Friday, February 12, 2010

A Pocket Guide to St. Paul

By Scott Hahn, small 94 pages, Our Sunday Visitor.

Well-known Catholic Biblical scholar and speaker Scott Hahn has written a brief yet interesting introduction to St. Paul. It reads like a history saga, as Hahn traces Paul in his early life and his pre-conversion persecution of Christians, as well as the saint's Christian life and evangelization. Closely following the Bible, including Acts of the Apostles, Hahn also outlines the theological importance of this work.

"He was not merely a thinker. He was a pastor as well, and a missionary," Hahn notes, emphasizing the centrality of Paul's theological thought not only for Christianity but for world history in general. Pauline thought was central for a who's who of Western civilization, including St. Augustine in the fifth century and Martin Luther in the sixteenth.

Hahn sketches out the basics of Paul's theology letter-by-letter, noting that the apostle and his theology changed and matured through the decades and circumstances: XXSt. Paul's letters, after all, served many different purposes, for many different churches, set in many different cultures and experiencing vastly different needs.... His range is remarkable.XX

Hahn addresses some anti-Catholic teachings about Paul, such as regarding the hierarchy and nature of the Church, writing that Paul assumed in some writings an ecclesiastical hierarchy and "a well-developed orthodoxy in doctrinal matters."

Hahn ends with a selection of quotes from the apostle and prayers of intercession.

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