7th Annual CBAP Convention

The Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines held its 7th annual convention at Phinma in Tagaytay City, on the theme: "Biblical Responses to the Poor and the Marginalized, Then and Now." Prof. Gale Yee of the Episcopal Divintiy School in Cambridge, MA, delivered the main lecture on "Recovering Marginalized Groups in Ancient Israel: Methodological Considerations." Bernie Dianzon, FSP, who teaches at the Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City, also gave a lecture on "In Christ - Incorporation of the Marginalized Gentiles into the Covenant Community."

The workshop papers were given by Leander Barrot, OAR ("Purity of Heart"); Rustam Sabularse ("Monotheism in Ancient Israel: Pre-Monarchic and Early Monarchic Archaeological Evidence"); Renato Repole, SJ ("Eschatology and Ethics in Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians"); Regino Cortez, OP ("The Davidic Covenant and the Da Vinci Code Stunt"); Miriam Alejandrino, OSB ("Biblical Responses to the Poor and the Maginalized in the Gospel of John"); and Bienvenido Baisas, OFM ("From Marginalization to Inclusion: A Renewed Re-Reading of the Syro-Phoenician Woman in Mk 7:24-31a").

Two CBAP members who were recently appointed bishops actively participated in the convention: Broderick Pabillo and Pablo David. The latter, as Vice-President of the association, read the President's Report of Vic Salanga, SJ, who is currently on sabbatical in the U.S.

The following were elected to the new CBAP Board of Trustees: Victor Nicdao (President); Arnold Monera (Vice-President); Bernie Dianzon, FSP (Secretary); Gil Alinsangan, SSP (Treasurer); Alex Gobrin, CMF; Leander Barrot, OAR; Clarence Marquez, OP; and Fruto Ramirez, SJ. The board appointed Herb Schneider, SJ, as Executive Secretary.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz, DD, of the Archdiocese of Lingayen, presided over the closing liturgy of the Eucharist.


Scripture and the Quest for a New Society

Surfing the internet sometimes seems like scavenging in a garbage can where people throw all sorts of ideas and opinions. One can find in the cyber bin valuable insights that can be put to good use – but only after painstakingly sorting out the ‘recyclable’ from the ‘rubbish,’ and throwing away piles and piles of trash.

Searching for “bible politics” at Google yields web articles like these:

* Politics and Bible don’t mix
* Separation of church and state, God versus politics in America
* End-time Ministries – Revealing the future through Bible prophecy
* GOP: ‘Liberals’ will ban the bible
* The Bible as Bush’s guidebook
* Why the Cross can do what politics can’t
* The Bible teaches peace: Ancient Israel’s power politics

The short list above shows divergent and polarized opinions on the role of Scripture in politics. Some people find the Bible completely irrelevant to the affairs of the state, while others commandeer God’s Word to support their political agenda (crusade or jihad?). Obviously, there is need for a critical study on how the Scripture can be used or abused for political ends; and how God’s Word can truly help us reflect on social and political issues of our times.

The 6th Annual Convention of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines, held last 22-24 July 2005 at Phinma Training Center in Tagaytay City, provided a timely forum to discuss the role of Scripture in politics. Dr. Paul D. Hanson (“In Search of a Biblically Based Political Theology”) and Dr. Arnold T. Monera (“The Christian and the State according to the New Testament”) lectured on how Scriptures could shape the people’s faith-response to social, political, and economic issues.

The workshop papers of Anthony Ceresko (“Endings and Beginnings: ‘Alphabetic Thinking’ and the Shape of Psalms 106 and the Psalter”); Randy Flores (“‘. . . ’ (NAB) Elihu’s Critique of Power and Wealth: An Exegesis of Job 36:16-21”); Helen Graham (“A God Who Crushes Wars: Reading the Book of Judith as an Anti-War Document”); and Herb Schneider (“Women in Early Christianity and the Institutionalization of Charisma”) also discussed how the Bible deals with various social and political issues.

Instead of being purely academic, the lectures and discussions drew from the Bible practical lessons on politics and governance. They also inspired and called people to action. As it turned out the CBAP convention produced several excellent papers that are grounded on solid scholarship and balanced views of the authors. The precious insights they present can be a firm rock on which people—faced with unsettling waves of divergent ideas and opinions in the internet as well as in other popular media—can anchor their values and convictions

The main lectures and the worshop papers has recently been published in Scripture and the Question for a New Society (Manila: CBAP, 2006) 156 pp.


Dr. Paul Hanson's CBAP Lectures Published

The Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines published recently the public lectures of Dr. Paul D. Hanson when he came to the Philippines to be guest speaker in the 2005 CBAP Annual Convention. The book bearing the title Religion and Politics: (Mis)Interpreting the Bible contains two articles: "Jesus Christ, Savior and the Human Condition" and "Worship: Touchstone of Christian Political Action." Dr. Hanson is the Lamont Professor of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachussetts, where he taught since 1971. The focus of his current research is on biblical interpretation and the Bible and politics.