Tosato on Biblical Interpretation

Here is an interesting new book from the Pontifical Gregorian University’s press, The Catholic Statute of Biblical Interpretation by Fr. Angelo Tosato, newly translated into English by our friend and frequent academic collaborator, Prof. Monica Lugato of LUMSA. Fr. Tosato, who died in 1999, was a professor at the Lateran and the Gregorian Universities, specializing in Biblical interpretation. But the book is accessible to non-experts as well. Among the topics it covers are the concept of the Bible as a set of divinely inspired texts mediated through human authorship, and the distinction between what Tosato calls “the bishops’ judicial interpretation” of the Bible, which may be authoritative for Catholics at any given time, and the “authentic” interpretation, which is known fully only to God. Because a space inevitably exists between the judicial and authentic interpretation, Tosato argues, the former is always subject to rethinking–guided, of course, by Holy Tradition.

Here is the description of the book from the publisher:

A «rigorous and exhaustive study on the official Catholic doctrine in the realm of Biblical interpretation», this work is «defended by heavily equipped garrisons of quotations in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and fortified by walls of Church documents» and based upon a «a profound knowledge of juridical questions and problems». The Author begins by clarifying the definition of the Bible for the Catholic faith, then explores its nature, origin, purpose and functions in relation to its different addressees, finally analysing the prerequisites, criteria, and forms of accurate biblical interpretation. «One detail may draw the reader’s attention. Angelo Tosato asserts, with solid reasons, that the juridical authority of the Magisterium is limited to the actualised interpretation of biblical texts for our world, and has not to deal with the proper exegetical and scientific task of recovering the original meaning of these texts. The Magisterium’s decisions, moreover, can be modified, corrected, and rectified, as every human decision». But this is just one of the many components of the Catholic Statute of biblical interpretation, a Statute that seeks to reveal «the vast and gorgeous panoramas of a truthful interpretation of our Scriptures».

Announcing the Sixth Biennial Colloquium in Law & Religion (Fall 2022)

The Center for Law and Religion is delighted to announce the lineup for the sixth biennial Colloquium in Law and Religion, scheduled for Fall 2022. The Colloquium brings outside scholars and jurists to St. John’s to teach a seminar for selected students. Speakers present drafts on law and religion; students are graded on the basis of response papers and class participation.

This year’s Colloquium speakers are Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Professors J. Joel Alicea (Catholic University School of Law), Nathan Chapman (University of Georgia School of Law), Nicole Stelle Garnett & Fr. Pat Reidy (Notre Dame Law School and Yale Law School student), Anna Su (University of Toronto Faculty of Law), and Nelson Tebbe (Cornell Law School).

For more information about the Colloquium, please contact Center Co-Directors Mark Movsesian and Marc DeGirolami.

Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

  • On Monday, the Biden Administration filed an emergency application with Justice Alito after the 5th Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction which protects Navy service members from facing consequences for their faith-based opposition to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • In Byrne v. Bowser, suit was filed in the D.C. federal district court by a nun who is a surgeon and family physician after she was denied a religious exemption from the District’s vaccine requirement for health care professionals.
  • In Dugan v. Bowser, suit was filed in the D.C. federal district court by parents of Catholic school students alleging that imposing the mask mandate on Catholic schools violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.
  • In Temple of 1001 Buddhas v. City of Fremont, a California federal district court dismissed a suit by a religious adherent who lives on property owned by the Temple of 1001 Buddhas. The claimant challenged the city’s enforcement of the state’s building, electrical, and plumbing codes as a violation of RLUIPA.
  • In Ferrelli v. State of New York Unified Court System, a New York federal district court upheld the system for determining whether employees are entitled to religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine mandate imposed on all judges and employees of the New York State court system. The court concluded that the exemption process was neutral and generally applicable.
  • Virginia senators block a bill that would have prevented the governor from using an executive order to impose restrictions on the exercise of religion and would have prevented any such rule, regulation, or order from any governmental entity.
  • The EEOC has provided employers with updated guidance regarding religious objections to COVID-19 vaccinations.