Recap of the first day of CBAP-ECBA Biblical Forum, November 12
Yesterday, with the theme, “Treasures New and Old: The Transmission of the Bible in the Philippines - History, Theology, Reception and Use in Evangelization,” we had the first day of our historic annual convention of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines. It is a historic first as it is the first time to have the joint Biblical Forum of the CBAP and the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in time for the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
ECBA Chairman Bishop Sofronio A. Bancud gave the welcome address and said that it is an opportune time to have Biblical reflection and sharing and to be challenged anew by the Scriptures which is the soul of theology and the basis for catechetical instructions.
CBAP President Fr. Clarence Marquez, OP, officially opened the Biblical Forum as he said that we are gathered around the Word, we have our pulong on Pulong, entering into conversation, listening and speaking, sharing words and sharing lives on the eternal Word Alive, who became flesh and dwelt among us.
Fr. Bienvenido Baisas, OFM, presented the major paper, “Isang Bagong Salin sa Tagalog ng Salmo 109.” Why Ps 109? He said that he wanted to show many traits of Hebrew poetry and that the psalm as an individual lament has elements common to our current situation, “posing a challenge to face our situation with courage, bravery and confidence in the desired flow of life in accord with God’s justice. The Q and A after his presentation had interesting discussions on “lex talionis,” seeing God’s presence in his absence and the taboo of the psalm in the liturgy.
Sr. Martha Gamolo’s paper, “Kay YHWH ang Lupa at Kapunuan Nito: Awit 24:1-2,” the first of the three papers presented in the afternoon, was also about translation of a psalm from the original Hebrew and the need for inculturation for better transmission of the Word of God. She enlivened the sleepy afternoon with her playing of the guitar and her singing of her translated psalm.
The other two short papers were: “People’s Participation and Empowerment? A Postcolonial Narrative Reading of Solomon’s Prayer in 1 Kings 8:22-53” presented by Fr. Cristino r. Pine, OFM and “The Indispensability of Back Translation: Mediating faithfulness and Naturalness in the Translation of the Bible in an Unfamiliar Tongue” by Rev. Rhoneil M. Arevalo, PhD.
Among the questions asked Fr. Cris during the Q and A was on the perplexing question on prayers and politics. Rev. Arevalo’s paper walked us through the process of translation and made us realize the unsung work of translators and the key role of the translation consultant as gatekeeper of faithfulness.
Capping the session was the briefing of on the new CBAP interest group, the Biblical and Social Engagement Interet (BASE) Group by Pastor Rico Villanueva, Phd. He said that the next meeting of the BASE group is on Wedneday, November 28, to continue the discussion on Fr. Benny Baisas paper. Earlier, Fr. Randy Flores, SVD, presented the activities of the Old Testament Group, one of the traditional CBAP Interest Group along with the New Testament Interest Group. Fr. Rogel Abais, SJ, presented the new Biblical Archeology and Intertestamental Interest Group being formed with Fr. Alex Gobrin, CMF. Announced that the first meeting of the group will be in January next year.
There were quite a lot of Zoom chats commending Pastor Edgar B. Ebojo, PhD, for a job well done as the day’s moderator. On parting note, a participant commented in the Chat box amidst the greetings of Shabbat Salom,”Napapanahon ang mga presentation.” (The presentations were very relevant).
Second Day, November 13
The second day of the convention opened with the praying of Psalm 75 led by the day’s moderator, Fr. Rogel Abais, SJ.
Three short papers were presented on the influence and impact of the Scriptures on a traditional religious practice, visual art and religious life. These are:
1. “De Passione: A Reaction on the Possible Anti-Semitic Content of the Filipino Tradition called “Pasyong Mahal” by Restituto Adoremus, MA, CPA.
2. “Joey Velasco’s ‘Hapag ng Pag-asa’: The Last Supper’s Image of Hope for the Poor” Spiritual Echoes and Allusions” by Fr. Emil D. Valeza (Archdiocese of Caceres)
3. “Spiritual Echoes and Allusions in the 1726 Constitutions and Rules of the Beatas de Compania de Jesus” by Sr. Maria Anicia Co, RVM
Resty presented the historical development of the Pasyon text, presented samples of regional versions and pointed out extra-pious literature and pseudo scriptural attributes. He presented what would constitute as semi-semitic and pointed Reynaldo Ileto’s “Pasyon and Revolution” as historical context in seeing what could be anti-semitic or not. His presentation underscores the need to have a revised Pasyon with clear and correct scriptural references and theology. One participant commented that this could be a project of the CBAP.
Fr. Emil also started with presenting scriptural (synoptic comparison) and historical account of the Passover meal and showed various works of arts (e.g. Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, Salvador Dali) through the ages that made Velasco’s work radically different and unique. He presented Biblical Reception Theory (BCT) as a form of hermeneutics ( the world in front of the text) and a modern method of biblical interpretation through the arts particularly visual arts depicting the reality of life.
Sr. Annie’s study of the 1726 constitution of her congregation detected allusions to scriptural verses at a time when the Bible was prohibited or not encouraged to be read by the faithful. Her clear methodology prompted a number of participants to say that they will do the same study for their foundational and other documents.
Updates of the Catholic Biblical Federation was presented by Dr. Naty Pagadut and of NT Interest Group by Dr. Malou Ibita. Doc Nati presented an international network of “mga kalakbay” (fellow travelers) in the study of the Word of God. She presented a long list of activities to promote Bible study and of the many challenges to be faced including energizing bishops, priests, the religious and the lay and the use of modern communication and technology.
Malou presented the objectives and activities of the NT Group and sent invitation to join to what could be a new interesting world for students of the Bible. She expressed hope for members and friends of the CBAP to join any or all interest groups. (Those interested to join the may check out:
https://forms.gle/3GNQH64QMeKkBFsS6 for NT Group; https://forms.gle/bgjRNHCQFZxAf1NBA
for Bible and Social Engagement Group; email firstname.lastname@example.org for Biblical Archeology
and Intertestamental Literature Interest Group; text 0933-4305017 (Bing) for the Old Testament Interest Group).
Fr. Randy Flores led the closing liturgy and in memoriam. It has been another successful convention and biblical forum with over 130 participants but also a time to give thanks and say in memoriam for members who passed on in 2021 – Sr. Sol Mirasol, RCJ and Bishop Daniel Arichea and of CBAP friends and supporters – Robert and Teresa Dimla. May their memory be a blessing.
1. Keynote Speaker: Fr. Ben Baisas, OFM
2. Presentor: Resty Adoremus
3. Presentor: Rhoneil Arevalo
Paper: The Indispensability of Back Translation: Mediating Faithfulness and Naturalness in the Translation of the Bible in an Unfamiliar Tongue
4. Presentor: Sister Anicia Co, RVM
Paper: Scriptural Echoes and Allusions in the 1726 Constitutions and Rules of the Beatas de la Compañía de Jesus
5. Presentor: Sister Martha Gamolo, DC
Paper: Kay YHWH ang Lupa at Kapunuan Nito AWIT 24:1-2 - Pagsasalin sa Wikang Filipino Mula sa Batayang Teksto ng Wikang Hebreo
6. Presentor: Fr. Cris Pine, OFM
Paper: People’s Participation and Empowerment?: A Postcolonial Narrative Reading of Solomon’s Prayer in 1 Kings 8:22-53
7. Presentor: Fr. Emil D. Valeza
Paper: JOEY VELASCO’S “HAPAG NG PAG-ASA”: THE LAST SUPPER’S IMAGE OF HOPE FOR THE POOR (ART AS BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION AND ITS RECEPTION)