Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

Introduction to a Study. My latest over at The Catholic Weekly, in which we will take an in-depth look at a difficult text, some problematic interpretations of it, and what I think is the most reasonable reading of it. Here’s a taste, but click on the link above for the whole smack:

This is, to be sure, a difficult text. Perhaps you have heard some variation on this style of interpretation:


I have problems with this interpretation of the story, but I think that at least the case can be made that Fr Martin’s gloss is within the pale of Catholic orthodoxy (as long as we include a lot of nuance and careful thinking). But saying that, I also think it highly likely that it will be misread and misunderstood badly.

Why? Because I have seen it done – and by a priest in a homily no less. I was on a Scouting trip and we stopped in at a local parish on our drive back from the boonies (what you Aussies call the Bush) and were treated to a homily on this text which informed the tender ears of our charges that, “Even Jesus had to learn to overcome his sin of racism”.

My jaw hit the floor.

Come explore with me how to approach this emphatically wrong reading of the text as well as less emphatically wrong–but still wrong–readings and even reasonable and nourishing ones. You’ll learn a bunch of stuff about how to read Scripture in light of the Tradition and in light of the biblical scholarship encouraged by Holy Church in light of Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu. Promise!

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