How should Catholics read the Bible?


To the Editor:
In his March 7 editorial, Micah Kiel, Ph.D., advises readers against watching “The Bible,” a History Channel series which he calls “malarkey.”
He says, “Noah’s Ark, for example, is a myth.” But I read in my New American Bible: “How should modern readers interpret the creation-flood story in Gn 2-11? The stories are neither history nor myth. ‘Myth’ is an unsuitable term…”
Anyone can read the story in Genesis, or they can see the words converted into images and dialogue. How is reading “good” and viewing/listening “bad?”
Micah asks, “Was Moses a real person, or are the stories about him mythological/legendary as well?”
I suppose we can skip over the Book of Exodus, or do a word change to replace Moses with Joe or Tom. But we’d still have a problem explaining why our Jewish friends — from the time before Christ’s birth through today — annually celebrate the Passover (as did Christ), marking an event in their Exodus. Perhaps they had a leader (maybe named Moses), who followed God’s directives, and led the people of Israel from Egypt.
In “Dei Verbum,” we read: “Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere (No. 5).”
I’m not a theologian, but having watched the first three hours of “The Bible,” I don’t think I am damaged by the experience. I can only see a benefit to public exposure of this series. Sometimes it can even lead to seeking out more knowledge.
An editorial condemning this series is counterproductive toward spreading the Gospel, especially in this year of faith.
James Schemmel

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