Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ward on inculturation

I think this is a better and more poetic explanation of "inculturation" than most of the ones you see in pop theology these days. From Masie Ward's Saints Who Made History: the First Five Centuries (New York: Sheed and Ward [who else?], pp. 217-8), while explaining the eloquence of the Vulgate:
We have seen in earlier chapters the language problem in relation to theological definition: we shall meet it again. But with St. Jerome and the Scriptures we have something more like a picture; words are colours, they are shapes. Christianity makes a new and vivid literature, as a great artist creates a new sort of painting. This new supernatural art is expressed not in [dogmatic] defintions alone, but even more richly in the liturgy and the Scriptures, as they are given to one race after another in forms suited to the genius of their different tongues but all alike coloured by the supernatural.

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