BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE ARTICLES
The New Jerusalem Bible (1985), translated by Catholic biblical scholars, was selected because it presents a good balance between literal translation and conveying the meaning (some say it does so "poetically") of the original texts upon which it was based (Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew). This translation is often hailed, as in this review: "The New Jerusalem Bible is recognized as one of today's most accurate, clear and modern translations, the fruit of long collaboration between leading Bible scholars." It is also challenged in some areas, including concerns over the translation method used for the Old Testament and its change to gender-neutral language in those instances where it was determined by the editors that gender wasn't a significant feature (but it has fewer changes of this type than have occurred in some other, newer translations).
Explanations of biblical passages presented in this website are not based on analysis of the meaning of individual words from the original text (e.g., analysis of the Greek word and its intended meaning) nor on the basis of archeological or historical analysis, but are general explanations of meaning as might be heard through a sermon or homily. This informality, however, cannot be an explanation for any defect in the interpretations presented, rather, it is the method of presentation chosen for the objective of the articles.
Brief quotations from Papal documents or other sources are selected to represent the specific matters that are being addressed in the articles. In some cases, the original documents may include discussion of other important issues immediately prior to or following the quoted section. An effort is made to avoid having the quotation taken out of context to the extent that its meaning might be misconstrued; however, readers are encouraged to consult the original documents for the full context of the remarks. The papal documents are posted on the Vatican web site; the passages from books that are used as sources of the quotes are usually not found on web pages and the book must be consulted.
In the articles, many references to Jesus are made in relation to what was said or done during His ministry; in that context there is not a reference to "Christ" (or other designations, such as Son of God, Son of Man, etc.) in the article other than as might appear in a quotation from other sources. This is not intended to support a 'theology from below," where the divinity of Jesus is not emphasized, or support for the "historical Jesus" approach to biblical study, which reduces the value of the gospel texts. Rather, this is a style adopted for referring to His speech and deeds of Jesus recorded by the gospel writers.
Numerous books and documents were produced by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger prior to his becoming Pope Benedict XVI. In the first mention of his work in an article, both Benedict XVI and Joseph Ratzinger are mentioned as his names, but after that, when referring to works written prior to becoming Pope, he is referred to as Joseph Ratzinger, or simply Ratzinger. This is not done with any disrespect of the Holy Father, but simply acknowledging that when he wrote a certain text, the author name was Ratzinger. By contrast, when quoting recent speeches or documents, only the name Pope Benedict XVI is used.
The articles are written by Steven John Lichtman, a student of theology. Please forward corrections and suggestions, along with references to source materials in support, to the author. Contact: SJL@bodytheology.org.
The web site is created and managed by Chris Dorr.
The web site was launched August 6 (Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord) through August 15 (Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in the year 2005.