Monday, 23 March 2009

We do not interpret scripture; scripture interprets us

“Brothers and sisters, we are not now discussing possible ways of understanding this text, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. It can be grasped in an ineffable way; human words cannot grasp it [ineffabiliter potest intelligi: non verbis hominis fit ut intelligatur]. We are discussing the Word of God, and why it is not understood. I am not speaking in order to make it understood, but to tell you what hinders it from being understood.... [This text] wasn’t read in order to be comprehended, but to make us humans grieve because we don’t comprehend it, and to make us discover what hinders our comprehension, so that we remove the hindrance, and hunger to perceive the immutable Word, ourselves thereby being changed from worse to better.”

—Augustine, Sermon 117.3, in Patrologia Latina 38 (a sermon on John 1:1-3).

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