Text versus commentary

This is a fantastic passage with regards to the study of scripture and one of my favorite passage from de Lubac’s book.

When we are faced with a very great text, a very profound one, never can we maintain that eh interpretation we give of it – even if it is very accurate, the most accurate, if need be, the only accurate one – coincides exactly with its author’s thought.

The fact is, the text and the interpretation are not of the same order; they do not develop at the same level, and therefore they cannot overlay one another. The former expresses spontaneous, synthetic, “prospective”, in some fasion, creative knowledge. The latter, which is a commentary, is of the reflective and analytical order.

In a sense, the commentary, if it at all penetrating, always goes FARTHER than the text, since it makes what it finds there explicit; and if it does not in fact go father, it is of no use, since no light would then be shed by it on the text. But in another and more important sense, the text, bits concrete richness, always overflows the commentary, and never does the commentary dispense us from going back to the text. There is virtually infinity in it.

-Paradoxes of Faith, Henri de Lubac, p.109