Saturday 6 January 2018

The Apostles and Their Times - Mike Aquilina - Archeology, History, and Scripture Unveil What Life Was Really Like During the Apostolic Age

The Apostles and Their Times:
Archeology, History, and Scripture Unveil What Life Was Really Like During the Apostolic Age
Mike Aquilina
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781622824601
eISBN 9781622824618

I read this book over the span of a week last summer. It was a book I wanted to rip through, but the content is so good that I slowed down and took my time.  This book was previously published under the title, 'Ministers and Martyrs', but I had not read that version. Doing a quick comparison between the two versions and the chapters are the same names, and the forward in this edition is a little longer, but the introduction nearly identical. The chapters in the book are:

Foundation Stones
The Apostles: Those Who Are Sent
Pentecost: The Church Is Born
A New Revelation of God
Disturbing the Priests
The Crown of Martyrdom
Saul the Persecutor, Paul the Apostle
The Next Generation
Last Things

As someone who graduated with a Religious Studies Degree and who specialized in Roman Catholic Studies, I greatly enjoyed this book. In fact there were a number of courses that I did over my university career that I believe this book would be a great fit for either as part of the required readings or the recommended readings to go further on the topics of the course. Reading books my Mike are always a little more work. They are not the fluff of a lazy Sunday afternoon read like Henri Nouwen, There is a great deal of substance in this book. Nor is he like evangelical Max Lucado where after you have read a few of his books they all seem the same, or rehash of old material. In fact with each new book that I read by Aquilina I have a greater appreciation for him as an author and scholar. No this book is a thoroughly researched and in depth study of the apostles and their times. Now I am not stating that this book cannot be read by a layperson. To be honest my argument would be to the opposite, I believe that every Catholic, every Christian would benefit from reading this book. But that it is a more thorough, deep, and serious study of the subject and not just a shiny glossy presentation easy to read but lacking in substance. 

I am a bit of a Pauline studies addict. The chapter 'Saul the Persecutor, Paul the Apostle' was an exceptional read. I would dearly love to see Mike write an entire book on Paul to add to the Pauline studies canon. And this chapter could serve as the beginning. I would greatly appreciate Aquilina's penetrating insight focused on this subject in a deeper fashion than this excellent chapter.

For where I sit as a Catholic in the pews, and living in the world, one of the most powerful chapters in the book was the chapter on 'Communion'. For communion is so central to our life as Catholics, and should be for all who call themselves followers of Christ. This chapter looks at the Jewish roots, and both the Hebrew and Greek understanding of this relationship and its importance. 

This book was an excellent read and I do believe that all who would follow Christ would benefit from understanding the early years of our tradition. It is another incredible book from the pen of Mike Aquilina. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna

No comments: