Thomas L. McDonald About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald is a catechist for the diocese of Trenton, where he teaches confirmation, Church history, adult formation, and RCIA. His writing is published in the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, Catholic News Service, and Our Sunday Visitor, as well as on his blog God and the Machine. He lives in the New Jersey Pine Barrens with his wife and two children.


  1. Avatar Martin B. Drew says:

    Mr. McDonald this paper is excellent I cannot comment on it since it is what I studied for 4 years in Scripture classes with the Vincentians, Jesuits and U of Dallas obtaining a licentiate in theology and scripture. I have used and have commentaries of Father Bruce Vawter, CM God bless you.

  2. Avatar Gary Rudemiller says:

    I am enlightened by this article’s explanation of canonical criticism, a furthering of the canonical exegesis that Ratzinger touches on in the foreward to Jesus of Nazareth. The contrasting of this method with the historical critical method provides one an understanding of the shortcomings of the latter and the logic behind, and the completeness of, interpreting the scripture holistically. Preserving the theological meaning for the authoring community is afforded by canonical criticism, whereas the historical critical method tends to sanitize the text of any such meaning. Thank you for the education.

  3. Avatar Bill Marvel says:

    Excellent. The historical-critical method bears somewhat the same relationship to scripture that deconstruction does to, say, a play by Shakespeare. It might yield some useful insights and reveal things that might otherwise be overlooked. But in the end, the play has to be seen whole, as a work of art, a vision of reality. It is only by surrendering to the work as a whole that one can begin to grasp it’s “meaning.” Likewise, it is the entirety of scripture, experienced through faith, that has meaning.

  4. Avatar bill bannon says:

    Read section 42 of Verbum Domini by Pope Benedict. In it he is saying that the massacres of the Old Testament were sins not commands of God. If they are, the whole 12th chapter of
    Wisdom should be removed from the canon because it says God ordered the Canaanite massacre…. as does many other scattered passages as late as Isaiah. Check and ruminate whether or not he himself errs in saying that such passages must be studied by those trained in historical-literary criticism. Literary won’t help with 70 AD which is very modern and historically recounted by Josephus and
    Tacitus….and predicted by Christ as punishment for Jerusalem not knowing the day of its visitation. I think he fell victim to human respect and being embarassed at the violence of the OT. St. John Paul II likewise shows embarassement in section 40 of Evangelium Vitae at the God mandated death penalties of Deuteronomy. Check both texts…VD sect.42 and EV sect.40.