Monday, August 24, 2015

Fulfilled in Christ (Emmaus Road Publishing)

My three year blogging anniversary is quickly approaching (September 1st), and in that time I have reviewed A LOT of books. Some of them I couldn't express how wonderful they were, and others I wonder why I wasted my time reading them. I'd like to think in those three years that I've grown in my level of understanding of all things Catholic. I am by no means an expert in any field, but just a bit more educated now. With that level of understanding though, I believe (at least I like to tell myself) that I have grown more discriminating in what I read and review. As of late, I have had a particular affinity toward academic titles. I'm not sure how long it has been in existence, but I recently discovered Emmaus Road Publishing's academic imprint. Today, I am reviewing their latest release Fulfilled in Christ: The Sacraments.

Fulfilled in Christ is arranged like a compact encyclopedia on the sacraments. Because of this presentation, there is a brief guide on how to use this book before reading it. Each sacrament receives its own section, and each section contains types and symbols. Each type/symbol contains introductory material composed of Scriptural references, Catechism references, and cross-references to other types/symbols within the book. After the introductory material for each type/symbol are summaries of all the references to the specific type/symbol. For an example, both the sacrifice of Christ and the Eucharist were prefigured by animal sacrifices, We then are treated to numerous Scriptural references of animal sacrifices, both sufficient ones and insufficient ones. At the end of the book are appendices which contain readings from the Liturgy for each sacrament and a list of readings from the Liturgy of the Hours that the author, Dr. Devin Roza used in this book.

It's hard to say one has a favorite section in a book of this nature, but the Introduction in this book was very enlightening. For starters, it covered how many different Church Fathers made use of typology with their study and interpretation of types and symbols in the Bible. Dr. Roza also discusses the unity of the Old and New Testament and how God's plan was fulfilled in Jesus. And like any good scholar, he finally presents the other side of the argument, and explains why typology has fallen out of grace and how one must not accept all typology as good typology. His chief example is St. Cyprian of Carthage suggesting that Noah getting drunk on wine prefigured the Eucharist. That's absurd to even think about, and proof that even saints aren't perfect.

When I received this book, I thought I was getting a scholarly tome that broke down each sacrament in essay form or chapter form. The book is scholarly, but it does not read like an essay or typical book. It is instead more systematic and reads like a reference book, where if you had a specific type or symbol you wanted to know more about, you would flip to that specific section and read the notes and reference the specific Scripture and Catechism passages. This is not a bad thing. It is just not what I was expecting. If you want to have a comprehensive guide to Sacramental typology this book is first class. If you want to understand Scripture better, are a seminarian, or studying theology, then this book belongs on your reference shelf. It has earned a coveted place on my Bible study desk alongside some Bible dictionaries, concordances, and atlases, and is a volume I will reference for years to come.

This book was provided to me for free by Emmaus Road Publishing in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!