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Articolo n° 573865 del 21 Aprile 2022 delle ore 14:33

Such a fullness of meaning establishes a threefold connection between the New Testament and the Old: continuity, discontinuity, and progression

Such a fullness of meaning establishes a threefold connection between the New Testament and the Old: continuity, discontinuity, and progression

64. Christian readers were convinced that their Old Testament hermeneutic, although significantly different from that of Judaism, corresponds nevertheless to a potentiality of meaning that is really present in the texts. Like a “revelation” during the process of photographic development, the person of Jesus and the events concerning him now appear in the Scriptures with a fullness of meaning that could not be hitherto perceived.

Other themes are developed in the context of a particular history: God has spoken, he has chosen a people, has freed and saved them innumerable times, has established a covenant relationship with them by the giving of himself (grace) and by offering a way of faithfulness (Law)

In addition to recognising the authority of the Jewish Scriptures and despite the constant seeking to demonstrate that the “new” events were in conformity with what was predicted (see ch. 1), the New Testament fully appropriates the great themes of the theology of Israel in a threefold reference to past, present and future.

The New Testament attests that Jesus, far from being in opposition to the Israelite Scriptures, revoking them as provisional, brings them instead to fulfilment in his person, in his mission, and especially in his paschal mystery

A universal perspective is always present: God is one; it is he who, by his word and spirit, created and sustains the whole universe, including human beings, who are “great” and “noble” despite their “wretchedness”.

This opens up for the chosen people wonderful future horizons: posterity (promised to Abraham), living space (a territory), survival beyond crises and testings (due to God’s fidelity), and the establishment of an ideal political order (the reign of God, messianism). From the beginning, a reign universal in its scope is envisaged for the blessing given to Abraham. The salvation bestowed by God will spread to the ends of the earth. Indeed, it is Jesus Christ who offers salvation to the entire world.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the passage from one Testament to the other also involves ruptures. These do not submerge continuity. They presuppose it in essentials. Yet these ruptures impinge upon whole tracts of the Law: for example, institutions like the levitical priesthood of the Jerusalem Temple; cultic forms like animal sacrifice; religious and ritual practices like circumcision, rules concerning purity and eros escort West Jordan impurity, dietary prescriptions; imperfect laws such as divorce; restrictive legal interpretations concerning the sabbath. It is clear that – from the viewpoint of Judaism – these are matters of great importance for it. But it is also clear that the radical replacement in the New Testament was already adumbrated in the Old Testament and so constitute a potentially legitimate reading.

65. Discontinuity on certain points is only the negative side of what is positively called progression. In fact, none of the great Old Testament themes escapes the new radiation of Christological light.

a) God. The New Testament firmly holds on to the monotheistic faith of Israel: God remains the One; 298 nevertheless, the Son participates in this mystery that from now on will be expressed in a ternary symbolism, already opaquely foreshadowed in the Old Testament. 299 God creates by his word (Gn 1), but this Word pre-exists “with God” and “is God” (Jn 1:1-5), and after entering history through a line of authentic spokespersons (Moses and the prophets), is now incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. 300 God also creates “by the breath of his mouth” (Ps 33:6). This breath is “the Holy Spirit” sent from the Father by the risen Christ (Ac 2:33).

» F. Lammardo

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