Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scripture MattersAmazon has 9 customer reviews, each of them with a 5 star rating. "Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church" (2003) was written by Scott Hahn, the former Presbyterian minister - now Roman Catholic. As always, he uses very intelligent language, and he definitely knows the material. However, this book is jumpy. It skips from topic to topic, often being repetitive because he uses extensive quotes and then re-words those quotes. I guess it's also jumpy because it's a collection of essays. He's trying to explain the Catholic way to approach the Bible. It starts on a more basic level and then moves into hermeneutics and schools of interpretation. It's a good thing I have a smidgen of knowledge in what those areas are, because otherwise he would have lost me quickly. As it was, he didn't really SAY anything. He just quoted a lot. I wouldn't read this book again. I could barely follow it the first time, and I wouldn't call it a faith-builder. Maybe for the scholarly person it could be beneficial, but that's not really me.

In Chapter 11, Hahn discusses what happened to Christianity in Europe with Karl Keating. He is pointing out how the Enlightenment and the move towards historical-critical methods of Biblical interpretation weakened the truth and set the stage for political and cultural war. This was particularly present in Germany in the late 1800s. I find it interesting because that's when my ancestors were heading over this way. They were trying to escape the suppression of their religion by the Protestant-held government under Bismark. Now, I dunno much about all this history that I DEFINITELY should know. But it makes me wonder. What if my ancestors - those good Catholic folk in Germany who took off for greener pastures - had stuck around. 50 years later, would Hitler still have been able to do what he did? Lots of European folk immigrated during that time, not just Germans and not just Catholics. I just wonder how it could have turned out differently without America's promise of freedom.

I wish there was a free place to run to now. I'm not afraid; I'm just a little sad to see things going the way they are going. That's nothing new for me, though. In conclusion, the only chapter that really caught my attention was chapter 11. If you run across this book, that's the only part I'd recommend.

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