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The Biblical Commission on the Jews: Changes in Doctrine and New Anathemas

Atila Sinke Guimarães

Book review on the Italian original of the work The Hebrew People and its Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible (Il popolo ebraico e le sue Sacre Scritture nella Bibbia cristiana) by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Preface by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001, 213 pp.

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The book by the Pontifical Biblical Commission takes a progressivist approach
The Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) is an official part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is one of its 21 members, as well as its president. Everything in this book, therefore, was written under his personal direction, and counted upon his collaboration and approval. His Preface represents an extra seal of endorsement and support.

The book The Hebrew People… deals with the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. It is divided into three parts, preceded by a small introduction and ending with two conclusions.

Regarding adherence of these parts to the perennial Catholic Magisterium, there are novelties of varying degrees. These innovations rise in a crescendo in gravity from the first part until they reach a startling apex in the conclusions. To make an honest critique of the whole, I will follow the same order in which the book was written, without anticipating the parts that are more shocking.

The book by the PBC takes a progressivist approach. This obliges the reviewer to set some presuppositions and explain certain new doctrines that are implicit in the expositions, but not accessible to the average reader. Given the importance of the subject and the fact that this book is not available in an English translation, I will present many excerpts to allow the reader to follow the PBC text. This will extend my review to a longer than normal length. It is a calculated risk.
Posted April 15, 2002


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This article continues in Guimarães recently published booklet
The Biblical Commission on the Jews: Changes in Doctrine & New Anathemas


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