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Reviews & Notices
Monday, 06 January 2014 14:52

Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:53

The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council marked the beginning of the Year of Faith, which will run until November 2013. This current edition of Scripture Bulletin contains three articles related to this initiative of Pope Benedict. In the first, Fr Henry Wansbrough OSB charts the progress of Catholic biblical scholarship in the fifty years since the Council began, describing the massive sea-change in the exposure to Scripture on the part of ordinary Catholics (not least with the introduction of the new Lectionary in 1967), and the emergence of a confident and influential body of Catholic biblical scholars. He identifies three strands which he regards as of particular significance: redaction-critical study of the Gospels, a renewed appreciation of the Jewishness of Jesus and his cultural world, and a greater openness to what Wansbrough calls ‘Alexandrine-style’ theological interpretation of Scripture. The latter approach, interwoven with the historical-critical method, is well-exemplified in the biblical hermeneutic of Pope Benedict himself.

For many readers of the New Testament, St Paul is the apostle of faith par excellence. Our second article, by Fr Nicholas King SJ, sets out to explore Paul’s good news in and through Paul’s own words, examining how his preaching was ‘gospel’ to the three overlapping cultural worlds Paul inhabited. King manages to convey something of the passion of the apostle, in his urgent mission to spread the love of Christ, and love for Christ, to ‘all the nations’ of the Mediterranean world. More importantly, he considers the implications for contemporary preachers of the gospel: ‘Paul’s enthusiasm may in turn serve as a model and as a stimulus for our own evangelising efforts.’

Finally, Fr Richard Ounsworth OP takes us more deeply into the theme of this year through a careful examination of the concept of faith in the Letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews’ definition of the faith which God’s people are called to exemplify (Heb. 11:1) is one of the most memorable verses in the New Testament. This article makes a compelling case for the Epistle’s understanding of faith being profoundly Christological, most especially in its presentation of Jesus, in his role as alter Joshua, as the ‘pioneer and perfecter of our faith’ (Heb. 12:2).

Ian Boxall

Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:49

The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary changes which have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church in the attitude to and use of the Bible. At the time of Vatican II the Church was still emerging from a shell-shocked and timorous period following the vigorous repression by Church authorities of the excesses of the Catholic Modernist movement in the opening years of the twentieth century.

Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:45

The year-and-a-bit from October 2012 (the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council) to the feast of Christ the King in November 2013, has been declared a Year of Faith by the Pope, with the particular aim of underlining the importance of preaching the gospel to a world that seems largely indifferent to it. It seems good, therefore, to inspect the ‘gospelling’ of one of the most determined preachers in the early Church, namely St Paul, who proudly proclaimed himself the ‘Apostle of the Gentiles’.

Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:41

In this essay I explore the notion of faith that emerges from the Epistle to the Hebrews. I begin, naturally enough, with the seeming definition of faith offered by Hebrews 11:1, arguing that the concept is as much as an ontological as an epistemological one. One of the difficulties with Hebrews 11, it might be felt, is that it appears to define faith without reference to Christ (or very nearly); but in the second part I turn my attention to the way in which Hebrews frames its eleventh chapter with expressions that make it clear that its understanding of faith is profoundly Christological, in particular by describing Jesus as ‘pioneer and perfecter of faith’ in 12:2.

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