Friday, April 4, 2014

Promise and Fulfillment (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology)

Promise and Fulfillment is the 8th Volume in the Letter and Spirit series. For those of you unfamiliar with the Letter and Spirit series, it is an annual journal series of Catholic Biblical Theology with Dr. Scott Hahn as the editor. I am proud to say that I own all released volumes, and the first thing I do when I receive the volume is flip it over and read the list of contributors on the back cover. Like the volumes before it, Promise and Fulfillment contains articles by Dr. Hahn, Dr. Edward Sri, Dr. Sean Innerst, and Dr. Brant Pitre to name a few. I knew from those names alone that this Volume was not going to disappoint.

The whole of this volume addresses the Old Testament and New Testament, how they relate to each other, and how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament. For example, Dr. Pitre talks about Jesus' Messianic Wedding Banquet and compares it to a banquet thrown by King Hezekiah in 2nd Chronicles. Dr. Sri discusses the Marian typology of Mary as Daughter Zion and Queen Mother. Both of these can be found in numerous Old Testament passages. Particularly of interest to me in this article was the idea of Queen Mother. I have recently learned that in ancient times, because the king had numerous wives, but only one mother, the mother was in fact the queen, not a wife. For that reason, Jesus' queen would be His own mother, Mary. Explaining this to Protestants might open their minds and hearts more to Mary and hopefully erase some of their prejudices.

It's hard to pick a favorite article in this volume as each was well-written and full of high theology. However, I did enjoy reading Dr. Leroy Huizenga's article, "The Tradition of Christian Allegory Yesterday and Today." I learned about the School of Alexandria and their use of Christian allegory several years ago and have been fascinated by it every since. Unfortunately, most Christian scholars look down on allegory, so it was refreshing to read a modern-day defense of it. Dr. Huizenga wasn't saying that we should abandon all other forms of interpretation, nor was he saying to use only the the historical-critical method. Instead, he advocates use of the four senses method described in the Catechism paragraphs 115-119 and shows the use of allegorical interpretation in the West from Sts. Irenaeus, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. He also spends some time highlighting allegorical passages in the New Testament, particularly Luke 24:13-35, which deals with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Promise and Fulfillment may only be 245 pages, but it packs a punch. You can tell that each article was carefully researched and written to provide the reader a detailed link between the Old and New Testament. Like the previous volumes in this journal series, it is worthy of a 5-star rating. However, it is not for the beginning Catholic to pick up and read. This food is spiritual meat for the advanced Catholic looking to grow deeper and more fully in his understanding of the Catholic faith. Therefore, if you pick up this journal, I recommend a slow and careful chewing so that you may fully digest every word.

This book was provided to me for free by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!