And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Kelley Kimble on winning our last book giveaway. Kelley won a copy of Hebrews by Mary Healy.

Thanks to all who participated!

I’ll be out of town for the next couple weeks, so our weekly book giveaways will resume on Monday, June 5, when I return. In the mean time, have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Posted in Book Give Away, Catholic, Commentaries | Leave a comment

Book Giveaway

This week I’m offering Hebrews by Mary Healy in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. Here’s the catalog description and table of contents:

“In this addition to the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, respected New Testament scholar Mary Healy unpacks the Letter to the Hebrews, making its difficult and puzzling passages accessible to pastoral ministers, lay readers, and students. Her commentary shows how Hebrews reveals the meaning of Christ’s death in light of the Old Testament figures, rites, and sacrifices that foreshadowed it. Healy explains that Hebrews, when fully understood, transforms our understanding of who God is, what he has done for us, and how we are to live as Christians today.”

About the Series
The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (CCSS) responds to the desire of Catholics to study the Bible in depth and in a way that integrates Scripture with Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life. The series will include seventeen volumes, offering readable, informative commentary on each book of the New Testament. The CCSS implements the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture “in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written”–that is, interpreting Scripture in its canonical context and in the light of Catholic tradition and the analogy of faith (Dei Verbum 12).

The CCSS is packed with features designed to help readers use the Bible more effectively in teaching, preaching, evangelization, and other forms of ministry. Each volume provides exegesis as well as reflection and application sections. Cross-references link each passage to the Catechism, the Lectionary, and related biblical texts. Sidebars present information on the background of the text and on how the text has been interpreted by the Church. Abundant quotations from saints and Church Fathers enable readers to glimpse the continuity of Catholic tradition. Each volume includes a glossary, a list of suggested resources, an index of pastoral topics, and an Index of sidebars. Further resources are posted at the series website,

Consulting editors: Scott Hahn (Franciscan University of Steubenville); Daniel J. Harrington, SJ (1940-2014); William S. Kurz, SJ (Marquette University); Francis Martin (Dominican House of Studies); Frank J. Matera (Catholic University of America); George T. Montague, SM (St. Mary’s University); and Terrence Prendergast (Archbishop of Ottawa)

General editors: Peter S. Williamson (Sacred Heart Major Seminary) and Mary Healy (Sacred Heart Major Seminary); associate editor: Kevin Perrotta (award-winning Catholic journalist and editor of the Six Weeks with the Bible series)

Leave your name in the comments section no later than Friday, May 19th. I’ll draw the winner’s name that day. If I don’t hear back from the winner within seven days the book will go to another entry.

Posted in Book Give Away, Catholic, Commentaries | 13 Comments

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Dwight Gingrich on winning our last book giveaway. Dwight won a copy of Engaging the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit by Matthew Levering.

Thanks to all who participated, and happy Mothers Day!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts

What, exactly, is an “undesigned coincidence”? Lydia McGrew explains,

An undesigned coincidence is a notable connection between two or more accounts or texts that doesn’t seem to have been planned by the person or people giving the accounts. Despite their apparent independence, the items fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

In her recent book, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts, McGrew puts forth many instances where the details in the account of one author lend explanation and credibility to other authors’ parallel accounts. As an example, we don’t know based on Matthew’s account in chapter 14 how he could have known what Herod was saying to his servants. But, coincidentally, Luke informs us in chapter 8 that Herod’s household manager is one of the women traveling with Jesus and his disciples. (pp. 87-89) Another interesting example is how Peter’s boasting in Matthew 26 provides explanation for the seemingly-odd question that Jesus asks him in John 21, of whether Peter loves him more than the other disciples. (pp. 57-60)

McGrew, I think, successfully argues that these are the sorts of coincidences that we would expect to see when as many four different accounts are being given of the same events. Eyewitness accounts often include details which may lack context or even literary purpose, and we would expect the details of different eyewitnesses–though different–to be consistent with, explain, and even corroborate the other’s details.

Craig Keener, in the forward, says we have here a “valuable and accessible approach for recognizing significant historical information in the Gospels that does not simply repeat arguments that most of us have already heard.” Craig Blomberg calls the book, “One more important plank in the ever-growing platform for the reliability of the New Testament.” And Sean McDowell says, “Even though I have been teaching and writing in the field of apologetics for nearly two decades, many of Lydia McGrew’s arguments were new to me. And I find them very convincing.”

Hidden in Plain View is published by DeWard and is available for $15.99 at Baker Book House.

Posted in Apologetics, Biblical Studies, Book Review | Leave a comment

Book Giveaway

It’s a Tuesday this time around, but this week I’m offering Engaging the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit by Matthew Levering. Here’s the catalog description and table of contents:

“Distinguished theologian Matthew Levering offers a historical examination of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, defending an Augustinian model against various contemporary theological views.

This work, a companion piece to Levering’s Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation, critically engages contemporary and classical doctrines of the Holy Spirit in dialogue with Orthodox and Reformed interlocutors, providing an introduction to the pneumatological landscape shared by all Christians. Levering focuses on the Spirit as Love and Gift in the economy of salvation as well as the Spirit’s mission to the church as Christ’s body. Through careful exegesis and interplay with sources from across the spectrum and throughout church history, and with special attention given to Thomas Aquinas and his theological heirs, Levering makes a strong dogmatic case for conceiving of the Holy Spirit as love between Father and Son, given to the people of God as a gift.

Engaging the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit will be of much interest to professors and students of systematic theology as well as Catholic and Protestant scholars.”

1. The Holy Spirit as Love and Gift
2. Naming the Holy Spirit: East and West
3. The Holy Spirit and the Filioque
4. The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ
5. The Holy Spirit and the Church
6. The Holy Spirit and the Unity of the Church
7. The Holy Spirit and the Holiness of the Church

Leave your name in the comments section no later than Friday, May 12th. I’ll draw the winner’s name that day. If I don’t hear back from the winner within seven days the book will go to another entry.

Posted in Book Give Away, Theology | 13 Comments

And The Winner Is…

Back from a busy weekend to congratulate the winner of last week’s book giveaway…Frank Federico! Frank won a copy of Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction.

Thanks to all who participated!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Face of Water

Most Christians are, rightly so, of the opinion that robust biblical scholarship is necessary for translating the Bible well. It can be convincingly argued that a love and care for biblical language and literature is just as necessary. I’m currently reading The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible by Sarah Ruden. Ruden, a Quaker, is admittedly not a biblical scholar, but rather a translator of classical literature and an all-around lover of language.

It’s been fascinating to take a step back from hermeneutics as a means of learning theology or ethics or history, and instead to be urged to be taken with the style, meter, tone, and literary thrust of biblical writings. Ruden doesn’t seem motivated to complain about the “aesthetic inferiority” of modern English translations, which is a relief. Rather, she is content to openly and almost gleefully delight in and play with the literary devices of the Hebrew and Greek which make up the Bible.

The book’s first part examines about fourteen different biblical passages in order to highlight the way grammar, vocabulary, style, poetry, voice, meta-narrative, and comedy, respectively, contribute to those passages’ beauty and meaning. In the second part Ruden offers re-translations of said passages set side-by-side with the King James Version’s translation. Here is her translation of Romans 8:31-39, which I found compelling:

31 So what can we say about these things? With God on our side, who can be on the other side? 32  The God who didn’t begrudge his own son, but surrendered him for the sake of us all–how then will such a God not freely give us everything else, along with him? 33 Who will bring charges against those God has chosen to be in his charge? God is the one passing judgment! 34 Who’s the one rendering us guilty? Is is Jesus the Anointed who died–no, who came back to life–and who is at God’s right hand–and who actually intercedes for us! 35 Who will separate us from the love of the Anointed One? Will it be any pressure put on us, or the tightest place imaginable, or persecution, or starvation, or the inability to put clothes on our backs, or danger, or execution? 36 To quote the Scriptures:

“Because of you, we are dying all day long.
We are counted off one by one like sheep to the slaughter.”

37 But in all these things we are the victors over the victors, thanks to the one who has loved us. 38 I have been persuaded, you see, to believe that neither death not life, nor angels, nor the authorities on earth, nor things that are here now, nor things that are coming, nor supernatural powers, 39 nor the highest nor the lowest thing in the universe, nor anything else in creation has the power to separate us from the love of God in the Anointed Jesus, our Lord.

The book’s third part details Ruden’s resources and methods for translation.

The Face of Water successfully provides a unique and refreshing contribution to the discussion over Bible translation. If nothing else, it was neat to read something from someone who so clearly loves language and the possibilities that are present within our words.

The Face of Water is published by Pantheon Books and retails at $26.95. It is available at Baker Book House.

Posted in Bible Translation, Book Review, New Releases | Leave a comment