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Christian Understanding of the relationships between the Old and New Testaments. Affirmation of a reciprocal relationship 2. Re-reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ 3. Allegorical Re-reading 4. Return to the Literal Sense 5. The unity of God's Plan and the Idea of Fulfilment 6.

Current Perspectives 7. Contribution of Jewish reading of the Bible. Shared Fundamental Themes. Revelation of God 2. The Human Person: Greatness and Wretchedness 3. God, Liberator and Saviour 4. The Election of Israel 5. The Covenant 6. The Law 7. Prayer and Cult, Jerusalem and Temple 8. Divine Reproaches and Condemnations 9. The Promises. Continuity 2. Discontinuity 3. The Jews in the New Testament A. Different viewpoints within post-exilic Judaism. The last centuries before Jesus Christ 2.

The first third of the first century A. The second third of the first century 4. The final third of the first century. Jews in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. The Gospel according to Matthew 2. The Gospel according to Mark 3. The Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles 4. The Gospel according to John 5. Jews in the undisputed Pauline Letters 2.

Jews in the other Letters 3. Jews in the Book of Revelation. Conclusions A. General Conclusion B. Pastoral Orientations. The internal unity of the Church's Bible, which comprises the Old and New Testaments, was a central theme in the theology of the Church Fathers. That it was far from being a theoretical problem only is evident from dipping, so to speak, into the spiritual journey of one of the greatest teachers of Christendom, Saint Augustine of Hippo.

In , the 19 year old Augustine already had his first decisive experience of conversion. I began to pick myself up to return to you III, 4, For the young African who, as a child, had received the salt that made him a catechumen, it was clear that conversion to God entailed attachment to Christ; apart from Christ, he could not truly find God.

So he went from Cicero to the Bible and experienced a terrible disappointment: in the exacting legal prescriptions of the Old Testament, in its complex and, at times, brutal narratives, he failed to find that Wisdom towards which he wanted to travel. In the course of his search, he encountered certain people who proclaimed a new spiritual Christianity, one which understood the Old Testament as spiritually deficient and repugnant; a Christianity in which Christ had no need of the witness of the Hebrew prophets.

Those people promised him a Christianity of pure and simple reason, a Christianity in which Christ was the great illuminator, leading human beings to true self-knowledge. These were the Manicheans. The great promise of the Manicheans proved illusory, but the problem remained unresolved for all that. Augustine was unable to convert to the Christianity of the Catholic Church until he had learned, through Ambrose, an interpretation of the Old Testament that made transparent the relationship of Israel's Bible to Christ and thus revealed that Wisdom for which he searched.

What was overcome was not only the exterior obstacle of an unsatisfactory literary form of the Old Latin Bible, but above all the interior obstacle of a book that was no longer just a document of the religious history of a particular people, with all its strayings and mistakes. It revealed instead a Wisdom addressed to all and came from God. Through the transparency of Israel's long, slow historical journey, that reading of Israel's Bible identified Christ, the Word, eternal Wisdom.

It was, therefore, of fundamental importance not only for Augustine's decision of faith; it was and is the basis for the faith decision of the Church as a whole. But is all this true? Is it also demonstrable and tenable still today? From the viewpoint of historical-critical exegesis, it seems — at first glance, in any case — that exactly the opposite is true.

Is Harnack right? At first glance several things seem to point in that direction. The exegetical method of Ambrose did indeed open the way to the Church for Augustine, and in its basic orientation — allowing, of course, for a considerable measure of variance in the details — became the foundation of Augustine's faith in the biblical word of God, consisting of two parts, and nevertheless composing a unity. But it is still possible to make the following objection: Ambrose had learned this exegesis from the school of Origen, who had been the first to develop its methodology.

But Origen, it may be said, only applied to the Bible the allegorical method of interpretation which was practised in the Greek world, to explain the religious texts of antiquity — in particular, Homer — and not only produced a hellenization intrinsically foreign to the biblical word, but used a method that was unreliable, because, in the last analysis, it tried to preserve as something sacred what was, in fact, only a witness to a moribund culture.

Yet, it is not that simple. Much more than the Greek exegesis of Homer, Origen could build on the Old Testament interpretation which was born in a Jewish milieu, especially in Alexandria, beginning with Philo who sought in a totally appropriate way to introduce the Bible to Greeks who were long in search of the one biblical God beyond polytheism.

And Origen had studied at the feet of the rabbis. He eventually developed specifically Christian principles: the internal unity of the Bible as a rule of interpretation, Christ as the meeting point of all the Old Testament pathways. In whatever way one judges the detailed exegesis of Origen and Ambrose, its deepest basis was neither Hellenistic allegory, nor Philo nor rabbinic methods. Strictly speaking, — leaving aside the details of interpretation — its basis was the New Testament itself.

From this viewpoint, the Fathers of the Church created nothing new when they gave a Christological interpretation to the Old Testament; they only developed and systematised what they themselves had already discovered in the New Testament. This fundamental synthesis for the Christian faith would become problematic when historical consciousness developed rules of interpretation that made Patristic exegesis appear non-historical and so objectively indefensible.

In the context of humanism, with its new-found historical awareness, but especially in the context of his doctrine of justification, Luther invented a new formula relating the two parts of the Christian Bible, one no longer based on the internal harmony of the Old and New Testaments, but on their essential dialectic linkage within an existential history of salvation, the antithesis between Law and Gospel. Bultmann modernised this approach when he said that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ by foundering. More radical is the proposition of Harnack mentioned above; as far as I can see, it was not generally accepted, but it was completely logical for an exegesis for which texts from the past could have no meaning other than that intended by the authors in their historical context.

That the biblical authors in the centuries before Christ, writing in the Old Testament, intended to refer in advance to Christ and New Testament faith, looks to the modern historical consciousness as highly unlikely. As a result, the triumph of historical-critical exegesis seemed to sound the death-knell for the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament initiated by the New Testament itself. It is not a question here of historical details, as we have seen, it is the very foundations of Christianity that are being questioned.

It is understandable then that nobody has since embraced Harnack's position and made the definitive break with the Old Testament that Marcion prematurely wished to accomplish. What would have remained, our New Testament, would itself be devoid of meaning. From this perspective, one can appreciate the enormous task the Pontifical Biblical Commission set for itself in deciding to tackle the theme of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. If the impasse presented by Harnack is to be overcome, the very concept of an interpretation of historical texts must be broadened and deepened enough to be tenable in today's liberal climate, and capable of application, especially to Biblical texts received in faith as the Word of God.

Important contributions have been made in this direction over recent decades. The recognition of the multidimensional nature of human language, not staying fixed to a particular moment in history, but having a hold on the future, is an aid that permits a greater understanding of how the Word of God can avail of the human word to confer on a history in progress a meaning that surpasses the present moment and yet brings out, precisely in this way, the unity of the whole.

This is a conclusion, which seems to me to be of great importance for the pursuit of dialogue, but above all, for grounding the Christian faith. In its work, the Biblical Commission could not ignore the contemporary context, where the shock of the Shoah has put the whole question under a new light. Two main problems are posed: Can Christians, after all that has happened, still claim in good conscience to be the legitimate heirs of Israel's Bible?

Have they the right to propose a Christian interpretation of this Bible, or should they not instead, respectfully and humbly, renounce any claim that, in the light of what has happened, must look like a usurpation? The second question follows from the first: In its presentation of the Jews and the Jewish people, has not the New Testament itself contributed to creating a hostility towards the Jewish people that provided a support for the ideology of those who wished to destroy Israel?

The Commission set about addressing those two questions. It is clear that a Christian rejection of the Old Testament would not only put an end to Christianity itself as indicated above, but, in addition, would prevent the fostering of positive relations between Christians and Jews, precisely because they would lack common ground. In the light of what has happened, what ought to emerge now is a new respect for the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament.

On this subject, the Document says two things. It adds that Christians can learn a great deal from a Jewish exegesis practised for more than years; in return, Christians may hope that Jews can profit from Christian exegetical research ibid. I think this analysis will prove useful for the pursuit of Judeo-Christian dialogue, as well as for the interior formation of Christian consciousness. Here, I want only to underline an aspect which seems to me to be particularly important.

The Document shows that the reproofs addressed to Jews in the New Testament are neither more frequent nor more virulent than the accusations against Israel in the Law and the Prophets, at the heart of the Old Testament itself no. They belong to the prophetic language of the Old Testament and are, therefore, to be interpreted in the same way as the prophetic messages: they warn against contemporary aberrations, but they are essentially of a temporary nature and always open to new possibilities of salvation.

To the members of the Biblical Commission, I wish to express gratitude and appreciation for their work. From their discussions, patiently pursued over several years, this Document has emerged which, I am convinced, can offer a precious aid to the study of one of the central questions of the Christian faith, as well as to the search so important for a new understanding between Christians and Jews.

Modern times have made Christians more aware of the close fraternal bonds that unite them to the Jewish people. During the second world war , tragic events, or more precisely, abominable crimes subjected the Jewish people to a terrible ordeal that threatened their very existence throughout most of Europe.

In those circumstances, some Christians failed to exhibit the spiritual resistance to be expected from disciples of Christ, and did not take the appropriate initiatives to counter them. Other Christians, though, did generously aid Jews in danger, often at the risk of their own lives. In the wake of such an enormous tragedy, Christians are faced with the need to reassess their relations with the Jewish people.

Already considerable research and reflection has been done in this direction. The Pontifical Biblical Commission, insofar as it is competent, wishes to participate in this endeavour. Since this obviously does not include addressing all the historical and contemporary aspects of the problem, the Commission confines itself to the current state of research in the field of biblical exegesis.

The question which is asked is the following: What relations does the Christian Bible establish between Christians and the Jewish people? The general answer is clear: between Christians and Jews, the Christian Bible establishes many close relations.

That an intimate relationship exists between them is undeniable. A closer examination, however, reveals that this is not a straightforward relationship, but a very complex one that ranges from perfect accord on some points to one of great tension on others. A careful study is therefore necessary.


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The Biblical Commission has devoted the past few years to this study. The results, which make no claim of being exhaustive, are presented here in three chapters. The first chapter lays the foundations by demonstrating that the New Testament recognises the authority of the Old Testament as divine revelation and that the New Testament cannot be properly understood apart from the Old Testament and the Jewish tradition which transmits it.

The second chapter then examines analytically how the writings of the New Testament appropriate the rich content of the Old Testament by developing its basic themes in the light of Jesus Christ. Finally, the third chapter reviews the various attitudes which the New Testament writings express regarding the Jews, following, in this respect, the example of the Old Testament itself.

In this way the Biblical Commission hopes to advance the dialogue between Christians and Jews with clarity and in a spirit of mutual esteem and affection. It is above all by virtue of its historical origin that the Christian community discovers its links with the Jewish people. Indeed, the person in whom it puts its faith, Jesus of Nazareth, is himself a son of this people. In the beginning, the apostolic preaching was addressed only to the Jews and proselytes, pagans associated with the Jewish community cf.

Ac Christianity, then, came to birth in the bosom of first century Judaism. A perennial manifestation of this link to their beginnings is the acceptance by Christians of the Sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people as the Word of God addressed to themselves as well. Indeed, the Church has accepted as inspired by God all the writings contained in the Hebrew Bible as well as those in the Greek Bible. Its scope has been extended, since the end of the second century, to include other Jewish writings in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

The message announced that God intended to establish a new covenant. The Christian faith sees this promise fulfilled in the mystery of Christ Jesus with the institution of the Eucharist cf. The New Testament writings were never presented as something entirely new. On the contrary, they attest their rootedness in the long religious experience of the people of Israel, an experience recorded in diverse forms in the sacred books which comprise the Jewish Scriptures. The New Testament recognises their divine authority.

This recognition manifests itself in different ways, with different degrees of explicitness. Implicit recognition of authority. Beginning from the less explicit, which nevertheless is revealing, we notice that the same language is used. The Greek of the New Testament is closely dependent on the Greek of the Septuagint, in grammatical turns of phrase which were influenced by the Hebrew, or in the vocabulary, of a religious nature in particular. Without a knowledge of Septuagint Greek, it is impossible to ascertain the exact meaning of many important New Testament terms.

This linguistic relationship extends to numerous expressions borrowed by the New Testament from the Jewish Scriptures, giving rise to frequent reminiscences and implicit quotations, that is, entire phrases found in the New Testament without any indication of origin. These reminiscences are numerous, but their identification often gives rise to discussion. To take an obvious example: although the Book of Revelation contains no explicit quotations from the Jewish Bible, it is a whole tissue of reminiscences and allusions.

The text is so steeped in the Old Testament that it is difficult to distinguish what is an allusion to it and what is not. What is true of the Book of Revelation is true also — although to a lesser degree — of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters. This recognition of authority takes different forms depending on the case. This gegraptai carries considerable weight. It can also happen that a biblical text is not definitive and must give way to a new dispensation; in that case, the New Testament uses the Greek aorist tense, placing it in the past.

In his doctrinal arguments, the apostle Paul constantly relies on his people's Scriptures. To the arguments from Scripture he attributes an incontestable value. The New Testament recognises the definitive value of arguments based on the Jewish Scriptures. This conviction is frequently evident. Two texts are particularly significant for this subject, since they speak of divine inspiration. These two texts not only affirm the authority of the Jewish Scriptures; they reveal the basis for this authority as divine inspiration.

A twofold conviction is apparent in other texts: on the one hand, what is written in the Jewish Scriptures must of necessity be fulfilled because it reveals the plan of God which cannot fail to be accomplished; on the other hand, the life, death and resurrection of Christ are fully in accord with the Scriptures. Necessity of fulfilling the Scriptures. This is what Matthew often expresses in the infancy narrative, later on in Jesus' public life 16 and for the whole passion Mt Luke does not use this expression but John has recourse to it almost as often as Matthew does.

It is clearly understood that these events would be meaningless if they did not correspond to what the Scriptures say. It would not be a question there of the realisation of God's plan. Conformity to the Scriptures. Other texts affirm that the whole mystery of Christ is in conformity with the Jewish Scriptures. The Christian faith, then, is not based solely on events, but on the conformity of these events to the revelation contained in the Jewish Scriptures. The New Testament shows by these declarations that it is indissolubly linked to the Jewish Scriptures.

Some disputed points that need to be kept in mind may be mentioned here. This theological affirmation is characteristic of Matthew and his community. It is in tension with other sayings of the Lord which relativises the Sabbath obvervance Mt ,12 and ritual purity Mt In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appropriates a saying of Isaiah Lk ; Is to define his mission as he begins his ministry.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the kerygmatic discourses of the Church leaders — Peter, Paul and Barnabas, James — place the events of the Passion, Resurrection, Pentecost and the missionary outreach of the Church in perfect continuity with the Jewish Scriptures. Although it never explicitly affirms the authority of the Jewish Scriptures, the Letter to the Hebrews clearly shows that it recognises this authority by repeatedly quoting texts to ground its teaching and exhortations.

It contains numerous affirmations of conformity to prophetic revelation, but also affirmations of conformity that include aspects of non-conformity as well. This was already the case in the Pauline Letters. In the Letters to Galatians and Romans, the apostle argues from the Law to prove that faith in Christ has put an end to the Law's regime. He shows that the Law as revelation predicted its own end as an institution necessary for salvation.

In a similar way, the Letter to the Hebrews shows that the mystery of Christ fulfils the prophecies and what was prefigured in the Jewish Scriptures, but, at the same time, affirms non-conformity to the ancient institutions: the glorified Christ is at one and the same time in conformity with the words of Ps :1,4, and in non-conformity with the levitical priesthood cf. Heb , The basic affirmation remains the same.

The writings of the New Testament acknowledge that the Jewish Scriptures have a permanent value as divine revelation. They have a positive outlook towards them and regard them as the foundation on which they themselves rest. Consequently, the Church has always held that the Jewish Scriptures form an integral part of the Christian Bible. In many religions there exists a tension between Scripture and Tradition. This is true of Oriental Religions Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. The written texts can never express the Tradition in an exhaustive manner. They have to be completed by additions and interpretations which are eventually written down but are subject to certain limitations.

This phenomenon can be seen in Christianity as well as in Judaism, with developments that are partly similar and partly different. A common trait is that both share a significant part of the same canon of Scripture. Scripture and Tradition in the Old Testament and Judaism. Tradition gives birth to Scripture. The origin of Old Testament texts and the history of the formation of the canon have been the subject of important works in the last few years.

A certain consensus has been reached according to which by the end of the first century of our era, the long process of the formation of the Hebrew Bible was practically completed. To determine the origin of the individual books is often a difficult task. In many cases, one must settle for hypotheses.

These are, for the most part, based on results furnished by Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism. It can be deduced from them that ancient precepts were assembled in collections which were gradually inserted in the books of the Pentateuch. The older narratives were likewise committed to writing and arranged together.

Collections of narrative texts and rules of conduct were combined. Prophetic messages were collected and compiled in books bearing the prophets' names. The sapiential texts, Psalms and didactic narratives were likewise collected much later. No written text can adequately express all the riches of a tradition.

Notwithstanding its authority, this interpretation by itself was not deemed adequate in later times, with the result that later rabbinic explanations were added. These additions were never granted the same authority as the Talmud, they served only as an aid to interpretation.

Unresolved questions were submitted to the decisions of the Grand Rabbinate. In this manner, written texts gave rise to further developments. Between written texts and oral tradition a certain sustained tension is evident. The Limits of Tradition. When it was put into writing to be joined to Scripture, a normative Tradition, for all that, never enjoyed the same authority as Scripture. The Mishna, the Tosepta and the Talmud have their place in the synagogue as texts to be studied, but they are not read in the liturgy. To it are added pericopes chosen from the Prophets.

Conversely, Pharisaic and Rabbinic Judaism accept, alongside the written Law, an oral Law given simultaneously to Moses and enjoying the same authority. Clearly, a striking diversity is apparent from the manner of conceiving the role of Tradition. Scripture and Tradition in Early Christianity. In early Christianity, an evolution similar to that of Judaism can be observed with, however, an initial difference: early Christians had the Scriptures from the very beginning, since as Jews, they accepted Israel's Bible as Scripture. The Gospel catechesis took shape only gradually.

To better ensure their faithful transmission, the words of Jesus and the narratives were put in writing. Thus, the way was prepared for the redaction of the Gospels which took place some decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In addition, professions of faith were also composed, together with the liturgical hymns which are found in the New Testament Letters.

The Letters of Paul and the other apostles or leaders were first read in the church for which they were written cf. Col , preserved to be read on other occasions and eventually accepted as Scripture cf. In this way, the canon of the New Testament was gradually formed within the apostolic Tradition. Tradition completes Scripture. Christianity has in common with Judaism the conviction that God's revelation cannot be expressed in its entirety in written texts. This is clear from the ending of the Fourth Gospel where it is stated that the whole world would be unable to contain the books that could be written recounting the actions of Jesus Jn On the other hand, a vibrant tradition is indispensable to make Scripture come alive and maintain its relevance.

As a result of the Spirit's action, the tradition remains alive and dynamic. The Limits of the additional contribution of Tradition. To what extent can there be in the Christian Church a tradition that is a material addition to the word of Scripture? This question has long been debated in the history of theology. It likewise rejected the idea of a tradition completely independent of Scripture.

Here, the extent to which Scripture and Tradition are inseparable can be seen.

Relationship between the two perspectives. As we have shown, there is a corresponding relationship between Scripture and Tradition in Judaism and Christianity. From a hermeneutical viewpoint, however, perspectives differ. For all the currents within Judaism during the period corresponding to the formation of the canon, the Law was at the centre.

Indeed, in it were to be found the essential institutions revealed by God himself governing the religious, moral, juridical and political life of the Jewish nation after the Exile. The prophetic corpus contains divinely inspired words, transmitted by the prophets and accepted as authentic, but it contained no laws capable of providing an institutional base. From this point of view, the prophetic writings are of second rank. This hermeneutical perspective was not taken over by the Christian communities, with the exception, perhaps, of those in Judeo-Christian milieux linked to Pharisaic Judaism by their veneration of the Law.

In the New Testament, the general tendency is to give more importance to the prophetic texts, understood as foretelling the mystery of Christ. The apostle Paul and the Letter to the Hebrews do not hesitate to enter into polemics against the Law. Besides, early Christianity shared apocalyptic currents with the Zealots and with the Essenes apocalyptic messianic expectation; from Hellenistic Judaism it adopted a more extended, sapientially oriented body of Scripture capable of fostering intercultural relations.

What distinguishes early Christianity from all these other currents is the conviction that the eschatological prophetic promises are no longer considered simply as an object of future hope, since their fulfilment had already begun in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. It is about him that the Jewish Scriptures speak, in their whole extension, and it is in light of him that they are to be fully comprehended. Judaism derived from the Scriptures its understanding of God and of the world, as well as of God's plans. The clearest expression of how Jesus' contemporaries interpreted the Scriptures are given in the Dead Sea Scrolls, manuscripts copied between the second century B.

However, these documents express only one aspect of the Jewish tradition; they come from within a particular current and do not represent the whole tradition. Irrespective of whether this attribution is well founded or not, these seven middoth certainly represent a codification of contemporary methods of argument from Scripture, in particular for deducing rules of conduct.

Another method of using Scripture can be seen in first century historical writings, particularly Josephus, but it had already been employed in the Old Testament itself. It consists of using biblical terms to describe events in order to illuminate their meaning. Thus, the return from the Babylonian Exile is described in terms that evoke the liberation from Egyptian oppression at the time of the Exodus Is The final restoration of Zion is represented as a new Eden.

Exegesis at Qumran and in the New Testament. With regard to form and method, the New Testament, especially the Gospels, presents striking resemblances to Qumran in its use of Scripture. The similarity in scriptural usage derives from an outlook common to both the Qumran community and that of the New Testament.

Both were eschatological communities that saw biblical prophecies being fulfilled in their own time, in a manner surpassing the expectation and understanding of the Prophets who had originally spoken them. Exactly as in the Dead Sea Scrolls, certain biblical texts are used in the New Testament in their literal and historical sense, while others are applied in a more or less forced manner, to the contemporary situation. Scripture was understood as containing the very words of God. Some interpretations, in both texts, take a word and separate it from its context and original meaning to give it a significance that does not correspond to the principles of modern exegesis.

An important difference, however, should be noted. In the Qumran texts, the point of departure is Scripture. Certain texts — for example the pesher of Habakkuk — are an extended commentary on a biblical text, which is then applied, verse by verse, to a contemporary situation; others are collections of texts dealing with the same theme, for example, 11 Q Melchisedeq on the messianic era. In the New Testament, in contrast, the point of departure is the Christ event.

It does not apply Scripture to the present, but explains and comments on the Christ event in the light of Scripture. The only points in common are the techniques employed, often with a striking similarity, as in Rm and in the Letter to the Hebrews. Rabbinic Methods in the New Testament. Traditional Jewish methods of scriptural argumentation for the purpose of establishing rules of conduct — methods later codified by the rabbis — are frequently used in the words of Jesus transmitted in the Gospels and in the Epistles.

A particular trait is that the argument often revolves around the meaning of a single word. This meaning is established by its occurence in a certain context and is then applied, often in a very artificial manner, to another context. This technique has a strong resemblance to rabbinic midrash, with one characteristic difference: in the rabbinic midrash, there is a citation of differing opinions from various authorities in such a way that it becomes a technique of argumentation, while in the New Testament the authority of Jesus is decisive.

Paul in particular frequently uses these techniques especially in discussions with well-informed Jewish adversaries, whether Christian or not. Oftentimes he uses them to counter traditional positions in Judaism or to support important points in his own teaching. Rabbinic argumentation is also found in the Letters to the Ephesians and Hebrews. It uses figures and examples in a verbal chain structure in conformity with Jewish scriptural exegesis. An particular form of Jewish exegesis found in the New Testament is the homily delivered in the synagogue.

According to Jn , the Bread of Life discourse was delivered by Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum. Its form closely corresponds to synagogal homilies of the first century: an explanation of a Pentateuchal text supported by a prophetic text; each part of the text is explained; slight adjustments to the form of words are made to give a new interpretation. Traces of this model can perhaps also be found in the missionary discourses in the Acts of the Apostles, especially in Paul's homily in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch Ac The New Testament frequently uses allusions to biblical events as a means of bringing out the meaning of the events of Jesus' life.

The narratives of Jesus' infancy in the Gospel of Matthew do not disclose their full meaning unless read against the background of biblical and post-biblical narratives concerning Moses. The infancy gospel of Luke is more in the style of biblical allusions found in the first century Psalms of Solomon or in the Qumran Hymns; the Canticles of Mary, Zechariah and Simeon can be compared to Qumran hymns.

The reaction of listeners to Jesus' parables for example, the parable of the murderous tenants, Mt and par. Among the Gospels, Matthew shows greatest familiarity with the Jewish techniques in utilising Scripture. After the manner of the Qumran pesharim , he often quotes Scripture; he makes wide use of juridical and symbolic argumentation similar to those which were common in later rabbinic writings. More than the other Gospels, he uses midrashic stories in his narratives the infancy gospel, the episode of Judas' death, the intervention of Pilate's wife.

The rabbinic style of argumentation frequently used, especially in the Pauline Letters and in the Letter to the Hebrews, undoubtedly attests that the New Testament emerged from the matrix of Judaism and that it is infused with the mentality of Jewish biblical commentators. We are only concerned here with the formation of the canon of the Old Testament. The number 24 was often reduced to 22, the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The numerical difference is explained by the fact that the Jews regarded as one book several writings that are distinct in the Christian canon, the writings of the Twelve Prophets, for example.

Recent research and discoveries, however, have cast doubt on this opinion. It now seems more probable that at the time of Christianity's birth, closed collections of the Law and the Prophets existed in a textual form substantially identical with the Old Testament. Towards the end of the first century A. Many of the books belonging to the third group of religious texts, not yet fixed, were regularly read in Jewish communities during the first century A.

They were translated into Greek and circulated among Hellenistic Jews, both in Palestine and in the diaspora. Ac , their views on Scripture would have reflected those of their environment, but we are poorly informed on the subject. Nevertheless, the writings of the New Testament suggest that a sacred literature wider than the Hebrew canon circulated in Christian communities. Generally, the authors of the New Testament manifest a knowledge of the deuterocanonical books and other non-canonical ones since the number of books cited in the New Testament exceeds not only the Hebrew canon, but also the so-called Alexandrian canon.

What the Church seems to have received was a body of Sacred Scripture which, within Judaism, was in the process of becoming canonical. When Judaism came to close its own canon, the Christian Church was sufficiently independent from Judaism not to be immediately affected. It was only at a later period that a closed Hebrew canon began to exert influence on how Christians viewed it. The Old Testament of the early Church took different shapes in different regions as the diverse lists from Patristic times show.

The majority of Christian writings from the second century, as well as manuscripts of the Bible from the fourth century onwards, made use of or contain a great number of Jewish sacred books, including those which were not admitted into the Hebrew canon. It was only after the Jews had defined their canon that the Church thought of closing its own Old Testament canon.

But we are lacking information on the procedure adopted and the reasons given for the inclusion of this or that book in the canon. It is possible, nevertheless, to trace in a general way the evolution of the canon in the Church, both in the East and in the West. In the East from Origen's time c.

Origen himself knew of the existence of numerous textual differences, which were often considerable, between the Hebrew and the Greek Bible. To this was added the problem of different listings of books. The attempt to conform to the Hebrew text of the Hebrew canon did not prevent Christian authors in the East from utilising in their writings books that were never admitted into the Hebrew canon, or from following the Septuagint text.

The notion that the Hebrew canon should be preferred by Christians does not seem to have produced in the Eastern Church either a profound or long-lasting impression. In the West , the use of a larger collection of sacred books was common and was defended by Augustine. When it came to selecting books to be included in the canon, Augustine based his judgement on the constant practice of the Church.

At the beginning of the fifth century, councils adopted his position in drawing up the Old Testament canon. Although these councils were regional, the unanimity expressed in their lists represents Church usage in the West. 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 and Trent in 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. 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. 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 understanding of these relationships has changed over time. The present chapter offers firstly an overview of these changes, followed by a more detailed study of the basic themes common to both Testaments.

Affirmation of a reciprocal relationship. Their first relationship is precisely that. At the beginning of the second century, when Marcion wished to discard the Old Testament, 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.

Lk Re-reading the Old Testament in the light of Christ. The examples given show that different methods were used, taken from their cultural surroundings, as we have seen above. 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. 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 What is specific to the Christian re-reading is that it is done, as we have said, in the light of Christ. This new interpretation does not negate the original meaning. The Hellenistic world had different methods of which Christian exegesis made use as well. The Greeks often interpreted their classical texts by allegorising them. Commenting on ancient poetry like the works of Homer, where the gods seem to act like capricious and vindictive humans, scholars explained this in a more religious and morally acceptable way by emphasising that the poet was expressing himself in an allegorical manner when he wished to describe only human psychological conflicts, the passions of the soul, using the fiction of war between the gods.

In this case, a new and more spiritual meaning replaced the original one. Jews in the diaspora sometimes utilised this method, in particular to justify certain prescriptions of the Law which, taken literally, would appear nonsensical to the Hellenistic world. Philo of Alexandria, who had been nurtured in Hellenistic culture, tended in this direction. He developed, often with a touch of genius, the original meaning, but at other times he adopted an allegorical reading that completely overshadowed it.

As a result, his exegesis was not accepted in Judaism. Another Pauline text uses allegory to interpret a detail of the Law 1 Co , but he never adopted this method as a general rule. The Fathers of the Church and the medieval authors, in contrast, make systematic use of it for the entire Bible, even to the least detail — both for the New Testament as well as for the Old — to give a contemporary interpretation capable of application to the Christian life.

For example, Origen sees the wood used by Moses to sweeten the bitter waters Ex as an allusion to the wood of the cross; he sees the scarlet thread used by Rahab as a means of recognising her house Jos , as an allusion to the blood of the Saviour. Any detail capable of establishing contact between an Old Testament episode and Christian realities was exploited. In every page of the Old Testament, in addition, many direct and specific allusions to Christ and the Christian life were found, but there was a danger of detaching each detail from its context and severing the relationship between the biblical text and the concrete reality of salvation history.

Interpretation then became arbitrary. Certainly, the proposed teaching had a certain value because it was animated by faith and guided by a comprehensive understanding of Scripture read in the Tradition. But such teaching was not based on the commentated text. It was superimposed on it. It was inevitable, therefore, that at the moment of its greatest success, it went into irreversible decline.

Thomas Aquinas saw clearly what underpinned allegorical exegesis: the commentator can only discover in a text what he already knows, and in order to know it, he had to find it in the literal sense of another text. From this Thomas Aquinas drew the conclusion: a valid argument cannot be constructed from the allegorical sense, it can only be done from the literal sense.

Starting from the Middle Ages, the literal sense has been restored to a place of honour and has not ceased to prove its value. The critical study of the Old Testament has progressed steadily in that direction culminating in the supremacy of the historical-critical method.

Nicolai Hartmann

And so an inverse process was set in motion: the relation between the Old Testament and Christian realities was now restricted to a limited number of Old Testament texts. Today, there is the danger of going to the opposite extreme of denying outright, together with the excesses of the allegorical method, all Patristic exegesis and the very idea of a Christian and Christological reading of Old Testament texts. This gave rise in contemporary theology, without as yet any consensus, to different ways of re-establishing a Christian interpretation of the Old Testament that would avoid arbitrariness and respect the original meaning.

The basic theological presupposition is that God's salvific plan which culminates in Christ cf. Ep is a unity, but that it is realised progressively over the course of time. Both the unity and the gradual realisation are important; likewise, continuity in certain points and discontinuity in others. From the outset, the action of God regarding human beings has tended towards final fulfilment and, consequently, certain aspects that remain constant began to appear: God reveals himself, calls, confers a mission, promises, liberates, makes a covenant.

The first realisations, though provisional and imperfect, already give a glimpse of the final plenitude. This is particularly evident in certain important themes which are developed throughout the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation: the way, the banquet, God's dwelling among men. Beginning from a continuous re-reading of events and texts, the Old Testament itself progressively opens up a perspective of fulfilment that is final and definitive.

The Exodus, the primordial experience of Israel's faith cf. Dt ; becomes the symbol of final salvation. Liberation from the Babylonian Exile and the prospect of an eschatological salvation are described as a new Exodus. The notion of fulfilment is an extremely complex one, 42 one that could easily be distorted if there is a unilateral insistence either on continuity or discontinuity.

Christian faith recognises the fulfilment, in Christ, of the Scriptures and the hopes of Israel, but it does not understand this fulfilment as a literal one. Such a conception would be reductionist. In reality, in the mystery of Christ crucified and risen, fulfilment is brought about in a manner unforeseen. It includes transcendence. All the texts, including those which later were read as messianic prophecies, already had an immediate import and meaning for their contemporaries before attaining a fuller meaning for future hearers.

The messiahship of Jesus has a meaning that is new and original. The original task of the prophet was to help his contemporaries understand the events and the times they lived in from God's viewpoint. Accordingly, excessive insistence, characteristic of a certain apologetic, on the probative value attributable to the fulfilment of prophecy must be discarded.

This insistence has contributed to harsh judgements by Christians of Jews and their reading of the Old Testament: the more reference to Christ is found in Old Testament texts, the more the incredulity of the Jews is considered inexcusable and obstinate. Insistence on discontinuity between both Testaments and going beyond former perspectives should not, however, lead to a one-sided spiritualisation. What has already been accomplished in Christ must yet be accomplished in us and in the world.

The definitive fulfilment will be at the end with the resurrection of the dead, a new heaven and a new earth. Jewish messianic expectation is not in vain. It can become for us Christians a powerful stimulant to keep alive the eschatological dimension of our faith. Like them, we too live in expectation. The difference is that for us the One who is to come will have the traits of the Jesus who has already come and is already present and active among us. The Old Testament in itself has great value as the Word of God. To read the Old Testament as Christians then does not mean wishing to find everywhere direct reference to Jesus and to Christian realities.

True, for Christians, all the Old Testament economy is in movement towards Christ; if then the Old Testament is read in the light of Christ, one can, retrospectively, perceive something of this movement. But since it is a movement, a slow and difficult progression throughout the course of history, each event and each text is situated at a particular point along the way, at a greater or lesser distance from the end.

Retrospective re-readings through Christian eyes mean perceiving both the movement towards Christ and the distance from Christ, prefiguration and dissimilarity. Conversely, the New Testament cannot be fully understood except in the light of the Old Testament. The Christian interpretation of the Old Testament is then a differentiated one, depending on the different genres of texts. It does not blur the difference between Law and Gospel, but distinguishes carefully the successive phases of revelation and salvation history. It is a theological interpretation, but at the same time historically grounded.

Far from excluding historical-critical exegesis, it demands it. Although the Christian reader is aware that the internal dynamism of the Old Testament finds its goal in Jesus, this is a retrospective perception whose point of departure is not in the text as such, but in the events of the New Testament proclaimed by the apostolic preaching. It cannot be said, therefore, that Jews do not see what has been proclaimed in the text, but that the Christian, in the light of Christ and in the Spirit, discovers in the text an additional meaning that was hidden there.

The horror in the wake of the extermination of the Jews the Shoah during the Second World War has led all the Churches to rethink their relationship with Judaism and, as a result, to reconsider their interpretation of the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament. It may be asked whether Christians should be blamed for having monopolised the Jewish Bible and reading there what no Jew has found. Should not Christians henceforth read the Bible as Jews do, in order to show proper respect for its Jewish origins?

In answer to the last question, a negative response must be given for hermeneutical reasons. For to read the Bible as Judaism does necessarily involves an implicit acceptance of all its presuppositions, that is, the full acceptance of what Judaism is, in particular, the authority of its writings and rabbinic traditions, which exclude faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. As regards the first question, the situation is different, for Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Sacred Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel fashion.

Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible. On the practical level of exegesis, Christians can, nonetheless, learn much from Jewish exegesis practised for more than two thousand years, and, in fact, they have learned much in the course of history.

A God who speaks to humans. The God of the Bible is one who enters into communication with human beings and speaks to them. In different ways, the Bible describes the initiative taken by God to communicate with humanity in choosing the people of Israel. God makes his word heard either directly or though a spokesperson. The divine word takes the form of a promise made to Moses to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt Ex , following the promises made to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for their descendants. After the departure from Egypt, God commits himself to his people by a covenant in which he twice takes the initiative Ex ; As bearer of the word of God, Moses is considered a prophet, 48 and even more than a prophet Nb Throughout the course of the people's history, prophets were conscious of transmitting the word of God.

The narratives of the prophetic call show how the word of God comes, forcefully imposes itself, and invites a response. Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezechiel perceive God's word as an event which changed their lives. Even though it meets with resistance because of human freedom, the word of God is efficacious: 50 it is a force working at the heart of history. In the narrative of the creation of the world by God Gn 1 , we discover that, for God, to say is to do. The New Testament prolongs this perspective and deepens it.

For Jesus becomes the preacher of the word of God Lk and appeals to Scripture: he is recognised as a prophet, 51 but he is more than a prophet. Jesus is not simply a messenger; he makes plain his intimacy with God. God is One. God is ONE: this proclamation points to the language of love cf. Sg The God who loves Israel is confessed as unique and calls each one to respond to that love by a love ever total. Israel is called to acknowledge that the God who brought it out of Egypt is the only one who liberated it from slavery.

This God alone has rescued Israel and Israel must express its faith in him by keeping the Law and through the cult. In the New Testament the profession of Jewish faith is repeated by Jesus himself in Mk , quoting Dt , and by his Jewish questioner who quotes Dt God the Creator and providence. In this opening text, the affirmation of the goodness of creation is repeated seven times, becoming one of the refrains Gn In different formulations, in different contexts, the affirmation of God as Creator is constantly repeated.

Thus in the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt, God exercises power over the wind and the sea Ex In Is , this creative action is the basis of hope for a salvation to come. The God who creates the world by his Word Gn 1 and gives human beings the breath of life Gn , is also the one who shows solicitude towards every human being from the moment of conception.

An interesting aspect of this text is that the creative action of God serves here to ground faith in the resurrection of the just. The same is true of Rm Faith in God the Creator, vanquisher of the cosmic forces and of evil, becomes inseparable from trust in him as Saviour of the Israelite people as well as of individuals. In the New Testament, the conviction that all existing things are the work of God comes straight from the Old Testament.

It seems so obvious that no proof is needed and creation vocabulary is not prominent in the Gospels. Nevertheless, there is in Mt a reference to Gn which speaks of the creation of man and woman. Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap The Word came into the world, yet the world did not know him Jn Jesus witnesses to this love of God to the very end Jn Using a different vocabulary, the Book of Revelation offers a similar perspective.

In history, the victory over the forces of evil will go hand in hand with a new creation that will have God himself as light, 62 and a temple will no longer be needed, for the Almighty God and the Lamb will be the Temple of the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem Rv , The main thesis put forward by Hartmann in the Foundations of Ontology is that all ontological differences are articulations of being, not differences between being and non-being. Existentially dependent entities are as ontologically genuine as existentially independent ones.

All entities, whatever their type, demand the same careful ontological scrutiny. The main purpose of this book is to demonstrate that modalities ground the differences between the two principal spheres of being real and ideal and the two secondary spheres of being knowledge and logic. Finally, The Construction of the Real World and Philosophy of Nature present in detail the many categories within the real sphere of being.

Since Possibility and Actuality will soon be available in English, we focus here on sources that are likely to be unavailable in English for a substantial amount of time. Since Hartmann organized his bulky books into short chapters, subdivided into sections usually no longer than one or two pages, we follow his method of internal referencing by indicating the relevant chapters and sections. Vol 2. According to Hartmann, an unbiased philosophical inquiry moves through the three main stages of phenomenological, aporetic and theoretical development.

The first stage is descriptive and requires the systematic collection of all the available evidence relevant to whatever is under scrutiny. More often than not, descriptions end up in conflicting theses, often in the form of aporias. Aporias themselves are informative and should not be forced to disappear by fiat decisions, such as an a priori assumption on the overall consistency of reality or the assumption that we have a direct, transparent access to reality.

The last phase of the philosophical method consists in using as few metaphysical assumptions as possible for the systematic coordination of the outcomes from the first two phases E, S. Metaphysical assumptions are necessary for the task of incorporating aporias into a framework able to make sense of them. Since metaphysical assumptions are not directly supported by descriptive data, it is advisable to keep them to a minimum, or to assume the weakest possible metaphysical assumptions.

An original way of distinguishing between ontology and metaphysics underlies the third stage of theoretical development. Ontology, for Hartmann, deals with what can be subsumed under at least partially representable categories see Section 3 below.

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Two main consequences follow from this view of ontology: firstly, ontology is primarily a theory of categories, in the sense that all ontological distinctions have the form of categories A. Intro1 , and secondly, science in all its branches is the most successful and powerful ally of ontology. More precisely, for Hartmann science is ontological in all its ramifications G. This is rather at odds with the mainstream view of science as an eminently epistemological affair.

This is one of the issues on which Hartmann firmly departs from the Kantian—to be precise, the Neo-Kantian—legacy. The claim that the main orientation of science is ontological immediately entails that scientific categories are further specifications and subdivisions of ontological categories.

In other words, the contact with science is a characteristic feature of the theory of categories, and therefore of ontology A. Ontology is knowledge of being, and knowledge is an epistemological problem. In order to clarify the connection between the epistemological problem of categories and the ontological problem of categories, knowledge should be correctly defined. For Hartmann, the basic ontological assumption concerning knowledge is that it does not create or generate its objects.

Ontologically speaking, knowledge grasps objects. If knowledge does not generate its objects, objects ontologically precede any effort to grasp them. Objects are indifferent as to whether or not they are known. Whilst knowledge is relevant for the knower, it is of no importance for the object itself. Knowledge uncovers aspects, brings to light dimensions and properties of objects. Knowledge introduces a divide between that part of the object which has been captured by knowledge and that part which remains to be known.

The former is usually typified and then represented by concepts. The divide between the full ontological object and the part that has been apprehended shifts as knowledge develops. Ontology is the theory of being qua being, which results in the difference between Dasein and Sosein. These two terms can only imperfectly be translated as existence and being-thus or determination. All entities—either real or ideal—have Dasein and Sosein , albeit in different ways.

For instance, real existence i. The difference between Dasein and Sosein —and every other articulation that ontology is supposed to present—is characterized categorially. As a matter of fact, categories are the only tools available to an ontologist. Ontology, therefore, is a thoroughgoing theory of categories. While we need concepts in order to refer to categories, concepts never capture categories entirely.

Categories deal with what is universal and necessary A. Categories articulate in particular the Sosein of entities; they specify configurations, structures and contents, not forms of existence A. Categories specify the fundamental determinations of being; they are principles of being on principles see Section 4.

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As fundamental determinations of being, categories form the interior of entities. In this sense, categories are immanent to the world: they do not form a second world A.

2. Preliminary sketches

The categorial interior of entities has a layered organization: the most fundamental categories structure the innermost core of entities, while other categories, such as scientific ones, add progressively more superficial layers. Ontological categories are the lowest layer of being. They form the network of internal, dynamic determinants and dependencies which articulate the furniture of the world. One of the most interesting aspects of the theory of categories is that categories do not form a homogeneous continuum, but appear to be organized in groups A.

Some categories belong to all the spheres of being, some to the entire real world, others to a specific level of reality. The first group of categories is analyzed in detail in Possibility and Actuality ; the second group is analyzed in The Structure of the Real World , while the third group is analyzed in the Philosophy of Nature. Fundamental categories comprise 1 categories organized in pairs of opposites, such as principle- concretum , mode-structure, and form-matter; 2 level categories, such as those that distinguish inanimate, living, psychological and spiritual beings; and 3 the categories of intercategorial connections, or the group of categorial laws , such as the laws of coherence, stratification, and dependence among categories see Section 6 below.

We come to know ontological categories through the objects that we come to know. However, our knowledge of ontological categories is even more provisional than our knowledge of objects. The difference between knowing objects and knowing categories explains why ontological categories are often confused with concepts. The problem is that categories do not allow direct acquaintance as objects do.

Concepts are names of ontological categories, which implies that concepts are partial, static, separate representations of items that in themselves are both essentially dynamic and inseparable from other ontological categories. Like the knowledge of objects, the knowledge of ontological categories also changes—when ontology develops, our understanding of ontological categories develops as well, so that we gain a deeper and better grasp of their articulation and subtleties. Some categories have countless variations, others only a few minor ones.

The most general and schematic categories are those with the most meager content, and they are therefore those that change less A. The two main aspects of categories are their generality and their character of determination. The latter is the feature that makes them principles. Principles exhaust themselves in this determining role. Principles are nothing in themselves. They only exist for something else; they are something only with respect to the concretum that they determine and are in. Principles are nothing without their concretum , and the concretum cannot exist without its principles A.

The ontological aspect of the categories consists in some kind of determination of their concreta. It is apparent that principles do not determine their concreta as causes, reasons, or ends. Apart from denying these patently inadequate characterizations, it is difficult to specify any positive feature of the relation of determination, because it appears to be a sui generis relation. A positive unfolding of the moments characterizing the relation between principles and concreta is a task still to be accomplished A.

Categories as principles are independent from their concreta , not from other categories A. We will see that principles imply one another, and that all the categories characterizing a level of reality work together A. Categories are far from being the only principles of entities. There are also highly particular principles structuring specific domains of being—such as natural laws or psychological laws—which are concreta with respect to general categories A.

There is a gradation of principles from the most general categories to specific real cases. Empirical laws are concreta with respect to general principles, and they are principles with respect to individual instances. Paired categories are the most general structural elements of being. As structural elements they have content, and there are composite relations among them A. Hartmann organizes the various pairs into two groups of six pairs, without implying that the list of paired oppositions is definitive:. Neither the two groups nor their internal order constitute a hierarchical order because there is no intrinsic order among the pairs A.

It is apparent that some of these are easier to grasp than others. Apart from the relations within each categorial pair, there are relations among the members of a pair and those of others A. The collection of these external relations is also a constitutive element of the categories, on a par with the relations internal to the different pairs.

Two cases are particularly relevant: the relation of the different paired categories to their common concretum , and the transverse relations among the contents of the different categories A. Concretum for Hartmann is what is determinate, that in which categories are embedded as their determinations. The concretum is not limited to real entities, but includes ideal ones as well. Furthermore, the concretum for Hartmann is not to be understood as limited to the individual instances of a principle because there can be different levels of concreta. For instance, level categories are concreta with respect to general categories.

Both the concretum and its principles are categories. Real categories contain all the universal determinations of their concreta ; they contain what is needed for the structure of the concreta. A complete system of categories—not the incomplete one we are able to grasp—completely determines its concreta A. As natural laws exist only in the real processes of nature and are nothing outside of them, so real categories exist only as structural relations within the real world and are nothing in themselves A.

The principle- concretum determination is only one among a variety of types of determination, and in no way is it the most relevant in the real world. In fact, each real level has its own specific types of determination, such as the specific linear nexus causal, final, etc. The following three moments characterize the essence of principles, and the three corresponding moments the essences of concreta :. Modus determines intermodal relations and in particular the special form of Dasein ; structure refers to the Sosein and all the moments of its determination. All the remaining twenty-two oppositions are articulations of structure.

Like the most general relations, the relation between principle and concretum is a structural relation A. All entities are determined by relations, both internal and external. This is why every isolation is secondary and exclusively due to acts of abstraction. Without relations, there is neither unity nor multiplicity; form and quality depend on relations A.

While relations can have other relations as their arguments, at some point the series of relations within relations within relations etc. Sooner or later, there must be a non-relational substratum, a substratum that is not the result of a relational construction A. A substratum, for Hartmann, is the argument of a possible relation. Real categories are constituted by material moments. Moments with the character of substratum do not pertain to the mode of being of ideal entities A. The quality-quantity pair is one of those where the character of opposition between the two constituting categories is less apparent.

Hartmann sees quantities as determinations of real being and qualities as within limits determinations of the secondary sphere of knowledge A. Three pairs of oppositions are included under quality positive and negative, general and individual, and identity and difference and three different pairs of oppositions are included under quantity one and many, part and whole, and finite and infinite. Complexes are relational entities. The elements of a complex are its members, not substrata. Elements are determined by the complex of which they are members A.

A complex of elements is always a complex of relations and determinations. This explains why elements have functions within the complex. Within a complex, what matters are not the elements, but the relations that they maintain among themselves and with the complex. Classes depend on their parts, while elements depend on their complex. The two dependence relations proceed in opposite directions. This is not entirely correct, however. To some extent, a complex depends on its elements as well.

A better formulation of the difference between classes and complexes runs as follows: within limits, if a class loses one of its parts, the class becomes different but the lost part remains the same; if a complex loses one of its elements, the complex remains the same but the element becomes different A. An irregularly shaped stone, a grain of sand, a puddle, a mountain are not independent complexes, but fragments and parts of much wider formations that come into existence before them and within which they exist as subordinate moments A.

All natural complexes are complexes of forces and processes. There is no reason to view their elements as simple or as analogous to material particles. If we assume that inorganic parts are elements of an organism, this way of understanding an organism is radically different from the idea that an organism is a dynamic complex able to survive the continuous substitution of its elements A.

The former idea refers to a physical complex, while the latter refers to a biological complex, and the two are authentically different complexes. The inside of the complex of processes that constitutes an organism is the capacity of the complex to maintain its working conditions—what Hartmann calls the self-determination of the organism A. Not everything has an inside, and not everything is what results from its inner structure. Force does not need to be the exteriorization of anything else, and effects do not need to be the exteriorizations of causes.

Only entities that have some ontic autonomy have an inside. In nature, dynamic and organic complexes are the best-known cases. Outer forces of lower-order entities are inner forces of higher-order entities: for instance, outer forces of nuclei are inner forces of atoms A. Determinations do not need to be internal to things or to constitute their interiors.

Most real nexuses are external determinations. Causality is the most obvious case A. For all complexes, the inside of the complex is constituted by the relations among its members, while the outside of the complex is constituted by the relations between the complex and other complexes. Every outside can become the inside of a higher-order complex A.

We now turn from the many intricacies of paired categories to a patter we extract that governs the behavior of most pairs. It follows that some aspects of the content of each category depend on the position that the latter occupies with reference to its twin category. The simplest case is the matter-form opposition.

The guiding idea is that every form is the form of some underlying matter, and it is the matter of some higher form; similarly all matter is the matter of some higher form and the form of some underlying matter see Figure 1 below. This alternation exemplifies the sense in which matter and form are positional categories.

Furthermore, matter and form enter into two different ties: horizontally, matter and form are moments of an individual being; vertically, matter and form connect different individuals as parts and wholes or members and collectives. Hartmann generalizes this pattern and detects the occurrence of similar alternations for other paired categories as well. Let us consider Dasein and Sosein , which, as already said, can be approximately understood as existence and determination. Here is how Hartmann presents their positional alternation: The Dasein of a tree is the Sosein of a forest G.

Similarly, the Dasein of the branch is the Sosein of the tree. The Dasein of the leaf is the Sosein of the branch. The Dasein of the vein is the Sosein of the leaf. Things can be inverted, too: the Sosein of the leaf is the Dasein of the vein; the Sosein of the branch is the Dasein of the leaf, etc.

The fact that only a part of the Sosein of an entity X contributes to the Dasein of a different entity Y does not raise problems. The Dasein - Sosein series has two limits: towards the first, original Dasein and towards the last Sosein , the Sosein of the whole of reality. The mainstream interpretation of Dasein and Sosein as entirely separate aspects of being depends on epistemological acts of isolation. The main difference between matter and form, on the one hand, and Dasein and Sosein on the other, is that the latter pair runs homogeneously through the whole of reality, while the matter-form stratification does not run homogeneously from the bottom to the highest layers of reality.

Matter and form are always relative to a substrate, and the matter-form stratification stops when a new substratum appears the section on levels of reality will explain why this is so. The next group after that of paired categories is the group of the categories of levels of reality. Like everything else, levels of reality are characterized and therefore distinguished by their categories.

By definition, the categories characterizing levels of reality are not general, in the sense that they do not pertain to reality in its entirety, but only to specific families of real being. On the other hand, fundamental categories are the most general and simple categories, and for this reason they are contained in the special categories of levels of reality A. Levels are the true constructive framework of the real world. Whilst the latter has unity, its unity is the unity of neither a principle nor a center.

The unity of the real world is instead provided by the order of the levels of reality A. Four main levels of reality are distinguished by Hartmann: the inanimate, the biological, the psychological and the spiritual. This last includes all historical realities history, language, customs, law, art, etc.

The underlying intuition is as follows: whilst the structure and the laws of history and other spiritual processes are different from the structure and laws of, say, inanimate beings, the former are not in any way less real than the latter A. The same intuition applies to the other levels as well: biological and psychological processes are as real as any other process, and they have their own specific groups of categories.

From a categorial point of view, however, the problem of what relations connect levels can be easily solved. Leaving general categories aside, two main categorial situations can be distinguished: a Being A and B are categorially different because the categories upon which the former is founded are partially different from the categories upon which the latter is founded, in the sense that the latter is founded on new categories which implies that the latter includes at least a novum , a new category not present in the former ; b Being A and B are categorially different because the categories upon which the former is founded and those upon which the latter is founded form two entirely different disjoint groups of categories.

Super-formation the type a form of dependence is weaker than super-position because it is partly grounded on already actualized categories, those of the level below. Suffice it to consider the super-formation between molecules and cells, i. In this regard, one can mention that even if organisms are unquestionably more complex than mechanisms, the behavior of organisms is in conformity with laws of mechanics A.

On the other hand, the psychological and spiritual levels are different, because they are characterized by an interruption in the categorial series and by the onset of new categorial series relative respectively to the psychological and spiritual levels. The relations between the biological level and the psychological level, on the one hand, and the relation between the psychological level and the spiritual one, on the other, are both relations of super-position.

By way of example, the group of categories embedded in psychological entities is different from the group of categories embedded in biological entities. Similarly, the group of categories embedded in spiritual entities is different from the group of categories embedded in psychological entities.

The category of the spirit is divided into personal, objective and objectivated spirit. Personal spirit is the spirit of the individual; objective spirit is the living spirit of communities; and objectivated spirit characterizes the products of spirit. The categorial moments of personal spirit are consciousness, will, foresight and teleological activity, liberty. None of them pass to objective spirit.

There is no consciousness apart from individual consciousness, and the same applies to the other moments. There are laws that are valid for all the levels: higher levels rest on lower ones; the lower level is the conditioning one; the higher level is independent from the lower one as to its conformation and its laws.

When the connecting relation is a relation of super-formation, some categories of the lower level return in the higher one. Returning categories interact with the categories of the higher level and are, so to speak, contaminated by them; some of their moments become different. Higher levels are never characterized by returning categories.

Each level has its novum , the category or group of categories that distinguish the level from the lower ones. The novum does not derive either from the elements of the level or from their synthesis A. Each of the four levels of the world contains other levels, organized according to a variety of patterns. The sublevels of the main levels may present their own types of gradation and may work one next to the other or one above the other as the case may be. As soon as we pass from the four levels to their internal divisions, things become more complex.

The nexuses of determination working within the intermediate sub-levels are even less well known than those working for the levels. From a categorial point of view, the differences among them may not be as rigorous and clear as the difference distinguishing the four main levels of real being A. Two aspects characterize super-position relations: firstly, the categories embedded in the entities of the connected levels are entirely different; secondly, a relation of existential dependence links the higher level to the lower one.

This latter aspect organizes the order of the levels, so that the spiritual level is founded on the psychological level, which in its turn is founded on the biological one. Conversely, the biological level is the bearer of the psychological level and the latter is the bearer of the spiritual level. Not all the levels are equally well-known. Indeed, for most of the levels we know only some of their elements, possibly not the most important ones. In fact, we do not know the central categories of the biological level A. This lack of knowledge has dramatic consequences on our capacity correctly to grasp the concreta of the higher levels.

To see what this means, consider the case of physical concreta , those that we know best. The group that includes time, space, process, causality and substance, together with the effects that they mutually exert on each other, determines physical entities. A physical concretum cannot be temporal without being spatial, nor can it present any of the other determinations without being a process. A process cannot exist without a substantial basis, and space and time are impossible without process. Again, none of them can exist without being causally conditioned.

All the determinations that pertain to a level work together, and together they constrain the concreta of the level A. Nothing like this can be repeated for any of the other levels. The categories of higher levels have nothing to do with the concreta of lower levels; the categories of lower levels are not principles of the categories of higher levels A. Lower levels are the bases of higher levels, but the categorial essence of the former does not consist in their being the basis of the latter A.

Lower levels are stronger, their laws cannot be modified by the laws of the higher levels A. Higher levels have richer structure and contents. While higher concreta cannot modify the laws of lower ones, they can use them for their own purposes. Human beings are the most vulnerable entities, the most conditioned and dependent; but they have knowledge, they can consciously adapt, and they can use other entities for their own purposes A.

This means that causal processes can be modified, which in turn implies that categorial structures can accept extra-causal determinations. We will say that categorial nexuses can be super-formed A. Hartmann acknowledges that the distinction between the psychological and the spiritual levels is problematic Scognamiglio However, it appears that science provides some help here, especially with the distinction between the objects of psychology and the objects of the sciences of the spirit linguistics, law, social and historical sciences.

Two obvious problems arise from his analyses. Firstly, Hartmann accepts only psychological acts and does not consider the possibility of social acts. Furthermore, he maintains that contents as correlates of acts are always spiritual. Hartmann vacillates as to the delimitations of what is properly psychological. He assigns language, consciousness, and foresight alternatively to the psychological level or to the personal level of the spirit. He even claims that the same acts of consciousness pertain to both psychic and spiritual being and that only an exact clarification of the phenomenon of acts may solve the aporia.

Two developments never considered by Hartmann are 1 the distinction between individual and collective forms of intentionality, and 2 a principled distinction between the complexes that are individual human beings and the complexes that are collectivities. Hartmann specifies analytically the laws that govern the various levels of reality and their connection for a short introduction see W; for a summary of the laws, see Poli a. Today we would say that this is more a book of philosophy of science than ontology it should be remembered, however, that for Hartmann science is ontological in all its ramifications, see the Introduction above.

What is even more interesting is that the ontological theory of categories makes explicit the limitations of the scientific understanding of reality for at least two different reasons: firstly, because categories such as those of space and time are not limited to physics alone N. Prologue ; secondly, because at least some of the categories that apply to the lowest level of the real world—such as space and time—share the categorial moment of dimensionality, the categorial precondition for measurement.

In fact, dimensionality—and its subsequent measurement—is the condition that makes natural science possible. The categories of the lower stratum of real being are called cosmological categories. We have already seen that the group including time, space, process, causality and substance together with the effects that they mutually exert on each other determines physical entities. As a category, space presents the general features characterizing every other ontological category: to wit, it is a principle.

As a principle, it does not exist. It is therefore mandatory to distinguish the category of space from the entities that are characterized by space as one of their precondition. As a category, space does not have any kind of existence independently of the things and processes of which space is a real dimension N. Existence is a determination that applies to things, substances, or living beings.

It is things in space that exist, not space itself N. If real space were to exist, it would exist as a thing together with other things. Space is one of the general principles of things and other existing entities. Only what is extended in space exists spatially N. In order to demonstrate the difference between a principle and its instances, Hartmann introduces the distinction between space and spatiality. Things have spatiality and are in space, they do not have space N. The underlying idea is that space as a category is not a property of things, whilst spatiality is indeed a property of things.

Real space is a categorial precondition of things. The claim that space categorially depends on things, masses, or forces is false. If anything, things, masses and forces categorially depend on space. As already said, Hartmann sharply distinguishes the category of space from what is in space. The moments characterizing space are different from the determinations of the entities that are in space. The attribution to space of determinations that pertain exclusively to what may eventually be in space is a serious category error.

Whereas things are extended in space, space in itself is neither extended nor has extension. Space is the medium in which what is extended extends itself N. For instance, position, distance, movement, length, width, and height are spatial determinations. They are in space, but space itself has no position, distance, movement, length, width or height N.

It is not space that is extended; rather, distances are extended in space N. Extension is not a determination of a dimension, but a determination of the entity that is extended in a given dimension. For space, only what is extended is properly real N. One further issue concerning space should be mentioned, namely the question of the curvature of the dimensions of space. What is the essential nature of a curvature? If space dimensions bend, there must be other dimensions in which the former dimensions bend.

Mathematically speaking, however, things can be different. From a mathematical point of view, one can introduce a measure of curvature without resorting to other, underlying dimensions. The internal consistency of mathematical formulas is sufficient for mathematics. Ontology requires more N. The problem lies deeper than the difference between Euclidean as opposed to non-Euclidean spaces. In fact, the very distinction between straight and curved is secondary and can itself exist only within a dimensional framework. The real ontological issue is that dimensions themselves are neither straight nor curved.

Even more generally, dimensions do not have spatial determinations. Dimensions, if anything, are the categorial preconditions of all possible spatial determinations. In this sense, dimensions are the lowest substrates of all extensions and measures. In themselves, dimensions are neither measures nor measurable, neither extensions nor extended N. Real space is different from both the multiplicity of ideal spaces and from intuitive space. Two different criteria of distinction are at work here: 1 the difference between real and ideal space follows the deeper distinction between the spheres of real and ideal being; 2 the distinction between real and intuitive spaces lies entirely within the sphere of real being and concerns lower as opposed to higher strata of reality, in the sense that real space primarily categorizes the inanimate level of reality and intuitive space categorizes aspects of the psychological level of reality.

This immediately raises the question of whether other regions of real space should be distinguished, such as biological and spiritual e. A general thesis propounded by Hartmann is that ideal being is incomplete being, and for this reason it is more general than real being G. It immediately follows from this thesis that ideal space is more general than real space N.

It is therefore convenient to start by presenting the main features of ideal space, and only subsequently analyze the features of real and intuitive spaces. The first point above is the only one directly referring to dimensions. The following aspects clarify the nature of dimensions N. Furthermore, while real and intuitive spaces may indeed be unique, the ideal declination of space is surely plural.

The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible

Furthermore, we will see that the claim at point 4 is not valid for intuitive space, which does indeed have both privileged points and directions. The most important outcome of the analysis of ideal space is possibly the explicit difference between dimensions and coordinates. Coordinates form a system of fundamental lines in space that enable the determination of the position of points and other spatial entities.

In this sense, coordinates organize spatiality. Dimensions instead are internal constraints of space, for they are constitutive categorial moments of space. Distances refer only to coordinates, not to dimensions. As already anticipated, some of the features of ideal space pertain to real space as well. The following are the most relevant N. Geometry has been often construed in stages in which lines result from the movement of points; surfaces from the movement of lines; and volumes from the movement of surfaces.

Further iterations evade our capacity for visualization. While this dynamic image of the iteration of movements one over the other is acceptable, it is far from being acceptable as a description of the categorial genesis of space because it does not respect the internal dependences of space as a category. The real issue is that it is wrong to assume that points precede lines, or lines surfaces, etc. Categorially speaking, what comes first is the entire system of dimensions.

Consequently, what come first are the moments that present the same number of dimensions as the whole dimensional system. For a three-dimensional space, volumes are categorially first. They are the reference entities. Volumes have position in space, surfaces have positions in volumes, lines in surfaces, and points in lines. One can obviously abstract from these categorial dependences and see surfaces, lines and points as directly positioned in space.