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Loving Your Enemies: John Bergsma Examines the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 02.19.14 |

Jesus Preaching 2

This Sunday’s Readings include some of the best known—and hardest to practice—passages from the Gospel, including Jesus famous command to “turn the other cheek.” Biblical scholarship can only go so far in elucidating some of Jesus’ challenging commands; beyond that, we need the saints.

  1. Our Readings start off showing the continuity between Jesus’ teachings and the Old Testament, quoting a section from…  [Continue Reading]

Pope Francis and Biblical Interpretation

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 12.20.13 |

Pope Francis Reads

Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is vigorous and beautiful reading, full of provocative statements to awaken us from spiritual slumber.  Unfortunately, it is a long document, and many may not read it through carefully.  I thought it would be helpful to clip out some of the most striking comments the Pope makes on the interpretation of Scripture.  Although he has in mind…  [Continue Reading]

What We're Reading Now: St. Bernard on Song of Songs

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 07.12.12 |

On the Song of Songs

Lately I’ve been reading through St. Bernard’s four volumes of sermons on the Song of Songs.  I find it both spiritually edifying and historically interesting.

Frequently, St. Bernard’s descriptions of the moral terpitude of twelfth-century Europe sound scarcely any different from contemporary American culture.  Truly there is “nothing new under the sun.”

St. Bernard’s style of exegesis is certainly…  [Continue Reading]

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 05.14.12 |

Great Isaiah Scroll
The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaA), Copied c. 125 B.C.

Continuing the series on the text of the Bible:

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Of great interest to textual scholars are the Dead Sea Scrolls, the remains of an Essene library found in caves at the north-west end of the Dead Sea in the late 1940s at a site called Qumran.

The scrolls provide our oldest copies of any portion of Scripture, including a few manuscripts that date to the third century (200s) BC. The majority, however,…  [Continue Reading]

Old Testament Manuscripts

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 05.01.12 |

Leningrad Codex

In this follow up to the last post, we discuss important manuscripts (hand-written copies) of the Old Testament.

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The Oldest Manuscripts of the Old Testament

The original manuscripts (the autographs) written by the sacred authors themselves are no longer extant for any book of the Bible.  The oldest partial copies of the text of any biblical book are to be found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (treated…  [Continue Reading]

The Text of the Old Testament

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 04.26.12 |

Ancient text

This is part of a series of posts on fundamental Catholic teaching on Scripture.  In this post, we delve into some of the specifics of the human dimension of Scripture: in this case, the original language(s) of the Old Testament.


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The original language of large majority of the Old Testament books is Hebrew. Hebrew is the ancestral language of the people of Israel. It is a Semitic language, that…  [Continue Reading]

Catholic Exegesis: A Streamlined Overview

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 04.12.12 |

Bible Close UP

This is part of a continued series of posts on fundamental issues in Catholic doctrine of Scripture. Building on previous discussions of Catholic inspiration and interpretation, we propose here a six-step streamlined overview of the process of Catholic exegesis.  Comments are welcome below.

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The points made above about the interpretation of the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture may be…  [Continue Reading]

Catholic Interpretation of Scripture

Posted by Dr. John Bergsma on 04.03.12 |

St. Jerome 3

This is part of an on-going series discussing the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine of Scripture.  The topic for this post is interpretationClick here to read the previous post.

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Self-conscious reflection on the proper methods of interpretation of Scripture began already with the early Church Fathers. One of the most definitive patristic statements on interpretation is St. Augustine’s De Doctrina…  [Continue Reading]


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  • Dr. John Bergsma