The understanding of these relationships has changed over time

The understanding of these relationships has changed over time

As regards the textual differences between the Greek and the Hebrew Bible, Jerome based his translation on the Hebrew text. For the deuterocanonical books, he was generally content to correct the Old Latin (translation). From this time on, the Church in the West recognised a twofold biblical tradition: that of the Hebrew text for books of the Hebrew canon, and that of the Greek Bible for the other books, all in a Latin translation.

Based on a time-honoured tradition, the Councils of Florence in 1442 and Trent in 1564 resolved for Catholics any doubts and uncertainties. Their list comprises 73 books, which were accepted as sacred and canonical because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, 46 for the Old Testament, 27 for the New. 36 In this way the Catholic Church received its definitive canon. To determine this canon, it based itself on the Church’s constant usage. In adopting this canon, which is larger than the Hebrew, it has preserved an authentic memory of Christian origins, since, as we have seen, the more restricted Hebrew canon is later than the formation of the New Testament.

19. To the Jewish Scriptures which it received as the authentic Word of God, the Christian Church added other Scriptures expressing its faith in Jesus, the Christ. A study of these relationships is indispensable for anyone who wishes to have a proper appreciation of the links between the Christian Church and the Jewish people. The present chapter offers firstly an overview of these changes, followed by a more detailed study of the basic themes common to both Testaments.

By “Old Testament” the Christian Church has no wish to suggest that the Jewish Scriptures are outdated or surpassed. 37 On the contrary, it has always affirmed that the Old Testament and the New Testament are inseparable. Their first relationship is precisely that. At the beginning of the second century, when ent, he met with vehement resistance from the post-apostolic Church. Moreover, his rejection of the Old Testament led him to disregard a major portion of the New – he retained only the Gospel of Luke and some Pauline Letters – which clearly showed that his position was indefensible. It is in the light of the Old Testament that the New understands the life, death and glorification of Jesus (cf. 1 Co 15:3-4).

This relationship is also reciprocal: on the one hand, the New Testament demands to be read in the light of the Old, but it also invites a “re-reading” of the Old in the light of Jesus Christ (cf

Lk ). How is this “re-reading” to be done? It extends to “all the Scriptures” (Lk ) to “everything written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (), but the New Testament only offers a limited number of examples, not a methodology.

The examples given show that different methods were used, taken from their cultural surroundings, as we have seen above. 38 The texts speak of typology 39 and of reading in the light of the Spirit (2 Co 3:14-17). These suggest a twofold manner of reading, in its original meaning at the time of writing, and a subsequent interpretation in the light of Christ.

It follows then that the Christian Bible is not composed of one “Testament”, but two “Testaments”, the Old and the New, which have complex, dialectical relationships between them

In Judaism, re-readings were commonplace. The Old Testament itself points the way. For example, in the episode of the manna, while not denying the original gift, the meaning is deepened to become a symbol of the Word through which God continually nourishes his people (cf. Dt 8:2-3). The Books of Chronicles are a re-reading of the Book of Genesis and the Books of Samuel and Kings. What is specific to the Christian re-reading is that it is done, as we have said, in the light of Christ.