The Bible is Catholic Week 3 - Mary the Temple of Scripture


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Those who object to Catholics' devotion to Mary often cite a single biblical text: "a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, 'Blessed the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you!' But he replied, 'More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'" (Lk 11:27-28). This way of reading scripture is called "proof-texting." It treats scripture as a series of bullet points, proofs, or propositional ideas. But the Bible is not written as a series of bullet points; it is written in narrative form. Modern, consumer culture cannot get a grip on narrative structure because it likes things to be straightforward, simple, immediate and accessible. Narrative does not work this way. But if we do not understand how narrative conveys meaning, we will misread this passage. We must discern the overarching structures of the narrative, the 'architecture' of the text, to understand what this passage means. Biblical narrative does not speak of things in an immediate, straightforward way. It works by what might be called 'sacred circumlocution'; that is, speaking around a topic and approaching it from a number of angles. We will examine the technique of sacred circumlocution in relation to Mary.

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