Providentissimus Deus


Providentissimus Deus

"Providentissimus Deus", "On the Study of Holy Scripture", was an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on 18 November, 1893. In it, he reviewed the history of Bible study from the time of the Church Fathers to the present, spoke against the errors of the Rationalists and "higher critics", and outlined principles of scripture study and guidelines for how scripture was to be taught in seminaries.He also addressed the issues of apparent contradictions between the Bible and physical science, or between one part of scripture and another, and how such apparent contradictions can be resolved.

"Providentissimus Deus" responded to two challenges to Biblical authority, both of which rose up during the 19th century.The physical sciences, especially the theory of evolution and geology's theory of a very old earth, challenged the traditional Biblical account of creation taking place 6,000 years ago.Pope Leo XIII wrote that true science cannot contradict scripture when it is properly explained, that errors the Church Fathers made do not demonstrate error in Scripture, and that what seems to be proved by science can turn out to be wrong.The historical-critical method of analyzing scripture questioned the reliability of the Bible.Leo acknowledged the possibility of errors introduced by scribes but forbade the interpretation that only some of scripture is inerrant, while other elements are fallible.

External links

* Text of [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus_en.html "Providentissimus Deus"]


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