Page 6, 25th November 1983

25th November 1983
Page 6
Page 6, 25th November 1983 — Through brambles with a forest guide

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Through brambles with a forest guide

Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond F. Collins (SCM Press, f9.50). Hebrews (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) by Donald Guthrie (Intervarsity Press, f2.95), AQUINAS, as "Master of the Sacred Page", set out to introduce his students to the scriptures by producing a • f rtati NI and analYiical treatise on theology, or "holy teaching" as he preferred to call it — Sacra Doctrina.

Today the student is introduced to the New Testament by a highly sophisticated and complex treatise, including expositions not only of the formation of the scriptures and the historic Jesus, but also on the tools that must be used in reading the historical Jesus, the types of criticism that are necessary for meeting the Master who taught in Palestine two thousand years ago.

Historico critical methodology includes textual criticism. Source Criticism, Form

Criticism, Redaction Criticism and Structural Analysis. All this is here in this book competently dealt with as an introduction to the New Testament. Today such an approach is necessary because the Bible is no longer part of our life and culture as it was in St Thomas's day. For St Thomas the Lord Jesus is there from the start; for our contemporary student the Lord must tirst 13e ilouncl. In 1110 thirteenth century it was like being cundueted round an elaborate garden by the experienced gardener and his Master. Today we enter a thick wood and having lost the Lord for a time and need the help of forester who knows the thickets, the brambles and undergrowth.

He points out the hazards and explains their nature. After that we arc left to find the Lord for ourselves. In other words this is an introduction to the science not to the object of the science.

In this introduction to this work John P. Meier, of St Joseph's seminary, Dunwoodie, welcomes it as the first American

Catholic introduction to the New Testament for Americans. But it is not as narrow as that might suggest. Readers from other countries and traditions will find it a wonderful way into reading the New Testament with discretion. It is refreshing to be reminded of "the remarkably progressive character of Divino Afflanle Spiritu" of Pius XI: a remark which, with many such reveals that the work is as unbiased as any affective introduction should be, so the non-American may take courage.

Among the useful bibliographies in Appendix One, Professor Collins lists the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, "A twentyvolume series with detailed historical introductions. Heavily theological, with a very conservative orientation".

l he second book here under review on the letter to the Hebrews comes from this series. So readers of this commentary on Hebrews by Donald Guthrie will he rewarded by a straight forward treatment of this difficult letter, without startling novelties of coat-trailing polemics.

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