Rev Professor Raymond Brown (died 1998), was an American Catholic priest and a prominent Biblical scholar. I had the privilege of hearing him lecture on Pauline theology at the University of Oxford.
Brown was one of the first Catholic scholars to apply historical-critical analysis to the Bible. As biblical criticism developed in the 19th century, the Catholic Church opposed this scholarship and essentially forbade it in 1893. In 1943, however, the Church issued the papal encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, which authorised Catholic scholars to investigate the Bible historically. Brown called this encyclical the “Magna Carta of biblical progress.” The Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) further supported the method of higher criticism, which, Brown felt, vindicated his approach.