When is theology “biblical”?—Some reflections

When is theology “biblical”?—Some reflections

Roland E. Murphy


In contrast to the ongoing hermeneutical discussions of “biblical theology,” this article looks at some theological studies in order to find out how “biblical” theology can be. They are not representative, but merely chosen to gauge the flow. Obviously the role of Scripture as norma normans, or as the “soul of theology,” is expressed in quite different ways. The perspectives of exegetes and of dogmatic theologians produce a wide variety in theological writings. The examples also challenge readers to examine their own use of Scripture, whatever be the level of discourse, academic or pastoral.


In some sense, Christian theology is necessarily biblical. As the Constitution on Revelation ([section] 24) of Vatican II put it, “the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of theology” (Fitzmyer 1994). Is the metaphor of “soul” appropriate in the praxis of theology today? The relationship between Scripture and theology is too subtle to be solved by “ten principles” proposed in a recent publication; there are no theological Queensbury rules. Doctrine/theology and Bible interact with each other. There is a certain reciprocity; biblical interpretation shapes doctrine, and doctrine shapes interpretation of the Bible. It is difficult to describe this mutual influence, and much more so to say what it should be. A wide variety of approaches exists among theologians themselves. In a necessarily brief examination, this essay looks at three representative theologians. Not all theologians can be lumped together, for different visions of biblical usage exist. In that spirit, the question is asked: when (to what extent, by what means, for what purpose) is theology “biblical”?

One theologian, in a discussion of method, has described an “a priori” at work:

All theologians operate from fundamental biases or dispositions

toward the issue [i.e., which is being addressed]. If they

are at all systematic, they approach the subject matter from

a holistic, imaginative, and theological conception of the

nature of Christianity. The question of the most adequate

method is frequently decided in a circular way. Theologians

rarely choose a method and, following it to its conclusion,

learn for the first time the position they hold. Rather, the

method is chosen from a fundamental conviction, attitude,

insight, or position on the problem, and following the

method through allows the more or less full rationale of the

position to come forward [Haight: 201].

This description may be debatable and not appropriate for many theologians, but it serves as a wake-up call, underscoring assumptions and presuppositions that inevitably affect theological judgment.

At least two broad limits, the Bible and the theological conclusion or dogma, can be discerned–a beginning and an end, so to speak. Thus, one can begin with exegesis of biblical passages and work out from there, usually employing experience and/or a philosophy of some kind, to reach a theological conclusion (G. Lohfink). It is probably more common that the Bible functions rather as a guide, providing data of exegesis or themes of biblical theology (Murphy). This guidance functions in a secondary way, in that a theologian retroactively, as it were, draws on biblical data for support. But the conclusion has not been reached directly by biblical exegesis. Trinitarian theology serves as an example. The New Testament is the seed-bed for such theology; it leaves unsolved the problem of the relationship of various “divine” terms, such as son of God, spirit, etc. These came to expression in the doctrine of the Trinity that emerged from the early councils. Theological reasoning did not take this much further. Later writings were directed not so much by new biblical interpretations as by long accepted conciliar traditions, and inspired, too, by philosophical reasoning. The role of the Bible became largely confirmatory; a given theological conclusion does not contradict, or is at least it is in harmony with, biblical data. With few exceptions, this seems to be a fair characterization of the documents issued by the ITC (International Theological Commission; see Sharkey; later publications must be culled from ORIGINS). If the topic is directly christological, of course, the Bible will play a more conspicuous role. But in most cases the argumentation proceeds within a framework prompted by the magisterium of the Church, rather than directly by the Bible. Then, too, the ITC Documents are intended, not as scholarly treatises, but as summaries, and the role of the Bible is faint or perhaps presupposed.

Some forty years ago the relationship between Bible and dogma was very much alive, especially among European theologians, but at present there seems to be little interest in it. Karl Rahner (1966) recognized the tension between exegetes and theologians and addressed both parties in a famous article in 1961. Even in that unsettled period he raised questions worthy of further development in an explicit treatment of the Old Testament and dogmatic theology: henotheism, nationalism, salvation history (1979). Still, it is clear that there was more concern about specifically Christian doctrines than about the exegesis of biblical passages.

At that time it was easier for a dogmatic theologian to be overwhelmed by the mass of exegetical detail that claimed attention, even when it did not yield mere hypotheses. Since then, the 1993 document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church describes the progress made in biblical studies. It also surveyed (not without adding some cautions) the new approaches coming from sociology, anthropology, psychology, and the current interests in liberation and feminist theology. Moreover, the playing field has been changed in the radical postmodern hermeneutic by the denial of an objective text, and by deconstruction and the hermeneutics of suspicion. The 1993 document rightly held the historical critical methodology to be “indispensable,” but it did not examine its bearing on dogmatic theology.

Rahner’s conversation of some 40 years ago aimed at a kind of reconciliation: that the exegete should realize he/she is a theologian and should build bridges to dogmatic theology, and the professional theologian should become more proficient in biblical awareness. The current situation marks a vast improvement. Yet, outside of specific areas, such as christology, the relation between the two disciplines has been far from symbiotic; there is considerable room for collaboration. On the American scene, two examples of bridge-building, which never went anywhere, come to mind. Raymond Brown’s study, PRIEST AND BISHOP (1970), contained the seed for a revision of dogmatic teaching concerning ordination and hierarchy. The studies of Bruce Vawter on divorce in the New Testament (references in Vawter, 1986), had they been received as they should have been, could have rendered unnecessary or at least reduced the number of marriage annulments so common today.

When is theology not biblical? When it depends upon traditions outside a biblical range. Here one might think of the mariological exaggerations of past and present, as indicated already in 1977 in the Marialis Cultus ([subsection] 36-37) of Pope Paul VI. With respect to moral theology or ethics, it must be admitted that the cutting edge of many moral questions is beyond specific guidance from the Bible. Also, dogmatic theology can become abstract, clouded in hermeneutical density, or even driven by a philosophy, an understanding of reality that is either remote from or even unfaithful to biblical data. All would grant the need to express the biblical message in terms that go beyond a crippling literalism and are in harmony with current modes of apprehension. The real task has always been to remain faithful to the biblical message and the development of dogma or belief through the ages of the Church. This essay intends to illustrate the role of the Bible in the theological work of a few scholars. Obviously these are merely examples; there is no intention of examining the theological validity of their conclusions.

Jacques Dupuis: Religious Pluralism

The documents of Vatican II (Unitatis Redintegratio and also Lumen Gentium) made admirable progress regarding ecumenism in general, and they displayed high respect for the beliefs of others, mentioning specifically Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. This careful and cautious opening has pressed theologians for more details: What is the relationship of the revelation of God in Christ to other religions? In what sense do they reveal God, and how necessary is Christ to all this? One may accept that venerable texts like 1 Timothy 2:3-7 were operative in the openness that marked Vatican II. But do the biblical data address the new questions that have arisen–how to understand the mediatorship of Christ? There are other texts to be considered, such as the testimony of Peter in Acts 4:12 about the centrality of Christ: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” That fits neatly into the limited Greco-Roman world of the early Christians, but how is it to be understood today? More biblical exegesis is needed to sustain and to further the position of Vatican II.

Jacques Dupuis has mounted a significant study of a Christian theology confronted by religious pluralism (1997). This is not the place to rehearse the shoddy treatment he has received in return. His book is carefully and well articulated, and obviously prompted by the experience he has had in many years of living in India. In addition he has given great care to an analysis of positive statements of the Church on this subject, from the early “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” to the current views. What role does he allocate to the Bible? The traditional pattern is followed: the equivalent of the “argument from Scripture” of yore is entitled “the religions of the nations in the Bible” (29-52). He admits that this survey “cannot claim to be in any way comprehensive” (3). In fact, it is based on inadequate, even mediocre exegesis. For example, the so-called “cosmic covenant” of the Lord and Noah, proposed by Jean Danielou, is adopted as one plank in the biblical argument. After this obligatory biblical introduction the analysis extends through important periods in the history of theology up to Vatican II, and this is where the strength of his study lies.

Basically it is a question of development of dogma, as Dupuis makes his way through various theological views and ecclesial statements. Further discussion of biblical data, drawn mainly from the New Testament, occurs (210-34; 262-74; 292-97), but there is no rigorous exegesis. He writes that “a new hermeneutics of the New Testament seems required in the present context of pluralism” and interreligious dialogue (293). That is no doubt correct. But this development calls for more than stating an analogy with liberation theology: one goes from praxis to the Bible “for light and direction–and back again, following the hermeneutical circle.” Thus there are two acts: the praxis examines the word of God as norma normans, but also “as a dynamic reality, calling for interpretation in the specific context of interfaith encounter” (294). The second act is “theologizing,” and this constitutes the heart of his book. He analyzes especially the meaning of the Vatican II documents and later pronouncements, as well as the writings of several theologians, such as Rahner and Schillebeeckx. It is in the area of the magisterium theology (ironically!) that Dupuis makes his real and valuable contribution to the subject.

It may be argued, however, that the agenda of Dupuis does not demand a particular exegetical exploration. His goal is to align current christological and soteriological doctrine with religious pluralism–a problem never truly envisioned in the Bible. He is operating on another level: the history of the Church and its doctrine, the way in which the Church has grown in understanding the uniqueness of its founder and itself vis-a-vis “others.” The biblical basis for this is the divine will for the salvation of humankind, and it is presumed rather than developed. The theologial reasoning behind the issues of religious pluralism proceeds on a historical and philosophical level. How are the religious views of non-Christian religions (Judaism and Islam are not seen as problems on this score) to be aligned in relation to the centrality of Christ? Although the Bible does not address the issue directly, its evidence, favorable and unfavorable, deserves sharper attention.

Karl Rahner: Supernatural Existential

It is merely a coincidence that the theologian of the “anonymous Christian” should be considered along with Jacques Dupuis. True, their views concerning pluralism of religions are in harmony, but our interest is in the role of the Bible. Rahner’s contribution (1964) to the theoretical discussion of biblical inspiration is outstanding. Some fifty years ago Catholic theologians were compounding confusion in expanding the famous definition of Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus, which emphasized the divine action upon the mind and will and executive faculties of an inspired biblical author. He cut through this confusion by interpreting the divine will as establishing the Bible as a “constitutive part” of the primitive Church (1958; 1964). This has become the dominant view; the Old Testament was also a constitutive part from the beginning–indeed, it was at first the only Bible the Christian community possessed.

K. H. Neufeld has published an article (1987) concerning Scripture in the theology of Rahner, in which he mentions possible influences and describes Rahner as a dogmatic theologian who is interested more in biblical theology than in individual exegesis. This comes through in Rahner’s contribution to SACRAMENTUM MUNDI (VI, 176-77), where he writes under the heading “Scripture (biblical theology) and dogmatics.” He claims that “theology always reads Scripture with a knowledge which is not simply to be found in that precise form in Scripture” (177). The theologian works “on the basis of the Church’s present awareness of its faith.” In effect, he took his cue from the Bible only in a very broad sense, as can be seen from his FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH. His basic theological vision was dominated by the concept of the supernatural existential. This famous phrase is described in the THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY (Rahner & Vorgrimler: 161):

Underlying the concept of the supernatural existential is the

following fact: antecedently to justification by grace,

received sacramentally or extra-sacramentally, man is

al ready subject to the universal salvific will of God, he is

already redeemed and absolutely obliged to tend to his

supernatural end. This “situation” is not merely an external

one; it is an objective, ontological modification of man.

This “situation” is a given for Rahner in view of 1 Timothy 2:3-4 concerning the divine will that all be saved. Relying on an accepted biblical base, he reasons like the dogmatic theologian he is. In the process he reveals a specific view of history and Bible (1978). On the one hand, there is “history on God’s part,” which is the history of salvation and coextensive with the whole of world history; it is here that the transcendental self-communication of God takes place. On the other hand, the explicit history of salvation is to be found in the Bible. In Rahner’s view, this is a special “official” history of revelation. Describing this “brief moment” from Abraham to Christ, he remarks: “What makes this history a history of revelation is rather the interpretation of the history as the event of a dialogical partnership with God, and as a prospective tendency towards an open future” (1967: 167; 1979: 177-90). Rahner critiqued the third chapter (surely it is a weak chapter) of the Dei Verbum of Vatican II for failing to offer “a survey of the whole of human history as the history of salvation and revelation” (1979:198). This point of view is reflected in the “anonymous Christian,” which is an extension of the old expression of Tertullian that “the soul is naturally Christian.” That statement is explained by Rahner in several ways, but this is characteristic: “the historical, explicit message of Christianity never encounters a human being conceived of as a merely pre-Christian `nature,’ or as one shut in on itself by sin, or pursuing its course without an active relation to possible revelation” (1968: 23).

Gerhard Lohfink: People of God/Church

This particular theme comes from DOES GOD NEED THE CHURCH? by Gerhard Lohfink (formerly professor of New Testament at Tubingen). This study is chosen for several reasons. It takes up a topic that emerged forcefully in the deliberations of Vatican II. Further, the starting point is the biblical text (both Testaments are involved), and Lohfink works out from this to the theological dimensions. It is not concerned with religious pluralism, although a positive view of Judaism finds expression (and the marginalization of Jewish Christianity is deplored).

Lohfink begins at the beginning: creation and history: “Creation is of such a nature as to unfold itself in history. The blessing of creation brings forth nations” (11). In support of this we have a flawless exposition of the pre-history leading up to the command given to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; cf. 18:18), through whom the families of the earth shall find their blessing–“God wills the salvation of the whole world” is the title of one of the mini-chapters. The reader is led through the stormy history of Israel, or better, Israel’s inconstant experience with its Lord. This is not “history” in the technical sense; history provides merely the framework reflecting God’s plan for the world. Lohfink singles out the “characteristic signs” of Israel: how the Israelites were, “gathered” by God as the elect people, formed out of the Exodus experience, and how they ultimately came to regard the Torah as an expression of his will for them. Rebellion? Can anything else be expected from human beings? But the “scarlet thread” of salvation history describes the difficult quest to become a true and faithful people. This ongoing process leads from tribal identities to monarchy and ultimately exile–only for Israel to be revived as a Temple community, and eventually preserve itself in synagogal communities of the Diaspora, centering on the Torah as the Temple was destroyed. But “the decisive characteristic of the Old Testament” is a “radical openness to the future” (124).

Then Lohfink asks the question, what is “new” about the New Testament? Answer: “now the openness of the Old Testament arrives at its goal:” (133)–the inbreaking of the Kingdom (reign) of God in the person of Christ. He belongs with the “figure of the Twelve,” and also his disciples, and ultimately with a people formed by the activity of Jesus’ followers. And Israel? “Israel’s existence always depended on individuals who fully believed” (197), and this verdict goes from Abraham through to John the Baptizer and others. The death of Jesus was not a substitutionary action; with it began a process of liberation that continues in the eschatological people of God. Jesus is tersely described: “A theological layman surrenders himself totally to the `today’ of God’s action, gathers a group of disciples, and includes in it not a single priest or religious professional, but fishermen instead” (173). As Lohfink asked what were the “characteristic signs” of Israel, so now he asks the same for the new people, the Church. Again, there is a reflection of the past. The “exodus” continues.

The exodus continues, but into a “new creation” (Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17) in the march of the people through the waters of Baptism into Christ by which they have clothed themselves with him and erased all stratification to become one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:26-29). The journey took these Christian communities through the perilous times when the Church became a state religion (Constantine), repeating the mistake of the “kingdoms” of Judah and Israel. But now, after the Enlightenment, the imperial Church is beginning to learn the lesson of Israel and continue an existence in a changed world that hopefully will witness vibrant communities of Christians throughout the world. As the people of God gathered at Sinai, so now it is gathered as ecclesia, especially to the table of the Lord. The Church is a “new people of God” (Nostra Aetate, [section] 4), that is, “newly gathered by God in Jesus Christ and newly created through his death” (246)–thus not substituting for or superceding Israel, the people of God.

The venerable covenant formula, “I will be your God, and you shall be my people” continues, but there is the obligation for the Church to imitate Abraham, “walk before God and be tammim” (“blameless,” or better, “whole”). This is another form of the great commandment of Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel….” It is the challenge of Jesus in Matthew 5:48 to be like the Father, who is teleios, not “perfect” in the sense of omnivirtuous, but whole, the kind of God who rains upon the just and the unjust. So the Church is to be totally dedicated. The surrender to God is at the same time service to members of the body of Christ. This wholeness can be wounded by disunity, and history bears out the divisions that have disfigured the People of God.

Lohfink’s book does not end without reflecting on two important factors that are not unrelated, in so far as they go back to ecclesial origins: Israel, and also the Petrine office. First, the Church lost greatly by its division from Israel (witness Romans 9-11): “through its arrogance toward Judaism it has lost infinitely much: the union of faith and life, the continual blessing of daily life, the compact size of its communities where each can be kept in view, the skepticism towards all kinds of hasty spiritualization, a realistic concept of redemption” (298). He recognizes a changed attitude toward Peter, as a true disciple and even the prototype of the leader for the Church. This view seems to be gaining strength. The volume PETER IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, edited by R. Brown and other scholars, demonstrated a wide consensus among Catholic and Protestant scholars concerning Peter’s role.

Obviously the study of Gerhard Lohfink manifests a theology that is highly biblical. This is not surprising in view of his expertise as a New Testament scholar. It fulfills Rahner’s admonition already mentioned: that biblical scholars must realize that they are also theologians. Both Testaments, moreover, are utilized: What can a Christian learn from God’s dealings with the People, Israel? Church discipline must divest itself of the barnacles it has accumulated through history (as it did to a certain extent in Vatican II) by examining its relative purity as Christ’s Body. The study is necessarily selective, concentrating on the People of God/Church. The union of these two themes also makes the Church confront more directly its roots in the Old Testament and its relationship to Judaism.

Let me provide a descriptive summary: Lohfink’s use of both Testaments is doubtless due to his specialization in the Bible and also to the topic he chose, People of God/Church. The actualization process, correlating the biblical data with our present theological situation, is striking. The strength of the exposition of Jacques Dupuis derives from his control of the history of religions and the Church’s development of doctrine (christology, etc.). The biblical contribution is not absent, but neither is it the strong factor, it might be. Karl Rahner has made so many contributions to biblical and theological studies that it seems invidious even to ask any question. But this must be asked: What is the biblical basis for the supernatural existential that undergirds so much of his thought?


1. Wherever possible, dogmatic theology should make use of both Testaments, whether in a corrective or affirming manner. This opportunity may depend on the particular theme that is being developed. Past history shows that the Old Testament is the main source for theological issues that emerge in Genesis 2-3. But vast areas remain ignored, e.g., the views on creation as expressed in Psalms and in many other texts (Clifford 1992; 1994), perhaps because of the mythopoeic language–but would not more of that type of speech enliven the treatises of dogmatic theology?

2. A large part of dogmatic theology tends to be historical theology, with a particular sensitivity to the magisterium. This entails the expansion of certain leads afforded by the decrees and documents of the Church, and by the creative insights into revelation by individual theologians. Dogma develops on its own turf as it is confronted with new questions, but there is often a retrospective glance back to the Bible as a norm.

3. Are there certain developments that illustrate theological blind spots that can find correction from the Bible? An example might be the relatively recent development in understanding divine immutability (despite the recent study of P. Winandy): God “repents” of the disaster he planned to inflict, e.g., Genesis 6:6-7; Jonah 3:9-10. It has taken some time for systematicians to put aside a limiting philosophical system and to scrutinize the biblical data. Another instance would be the “suffering” of God (Fretheim). If the “otherness” of the Bible is truly encountered, its distinctiveness is thought-provoking. For example, the Old Testament basis for the doctrine of the Logos (John 1:14) has been clearly recognized. But what is to be made of the fact that Wisdom is personified as a woman (Johnson)?

4. A tighter collaboration between biblical exegetes and dogmatic theologians is desirable, both on an international and on a national scale. In terms of the Church itself, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has two arms that are under-utilized, scriptural and dogmatic. The Pontifical Biblical Commission has issued statements on pastoral levels (1993), and also on a scholarly level, such as current Christology (Fitzmyer 1986). Similarly, the statements issued by the International Theological Commission (Sharkey) have been mainly pastoral. There is no official cooperation between these commissions, no concentration on one problem. One can only imagine what a skilled, in-depth treatment of religious pluralism might result from collaboration of these two bodies. On the local level, in the United States, the same divorce obtains. The Catholic Theological Society of America pursues its aims separately from the activities of the Catholic Biblical Association. Much is to be said for their respective emphases, but are there no issues where a cross-over could be made? In view of the needs of the Church, the divorce is counterproductive. There is no certainty, however, that any forthcoming reports would be given official attention. For example, the report of a committee of biblical scholars of the Catholic Biblical Association on the role of women in early Christianity was published as long ago as 1979 (CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY 41: 608-13). The committee did not produce the extensive exegesis it might have, but it did state certain conclusions: namely, “women did in fact exercise roles and functions later associated with priestly ministry,” and also the current arguments against the admission of women to priestly ministry (praxis of Jesus, disciplinary regulations, the created order) “cannot be sustained” (612-13). No official notice of this report was taken by the ecclesia docens, but it is an example 9f communal effort that should be officially encouraged and conducted along scholarly lines with systematicians and church historians. The failure of officials (Pope Paul VI provides a famous example) to publish the real substance of the advice of theological committees should not be a deterrent. And it is counterproductive to rule out serious study of an area of theological concern (the ordination of women, for example).

5. Consideration of the Bible and ethics cannot be furnished here; all kinds of new questions have arisen. Indeed, is there such a thing as Christian ethics? What is the role of reason? (Hollenbach). It should be recognized that many ethical questions cannot be clearly answered on the basis of biblical data. The New Testament would seem to be the primary biblical source, but the Old Testament would contain some surprises that may lie ahead: the Ten Commandments as Ten Commitments (Mendenhall: 60-67), the theology of suffering (Harrington), emphasis on moral formation in the wisdom literature.

6. What is the meaning of “the soul of theology,” which began this essay? As a metaphor, “soul” embraces a wide area of activity. The phrase recalls the glory days of the medieval era when a theologian could be known as “master of the sacred page.” In modern times no one has mastered the inspired Word. Progress has been made in the exposition of biblical theology, or better, theologies, making available to all rich, even contradictory, aspects of the Bible (Murphy 2000:81-84). But the Bible is not so much a book of “theology” as it is a record of how Israel and Christianity came about, and how they conceived of their relationship to their one God, YHWH. When it is read in this perspective, it nourishes the devout life, if one can be allowed the use of another phrase with a storied history. I mean here the inspiration it can provide in private reading as well as in public liturgy, in lectio divina, and many other ways. The goal is an appropriation, an actualization, of the Word of God that moves the reader to grow not merely in knowledge, but in the “way” that is such a common biblical metaphor of a life lived with God.

Perhaps the question with which this paper began is too narrow to be truly fruitful. That is to say, it is concerned with academic biblical exegesis and academic dogmatic theology. But the needs of the Church are elsewhere (as the study of G. Lohfink indicates). Let the academics go their way. A more important issue is the apprehension of the biblical word by the community of faith–the way in which the Bible might function for the spiritual development of the believers. This means actualization of the biblical word, making it strike home to the modern reader. Can that transition to today’s relevancy be achieved without at least an approximation to the sense conveyed by the biblical author (however author be defined)? For example, the laborious study of the Psalms, inspired by Gunkel’s pace-making analysis of forms, is surely an enticing entree to this book. Of course, scholars have gone beyond Gunkel and fine-tuned his analysis, even correcting him at many points. But the basic orientation that he gave to the understanding of the Psalms is indispensable. When the modern reader yields to the moods and movements of these prayers, theology becomes praxis. The experiential character of the prayers reaches our hearts, and moves us to the goal that the psalmist aimed at: the Lord, Father of Jesus Christ. This is a practical, day-to-day theology. Very few books are so open-ended in style as the collection of the Psalms. Imposing a Christian veneer on the Old Testament yields nothing significant about Jesus (can one surpass the Epistle to-the Hebrews?). Instead, we come to see another side of God.

Works Cited

Brown, Raymond. 1981. THE CRITICAL MEANING OF THE BIBLE. New York, NY: Paulist Press.

1973. PETER IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Minneapolis, MN/New York, NY: Augsburg/Paulist Press.

1970. PRIEST AND BISHOP. New York, NY: Paulist Press.

Clifford, Richard, and John J. Collins (eds.). 1994. CREATION ACCOUNTS IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND IN THE BIBLE. Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association.

1992. CREATION IN THE BIBLICAL TRADITION. Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 24. Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association.

Dupuis, Jacques. 1998. TOWARD A CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Fitzmyer, Joseph. 1994. SCRIPTURE, THE SOUL OF THEOLOGY. New York, NY: Paulist Press.


Fretheim, Terence. 1984. THE SUFFERING OF GOD. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.

Haight, Roger. 1989. Critical Witness: The Question of Method. Pp. 185-204 in FAITHFUL WITNESS, edited by L. O’Donovan & T. H. Sanks. New York, NY: Crossroad Books.

Harrington, Daniel. 2000. WHY DO WE SUFFER? A SCRIPTURAL APPROACH TO THE HUMAN CONDITION. Franklin, WI: Sheed & Ward.

Hollenbach, David. 1989. Fundamental Theology and Christian Moral Life. Pp. 167-84 in FAITHFUL WITNESS, edited by L. O’Donovan & T. H. Sanks. New York, NY: Crossroad Books.

Johnson, Elizabeth. 1992. SHE WHO IS. New York, NY: Crossroad Books.

Lohfink, Gerhard. 1999. DOES GOD NEED THE CHURCH? TOWARD A THEOLOGY OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Mendenhall, George. 2001. ANCIENT ISRAEL’S FAITH AND HISTORY. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Murphy, Roland. 2000. Questions Concerning Biblical Theology. BIBLICAL THEOLOGY BULLETIN 30/3:81-89.

Neufeld, Karl. 1987. Die Schrift in der Theologie Karl Rahners. Pp. 228-46 in JAHRBUCH FUR BIBLISCHE THEOLOGIE, Bd. 2. Neukirchen, Germany: Neukirchener.

Pontifical Biblical Commission. 1993. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE IN THE CHURCH. Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Rahner, Karl. 1979. The Old Testament and Christian Dogmatic Theology. Pp. 177-90 in THEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS, vol. 16. New York, NY: Seabury Press.

1978. FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH. New York, NY: Seabury Press.

1966. Exegesis and Dogmatic Theology. Pp. 67-93 in THEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS, vol. 5. London, UK: Darton, Longman, & Todd.

1964. Inspiration in the Bible. Pp. 7-86 in INQUIRIES. New York, NY: Herder & Herder.

Vawter, Bruce. 1986. Divorce and the New Testament. Pp. 238-56 in THE PATH OF WISDOM: BIBLICAL INVESTIGATIONS, edited by Bruce Vawter. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Roland E. Murphy, S.T.D. (Catholic University of America), passed away in July of 2002. A member of the Carmelite Order, he was George Washington Ivey Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Duke University and resided at Whitefriars Hall, Washington, D.C. 20017. Our readers are well aware of his many contributions to the BTB. His most recent book is EXPERIENCING OUR BIBLICAL HERITAGE (Hendrickson, 2001).

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