Understanding the Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study. By Scott Hahn (Midwest Theological Forum, 1420 Davey Rd., Woodridge, IL. 60517, 2005), 548pp. HB, $40.00.
At long last, Scott Hahn has finally done it! After years of dazzling students, conferences attendees, and listeners of his mass media presentations, Hahn has collected the wisdom of the Catholic faith on the Sacred Scriptures into one complete volume on Bible study. Understanding the Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study has been the longed for text book of every orthodox layman, seminarian, and Catholic theologian for the past 40 years! If you are interested in knowing the Bible according to the teaching of the Church, look no further!
As part of the Didache Series by Midwest Theological Forum, this volume is simply staggering in its presentation of the Scriptures. As noted on the back cover of the book: “The goal of the Didache Series is to present sufficiently, in a manner that is both comprehensive and accessible, the basic tenets of the doctrinal, scriptural, moral, and sacramental life of the Church. Accordingly, the books of this series rely on sources such as Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the lives of the saints, the Fathers of the Church, the General Directory for Catechists, and the teaching of Vatican II as witnessed by the pontificate of John Paul II.”
Consisting of 30 chapters, the content of the book follows a systematic presentation of the written Word of God. Perfectly in accord with Vatican II, the method of presenting the Bible is based on Dei Verbum, bringing the reader into a greater appreciation of all the senses of scriptural interpretation (literal-historical, allegorical, moral, anagogical). In addition to the many maps, sidebars, and charts of information, each chapter ends with supplementary reading, definitions of key vocabulary, study questions, practical exercises, and citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The style of the book is very much in the style of a typical high school or college text book. It is hard back and quite large, displaying both its scholarship and thorough treatment of the subject matter. The beauty of the many art selections in the book is also very, very impressive. In short, the entire book, content, style, method, and art selections, make this book worth far more than the selling price.
If you are a pastor and have, or desire to have, a Bible study in your parish, buy this book! If you are a seminary, University or College professor teaching Scripture, do yourself and your students a favor, buy this book! And if you are looking for an orthodox presentation of Sacred Scripture in one book, you simply must purchase this book!
Fr. Donald H. Calloway, M.I.C.