Original Research - Special Collection: Biblical Spirituality

The Revelatory Text and the prologue of the Gospel of Luke

Huub Welzen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a4967 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.4967 | © 2018 Huub Welzen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 March 2018 | Published: 18 September 2018

About the author(s)

Huub Welzen, Titus Brandsma Instituut, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands; and, Department of Old and New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, South Africa


The first print of the book of Sandra Schneiders, The Revelatory Text, appeared more than 25 years ago. With the help of the hermeneutic theories of Gadamer and Ricoeur, she proposes a kind of exegesis that integrates scholarly methods and spiritual reading. In this article we investigate how the model of Sandra Schneiders is congruent with the old intuition of the lectio divina. We compare the model of Schneiders with the systematisation of the lectio divina by Guigo II, the Carthusian. As a result, we see in the text of Guigo the pre-understanding of the Carthusian spiritual life at work. And as a result we also recognise Schneiders’ transformative understanding of the subject matter of the text in the phase of the oratio and the comtemplatio. In the model of Guigo, there is also room for critical analysis in the phase of the meditation. We investigate also if the Bible itself gives indications for the kind of exegesis Schneiders proposes. What Schneiders says about pre-understanding is present in the prologue of the Gospel of Luke. Luke considers the story he tells as a history guided by God. What Luke tells about the genesis of his text belongs to the world behind the text. The world of the text is present as a well-ordered world. Luke speaks also about the transformation of the reader. In this, we recognise what Schneiders says about the world before the text and the transformative understanding of the subject matter of the text. We conclude that the model of Schneiders is innovative in relation of common academic exegesis. It is rooted in the tradition of Christian spiritual reading, and it is present in those biblical texts which indicate how to read.


Biblical Spirituality; Biblical Hermeneutics; Sandra Schneiders; The Revelatory Text; Guigo II the Carthusian; Scala Claustralium; The Gospel of Luke; The Prologue of the Gospel of Luke


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