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Sacra Pagina: Philippians and Philemon

Bonnie B. Thurston and Judith Ryan

Although relatively brief, Philippians is one of the most interesting and beloved of Paul's undisputed epistles. In Philippians and Philemon, Bonnie Thurston makes a convincing case that canonical Philippians is as Paul wrote it, one letter. Although there is not enough specific evidence to "name names," she suggests a number of possible audiences. A translation conforming as closely as possible to the original Greek is provided, along with a careful analysis of the language of the letter that yields insights into the context and theological underpinning of this epistle.The apostle's very brief letter to Philemon stands solidly within the Pauline collection of authentic and canonical letters. In this volume, Judith Ryan argues that Philemon makes two specific appeals. The first seeks to elicit Philemon's partnership and his community's support in welcoming Onesimus back as both beloved brother and honored guest. The second requests that Onesimus be allowed to use the freedom he already has to serve Christ and his Gospel. In this commentary Ryan provides a fresh translation, critical notes for each verse, and interpretation on defined sections. She situates the letter in the historical context of slavery in the ancient world and shows how Paul combined his theology with contemporary rhetorical strategies to produce an effective challenge to his audience.

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Sacra Pagina: Romans

Brendan Byrne, SJ

This commentary adopts a literary-rhetorical approach, viewing the letter as an instrument of persuasion designed to transform readers through a celebratory presentation of the Gospel. Reflecting upon the fate of Jews and Gentiles, Paul wins his audience to a vision of a God who always acts inclusively. The God who, in the person of Israel's Messiah (Jesus), has acted faithfully to include the Gentile peoples within the community of salvation, will not fail to see to the eventual inclusion of Israel as well. In the victory of grace displayed already in the risen humanity of Jesus, the original design of the Creator for human communities and for the world begins to come true.The interpretation of Paul's letter to Rome has accompanied and stimulated the path of Christian theology down to today. Romans touches upon virtually all main issues of Christian theology, as well as presenting a rewarding introduction to Paul. Byrne facilitates full access to Paul and his Gospel through the letter, allowing Christians today to hear his voice as intelligibly and powerfully as it has spoken to past generations.

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Sacra Pagina: Second Corinthians

Jan Lambrecht, SJ

Now Available in Paperback!Second Corinthians is often regarded as the most personal of Paul's letters. In this letter Paul more than once fiercely counters the attacks of his opponents. He extensively describes both the quality and circumstances of his apostolic existence: the sufferings he endures, the opposition he encounters, and his continual care for the churches.Second Corinthians is, therefore, highly significant theologically as well as autobiographically. This letter is an especially important document because of Paul's ongoing reflection on his ministry. It is both profound in its content and style for its original audience as well as for today's readers. It is a message that is relevant to Christians today.Jan Lambrecht, SJ, is professor emeritus of New Testament and biblical Greek at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium."

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Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of John

Francis J. Moloney, SDB

Now available in paperback!No other book of the New Testament has attracted as much attention from commentators as the Fourth Gospel. It has stirred minds, hearts, and imaginations from Christianity's earliest days. In The Gospel of John, Francis Moloney unfolds the identifiable "point of view" of this unique Gospel narrative and offers readers, heirs to its rich and widely varied interpretative traditions, relevance for their lives today. Includes an updated bibliography as an appendix.Francis J. Moloney, SDB, is Foundation Professor of Theology at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Member of the Order of Australia. He is the author of numerous books including The Gospel of the Lord, Beginning the Good News, and A Hard Saying: The Gospel and Culture published by Liturgical Press."

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Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Mark

John R. Donahue, SJ, and Daniel J. Harrington, SJ

Now available in paperback!In The Gospel of Mark Fathers Donahue and Harrington use an approach that can be expressed by two terms currently used in literary criticism: intratextuality and intertextuality. This intratextual and intertextual reading of Mark's Gospel helps us to appreciate the literary character, its setting in life, and its distinctive approaches to the Old Testament, Jesus, and early Christian theology. Includes an updated bibliography as an appendix.Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, is a professor of New Testament at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and general editor of New Testament Abstracts. He is a past-president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America and is the author of The Gospel of Matthew and co-author of 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter in the Sacra Pagina series published by Liturgical Press.John Donahue, SJ, PhD, is the Raymond E. Brown Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore. He is the author of Life in Abundance: Studies of John's Gospel in Tribute to Raymond E. Brown, S.S., and Hearing the Word of God: Reflections on the Sunday Readings, Year A published by Liturgical Press."

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Sacra Pagina: The Pastoral Epistles

First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus

Benjamin Fiore, SJ

First and Second Timothy and Titus have for many years borne the collective title The Pastoral Epistles. Both their style and their content make it difficult to locate them within the corpus of Pauline letters, and recent scholarship most often considers them pseudonymous, works that imitate Paul's letters but apply the apostle's teaching to the concerns of a later time, two or more decades after Paul's death.

The Pastorals differfrom Paul's own letters in being addressed to single individuals, coworkers of Paul who have been placed in charge of particular churches—Timothy apparently in Ephesus, Titus in Crete. They provide instruction for community leaders, both the individual addressees and other leaders whom they will appoint. The specification of certain offices within the local churches is one of thefeatures that appear to locate these works in a later phase of church development.

In this commentary Benjamin Fiore, S.J., places the Pastorals in their historical and literary context. The reader will find here a solid introduction to parallel literary forms in Latin and Greek literature and particular descriptions of the way in which these documents use ancient rhetorical forms to achievetheir paraenetic and hortatory purpose. Drawing on his parish experience as well as his academic training, Fiore also provides reflections on the contemporary pastoral application of these books, giving readers a renewed appreciation for the pastoral label these epistles bear.

Benjamin Fiore, SJ, is president and professor of religious studies at Campion College at the University of Regina (Canada).

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Sacral Grooves, Limbo Gateways

Travels in Deep Southern Time, Circum-Caribbean Space, Afro-creole Authority

Keith Cartwright

“We’re seeing people that we didn’t know exist,” the director of FEMA acknowledged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Sacral Grooves, Limbo Gateways offers a corrective to some of America’s institutionalized invisibilities by delving into the submerged networks of ritual performance, writing, intercultural history, and migration that have linked the coastal U.S. South with the Caribbean and the wider Atlantic world. This interdisciplinary study slips beneath the bar of rigid national and literary periods, embarking upon deeper—more rhythmic and embodied—signatures of time. It swings low through ecologies and symbolic orders of creolized space. And it reappraises pluralistic modes of knowledge, kinship, and authority that have sustained vital forms of agency (such as jazz) amid abysses of racialized trauma.

Drawing from Haitian Vodou and New Orleanian Voudou and from Cuban and South Floridian Santería, as well as from Afro-Baptist (Caribbean, Geechee, and Bahamian) models of encounters with otherness, this book reemplaces deep-southern texts within the counterclockwise ring-stepping of a long Afro-Atlantic modernity. Turning to an orphan girl’s West African initiation tale to follow a remarkably traveled body of feminine rites and writing (in works by Paule Marshall, Zora Neale Hurston, Lydia Cabrera, William Faulkner, James Weldon Johnson, and LeAnne Howe, among others), Cartwright argues that only in holistic form, emergent from gulfs of cross-cultural witness, can literary and humanistic authority find legitimacy. Without such grounding, he contends, our educational institutions blind and even poison students, bringing them to “swallow lye,” like the grandson of Phoenix Jackson in Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.” Here, literary study may open pathways to alternative medicines—fetched by tenacious avatars like Phoenix (or an orphan Kumba or a shell-shaking Turtle)—to remedy the lies our partial histories have made us swallow.

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The Sacrament of Baptism

Michael G. Witczak

The celebration of the sacrament of baptism underwent a major change in the years after the Second Vatican Council (1962 '65). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was revised to take into account the situation of the contemporary world by incorporating insights from the earliest centuries of the Church. The Rite of Baptism for Children was renewed to take into account the role of parents and godparents in a more direct way.These two situations 'the initiation of adults who profess their own faith and the baptism of children whose faith is professed for them 'are the object of this book. The symbols and actions of the rites together with the words of Scripture and prayer are explored to answer the question: How do these celebrations reveal a theology of initiation and baptism for today's Catholic community?Michal G. Witczak, SLD, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and an assistant professor in liturgical studies at The Catholic University of America. His writings have appeared in Theological Studies, Ecclesia Orans, and Liturgical Ministry.

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The Sacrament of the Eucharist

John D. Laurance, SJ

In The Sacrament of the Eucharist, the latest volume in the Lex Orandi Series, John D. Laurance considers the Eucharist by way of two questions: ·How, by his first-century life, death, and resurrection, does Jesus Christ save all human beings throughout history from eternal death and make possible their permanent union with God? ·How is that salvation made available now through the community of the church in her liturgical celebrations?Soteriology and ecclesiology therefore play a prominent role in Laurance's investigation.After forging a theology of the liturgy primarily out of the work of Rahner, Kilmartin, and Chauvet, the author investigates the nature of the lex ordandi, lex credendi relationship and offers guidelines on how best to read the church's faith in her life of prayer. He then uses both steps to discover the faith meaning of a particular Eucharist as typically celebrated in a modern American parish on Sunday morning.

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