Letter & Spirit, Vol. 7: The Bible and the Church Fathers: The Liturgical Context of Patristic Exegesis

The Bible and the Church Fathers

The Liturgical Context of Patristic Exegesis


This is the seventh annual volume of the remarkably popular journal of biblical theology edited by Scott Hahn and his St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. This volume responds to the call of Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini for a thoughtful return to the Fathers of the Church and how they approached Sacred Scripture. 

This is not in any way to jettison historical-critical methods and the valuable insights that modern biblical scholarship has brought to light. It is simply to acknowledge what Pope Benedict calls for, a measured return to the interpretive methods employed by the Church Fathers as well as the theology that flowed from their exegetical labors. 

As he said, The Church Fathers present a theology that still has great value today because at its heart is the study of sacred Scripture as a whole. Indeed, the Fathers are primarily and essentially commentators on sacred Scripture. Highlights include original articles by Fr. William Kurtz, SJ, Matthew Levering, Father Stephen Ryan, OP, Stephen Hildebrand, Owen Phelan, and Michael Barber, as well as an original translation of Joseph Ratzinger’s (Pope Benedict XVI) foundational essay Vicarious Representation by Father Jared Wicks, SJ.

Excerpt from the Editor’s introduction:

Once we recognize the importance and relevance of the ecclesial setting for reading scripture, and recognize also the importance of the patristic interpretive tradition that enriches it, then we can see what the Fathers saw—that the liturgy was then, even as it is now, the privileged setting for the Word.