holy Scripture’, and perhaps also, many claimed, of some unwritten traditions (the teaching of Jesus and his Apostles not yet committed to writing). (The second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in AD 787 put the ‘unwritten’ traditions of the Church on a level with the ‘written’ ones—that is, with the Bible—when it declared anyone who rejected either tradition to be heretical…

La Bibbia (vecchio e nuovo testamento) è il centro della testimonianza scritta…

… Doctrines should be derived from the record of that teaching contained in ‘the deposit of faith’. The deposit of faith consisted of the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament), often called ‘Holy Scripture’, and perhaps also, many claimed, of some unwritten traditions (the teaching of Jesus and his Apostles not yet committed to writing). (The second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in AD 787 put the ‘unwritten’ traditions of the Church on a level with the ‘written’ ones—that is, with the Bible—when it declared anyone who rejected either tradition to be heretical… Old Testament was regarded as containing the record of God’s gradual earlier revelation, and to be interpreted in the light of the New Testament…

Il primo Canone risale al 367…

… The first time that anyone listed as canonical (that is, as proper parts of the Bible) exactly the books contained in our present New Testament was in AD 367…

I criteri seguiti per la formazione del canone sono essenzialmente tre…

… In his book The Canon of the New Testament Bruce Metzger analyses three criteria which led Church bodies to recognize some book as New Testament Scripture: its conformity with basic Christian tradition, its apostolicity (being written by an Apostle, or someone closely connected with an Apostle), and its widespread acceptance by the Church at large… the first two of Metzger’s criteria are criteria of continuity with the original revelation…

In caso di controversie il ricorso ai Padri è abitudine consolidata…

…  There were, however, often different equally plausible interpretations of biblical passages, and different interpretations led to different theological doctrines. In that case, the Church held, what ‘the Fathers’ said about these interpretations should carry significant weight… the Fathers’ were the Christian theologians of the early centuries…

Il Papa e il Concilio dei Vescovi restano comunque le istituzioni più autorevoli…

… But councils of bishops of the Church were recognized as having greater authority, and, as mentioned above, Ecumenical Councils of the Church were recognized (by virtually all the Church, from the beginning until the sixteenth century) as having the final say in determining the truth of a disputed doctrine….that decisions of such councils require the approval of a Pope… Pope can pronounce infallibly on doctrine without needing prior council approval.)…

Talune tradizioni sono talmente consolidate da non richiedere per la loro validità alcuna approvazione…

… But where there was a virtually unanimous tradition of doctrine on some matter, clearly there was no need for any council decision… Such doctrines I will call central doctrines…

Il libro fondamentale dei cristiani è la Bibbia, ma la Bibbia è un libro difficile da leggere…

… given that doctrines about the teaching and actions of Jesus and the Apostolic Church must be derivable from the Bible (or perhaps from ‘unwritten traditions’), the only justification for this would seem to be that everything in the Bible is true. The Bible was often described as ‘inspired’ by God, but no Ecumenical Council ever said anything as precise as that every sentence in it was true…. bible was often difficult to understand—both because it seemed to contain sentences which contradicted other sentences, and also because it seemed to conflict with secular knowledge in the form of Greek science… we need to examine the rules for interpreting this ‘tricky’ text,…

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Il primo problema della Bibbia è che su molti punti dice il falso

… For, objectors claim, scientists and historians have shown that so much in the Bible is false. The world was not created in six days (as Genesis 1 seems to claim); nor was it created in approximately 4000 BC (which is the conclusion you reach if you take literally all the assertions in the Bible about who was who’s father and how long they lived); there was no flood which covered the whole earth in 3000 BC (as follows from Genesis 7, given the method of dating just mentioned); and so on…

Poiché così non puo’ essere, s’impone una lettura particolare.

Iniziamo col dire che a comporre la Bibbia sono libri di genere letterario diverso…

… These books belong to different genres. By the ‘genre’ of a book I mean whether it is a work of history (purporting to tell us exactly and literally what happened), a moral fable, a philosophical discussion between imagined participants, or whatever…

La lettura puo’ essere letterale, allegorica o metaforica a seconda del genere. La prima è adeguata per la cronaca e la storia…

… In a modern newspaper report of a battle, or a larger work of history, each sentence is (normally) to be understood in a literal sense and can be assessed as ‘true’ or ‘false’… history, each sentence is (normally) to be understood in a literal sense…

Un altro fattore di cui tenere conto è la traslazione temporale della narrazione: il contesto culturale conta e va soppesato dal lettore moderno…

… we should judge a sentence of an ancient work of history as true in so far as it satisfied the contemporary standards…

Esempi di libri storici

… The Bible contains some works of history, which we can assess for overall truth (if we bear this point in mind). For example, the books of Kings, St Mark’s Gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles belong to this genre…

Un altro genere è quello della “storia romanzata”, chi ha in mente i “docudrama” della TV sa di cosa parlo…

… the Bible contains a lot of books which I shall call ‘historical fables’. What I mean by a historical fable is a work of literature purportedly based on some main events which happened to real people, but filled out by all sorts of conversations and incidents which the author has imagined and which he is not intending us to take as literally true history. Examples of historical fables include recent television ‘docudramas’…

In questi casi se il libro dica il vero lo si giudica dalla verità del messaggio centrale…

… If that message is true, it seems appropriate to call the whole work ‘true’, but its truth does not depend on the truth of most of its individual sentences, which will in fact be false…

Esempi

… Many biblical books belong to this genre, for example the book of Judges, the first and second books of Samuel, and (as I suggested in Chapter 7) St John’s Gospel…

C’è poi il genere della fiaba morale

… Then there are moral fables, which are fictional stories with a moral message. In my view the books of Daniel and Jonah are moral fables… the book is ‘true’ is that its moral message is a true one… The book of Daniel is true if it is good to confess faith in God despite persecution…

Qui conta la verità del precetto morale veicolato.

Poi ci sono le fiabe metafisiche… 

… Then the Bible may contain one or more books or parts of books which are what I call ‘metaphysical fables’. These are fictional stories to be understood as metaphors telling us something very important about the human condition…

Esempi…

… We saw possible examples of such stories in the Gospels (pp. 95–6). The opening chapters of the book of Genesis may also be like this. Genesis 1 may simply be a hymn expressing the dependence of all things on God by means of a story of God creating this on the first day, that on the second day, and so on. But it is disputed whether the author or authors of Genesis 1–3 were attempting to write a historical work or a metaphysical fable… it is true if the human condition is the way that the story, read metaphorically, is claiming…

Ci sono generi residuali e di contorno…

… The Bible also contains hymns (the book of Psalms), personal letters (Paul’s Letter to Philemon), moral instruction (the book of Proverbs), theological dialogues (the book of Job)…

Detto questo, come possiamo giudicare la verità della Bibbia?

Criterio: la Bibbia è vera se ciascun libro che la compone, giudicato a seconda del suo genere, è vero.

Problema insormontabile…

… The first difficulty is that we do not know the genre of some biblical books (and some of them may belong to genres so unfamiliar to us that we do not know what would constitute a book of that genre being ‘true’)…

Si potrebbe ricorrere alle intenzioni dell’autore, ma troppo spesso sono sconosciute…

… I have implicitly and naturally assumed that the genre of a biblical book is determined by the intentions of its original human author… So whether chapters 1–3 of Genesis are a work of history or a metaphysical fable depends on what the author of these chapters thought…we simply do not know that…

Una difficoltà è l’incoerenza di molti passaggi…

… two substantial difficulties remain. The first is that there are passages inconsistent with each other, and so with any Christian doctrine based on one of these passages…

L’altra è il contrasto con il nostro sapere scientifico…

… there remain many passages inconsistent with the results of modern science and history…

Si tratta di un problema che già i Padri dovettero affrontare: come doveva essere interpretato quel Dio vendicativo che sfracellava il cranio dei bimbi babilonesi sulla roccia?

Origene considerava “da stupidi” prendere alla lettera il mito dell’Eden…

… Who is so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer ‘planted a paradise eastward in Eden’, and set in it a visible and palpable ‘tree of life’ of such a sort that anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life?…

Presto la Chiesa si rese conto che Dottrina e Tradizione dovevano prevalere sull’apparente guazzabuglio della Bibbia, anche se Dottrina e tradizione originavano proprio da quei libri…

… The need to interpret the Bible in a way compatible with Christian doctrine came to be recognized very widely in the early days of the Church… Just as which books were to form part of the Bible, so how those books were to be interpreted, was to be determined by a prior understanding of Christian doctrine…

La Chiesa ha un ruolo ordinatore

… Irenaeus wrote that ‘every word’ of Scripture ‘shall seem consistent’ to someone ‘if he for his part diligently read the Scriptures, in company with those who are presbyters [elders or priests] in the Church, among whom is the apostolic doctrine’…

E’ vano quindi l’appello alla Scrittura, prevale sempre la Chiesa…

… disputes between orthodox and heretics could not be settled by appeal to Scripture… Scripture belongs to the Church. The Church’s teaching must first be identified and that will determine how Scripture is to be interpreted…

Il cristianesimo non è religione del libro ma religione viva.

Il metodo di Origene, ovvero il metodo delle metafore è quello più usato per armonizzare l’insegnamento di Dio…

… sometimes and to varying degrees all the Fathers dealt with incompatibilities with Christian doctrine adopting by a radical metaphorical interpretation of the text… Origen’s way of treating the Bible was adopted by Gregory of Nyssa in the next century, and also (rather more cautiously) by Augustine at the beginning of the fifth century; and it became one standard approach to the Bible…

Ma come veniva giustificato questo metodo? Per i Padri la Bibbia era un libro ispirato da Dio a persone che lo trascrivevano con tutti i loro limiti di comprensione del mondo.

La lettura del libro è difficile ma possibile: Dio tiene conto delle nostre culture e della nostra intelligenza. Un’analogia

… Suppose I say to you about someone that ‘he has a sharp brain’. Since I know and I know that you know that brains are not the sort of thing that have sharp edges, what I say cannot be understood as saying that ‘he’ has a brain with a sharp edge. So I must be understood to be saying something else which the sentence could mean… If I describe some person John, whom we all know to be human, as a ‘dinosaur’, that cannot be understood literally…

ma la lettura completa richiede molti saperi e molte culture che non possono stare in una testa: la lettura della Bibbia non puo’ che essere comunitaria e questa comunità si chiama Chiesa di Dio. Il significato “emerge” in una dialettica, non viene registrato in seguito ad una normale lettura.

In questo senso nemmeno l’autore materiale della Bibbia sa cio’ che scrive, inutile interpellarlo…

… from which it follows that the human authors of biblical books (who were often described as ‘prophets’) did not always understand how their works were to be understood…

Un concetto simile a quello della fallacia intenzionale in campo artistico: nemmeno l’artista conosce la sua arte, inutile chiedere a lui.

Rispettare allora le precedenze

… Jesus did not write a book but founded a Church with the task of interpreting doctrines…

La Bibbia nel Credo non è un libro inerte ma un libro detto dai Profeti…

… The Nicene Creed’s doctrine that God the Holy Spirit ‘spake by the prophets’ clearly entailed the doctrine that God ‘inspired’ the writing of the Old Testament; and it soon naturally enough came to be understood as the doctrine that God inspired the writing of the whole of the Bible…

La comprensione della bibbia è di tipo evolutivo

… It is plausible to suppose that God inspired the writing of a book some parts of which have a highly inadequate morality which is capable of being understood as time progressed in a far deeper way…

Possibile conclusione

… I suggest that it is plausible to suppose that… God inspired the writing of the Bible, to convey both the very limited message comprehensible at the time a passage was written and the deeper message comprehensible later… These principles of biblical interpretation allowed the Fathers to interpret quite a lot of the Bible without needing to know the genre of the biblical book… if we are to follow Church tradition in using the Bible as the authoritative source of doctrine, we must also follow Church tradition in the method by which we interpret it

L’elemento vivo prevale su quello libresco, è anche il motivo per cui il sapere scientifico deve prevalere e informare la lettura dei testi.

La visione dei protestanti si oppone a questa tradizione: per loro la Bibbia dirime le questioni, è tribunale di ultima istanza e la lettura solitaria viene praticata e consigliata.

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