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Document Details :
Title: The Sensus Plenior of Scripture
Subtitle: A Debate and Its Aftermath
Author(s): DUFFY, Kevin
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 38 Issue: 3 Date: 2014
It is now close to fifty years since a lively and complicated debate in Catholic biblical hermeneutics around the concept of a sensus plenior of Scripture came to a sudden end. The Vatican Council deliberately left the sensus plenior as an open question. The debate stopped for a variety of reasons, but not because there was an agreed resolution, and the expression sensus plenior continued in theological vocabulary, though used in a variety of quite different ways. This article presents the debate and its sudden termination in its historical context, and offers a long overdue analysis of the concept of a sensus plenior, in the distinctive form it had in the decades up to 1970, with a view to the continuing challenge of integrating historical-critical exegesis into an ecclesial hermeneutic. The article focuses in particular on the exegete Raymond E. Brown, who was the principal expositor of the theory in the English-speaking world, and also one of its most perceptive critics.