Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
February 27, 1934 (AAS 26  130f)
As the question has been addressed to this Pontifical Biblical Commission what is to be thought of the work entitled Die Einwassderung Israels in Kanaan, published at Breslau in the year 1933 by R. D. Frederic Schmidtke, it has decided that the following answer should be given:
R. D. Frederic Schmidtke, Professor Extraordinary of the Old Testament in the Theological Faculty of the University of Breslau in the volume mentioned above:
in his treatment of the Pentateuch follows the opinions of rationalistic criticism to the complete neglect of the decree of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of June 27, 1906; moreover, in the history of the Old Testament, without any attention to the decree of the same Pontifical Biblical Commission of June 23, 1905, he introduces a type of literature consisting of popular traditions mingling falsehood with truth; contrary to the clear evidence of the sacred books he makes, among others, the assertions that the stories about the Patriarchs, at least in large part, give the history, not of individual men, but of tribes; that Jacob was not the son of Isaac, but represents some Aramean tribe; that the whole people of Israel did not enter Egypt but a part only, in particular the tribe of Joseph; also, doing violence to the sacred text, he explains many miracles of the Old Testament as purely natural events.
The author, consequently, at least implicitly, denies the dogma of biblical inspiration and inerrancy; he entirely neglects the norms of Catholic hermeneutics he contradicts the Catholic doctrine most clearly set forth in the Encyclicals Providentissimus Deus of Leo XIII and Spiritus Paraclitus of Benedict XV.
Hence the aforesaid work deserves reprobation on various grounds and should be kept out of Catholic schools.
The Pontifical Commission, moreover, takes this occasion to warn Catholic commentators to obey with due reverence the dogmatic Constitution of the Vatican Council, renewing the Decree of the sacred Council of Trent, by which it was solemnly ordained "that in matters of faith and morals, appertaining to the building up of Christian doctrine, that is to be held as the true sense of sacred Scripture which was, and is, held by our holy mother the Church, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures, and therefore no one may interpret holy Scripture contrary to this sense or also against the unanimous consent of the Fathers".
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