"Of course, exegesis can and must also investigate the internal history of the texts in order to trace their development and thought patterns. We all know that there is much to learn from such work. But it must not lead us to neglect the principal task, which is to understand the text as it now stands, as a totality in itself with its own particular message. Whoever reads Scripture in faith as a Bible must make a further step. By its very nature, historical interpretation can never take us beyond hypothesis. After all, none of us was there when it happened; only physical science can repeat events in the laboratory. Faith makes us Jesus' contemporaries. It can and must integrate all true historical discoveries, and it becomes richer for doing so. But faith gives us knowledge of something more than a hypothesis; it gives us the right to trust the revealed Word as such."
-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism.