Letter and Spirit: From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy

Scott Hahn, Author . Doubleday $21.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-385-50933-6

Since converting to Catholicism in 1986, Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister, has turned out a series of user-friendly books illuminating the mysteries of his adopted faith for the average Catholic. Here, he takes a new direction—and some risk—by addressing two audiences: fellow academics and readers of his bestselling theology books. Inviting devotees of these popular works to "go deeper," Hahn takes on the lofty subject of scripture and its relationship to liturgy. He shows how scriptural texts have been intimately tied to ritual public worship since the early Christian church and even before that in the Jewish temple. The first Christians, he writes, encountered scripture in their liturgy, not in devotional reading, adding that the Bible modern Christians read was canonized to be proclaimed during worship. For theological novices, Hahn devotes a chapter to defining such technical terms as economy, typology, and mystagogy, and to satisfy academics, he supports his text with references to the work of scripture scholars, ending with more than 20 pages of detailed notes. Hahn's approach in this book requires thoughtful reading, and it remains to be seen whether the audience he cultivated with popular works like The Lamb's Supper will warm to it. (Nov. 8)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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