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Eerdmans Catholic Collection (47 vols.)


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This high-powered collection of 47 Eerdmans titles features the best in Catholic theology and biblical studies and will super-charge your Verbum library, dramatically broadening and deepening your understanding of the Catholic faith and Tradition. Learn more about each of the authors and titles below.

Founded in 1911, Eerdmans has cultivated a reputation of publishing the best modern biblical scholarship in the world. Through the years, Eerdmans has introduced hundreds of new, critical thinkers and thoughts to biblical scholarship—emphasizing open, earnest dialogue across the range of interpretive perspectives.

  • Title: Eerdmans Catholic Collection
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Volumes: 47
  • Pages: 16,182
  • Christian Group: Catholic
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In the Verbum editions, these volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Verbum Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics

  • Editors: James L. Heft and John O’Malley
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 216

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Since the closing of Vatican II (1962–1965) nearly 50 years ago, several multi-volume studies have detailed how the bishops at the council debated successive drafts and finally approved the 16 documents published as the proceedings of the council. However, the meaning of those documents, their proper interpretations, and the ongoing developments they set in motion have been hotly debated.

In a word, Vatican II continues to be very much a topic of discussion and debate in the Roman Catholic Church and beyond. The council was an extraordinarily complex reality. It is no wonder, therefore, that opinions vary, sometimes sharply, as to its significance. This volume explores these major flashpoints.

These essays recognize that the historical and cultural context of the Second Vatican Council should shape the interpretation of the resultant texts. After Vatican II shows that the hackneyed focus on the vexed issue of the ‘spirit’ vs. the ‘letter’ of the text is a blunder: the ‘letter’ cannot be interpreted apart from the acts issuing those ‘letters,’ and the ‘spirit’ cannot be discerned without understanding the trajectories leading into and resulting from the inspired conciliar actions. After Vatican II makes a sterling contribution to the ongoing reception of the act and acts of Vatican II.

—Terrence W. Tilley, professor of Catholic theology, Fordham University

An historic event resists adequate comprehension because of its ongoing effects, just as it provokes endless interpretation on the part of those influenced, one way or another, by what happened—and who are now committed to contributing to its unfolding. Given the profusion of emerging responses, both historical and theological, to the conciliar documents of Vatican II, this volume is a valuable guide. The ‘trajectories and hermeneutics’ expressed in After Vatican II will keep inquiry alive in admirable continuation of the conciliar ‘style’—generous, courageous, pastoral, and deeply ecclesial.

—Anthony J. Kelly, professor, Australian Catholic University

James L. Heft is Alton Brooks Professor of Religion and president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

John O’Malley is professor in the Theology Department of Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

An Introduction to the Bible

  • Author: Robert A. Kugler and Patrick J. Hartin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 580

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An Introduction to the Bible provides a survey of the content of all biblical books, section by section, focusing on the Bible’s theological themes. Rather than introducing students to the Bible merely as history, literature, a record of political or ideological history, or a testimony to societies living or dead, authors Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin stress that the Bible must be read as the text presents itself, as a theological witness to the nature of God and of humanity in relationship with God. Perfect for undergraduates, church study groups, and interested laypeople, Kugler and Hartin’s Introduction to the Bible ably delivers on its title.

Two veteran teachers and distinguished scholars have joined forces to present a solid and up-to-date introduction to both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. They are especially effective in showing how to read the Bible on the literary, historical, and theological levels. Their work is ideal for a college course, personal study, and long-term reference.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

This fine introductory volume does precisely what it sets out to do: it presents readers with an outline of what to look for as they make their way through the biblical text. The commentary does not overpower the reader with scholarly theories; instead it allows the reader to confront the text as it stands.

Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

Can there be anything new under the sun by way of introductions to the Bible? I find this contribution by Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin well planned and brimming with useful maps, charts, questions, frameworks, and art. It’s clear that these two authors are competent guides for our students, and they make a familiar journey fresh for instructors as well.

Barbara Green, professor of biblical studies, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union

This comprehensive, thoroughly informed, and lavishly illustrated volume, produced by the collaboration of two experts—one Protestant, one Catholic—achieves that to which it aspires: it is clarity itself. This is the perfect introduction for undergraduates.

Dale C. Allison Jr., Richard J. Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Onto the crowded shelf of introductions to the Bible comes this welcome addition. Acknowledging that much of the Bible is narrative witness to a people’s experience of God, the authors add two things that set this textbook apart from others. They incorporate narrative criticism into their approach to the biblical texts, without, however, neglecting the results of historical-critical methods; and they identify the theological claims made by each biblical book.

—Susan A. Calef, assistant professor of New Testament, Creighton University

Robert A. Kugler is Paul S. Wright Professor of Christian Studies at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

Patrick J. Hartin is professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.

An Outline of New Testament Spirituality

  • Author: Prosper Grech
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 160

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It has become commonplace in contemporary culture to divorce spirituality from religion and regard the two as separate, competing entities. Yet Prosper Grech, an Augustinian priest and professor of early Christian literature, recognizes no such distinction. The Christian religion, he finds, is infused with spirituality—which he defines not in a New Age sense but rather as the believer’s full response to God’s offer of salvation in Christ. In this book, Grech presents the essential spiritual themes of Christian belief for meditation by any who seek to live out their Christian faith in its fullness.

In his compact Outline of New Testament Spirituality Grech considers a wealth of biblical texts, including Genesis, the Psalms, the Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s epistles, the letter to the Hebrews, and John’s Gospel, letters, and Apocalypse. He uncovers the New Testament church’s spiritual response to God’s gifts in each of these texts:

  • Its inherited response to God’s Old Testament covenant with Israel
  • Its response to Jesus’ preaching, to the Paschal mystery of his death and resurrection, and to Christ the Light of the World
  • Its response to its own place in history displayed in Acts and Revelation

Weaving these various theological strands together, Grech traces the contours of a dynamic, yet contemplative Christian spirituality—one that not only saturated the New Testament church but also continues to animate Christian life today.

Prosper Grech, O.S.A., is Professor of First and Second-Century Christian Literature at the Patristic Institute in Rome and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He is the author of The Augustinian Community and the Primitive Church.

Analogia Entis: Metaphysics: Original Structure and Universal Rhythm

  • Author: Erich Przywara
  • Series: Ressourcement: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 512

This volume includes Erich Pryzwara’s groundbreaking Analogia Entis, originally published in 1932, and his subsequent essays on the concept analogia entis—the analogy between God and creation—which has certain currency in philosophical and theological circles today.

Erich Przywara (1889–1972) was a German theologian who was highly influential in Europe. A Jesuit, he was strongly influenced by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Newman, and phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler.

Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia

  • Editor: Allan D. Fitzgerald
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 952

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The definitive reference work on Augustine that scholars, from all fields of theological study, describe as “superb” and “indispensable” for students, scholars, libraries, and anyone interested in studying Augustine. While the work provides exhaustive resources on Augustine’s own life and his theological and pastoral work, it also provides an exceptional wealth of information about scholarship, past and present on the great theologian. Moreover, it documents the influence of Augustine on the Catholic Church, the Reformation and on great thinkers and theologians such as Kierkegaard, Luther, Erasmus, and Calvin. Topics range from archeology to martyrdom, from imagination to Augustine’s personal friends.

Allan D. Fitzgerald is general editor of Augustinian Studies, a publication of Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. He has written numberous books and essays on Augustine of Hippo and is a member of the Order of St. Augustine.

Balthasar: A (Very) Critical Introduction

  • Author: Karen Kilby
  • Series: Interventions
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 188

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The enormously prolific Swiss Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) was marginalized during much of his life, but his reputation over time has only continued to grow. He was said to be the favorite theologian of John Paul II and is held in high esteem by Benedict XVI. It is not uncommon to hear him referred to as the great Catholic theologian of the twentieth century.

In Balthasar: A (Very) Critical Introduction Karen Kilby argues that although the low regard in which Balthasar was held from the 1950s to 1960s was not justified, neither is the current tendency to lionize him. Instead, she advocates a more balanced approach, particularly in light of a fundamental problem in his writing, namely, his characteristic authorial voice—an over-reaching “God’s eye” point of view that contradicts the content of his theology.

With an exceptional knowledge both of Balthasar’s vast corpus and of the burgeoning secondary literature on him, Karen Kilby has given us a highly perceptive and accessible analysis of the influential Swiss theologian’s work and legacy. Her book is always fair-minded, but it is also unerringly incisive and tenacious in its argument that Balthasar’s project has a ‘performative contradiction’ at its heart. She is as attentive to his method and habits of mind (where so many of his vulnerabilities lie) as to the explicit content of what he says. By denying Balthasar the status of sacred cow, Kilby ensures that he will remain a much more useful and productive source of nourishment for the next generation of theologians.

—Ben Quash, professor of Christianity and the arts, King’s College London

Karen Kilby exposes the plotline of Balthasar’s formidable opus and proceeds to offer circumspect criticism of the supremely confident modes of expression his speculation can take. With grammar as a critical tool, she inquires trenchantly what might allow this ‘theological novelist’ to know his divine characters so well as to spin the story he does.

—David Burrell, Theodore Hesburgh C. S. C. Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame

This book should be essential reading for anybody interested in contemporary Catholicism and its most flamboyant theologian. Kilby approaches her subject with a lucidity and balance that are rare in studies of Hans Urs von Balthasar. While meticulously careful to avoid gratuitous criticism, she offers a timely caution against the uncritical acceptance of Balthasar’s work and its influence on much recent theology and doctrine.

—Tina Beattie, professor of Catholic studies, University of Roehampton

Karen Kilby is associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Nottingham, England.

Being Holy in the World: Theology and Culture in the Thought of David L. Schindler

  • Editors: Nicholas J. Healy Jr. and D.C. Schindler
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 320

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In Being Holy in the World Nicholas Healy and D.C. Schindler present the first book-length study of David L. Schindler’s thought, compiling essays by twelve scholars that examine Schindler’s Trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, anthropology, and metaphysics in the context of the encounter between Christianity and contemporary culture.


Seized by the beauty of reality, David Schindler is too alive in the depths of truth to look back and realize how groundbreaking his own explorations are. These essays by authors eminent in their own right excel at the challenging mission of showing exactly how far he has penetrated the two greatest questions: how do I relate to God, and how do I relate to other human beings? The result is ample proof for why David Schindler should be considered one of the most important theologians in the Church today. Being Holy in the World is a philosophical observatory: the revelation of how full, complex, ordered, and infinite the world is, can take one’s breath away.

—Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight, Knights of Columbus

This is a wonderful book, full of profound commentary on the thinking of David L. Schindler. . . Schindler is the most remarkable American theologian of all those who have explored the communio emphases on God as love and as Trinity. Among these, contributing to this book, are Schindler’s son, David C. Schindler, Adrian J. Walker, Michael Hanby, and Fr. Antonio López. Like Schindler himself, these scholars make important contributions to our understanding of the significance of communio theology for interpreting the Christian and American experience.

—Glenn Olsen, professor of history, University of Utah

Nicholas J. Healy Jr. is assistant professor of philosophy and culture at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Catholic University of America, and author of The Eschatology of Hans Urs von Balthasar: Being as Communion.

D.C. Schindler is associate professor of philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Plato’s Critique of Impure Reason: On Truth and Goodness in the Republic.

The Blessed Virgin Mary

  • Authors: Tim Perry and Daniel Kendall
  • Series: Guides to Theology
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 124

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This volume provides a concise, nontechnical historical introduction to the church’s thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. The first part of the book sketches the development of Marian thought from the second century to the twentieth century. The second part contains an annotated bibliography of the most important and accessible English-language works on Mary.

Tim Perry, an evangelical Anglican priest, and Daniel Kendall, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, have joined across the Reformation divide to provide an irenic, balanced volume for students and general readers interested in this most remarkable woman and the ways in which she has shaped Christian thought.

A delightfully well-written account of Marian theology, unique in the extent to which it addresses the concerns of Protestants while also refusing to minimize Mary’s importance in God’s work of salvation. This book will be of great value to students, pastors, and general inquirers. It should appear on every undergraduate theology reading list.

—Sarah Jane Boss, director, Centre for Marian Studies, University of Roehampton

Before we begin arguing theologically about Mary, we should hear what Scripture and Christians in past ages have had to say on the subject. Now we can do just that, thanks to this splendid book by Tim Perry and Daniel Kendall. The writing is balanced and thoughtful, and the annotated bibliography is a gold mine of information. A must-read for anyone concerned about Christian unity.

Joseph Mangina, professor of systematic theology, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

This accessible book on Marian doctrine and devotion should be warmly welcomed. It reflects the growing and constructive ecumenical convergence on the significance of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the lives of Christians and their churches.

—Gerald O’Collins, adjunct professor, Australian Catholic University

Tim Perry is rector at the Church of the Epiphany in Sudbury, Ontario. He also teaches theology at Thorneloe University College of Theology and religious studies at Laurentian University, both in Sudbury.

Daniel Kendall, SJ, is professor of theology at the University of San Francisco and book review editor for Theological Studies.

Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James

  • Author: Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 290

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The letter of James has enjoyed a colorful history, with its background and significance widely debated over the centuries. In this book, an outstanding scholar of the New Testament offers new and selected studies of James that show its roots in antiquity and its importance for Christian history and theology.

Luke Timothy Johnson explores the letter of James from a variety of perspectives. After a general introduction to James, he looks at its history of interpretation. Johnson then examines James’s social and historical situation, its place within Scripture, and its use of the sayings of Jesus. Several exegetical studies take care to place James in the context of Hellenistic moral discourse. Two concluding essays look at the themes of friendship and gender in James.

While seemingly of interest only to professionals, Johnson’s Brother of Jesus, Friend of God will also be accessible to general readers serious about Bible study, and church groups will find this volume to be a fruitful entry into an important portion of the New Testament.

Luke Timothy Johnson rightly argues that the Epistle of James provides important evidence for any study of the brother of the Lord. His work in writing commentaries on James and Acts fits him well for the approach that he has adopted. He argues that his study of the epistle reveals the voice of James, a voice that ‘agrees substantially with the best reading of Luke and Paul with respect to the historical James.’ Not all readers will agree with this reading, but Johnson makes a strong case for the value of the epistle in understanding the life and mission of the brother of the Lord. Anyone interested in James—the epistle and the person—will want to read this book.

—John Painter, Professor of Theology, Charles Sturt University

This fine collection from Luke Timothy Johnson, a leading interpreter of the Letter of James, offers advanced Bible students a fluent and full introduction to the letter’s composition, canonization, theological contribution, and history within the early church. Although Johnson’s book is scholarly in purview, including extensive notes and a current bibliography, his evident purpose is to set James within a context where current interpreters can better retrieve meaning in a way that underscores the letter’s continuing importance for forming a more vital Christian faith. Johnson accomplishes this purpose with uncommon skill and grace.

Robert W. Wall, Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, Seattle Pacific University

With this welcome study of the background, theology, and interpretation of the Letter of James, Luke Timothy Johnson rehabilitates this New Testament book both from the disparagement it has suffered in church history and from those for whom its theological vision remains marginal today. Read in concert with Johnson’s premier commentary on James, this book urges forms of discipleship marked by community and integrity—a way of life oriented radically around the gift-giving God.

Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

Luke Timothy Johnson is R. W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. His books include The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters and Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James. Johnson is the winner of the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity.

Changing Churches: An Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran Theological Conversation

  • Authors: Mickey L. Mattox and A.G. Roeber
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 336

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Sharp controversies—about biblical authority, the ordination of women, evangelical “worship styles,” and the struggle for homosexual “inclusion”—have rocked the Lutheran church in recent decades. In Changing Churches two men who once communed at the same Lutheran Eucharistic table explain their similar but different decisions to leave the Lutheran faith tradition—one for Orthodoxy, the other for Roman Catholicism.

Here Mickey L. Mattox and A.G. Roeber address the most difficult questions Protestants face when considering such a conversion, including views on justification, grace, divinization, the church and its authority, women and ministry, papal infallibility, the role of Mary, and homosexuality. They also discuss the long-standing ecumenical division between Rome and the Orthodox patriarchates, acknowledging the difficult issues that still confront those traditions from within and divide them from one another. This volume’s afterword presents the view of Lutheran Paul R. Hinlicky with his thoughts on “Why We All Need Lutheran Theology.”

This book exemplifies the best in charitable yet tradition-specific ecumenical discussion. A.G. Roeber (a Lutheran become Orthodox), Mickey Mattox (a Lutheran become Catholic), and Paul Hinlicky (a Lutheran who remains Lutheran) explain what they find helpful (or indispensable) in Lutheran theology and then why they have transcended (or retained) those Lutheran insights. The result is both a primer in the classical Trinitarianism that the authors share and a set of powerful statements about the Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran distinctives that have remained to this point irreconcilable. Evangelical Protestants will especially appreciate the book’s instruction in classical orthodoxies as well as its goad to probe the strengths and weaknesses of their own traditions with the care that these authors have shown toward theirs.

Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

An inspiring, intellectual illustration of the unique concepts and convictions, as well as the theological and cultural differences, in the creative interplay and interchange between Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran theologians.

—Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, Metropolitan of Bursa

A bold and considerate book on a highly sensitive subject. In ecumenical theology, the issue of conversion has for the most part been discussed in anonymous and abstract terms. Mattox, Roeber, and Hinlicky offer a personal account that takes this deeply theological issue and the context of our contemporary world seriously.

Risto Saarinen, professor, faculty of theology, University of Helsinki

With theological precision, frequent brilliance, and occasional brutal honesty regarding all three of the major ecclesial traditions examined in this work, these scholars explore the serious questions at issue if one moves from Lutheranism to Catholicism (Mattox) or to Orthodoxy (Roeber) or if one decides to remain within Lutheranism (Hinlicky). . . . This apologia is poised to make a substantial contribution to ecclesiology at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

—Richard J. Sklba, bishop emeritus, Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Mickey L. Mattox is associate professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A.G. Roeber is professor of early modern history and religious studies and codirector of the Max Kade German-American Research Institute at Penn State University.

Church Unity and the Papal Office: An Ecumenical Dialogue on John Paul II’s Encyclical Ut Unum Sint

  • Editors: Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 176

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This volume compiles theological and ecumenical responses to Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ut Unum Sint. A wide range of scholars representing Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and Evangelical traditions share perspectives regarding this important work on Christian unity.


  • Carl E. Braaten
  • Edward Idris
  • Cardinal Cassidy
  • Brian E. Daley
  • Joseph-Augustine DiNoia
  • Robert W. Jenson
  • Richard J. Mouw
  • Stephen W. Sykes
  • Geoffrey Wainwright
  • George Weigel
  • David S. Yeago
Never has a Roman pontiff gone so far as Pope John Paul II in inviting other churches to a ‘patient and fraternal dialogue’ concerning his office. Here is one of the very first and most stimulating responses to that invitation, wide in range and with excellent contributions. It merits the careful attention of all those who are troubled by or interested in this crucial ecumenical problem.

—Harding Meyer, Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg

A thoughtful, engaging symposium on the most important ecumenical document of our time. Both ecumenically serious and theologically honest, this book is a signal contribution to the ongoing quest for Christian unity.

Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

An interesting read for those fascinated by history, ecumenism and the Christian future.

Religious Studies Review

As Pope John Paul II and his predecessor Paul VI have said, understanding the Petrine ministry of the Bishop of Rome and how it might be exercised in the future is key to the search for Christian unity. Only honest dialogue about where we stand on this question and a sincere openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit will allow progress in fidelity to Christ’s will for his people. This book offers an important ecumenical contribution to the present status of the question and careful exploration of possible avenues into a shared future.

—Francis Cardinal George, Archdiocese of Chicago

Braaten and Jenson, well-known ecumenists and theologians in the Lutheran tradition, have edited this impressive collection of essays. . . . The volume is substantive beyond its size and ample beyond its explicit focus. It will be of interest not only to ecumenists but to all concerned with fundamental issues of ecclesiology. . . . All in all this is a provocative and rewarding collection that I highly recommend.

New Theology Review

The essays in this fine book testify to the richness of the conversation. The editors describe Church Unity and the Papal Office as ‘a kind of thanksgiving offering in appreciation of the pope’s effort to promote the unity of all Christians and full communion between the churches.’ The contributors should be thanked for a frank dialogue, and the editors for ensuring that it continues.


Carl E. Braaten is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and former executive director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

Robert W. Jenson is codirector of the Institute for Theological Inquiry and was cofounder and longtime associate director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

The Concept of Woman, vol. 1: The Aristotelian Revolution

  • Author: Prudence Allen
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 560

This pioneering study by Sister Prudence Allen traces the concept of woman in relation to man in more than 70 philosophers from ancient and medieval traditions. The fruit of 10 years’ work, this study uncovers four general categories of questions asked by philosophers for 2,000 years. These are the categories of opposites, of generation, of wisdom, and of virtue. Sister Prudence Allen traces several recurring strands of sexual and gender identity within this period. Ultimately, she shows the paradoxical influence of Aristotle on the question of woman and on a philosophical understanding of sexual complementarity. Supplemented throughout with helpful charts, diagrams, and illustrations, this volume will be an important resource for scholars and students in the fields of women’s studies, philosophy, history, theology, literary studies, and political science.

Provides a much needed historical foundation for contemporary philosophical debates. . . . Allen’s work is comprehensive and detailed, and makes extensive use of primary source citations. . . . This important work remains a useful reference for anyone from the beginning undergraduate to the seasoned scholar.

Religious Studies Review

An encyclopedic coverage of the topic as far as the philosophical concept of woman is concerned: it is well written and instructive and deserves commendation.

The Journal of Indo-European Studies

Prudence Allen is professor of philosophy at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. She has spent more than 25 years engaged in research on the concept of woman in relation to the concept of man in philosophy.

The Concept of Woman, vol. 2: The Early Humanist Reformation, part 1

  • Author: Prudence Allen
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 564

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This seminal work is the second volume of a widely praised study of the concept of woman in the history of Western philosophy. Sister Prudence Allen explores claims about sex and gender identity in the works of over 50 philosophers (both men and women) in the late medieval and early Renaissance periods. Touching on the thought of every philosopher who considered sex or gender identity between AD 1250 and 1500, The Concept of Woman provides the analytical categories necessary for situating contemporary discussion of women in relation to men. Adding to the accessibility of this fine discussion are informative illustrations, helpful summary charts, and extracts of original source material (some not previously available in English). Encyclopedic in coverage yet clearly organized and well written, The Concept of Woman will be an invaluable resource for readers interested in a wide range of disciplines.

This comprehensive volume comes as close to being an exhaustive treatment of what philosophers and theologians in the High Middle Ages of Christian Europe had to say about women as we are ever likely to get. . . . An invaluable guide to all the philosophical thinking on gender difference in Christian Europe from 1250–1500.

Catholic Historial Review

Prudence Allen is professor of philosophy at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. She has spent more than 25 years engaged in research on the concept of woman in relation to the concept of man in philosophy.

The Concept of Woman, vol. 2: The Early Humanist Reformation, part 2

  • Author: Prudence Allen
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 634

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This seminal work is the second volume of a widely praised study of the concept of woman in the history of Western philosophy. Sister Prudence Allen explores claims about sex and gender identity in the works of over 50 philosophers (both men and women) in the late medieval and early Renaissance periods. Touching on the thought of every philosopher who considered sex or gender identity between AD 1250 and 1500, The Concept of Woman provides the analytical categories necessary for situating contemporary discussion of women in relation to men. Adding to the accessibility of this fine discussion are informative illustrations, helpful summary charts, and extracts of original source material (some not previously available in English). Encyclopedic in coverage yet clearly organized and well written, The Concept of Woman will be an invaluable resource for readers interested in a wide range of disciplines.

Prudence Allen is professor of philosophy at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. She has spent more than 25 years engaged in research on the concept of woman in relation to the concept of man in philosophy.

Discovering Aquinas: An Introduction to His Life, Work, and Influence

  • Author: Aidan Nichols
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 224

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Thomas Aquinas is one of the great figures of church history, and his ideas continue to have a powerful effect on theologians and contemporary writers from very different backgrounds and traditions. In Discovering Aquinas, Aidan Nichols offers a lively and authoritative introduction to the life, thought, and ongoing influence of this singular churchman.

This book could not have come at a better time. After a lengthy period of declining interest in Aquinas, we are starting to see a Thomistic renaissance, including a renewed appreciation for the way Aquinas’ work so brilliantly weaves together philosophy, theology, spirituality, revelation, and ethics. As Nichols writes, “It is because of the wonderfully integrated character of the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas—integrated not only as supernatural with natural but also as thinking with love—that the church in our day should not leave him as a fresco on a wall but find inspiration from his teaching and example.”

By means of writing as felicitous as it is insightful, Nichols chronicles the compelling facts of Aquinas’s life, explores the major facets of his thought, establishes Aquinas’s historical importance, and shows why many today are regarding him as a vital partner in current debates about the future of Christianity.

This book offers both novice and expert a well-reasoned account of Aquinas’ thought based on faithful readings of primary sources and with a strong argument for its relevancy today. . . . The coherence of Aquinas’ thought is convincingly portrayed and must be taken seriously by any student of Christian theology.

Toronto Journal of Theology

Dom Aidan Nichols sets out in this short book to explain why the current neglect of Thomas is a misfortune, and he pleads for a renewal of Thomist studies. . . . As an introduction to Aquinas’ thought, this book can be highly recommended.

Churchman Journal

This is an excellent introduction to the work, influence, and significance of St. Thomas Aquinas in a small compass. Written with the general reader in mind, the book does not enter into the intricacies of Thomas’ thought, but provides what the author calls a miniature, a work that will portray the beauty of its subject by imparting its essential features in the hope that viewers, or in this case readers, will be moved to pursue the details on their own.

Sixteenth Century Journal

A very good introduction to a particular and influential kind of reading of Thomas. It is subtle, sophisticated, and well worth its price.

Scottish Journal of Theology

Aidan Nichols is the prior of Blackfriars in Cambridge, England, and a leading Roman Catholic writer and theologian. His other books include A Grammar of Consent, Looking at the Liturgy, No Bloodless Myth, The Panther and the Hind, and Christendom Awake: On Reenergizing the Church in Culture.

The Epiphany of Love: Toward a Theological Understanding of Christian Action

  • Author: Livio Melina
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 205

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In this volume Livio Melina attempts to overcome the deadlock in which moral theology can easily find itself due to the false alternative between moralism, with its emphasis on external rules, and antimoralism, with its insistence on freedom from all norms.

The key, Melina argues here, is not to regard morality as a simple list of principles directing our choices and helping us to make correct moral judgments. Rather, we must step back and begin to comprehend the dynamic mystery of Christian action. Only in the light of Christ can the proper correlation between faith and morality, freedom and truth, be clearly understood. True morality springs from a synergistic relationship with God, born of faith in Christ, nurtured in the church, and made manifest in that which inspires all authentic goodness—the epiphany of love.

Livio Melina is the worldwide president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Rome, where he also serves as Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology.

Francis of Assisi: Performing the Gospel of Life

  • Author: Lawrence S. Cunningham
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 172

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Francis of Assisi is counted among the most important personalities of history. The life and ideals of this humble, semiliterate medieval friar have had a shaping influence on the Christian church that has spilled over into Western culture at large. This biography by Lawrence Cunningham looks anew at Francis’s life and legacy, seeking to counter efforts to romanticize him yet without diminishing his deep piety or abiding significance.

Pursuing a realistic view of the saint, Cunningham argues against common stereotypes that sentimentalize Francis as a “blesser of animals,” as a “church rebel,” or as a precursor of the “spirituality” movement. According to Cunningham, really seeing Francis requires the lens of theology rather than the lens of quaint spirituality so often used. Francis was a devotedly orthodox Catholic whose life must be understood as a response to reforming elements abroad in the church of his day. Francis’ originality derived from his success in articulating the “ideal gospel life”: his message and actions were a kind of “acting out” of the Scriptures.

Imbued with peerless scholarship, this book is also charmingly written. Cunningham is a master storyteller as well as a brilliant biographer—qualities that his Francis of Assisi fully displays. It will at once inform and delight anyone interested in the fascinating life of Francis or his impact on church history.

An engaging and informative contribution to the vast literature on the man commonly described as, next to the Virgin Mother, the most popular of saints. Among the merits of this little book is Cunningham’s guide to that literature and his description of the frequently conflicting reasons through history for the celebration of Francis.

First Things

A stimulating account of one of the most attractive figures in the history of Christendom. . . . This study is one of the best and most perceptive portraits of the saint in recent years.

Catholic Historical Review

Lawrence S. Cunningham’s small study of St. Francis demonstrates the value of sound critical judgment and solid theology for grounding healthy devotion to the saints and deepening the faith in the Christian realities to which they dedicated themselves. . . . Cunningham’s solid historical scholarship is omnipresent, although it is so smoothly and thoroughly integrated that the work is in no way pedantic, nor is there any trace of jargon or obfuscation.


This beautifully produced and beautifully written book by a well-known scholar and frequent writer on Franciscan spirituality argues against the entirely too familiar sentimental image of Francis that is coterminous with what the author calls “spirituality light”—a spirituality disengaged from religion that comforts its practitioners rather than challenging them.

Cistercian Studies Quarterly

Lawrence S. Cunningham is John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. An acknowledged expert on St. Francis and Christian spirituality, he is also the author of Saint Francis of Assisi and the editor and translator of Brother Francis: Writings By and About Saint Francis of Assisi.

Future of Catholic Biblical Scholarship: A Constructive Conversation

  • Authors: Luke Timothy Johnson, William S. Kurz
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 299

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Luke Timothy Johnson and William Kurz are Roman Catholic New Testament scholars who think that the apparent good health of biblical scholarship in America is deceptive. Despite its huge production of learning, Catholic scholarship has lost some of its soul because of its distance from the life and concerns of living faith communities. In this volume, the authors open a conversation with others in the church concerning a future Catholic biblical scholarship that maintains the freedom of critical inquiry but within a living loyalty to tradition.

Looking not to criticize but to strengthen, the authors model the type of dialogue that is needed today. Johnson first reviews the current state of Catholic biblical scholarship and then points out important lessons from throughout the tradition of interpretation. He calls for “imagining the world that Scripture imagines” as the presupposition for the organic use of the Bible in theology. Kurz responds to Johnson’s chapters and then offers his own approach to biblical interpretation, showing how literary analysis of the Gospel of John can be brought into conversation with the Nicene Creed, with recent debates in ethics, and with the practices of the church. After Johnson responds to Kurz, the authors jointly conclude by addressing a series of questions concerning hard issues now facing Catholic biblical scholarship.

Two leading Roman Catholic scholars attempt to describe what is distinctive about Catholic biblical scholarship and what challenges lie ahead in view of the limitations of historical-critical approaches to the Bible. . . . Useful for seminarians, pastors, and teachers who would like an intelligent presentation of issues facing Catholic exegetes. . . . One hopes that others, whether Catholic or not, will join the conversation, for there is much at stake in future biblical interpretation.


‘Politically incorrect’ is a label that Luke Timothy Johnson and William Kurz might wear proudly. They mean to buck some trends that they feel have distracted biblical scholars from serving the community of faith—from ancient prooftexting to the current privileging of the historical-critical approach, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the quest for the historical Jesus. In doing so, they mean to stimulate their peers in the biblical guild to rethink some of the ways they do their work, yet without scrapping the benefits of modernity and even post-modernity. Readers will likely find much to argue with here (indeed, Johnson and Kurz sometimes disagree with each other), but few will doubt that the challenges they issue need to be addressed. Although Johnson and Kurz specifically address their Roman Catholic colleagues, what they say in this book will surely earn a hearing among all Christians who read the Bible with a view to living as disciples of Jesus Christ.

—Dennis Ham, Professor of Theology, Creighton University

An important discussion that will be a focal point of debate for years to come.

Frank J. Matera, Associate Professor of New Testament, The Catholic University of America

Luke Timothy Johnson is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. His books include The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters and Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James. Johnson is the winner of the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity.

William S. Kurz is a professor of New Testament at Marquette University; his other books include Following Jesus and Reading Luke-Acts.

Gathered for the Journey: Moral Theology in Catholic Perspective

  • Editors: David Matzko McCarthy and M. Therese Lysaught
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 366

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Gathered for the Journey sets moral reasoning in a theological context of worship and discipleship, provides a framework for the moral life based on questions of human fulfillment, and demonstrates how these theological resources shape a distinctive approach to questions of globalization, Catholic social teaching, the family, war and peace, bioethics, and the environment.

McCarthy and Lysaught have crafted a distinctively unified collection. Gathered for the Journey represents a common project among Catholic scholars who are struggling with similar questions about living faithfully.


  • Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt
  • William T. Cavanaugh
  • David M. Cloutier
  • Dana Dillon
  • James M. Donohue
  • Jeanne Heffernan Schindler
  • Kelly S. Johnson
  • M. Therese Lysaught
  • William C. Mattison III
  • David M. McCarthy
  • Michael R. Miller
  • Julie Hanlon Rubio
  • Tobias Winright

This book was awarded Third Place in Catholic Press Association’s Theology category in 2008.

The Second Vatican Council spoke of the need for a Christ-centered, innovative, nonlegalistic approach to moral theology. This volume fulfills that need. Composed by a group of young Catholic scholars, it presents ‘the good life’ in light of Christ’s teaching and traditional theological concepts. After considering foundational concepts in a realistic perspective, it applies these concepts to various aspects of daily life, such as life in community, consumerism, family life, war and peace, and bioethics. Remarkably unified in content and purpose, Gathered for the Journey will serve well as a comprehensive textbook for college students, or as a reference work for anyone interested in learning more about friendship with God. As a moral theologian nearing the end of his career, my overwhelming reaction to this presentation is hope for the future of Catholic moral science.

—Kevin O’Rourke, OP, lecturer, Neiswanger Institute, Loyola University Chicago

This collection offers the important voices of emerging young scholars who bring fresh perspectives on a traditional discipline. They show that ‘moral theology’ is as much about a way of life as about analysis of problems. Readers of Gathered for the Journey will see what it takes to energize Catholic teaching for a new generation. The originality of the contributions makes them essential reading for the scholar; their timeliness and practicality match them perfectly to classroom use.

Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor, Boston College

David Matzko McCarthy is Fr. James M. Forker Professor of Catholic Social Teaching at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Good Life: Genuine Christianity for the Middle Class, Sex and Love in the Home: A Theology of the Household, and Gathered for the Journey: Moral Theology in Catholic Perspective.

M. Therese Lysaught is associate professor and director of graduate studies in theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective 

  • Author: Jerome H. Neyrey
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 489

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Given all that has been written about the Gospel of John over the past twenty centuries, can anything more possibly be said about it? Yes, says Jerome Neyrey—by reading this “maverick Gospel” in terms of ancient rhetoric and by viewing it in terms of cultural anthropology.

By interpreting the text in these two fresh ways, Neyrey distinctively illuminates the Gospel of John, casting new light on its theological message and on such topics as Jesus the revealer practicing secrecy, foot-washing as transformation ritual, and the Jewish background of Jesus equality with God, of Jesus being greater than Abraham. Neyreys scholarly study will certainly educate—and at times provoke—attentive readers.

Jerome H. Neyrey is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include Give God the Glory: Ancient Prayer and Worship in Cultural Perspective and the Gospel of John in the New Cambridge Bible Commentary.

Heart of the World, Center of the Church

  • Author: David L. Schindler
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Pages: 344

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Today, 30 years after the Second Vatican Council, there can be little doubt that the notion of communion is at the center of Catholicism’s renewed understanding of the Church. In Heart of the World, Center of the Church David L. Schindler shows that communion is also at the heart of the Church’s worldly mission.

Invoking God’s spousal relation to the world, Schindler argues that the Church’s answer to the question of worldly freedom is nothing less than its own communion. Yet the claim that the Church promotes the “legitimate autonomy of earthly realities” by penetrating the world with its own intimate reality is hardly a matter of arcane speculation. Heart of the World, Center of the Church develops its thesis in critical dialogue with Western (especially Anglo-American) liberalism, whose ascendancy especially after the events of 1989 poses a host of urgent questions for the Church.

Examining liberalism in politics, economics, and the academy, Schindler exposes its inadequate theology of human freedom and “worldly” autonomy, while suggestion how communion both transforms and protects freedom and autonomy in their varied cultural expressions. In the spirit of Pope John Paul II’s call for a “new evangelization,” Schindler contributes to what the Pope himself has strongly reaffirmed as “the positive value of an authentic theology of integral human liberation.” (Centesimus Annus, 26)

Anyone concerned with the problem of nature and grace or with the Church’s engagement with culture in a contemporary context will find this book not only a useful resource but also a spur to further reflection.

I know of no American theologian whose thought is more interesting, profound, and original than that of David L. Schindler. In this stunning book Schindler takes up a wide range of topics, including religious freedom, liberalism and neo-conservatism, the nature of the Church’s worldly mission, the death of God in the academy, and gender and the future of Western civilization. To each he brings a communion ecclesiology that upsets conventional understandings. This is the kind of book that sets one back on one’s heels, pondering and rereading.

—Glenn W. Olsen, professor of history, University of Utah

This theological study is a superbly intelligent work, a book that will be read and reread by anyone wishing to discover the deepest sources of the contemporary cultural crisis. Because every society embodies certain theological assumptions about life, theology offers the key to understanding a society in crisis. Schindler unmasks the assumptions of the dominant liberal culture and subjects these assumptions to a badly needed theological critique. He demonstrates convincingly that the substance of liberal freedom is the source of the culture of death. At the same time, his searching analysis of the hidden weaknesses of Anglo-American liberalism represents an impressive attempt to identify and to rescue the authentic achievements of the liberal experiment. A profoundly disturbing and yet oddly exhilarating book.

—Ian Boyd, CSB, editor, The Chesterton Review

Heart of the World, Center of the Church is one of the most important books to be published since Vatican II. . . . It establishes David Schindler as the American Balthasar.

—Mark and Louise Zwick, editors, Houston Catholic Worker

In our century the Catholic Church has succeeded in throwing down the ramparts that defended her from the world. It was a dangerous move, but Schindler shows that it was a risk worth taking. On foundations laid by Balthasar, Schindler has here begun the task of building a new structure for theology: an open road to authentic human liberation.

—Stratford Caldecott, director, Center for Faith & Culture, Westminster College, Oxford

David L. Schindler is provost and dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is also the editor of Communio: International Catholic Review and the author of Heart of the World, Center of the Church.

How Can the Petrine Ministry Be a Service to the Unity of the Universal Church?

  • Editor: James F. Puglisi
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 384

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The primacy and infallibility of the Pope have long stood as roadblocks to fellowship between the Roman Catholic Church and other church bodies. Now, however, as many churches strive for greater ecumenical rapprochement and ecclesial unity, scholars from a variety of Christian traditions have been exploring together the possibility that church unity may indeed be well served by the ministry of St. Peter.

How Can the Petrine Ministry Be a Service to the Unity of the Universal Church? assembles 21 forward-looking essays on the papal office by an assortment of theologians, canonists, ecumenists, ecclesiologists, sociologists, and Scripture experts from diverse backgrounds, including Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed. They examine the conditions under which the papacy might one day be re-received by Christian church bodies worldwide—not as an autocratic monarchy but, rather, as the unifying agency for a diverse yet cohesive universal church.

This book provides a rare glimpse into a high-level discussion that should be appreciated by anyone interested in the future of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”


  • André Birmelé
  • Sven-Erik Brodd
  • Johannes Brosseder
  • Günther Gassmann
  • Eero Huovinen
  • Walter Cardinal Kasper
  • Joseph A. Komonchak
  • Hervé Legrand
  • Peter Lüning
  • John P. Meier
  • Harding Meyer
  • Archbishop Roland Minnerath
  • Peder Nørgaard-Højen
  • Hermann J. Pottmeyer
  • James F. Puglisi
  • John Reumann
  • Michael Root
  • Geoffrey Wainwright
  • Jared Wicks
  • Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon

James F. Puglisi is fellow and Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman Professor of Catholic Theology at Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana and director of the Centro Pro Unione in Rome.

Invitation to the Apocrypha

  • Author: Daniel J. Harrington
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 230

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In this volume, a leading biblical scholar helps readers rediscover the ancient books of the Old Testament Apocrypha. Invitation to the Apocrypha provides a clear, basic introduction to these important—but often neglected—ancient books.

Using the latest and best scholarship yet writing for those new to the Apocrypha, Daniel Harrington guides readers through the background, content, and message of each book. A distinctive feature of this primer is that it focuses throughout on the problem of suffering, highlighting what each book of the Apocrypha says about this universal human experience.

One of the best and most readable introductions to the books of the Apocrypha which has so far been produced.

Society for Old Testament Study Booklist

. . . This is an introductory book, designed for nonspecialists, but presenting the best of contemporary biblical scholarship. As such, it stands as a model for showing how the fruits of technical biblical studies can be applied for the benefit of the educated by nontechnical reader.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Harrington’s careful scholarship and clear writing is evident throughout. Intended as a college or seminary introduction, anyone interested in the topic or in these very interesting but less known books will be richly rewarded in the reading.

The Bible Today

As one would expect from Harrington, the volume is clearly written, meticulously researched, and balanced and sensible in its critical judgments. . . . At every stage there are excellent bibliographies to guide those who would move on to further study.

Sewanee Theological Review

Daniel J. Harrington is Professor of New Testament at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Among his many other books are Who Is Jesus? Why Is He Important? and How to Read the Gospels.

Judaism, the First Phase: The Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism

  • Author: Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 288

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Most studies of how early Judaism related to the non-Jewish world and how others perceived it start no earlier than the Hellenistic period. Joseph Blenkinsopp argues that we must go further back, to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the liquidation of the political and religious infrastructure—monarchy, priesthood, scribalism, prophecy—which had sustained the Judean state for centuries. Judaism, the First Phase is a fresh—and potentially stunning—look at Jewish origins, tracing the legacy of Ezra and Nehemiah.

. . . presented with typical clarity, incisiveness, and breadth of scholarship. No student of early Judaism will fail to learn much from the numerous insights of this book . . . Blenkinsopp’s unique combination of wide learning and elegant argumentation makes his scholarship pleasurable as well as instructive.

Philip R. Davies, Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield

Blenkinsopp’s profound knowledge of biblical (and related) texts and their potential interrelationships is displayed prominently throughout the volume. The combination of thoughtful detailed analysis and an approach in which the “big historical picture” is always at the center ensures that this book will be widely read and cited both by historians of the period and by scholars researching particular texts relevant to the period.

Ehud Ben Zvi, Professor, University of Alberta

Joseph Blenkinsopp is John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible, A History of Prophecy in Israel, and the three-volume Anchor Bible commentary on Isaiah.

Light in Darkness: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Catholic Doctrine of Christ’s Descent into Hell

  • Author: Alyssa Lyra Pitstick
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 474

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“He descended into hell.”

Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, placed this affirmation of the Nicene Creed at the heart of his reflection on the world-altering events of Holy Week, asserting that this identification of God with the human experience is at the “absolute center” of the Christian faith. Yet is such a descent to suffering really the essence of Catholic belief about the mystery of Holy Saturday?

Alyssa Lyra Pitstick’s Light in Darkness—the first comprehensive treatment of Balthasar’s theology of Holy Saturday—draws on the multiple yet unified resources of authoritative Catholic teaching on Christ’s descent to challenge Balthasar’s conclusions. Pitstick conducts a thorough investigation of Balthasar’s position that Christ suffered in his descent into hell and asks whether that is compatible with traditional teaching about Christ.

Light in Darkness is a thorough argument for the existence and authority of a traditional Catholic doctrine of Christ’s descent as manifested in creeds, statements of popes and councils, Scripture, and art from Eastern and Western traditions. Pitstick’s carefully argued, contrarian work is sure to spur debate across the theological spectrum.

Pitstick’s book is a challenge to those who regard Balthasar as an entirely trustworthy theologian, ranking with the greatest masters of the Tradition. She subjects his understanding of Christ’s descent into hell to a searching critique and shows it to be seriously at odds with the teaching of the fathers and Doctors of the Church.

—John Saward, associate lecturer, Blackfriars, Oxford University

This severe, but forcefully argued, study will have to be borne in mind in all future assessment of Balthasar’s theological doctrine.

Aidan Nichols, John Paul II Memorial Visiting Lecturer, Oxford University

Alyssa Pitstick gives no quarter. She notes instances in which Balthasar, in her view, misrepresents scriptural, patristic, and magisterial texts and simply ignores aspects of the tradition inconvenient to his argument. . . Pitstick has thrown down a gauntlet that other theologians should not ignore. . . . Thanks to Pitstick, a new and lively debate over Balthasar’s achievement is almost certainly under way.

—Richard John Neuhaus, First Things

An impressive book. Pitstick has had the courage to challenge a major theological reputation head on, and has done so with great skill. The result is the most sustained and detailed criticism of Balthasar’s theology yet published in English, and a work of acute argument in its own right.

New Blackfriars

Alyssa Lyra Pitstick holds degrees from Pontifical University in Rome, International Theological Institute in Austria, and Gonzaga University, and is assistant professor of religion at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Love Alone Is Credible: Hans Urs Von Balthasar as Interpreter of the Catholic Tradition

  • Editor: David L. Schindler
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 374

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In this volume, David L. Schindler presents readers with a collection of essays garnered from the 2005 conference marking the centenary of Hans Urs von Balthasar‘s birth. That conference hosted an international gathering of scholars, among them students, colleagues, friends, and critics of Balthasar, all making an effort to engage the fundamental questions of faith and reason in light of his influential contribution to Catholic theology.

A wide range of topics are explored in light of the Christian mystery, including metaphysics and causality, the nature of rationality, the relationship between God and the world, and the meaning of the body. Featuring an impressive list of contributors, Love Alone Is Credible is a tribute to the profound relevance of Balthasar‘s thought.

David L. Schindler is provost and dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He is also the editor of Communio: International Catholic Review (Anglo-American edition) and the author of Heart of the World, Center of the Church.

Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification

  • Author: John A. Radano
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 246

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After centuries of estrangement between Lutherans and Catholics, new relationships began at Vatican II and continued to develop during the following decades. In this broader context, Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification illuminates the evolution of the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. While describing the steps leading to the Declaration as mutually understood by both partners and showing the important Lutheran initiatives indispensable for those steps, John Radano pays particular attention to the Holy See’s contributions.

Part 1 illustrates initial contacts beginning with Lutheran observers at Vatican II. Before the Council’s conclusion in 1965, a Lutheran-Catholic “Joint Working Group” was formed and dialogue was engaged. In Part 2 Radano describes how mutual understanding and respect developed in the immediate postconciliar period. By 1972, Lutheran-Catholic dialogue reported a “far-reaching consensus” on justification. Part 3, corresponding to the first decade of John Paul II’s pontificate, indicates that continuing dialogues gradually deepened and confirmed the justification consensus. Indeed, John Paul’s own broad contacts with the Lutheran world helped build bonds of friendship and reconciliation. Part IV traces the steps taken by both sides in 1988–1999 to draft and officially sign the Declaration, and it describes the three-day celebration in Augsburg surrounding the signing ceremony.

An afterword tracks the reception of the Declaration since the 1999 signing, including support by Benedict XVI. Most especially, Radano details the World Methodist Council’s official affirmation of the Declaration in 2006, highlighting the document’s truly ecumenical nature.

For those who wish to know how it came about and what it means, Monsignor Radano’s book on the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is essential reading. As head of the Western Section of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Jack Radano had an inside view of the process, and his knowledge is precise and objective. His personal ecumenical experience over decades makes him an excellent judge of the ecclesial and ecumenical importance of the Joint Declaration in its lasting influence on the quest for Christian unity.

Walter Kasper, president, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

John Radano gives a moving formulation of the shared confession of faith and the doctrine that is the heart of the Joint Declaration. . . This welcome addition to ecumenical studies narrates a significant case of the Catholic Church’s present role in the ecumenical movement as a major player. . . . Some Catholics doubt the doctrinal accuracy of what the Joint Declaration affirms on justification. Radano’s book should give them pause, for he shows that the Declaration’s text arose in a process in which those holding the Catholic teaching office participated in sustained ways.

—Jared Wicks, John Carroll University

John A. Radano served on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City, from 1984 to 2008 and was head of its Western Section, participating in many international bilateral and multilateral dialogues. Author of Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification and of many articles, he is currently adjunct professor in the School of Theology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.

Maurice Blondel: A Philosophical Life

  • Author: Oliva Blanchette
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 836

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French philosopher Maurice Blondel (1861–1949) had a tremendous impact on both philosophy and religion in the twentieth century. He was at once a postmodern critical philosopher and a devout traditional Catholic who strove to keep these two sides of his life in unison, neither separating nor confusing them.

In this first-ever critical examination of Blondel’s entire life and work, Oliva Blanchette tells of Blondel’s stormy confrontations with an academy dismissive of religion and a religion uncomfortable with rational philosophy. The book recounts both Blondel’s biographical history and his systematic philosophy in meticulous detail.

Here, at last, is the standard reference book on Maurice Blondel’s philosophy that we have been desperately waiting for. Absolutely clear and accessible even to nonconnoisseurs, this book succeeds in showing how much Blondel’s thought is the conceptual reflection of his deep spiritual experience. Written by a real metaphysician, this masterpiece embraces for the first time the wholeness of Blondel’s thorough intentions, from the very first notes to the final texts. Maurice Blondel: A Philosophical Life is, indeed, an event. There will be henceforth a “before” and an “after” Oliva Blanchette’s book, which will delight not only Blondelian researchers but also the entire philosophical community.

—Emmanuel Tourpe, Institut d’Etudes Théologiques

Oliva Blanchette is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. His other books include the award-winning Philosophy of Being: A Reconstructive Essay in Metaphysics and The Perfection of the Universe according to Aquinas.

Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy

  • Author: Adrian Pabst
  • Series: Interventions (INTS)
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 557

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This comprehensive and detailed study of individuation reveals the theological nature of metaphysics. Adrian Pabst argues that ancient and modern conceptions of “being”—or individual substance—fail to account for the ontological relations that bind beings to each other and to God, their source. On the basis of a genealogical account of rival theories of creation and individuation from Plato to ‘postmodernism,’ Pabst proposes that the Christian Neo-Platonic fusion of biblical revelation with Greco-Roman philosophy fulfills and surpasses all other ontologies and conceptions of individuality.

This bold new study argues for the pivotal importance of the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo and the theology of participation in the development of western metaphysics and political thought, and explores their subsequent degeneration and decline when, in modernity, these teachings were forgotten or discarded. A clarion call to recover the economy of love, grounded in the gift, and a welcome new voice in political philosophy.

—Janet Soskice, professor of philosophical theology, University of Cambridge

Adrian Pabst is lecturer in politics at the University of Kent and fellow of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy. He is the editor of many volumes, most recently The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI’s Social Encyclical and the Future of Political Economy.


  • Authors: Charles Taliaferro and Stewart Goetz
  • Series: Interventions (INTS)
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 140

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This volume introduces readers to the dominant scientifically oriented worldview called naturalism. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro examine naturalism philosophically, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Whereas most other books on naturalism are written for professional philosophers alone, this one is aimed primarily at a college-educated audience interested in learning about this pervasive worldview.

Goetz and Taliaferro are qualified by an impressive record of relevant scholarly publications, but the book is concise and accessible to nonspecialists. . . . This book makes a strong, concise defense of theism and dualism and responds effectively to the best naturalist critics.

Christian Research Journal

The best brief, yet comprehensive, treatment of naturalism to appear. . . . This book may be expected to enjoy a wide readership. For the minister, it will serve to expose the irrationality of naturalism in its attack on the supernaturalism that is foundational to our faith. For the educated layperson, particularly the scientist, it sets forth the contours of scientism . . . and serves to encourage the believing scientist to remember that what is foundational to science is not of the nature of science.

Mid-America Journal of Theology

Charles Taliaferro is professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Evidence and Faith: Philosophy and Religion since the Seventeenth Century.

Stewart Goetz is professor of philosophy at Ursinus College. He has authored numerous scholarly articles for such publications as Faith and Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, and Mind.

Nature as Reason: A Thomistic Theory of the Natural Law

  • Author: Jean Porter
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 432

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This noteworthy book develops a new theory of the natural law that takes its orientation from the account of the natural law developed by Thomas Aquinas, as interpreted and supplemented in the context of scholastic theology in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Though this history might seem irrelevant to twenty-first-century life, Jean Porter shows that the scholastic approach to the natural law still has much to contribute to the contemporary discussion of Christian ethics. Aquinas and his interlocutors provide a way of thinking about the natural law that is distinctively theological while at the same time remaining open to other intellectual perspectives, including those of science.

In the course of her work, Porter examines the scholastics’ assumptions and beliefs about nature, Aquinas’ account of happiness, and the overarching claim that reason can generate moral norms. Ultimately, Porter argues that a Thomistic theory of the natural law is well suited to provide a starting point for developing a more nuanced account of the relationship between specific beliefs and practices. While Aquinas’ approach to the natural law may not provide a system of ethical norms that is both universally compelling and detailed enough to be practical, it does offer something that is arguably more valuable—namely, a way of reflecting theologically on the phenomenon of human morality.

After a decade of provocative publications, Jean Porter has marshaled her arguments into a cohesive natural law theory that addresses the concerns and biases marking the twenty-first century. With a nod to both medieval scholasticism and the present-day natural sciences, Porter presents her theory as providing a theological foundation and framework for understanding morality, the virtues, ethical norms, moral progress, and happiness. Along the way she engages the relevant works of philosophers and theologians, both Catholic and Protestant. With a clear, amiable voice she maps out where she stands in the assembly of her colleagues. In doing so, she takes on a bit of the persona of Thomas Aquinas, who, while offering his own proposals, always anticipated the response of his own contemporaries. Porter’s own Summa on the natural law is mature, comprehensive scholarship at its best.

James F. Keenan, SJ, The Founders Professorship in Theology, Boston College

The theology that emerges from Porter’s work is that rare mixture of robust doctrine and generosity and toleration grounded on that robustness. . . .This is a book of the highest rank, both in scholarly and intellectual terms.

The Times Literary Supplement

A clearly written, tightly argued constructive work of theological ethics which makes a genuine contribution to the natural law tradition, extending it in theologically fruitful ways.

Reviews in Religion & Theology

Jean Porter is John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her books include Natural and Divine Law and Nature as Reason.

New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy

  • Author: Robert J. Spitzer
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 333

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Responding to contemporary popular atheism, Robert J. Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God examines the considerable evidence for God and creation that has come to light from physics and philosophy during the last 40 years. An expert in diverse areas, including theology, physics, metaphysics, and ethics, Spitzer offers in this text the most contemporary, complete, and integrated approach to rational theism currently available.

Skepticism about the possibility of proving the existence of God often relies on data from modern science. In this splendid new book Father Robert Spitzer explores the implications of the latest discoveries in big bang cosmology, string theory, quantum physics, and the ontology of time to craft a series of convincing philosophical arguments. To paraphrase a popular commercial, this is not your father’s old ‘natural theology’ textbook—this is a gripping and compelling account of the best current arguments for theism.

—Joseph W. Koterski, associate professor of philosophy, Fordham University

A most original and insightful case for the existence of God . . . Fr. Spitzer’s new proofs pose a serious and compelling challenge to the unconscious hegemony of naturalism in the worlds of both philosophy and the sciences.

Francis J. Beckwith, associate professor of Church-State studies, Baylor University

Rare is the theologian who keeps abreast of the latest developments in fundamental physics, and even rarer the one who can discuss them with the theological and philosophical sophistication that Fr. Spitzer displays in this book. A challenging and original work.

—Stephen M. Barr, professor, University of Delaware

Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, former president of Gonzaga University, is founder and president of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith, Irvine, California. His books include Healing the Culture, The Spirit of Leadership, and Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life.

Opening the Sealed Book: Interpretations of the Book of Isaiah in Late Antiquity

  • Author: Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 335

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Of all the texts in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, perhaps no book has a more colorful history of interpretation than Isaiah. A comprehensive history of this interpretation between the prophet Malachi and the first days of Christianity, Joseph Blenkinsopp’s Opening the Sealed Book traces three different prophetic traditions in Isaiah—the “man of God,” the critic of social structures, and the apocalyptic seer.

Blenkinsopp explores the place of Isaiah in Jewish sectarianism, at Qumran, and among early Christians, touching on a number of its themes, including exile, “the remnant of Israel,” martyrdom, and “the servant of the Lord.” Encompassing several disciplines—hermeneutics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple studies, Christian origins—Opening the Sealed Book will appeal to Jewish and Christian scholars as well as readers fascinated by the intricate and influential prophetic visions of Isaiah.

This wide-ranging and original book probes the interpretation and use of the book of Isaiah in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament. An impressive and stimulating contribution to the early history of biblical interpretation.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale University

Joseph Blenkinsopp brings his enormous learning to the use of the book of Isaiah in a later generation of Jewish and Christian reading. This important book makes two immense contributions to our learning. . . . it greatly illuminates our historical understanding of formative Jewish and Christian communities in their use of Scripture . . . it makes clear how relentlessly pluralistic is our long-term reading of Scripture that resists any single reductionist reading.

Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

. . . Blenkinsopp not only explores the history of Isaiah’s reception in early Judaism and Christianity but also uncovers the numerous links between the figure of the prophet (and his book) and Jewish apocalyptic and sectarian movements, including Christianity itself. A brilliant and largely convincing synthesis by a scholar renowned for the depth and range of his learning.

Philip R. Davies, Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield

Joseph Blenkinsopp is John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible, A History of Prophecy in Israel, and the three-volume Anchor Bible commentary on Isaiah.

Opening Up the Scriptures: Joseph Ratzinger and the Foundations of Biblical Interpretation

  • Authors: José Granados, Carlos Granados, and Luis Sanchez-Navarro
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 174

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Opening Up the Scriptures was written by a group of eminent Catholics, including Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict XVI. In these erudite essays the authors contend that historical-critical interpretation of Scripture has long since run its course in both Protestant and Catholic exegesis. Instead, they argue, the future of interpretation lies in accepting that the Bible is not just a collection of historical documents but also a record of revelation conceived in faith. By this token, true exegesis involves the faith and humility of the exegete.

José Granados is Assistant Professor of Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America.

Carlos Granados holds a doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

Luis Sanchez-Navarro is Professor of New Testament studies at the San Damaso Theological School in Madrid.

Ordering Love: Liberal Societies and the Memory of God

  • Author: David L. Schindler
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 469

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A metaphysical study of God, love, technology, and culture in modern society.

Reality most basically and properly considered, says David Schindler, is an order of love—a gift that finds its objective only in an entire way of life. In Ordering Love Schindler explores, in light of this understanding of reality, how modern culture marginalizes love, regarding it at best as a matter of piety or goodwill rather than as the very stuff that makes our lives and the things of the world real. Schindler examines how Western civilization's fixation with technology—especially its displacement of experience with experiment and its privileging of knowing and making—has undermined its capacity to build an authentic human culture. He shows, within the context of politics, economics, science, and cultural and professional life generally, that God-centered love is what gives things their deepest and most proper order and meaning, always and everywhere.

David L. Schindler is provost and dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is also the editor of Communio: International Catholic Review and the author of Heart of the World, Center of the Church.

Papal Infallibility: A Protestant Evaluation of an Ecumenical Issue

  • Author: Mark E. Powell
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 238

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The dogma of papal infallibility has become increasingly problematic for Roman Catholics, and it is a major point of division in Christian ecumenical dialogue—arguably the key issue separating Catholics and other Christians today. Mark Powell here contends that papal infallibility has inevitable shortcomings as a way to secure religious certainty. After introducing the doctrine, he illustrates those limitations in the life and writings of four prominent Catholic theologians: Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Avery Cardinal Dulles, and Hans Kung.

The book concludes with a fresh proposal for conceiving religious epistemology, ecclesial authority, and ecumenical agreement. Powell’s Papal Infallibility is an accessible, critical study for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

This is the first major book-length study on this subject written by a Protestant in more than a century.

A Protestant theologian strongly committed to ecumenical Christian understanding, Mark Powell offers here a perceptive critical review of the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, by studying in depth the approaches taken to it by four major Catholic thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His treatment is clear, lively, and fair-minded, and it should be welcomed by both Catholics and Protestants as a careful and constructive contribution to contemporary discussions of religious epistemology.

—Brian Daley, Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

It has been a long time since a Protestant theologian in the English-speaking world took up the topic of papal infallibility and gave it the kind of serious attention it deserves. Papal infallibility is intrinsically interesting and has been a critical ecumenical issue over the last century. Mark Powell rightly locates the doctrine of papal infallibility within the epistemology of theology before providing a sensitive overview of the various ways in which it has been conceived and elaborated. Throughout this work, Powell is sensitive, accurate, and irenic. His own substantial evaluations and final conclusions are carefully stated and defended. The result is a splendid book—indispensable reading for all future treatments of this topic.

William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Southern Methodist University

Mark Powell’s lucid and insightful study makes an important contribution to current discussions of religious epistemology and ecumenical dialogue on religious authority. In bringing the insights of canonical theism to bear on the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, Powell highlights the essentially epistemic function of this teaching and shows its weaknesses in fulfilling this role. But this work is not just for Roman Catholics. Protestants too have quested futilely for certainty of knowledge and indisputability of interpretation. Powell’s criticisms of Catholic efforts to bypass these problems apply equally to Protestant strategies. And his constructive proposal for discerning and maintaining Christian identity—that is, canonical theism—pertains to Protestants as much as to Roman Catholics. This book begs to be followed by a study of how an infallible and perspicuous scripture functions in Protestant theology.

Ron Highfield, professor of religion, Pepperdine University

In recent years, many Protestant theologians have made their way from Protestant denominations to the Roman Catholic Church. While there are various motives for this move, among them is surely a growing frustration with the hermeneutical and theological chaos now rampant within Protestantism. Over against this chaos is the promise of doctrinal unity and stability secured by an authoritative teaching office known as the magisterium. However, within Catholicism itself, the magisterium raises as many questions as it answers. In a thorough and lively examination of the doctrine of papal infallibility, Mark Powell brings these questions into the full light of day. For Protestants disillusioned with sola scriptura, this volume offers a probing and sobering account of an alternative solution to the problems of doctrinal disunity and instability in Western Christianity.

—Jason E. Vickers, professor of theology and Wesleyan studies, United Theological Seminary

Mark E. Powell is associate professor of theology at Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tennessee. He is also a contributor to Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church.

Piety and Politics: The Dynamics of Royal Authority in Homeric Greece, Biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia

  • Author: Dale Launderville
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 425

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Ancient kings who did not honor the gods overlooked an indispensable means for ruling effectively in their communities. In many traditional societies royal authority was regarded as a divine gift bestowed according to the quality of the relationship of the king both to God or the gods and to the people. The tension and the harmony within these human and divine relationships demanded that the king repeatedly strive to integrate the community’s piety with his political strategies.

This fascinating study explores the relationship between religion and royal authority in three of history’s most influential civilizations: Homeric Greece, biblical Israel, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. Dale Launderville identifies similar, contrasting, and analogous ways that piety functioned in these distinct cultures to legitimate the rule of particular kings and promote community well-being. Key to this religiopolitical dynamic was the use of royal rhetoric, which necessarily took the form of political theology. By examining a host of ancient texts and drawing on the insights of philosophers, poets, historians, anthropologists, social theorists, and theologians, Launderville shows how kings increased their status the more they demonstrated through their speech and actions that they ruled on behalf of God or the gods.

Launderville’s work also sheds light on a number of perennial questions about ancient political life. How could the people call the king to account? Did the people forfeit too much of their freedom and initiative by giving obedience to a king who symbolized their unity as a community? How did the religious traditions serve as a check on the king’s power and keep alive the voice of the people? This study in comparative political theology elucidates these engaging concerns from multiple perspectives, making Piety and Politics of interest to readers in fields ranging from biblical studies and theology to ancient history and political science.

Piety and Politics is a tour de force on the culture and ideals of the greatest civilizations of the past and how their successes, failures, and hopes still teach us today in our ideals for society. Issues of justice, individual rights, cooperation, and constant submission to the will of the gods ran deep through all three societies, but only the monotheism of Israel’s faith was able to survive intact to bring these ideals to the modern world. Readers of this study will broaden their understanding of history, culture, ancient religion, and the role of royalty in national government and will clearly see the implications of Launderville’s discussion for our contemporary world.

—Lawrence Boadt

One of those rare books that, if taken seriously, would shake up our disciplinary structures as well as our lives.

Journal of Biblical Literature

Dale Launderville is Associate Professor of Theology at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. He served on the editorial committee for the revision of the Old Testament of the New American Bible.

Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church: The Challenge of Luke-Acts to Contemporary Christians

  • Author: Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 200

“Christians chronically and desperately need prophecy,” says award winning biblical scholar Luke Timothy Johnson. In this and every age, the church needs the bold proclamation of God’s transforming vision to challenge its very human tendency toward expediency and self-interest—to jolt it into new insight and energy. For Johnson, the books Luke and Acts provide that much-needed jolt to conventional wisdom. To read Luke-Acts as a literary unit, he says, is to uncover a startling prophetic vision of Jesus and the church—one that imagines a reality very different from the one humans would construct on their own. Johnson identifies in Luke’s writings an ongoing call for today’s church, grounded in the prophetic ministry of Jesus Christ, to embody and enact God’s vision for the world.

Luke Timothy Johnson is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. His books include The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters and Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James. Johnson is the winner of the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity.

Put down Your Sword: Answering the Gospel Call to Creative Nonviolence

  • Author: John Dear
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 203

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Few books on the market share not only a vision of Jesus’ nonviolence but also ways of actually living out that same vision today. Who better to write such a work than Father John Dear, an internationally known peacemaker?

Put down Your Sword invites us into Jesus’ way of nonviolence as presented by the Gospels. Arguing that all Christians must follow Christ’s example in the ways of peace, Dear outlines the many actions he himself has taken following the path of nonviolence, modeling his own vision of peace in this turbulent world.

First sharing his convictions and insights about the nonviolence of Jesus, the Beatitudes, the nature of God, and the mystery of the resurrection, Dear goes on to relate stories from the various protests in which he has been involved. Journal entries from missions to India and Colombia offer a poignant backdrop for his impassioned argument. Dear also profiles the peacemakers he finds most inspiring, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Henri Nouwen to Joan Baez. Finally, he reflects on care for the earth, the teachings of Thomas Merton, and the vision of a new world without war, poverty, or violence.

Some teachers are all theory and some are all practice. John Dear has the ability to be both. Some teachers are very orthodox and some open new ground. John Dear puts the two together knowing they are the same.

—Richard Rohr, author, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

John Dear not only talks about Jesus but also lives Jesus—radical, loving, nonviolent Jesus. He prisms Jesus through his own life and brings us into the adventure.

—Sister Helen Prejean, author, Dead Man Walking

For evil to prevail requires only that good people sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Fr. John Dear is compelling all of us to stand up and take responsibility for the suffering of humanity so often caused through selfishness and greed.

—Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus, Cape Town, South Africa

Dear has the gift to capture the social gospel as Jesus and the apostles proclaimed it. His writing is in the tradition of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Jean Vanier, and Daniel Berrigan.

—J. Christoph Arnold, founder, Breaking the Cycle

John Dear is an internationally recognized voice for peace and nonviolence. Priest, pastor, peacemaker, retreat leader, and author, he served for years as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. His many books include You Will Be My Witnesses, Living Peace, Jesus the Rebel, and Disarming the Heart.

The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Debate Concerning the Supernatural

  • Author: John Milbank
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 127

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French Jesuit Henri de Lubac (1896–1991) was arguably the most revolutionary theologian of the twentieth century. He proposed that Western theology since the early modern period had lost sight of the key to integrating faith and reason—the truth that all human beings are naturally oriented toward the supernatural.

In this vital book John Milbank defends de Lubac’s claim and pushes it to a more radical extreme. The Suspended Middle shows how such a claim entails a “non-ontology” suspended between rational philosophy and revealed theology, interweaving the two while denying them any pure autonomy from each other.

As de Lubac’s writings on the supernatural implicitly dismantled the reigning Catholic (and perhaps Protestant) assumptions about Christian intellectual reflection, he met with opposition and even papal censure. Milbank’s sophisticated account of de Lubac delineates the French theologian’s relations with other proponents of the nouvelle théologie, such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, and clarifies the subtle but crucial divisions within recent Roman Catholic theology.

The most substantial treatment in English of de Lubac’s as yet untranslated Surnaturel and the subsequent debate, Milbank’s Suspended Middle lays down an energetic challenge that every serious student of theology and Christian philosophy will want to engage.

An encounter of two true authors is not very frequent in theology today, but it is just such a privileged moment that the reading of this little book offers. While it introduces the reader to the work of Henri de Lubac, The Suspended Middle also introduces some key themes of John Milbank’s thought. How should we think about the paradox of the supernatural? How is grace able to remain a free gift, while it seems required by spiritual creatures as their necessary accomplishment? Milbank does not content himself with comparing—albeit magisterially—the response of de Lubac with the principal theological positions of the past century on this question. He also deepens it. . . . Readers will be kept in suspense from one end of the book to the other by the theological spirit intensely present in each sentence.

—Olivier-Thomas Venard, Coauthor, Radical Orthodoxy

Henri de Lubac is a difficult theologian: as a major historian of Latin theology, he is a master in the art of concealing his own theology behind the erudite discussion of past and present works. It is not the smallest merit of John Milbank’s book, therefore, to prove that de Lubac is more a theologian than a historian of theology. . . . Milbank’s provocative book manages to make [de Lubac’s theology] relevant for modernity as well as for postmodernity. This is probably the most exciting book ever written on de Lubac.

—Jean-Yves Lacoste, Author, Experience and the Absolute

John Milbank is Research Professor of Religion, Politics, and Ethics at the University of Nottingham, England, and Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy. His previous books include Theology and Social Theory, The Word Made Strange, Radical Orthodoxy (coeditor), and Being Reconciled.

Targum and Testament Revisited: Aramaic Paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible: A Light on the New Testament, 2nd ed.

  • Author: Martin McNamara
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 367

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Targum and Testament Revisited is a new edition of a text first published in 1972, now revised in light of research during the intervening period. In his introduction Martin McNamara details significant developments in the field, ending with a note on the tell-like structure of targumic tradition, with interpretations from different ages, also showing the presence of continuity in interpretation of certain passages down through the centuries of Jewish history.

The first part of the book examines the formation of targumic tradition, specifically treating the early written Targums, Aramaic as the language of the Jews, and the origin, transmission, and date of the Targums of the Pentateuch and the Prophets. Part two considers the possible relationship between certain New Testament passages and targumic tradition, including a reverential manner of speaking of God; God and creation; the Holy Spirit; sin and virtue; eschatology; and the Targums and Johannine literature.

There has been intense examination of most aspects of targumic tradition over recent decades. McNamara draws on these varied sources—including the annotated English translation of all the Targums in the Aramaic Bible—and offers an appendix outlining all extant Targums of the rabbinic tradition. McNamara’s updated overview will be an indispensable resource for scholars of biblical and Jewish studies.

Martin McNamara is Professor Emeritus of Sacred Scripture at Milltown Institute of Theology, Dublin, Ireland.

Thomas Merton and the Monastic Vision

  • Author: Lawrence S. Cunningham
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 240

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Taking up where Merton’s own Seven Storey Mountain ends, this penetrating biography by Lawrence Cunningham explores Merton’s monastic life and his subsequent growth into a modern-day spiritual master.

Though the basic story of Thomas Merton’s life may be well known, the details of his spiritual development are less familiar. Cunningham shows that Merton’s prolific writings and his continuing influence can only be understood against the background of his contemplative experience as a Trappist monk. “If one does not understand Merton as a monk,” writes Cunningham, “one does not understand Merton at all.”

Merton emerges from this balanced and reliable account as an extraordinary Christian seeker and pioneer whose faith in the power of the contemplative life remains highly relevant today.

Lawrence S. Cunningham is John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. An acknowledged expert on St. Francis and Christian spirituality, he is also the author of Saint Francis of Assisi and the editor and translator of Brother Francis: Writings By and About Saint Francis of Assisi.

To Follow You, Light of Life: Spiritual Exercises Preached before John Paul II at the Vatican

  • Author: Bruno Forte
  • Translator: P. David Glenday
  • Series: Italian Texts and Studies on Religion and Society
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 202

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A little more than a year before his death, Pope John Paul II gathered his closest aides for an extended retreat at the Vatican. During this retreat Bruno Forte offered a series of meditations revolving around Jesus’ words in John 8:12: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Now translated by David Glenday and collected in this lovely book, these meditations draw us into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and orient us toward the mission of the Church. A master of thoughtful questioning, Forte shepherds his readers through the classic Ignatian spiritual exercises: a day of purification, a day of illumination, and three days of reflection on Easter, the church, and mission.

Each day includes four meditations, two reflecting on the day’s theme followed by two careful considerations of scriptural texts. Forte concludes his meditations with questions that provoke deeper reflection on our own faith journeys.

Thoughtful, insightful, and nurturing, Forte’s book has much wisdom to offer all Christians who desire to follow more closely the “Light of life.”

This book includes a forward by Pope John Paul II.

This book was awarded Second Place in Catholic Press Association’s Spirituality category in 2006.

Bruno Forte is archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy. He has also served as professor of systematic theology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Naples, Italy, as a member of the International Theological Commission of the Holy See, and as a consultant of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

P. David Glenday is also translator of The Portal of Beauty and The Essence of Christianity with Bruno Forte.

Treasures Old and New: Essays in the Theology of the Pentateuch

  • Author: Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 238

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The Pentateuch is one anchor of the Western religious heritage, a rich source of theological and spiritual instruction that can be plumbed again and again. In Treasures Old and New, accomplished biblical scholar Joseph Blenkinsopp engages several interesting topics in dialogue with texts from the Pentateuch.

In keeping with the view that the Pentateuch is far too multiplex to be encapsulated in a single theological system, Blenkinsopp has written Treasures Old and New as a “sketchbook” of theology in the Pentateuch. This fruitful approach allows him to consider themes that easily fall through the cracks of more systematic works of biblical theology. Among the many subjects that Blenkinsopp pursues are the role of memory in the construction of the past, the dependence of Christianity on Judaism, the close connection between sacrifice and community in Old Testament Israel, the proper meaning of human stewardship of the world, and belief (or lack of belief) in a meaningful postmortem existence.

Blenkinsopp also explores well-known texts from less-well-known angles. The Garden of Eden story, for example, gains in resonance when read together with Gilgamesh, and the laws governing diet and cleanliness become clearer in the light of current ecological concerns. Readers will also learn from Blenkinsopp’s novel approach to such important yet enigmatic stories as the Creation, Cain and Abel, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Call of Abram, and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Blessed with an extraordinary ability to transmit complex issues in concise and lucid fashion, Blenkinsopp shows that serious engagement with biblical texts, while sometimes demanding, can be intellectually and religiously rewarding.

This erudite, instructive, and engaging collection of essays brings much fresh insight to the biblical text. . . . [It] offers many rewarding and instructive insights.

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

Of the great biblical interpreters of our age, no one can emulate Joseph Blenkinsopp’s scholarship. He brings to the biblical text not only a huge range of knowledge and interests but also sharp perception and shrewd judgment. Above all, again and again he gets to the heart of the issue—a critical engagement with the text and with its authors. These essays demonstrate the best of his work, which is original, profound, and always fresh.

Philip R. Davies, Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield

I strongly recommend this book to all those who remember the biblical stories of their childhood and youth and are interested in taking a fresh journey into humanity’s past with an intrepid, engrossing guide.

David Noel Freedman

Joseph Blenkinsopp is John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible, A History of Prophecy in Israel, and the three-volume Anchor Bible commentary on Isaiah.

Will Many Be Saved?

  • Author: Ralph Martin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 332

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The question of whether and how people who have not had the chance to hear the gospel can be saved goes back to the beginnings of Christian reflection. It has also become a much-debated topic in current theology. In Will Many Be Saved? Ralph Martin focuses primarily on the history of debate and the development of responses to this question within the Roman Catholic Church, but much of Martin’s discussion is also relevant to the wider debate happening in many churches around the world.

In particular, Martin analyzes the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the document from the Second Vatican Council that directly relates to this question. Contrary to popular opinion, Martin argues that according to this text, the conditions under which people who have not heard the gospel can be saved are very often, in fact, not fulfilled, with strong implications for evangelization.

For many years we have all appreciated Dr. Martin’s considerable contributions to the mission of the Church. Now he gives us a profound doctrinal foundation for understanding and implementing the ‘new evangelization.’ This is a shot in the arm for bishops, priests, and laity as we respond to the Holy Father’s call.

—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York

Dr. Ralph Martin’s Will Many Be Saved? contributes significantly to a richer understanding of our faith, helps restore confidence in the gospel message, and engenders a desire to share the truth of Christ’s message. An important contribution to the pastoral strategy of the ‘new evangelization.’

—Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Martin clarifies a doctrinal point that has been often obscured but must be recovered as a necessary foundation for the ‘new evangelization.’ This is a uniquely important book.

—Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago

Provides a refreshing reminder of the undiminished urgency and validity of the missionary mandate of Jesus to his followers to evangelize.

—Peter Cardinal Turkson, president, Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice

These penetrating reflections will compel us to reassess our pastoral approach to the preaching of the gospel in our present circumstances. An important book.

—J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, archbishop, Vatican City

Ralph Martin, STD, is the director of graduate theology programs in the new evangelization at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, president of Renewal Ministries, and a consulter to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Worship as Repentance: Lutheran Liturgical Traditions and Catholic Consensus

  • Author: Walter Sundberg
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 206

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Against contemporary trends that conceive of Christian worship primarily as entertainment or sheer celebration, Walter Sundberg argues that repentance is the heart of authentic worship. In Worship as Repentance Sundberg outlines the history of repentance and confession within liturgical practice from the early church to mid-twentieth-century Protestantism, advocating movement away from the “Eucharistic piety” common in mainline worship today and toward the “penitential piety” of older traditions of Protestant worship.

American Protestantism is so reflective of the moods of American secular culture that the words ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ are increasingly banished as dirty language. Sundberg reminds Lutherans that confession and absolution were fundamental for Luther and, although diluted in the Tradition over the centuries, need to be reclaimed in worship. Indeed, without repentance from sin, there is no Good News and no authentic worship.

Bryan D. Spinks, Bishop F. Percy Goddard Professor of Liturgical Studies and Pastoral Theology, Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music

Informed by a deep commitment to the gospel and its costly grace, Sundberg provides a compelling and even prophetic account of how modern Christian worship has largely abandoned Christ’s call to repentance and, thus, has greatly impeded the growth of the kingdom of God. Sundberg urges the church to hear this call anew and to allow it to serve as the basis for the church’s liturgical life and mission in the world for the sake of Christ.

—Ronald K. Rittgers, Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies, Valparaiso University

Walter Sundberg is professor of church history at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, an ordained Lutheran pastor, and the author (with Roy A. Harrisville) of The Bible in Modern Culture: Baruch Spinoza to Brevard Childs.

The Worship of God: Some Theological, Pastoral, and Practical Reflections

  • Author: Ralph P. Martin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1982
  • Pages: 237

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

While most Christians today value worship and regard it as a vital part of the church’s life and witness, there is also a wistful yearning that contemporary worship be vastly improved and given a more satisfying rationale.

Calling his book a “compact guide to some of the main themes of the worship of God,” and believing that the agenda of worship “needs a serious overhaul in our churches,” well-known theologian Ralph P. Martin here reexamines the concept of worship, “recasting . . . its meaning in such a way as will express its essentially theological dimension and yet will relate its practice to the concerns, interests, and needs of men and women in our world.”

To that end, Martin discusses several elements of worship: praise, prayer, hymns, the offering, the creeds and confessions, the sermon, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the role of the Holy Spirit. The main thrust of Martin’s discussion it to consider, in the light of Scripture and history, the theological rationale for the practice of each element. A final chapter summarizes the author's definition of worship and diagrams a “service of worship” that involves all the aspects of worship he has discussed.

Both theologically adequate and pastorally helpful, the book is designed for ministers and theological students, as well as lay leaders in the churches.

Ralph P. Martin (1925–2013) was distinguished scholar in residence at Fuller Theological Seminary, Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University, and Logos Evangelical Seminary in El Monte, California. He wrote numerous studies and commentaries on the New Testament, including the Tyndale New Testament Commentary volume on Philippians and the volume on James in the Word Biblical Commentary series, for which he also served as New Testament editor.

Žižek: A (Very) Critical Introduction

  • Author: Marcus Pound
  • Series: Interventions (INTS)
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 184

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

It has been the brilliance of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek to uniquely weave theology, psychoanalysis, and politics together into stunning commentary on contemporary culture. Assuming little prior knowledge of this controversial (atheist, communist) philosopher, Marcus Pound provides the first comprehensive, systematic account of Žižek’s work as it relates specifically to theology and religious studies.

With clarity and humor, and in wonderfully short compass, Marcus Pound introduces the thought of not only Slavoj Žižek but also his guru, Jacques Lacan. Pound finds in these masters of inversion a profound anti-theology that only needs to become more theological—more orthodox—in order to work, to rid us of complacency. This is a book for those new to Žižek and for those who, knowing him already, want to know him newly—as the theologian he might almost be. It’s as enjoyable as reading Žižek himself.

—Gerard Loughlin, professor, Durham University

Marcus Pound is research fellow in Catholic studies at Durham University and assistant director of the Durham Centre for Catholic Studies.


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