Four Hundred Texts on Love (Fourth Century) 34

72.  If always understood in the same way, none of the persons, places, times, or any of the other things mentioned in Scripture, whether animate or inanimate, sensible or intelligible, will yield either the literal or spiritual sense intended. Thus he who wishes to study the divine knowledge of Scripture without floundering must respect the differences of the recorded events or sayings, and interpret each in a different way, assigning to it the appropriate spiritual sense according to the context of place and time.

This text reinforces the prior one. I would add that we need a guide to understand that context. No text, after all, is self-interpreting. And while we draw from all available sources, including the insights of modern history, it’s the tradition of interpretation within the Church that provides the central guiding rail as we read the Holy Scriptures.

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