Friday 2 September 2022

The Letters of Paul - Henry Wansbrough OSB - CTS Scriptures

The Letters of Paul
Henry Wansbrough OSB (Introduction)
ISBN  9781860823893
CTS Booklet SC83

I have now read several of the volumes from the Catholic Truth Society in the CTS Scriptures Series. All of the ones I have read to date have an introduction by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB. The ones I have read and single one I have remaining are:

I first read the four gospels, then Psalms, and now this one. I have really enjoyed reading the books of the bible in these booklet formats. And my son who is 14 has asked for them and has read them after I have finished. I feel like there are some volumes missing, I would love the following in the same format:

The Epistles

That way you would have the whole New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in little volumes. But back to this specific volume. The description on the back of this volume is:

“The letters of St Paul and others which have been traditionally ascribed to him, have uniquely influenced Christian belief and understanding. The letters, written sometimes from prison to real Church communities of the 1st century AD, confront spiritual, theological and practical problems that have faced Christians through the ages: they maintain their vivacity, beauty and practicality to this day.

The Letters of Paul is introduced by Henry Wansbrough OSB who also gives practical guidance for personal reading and reflection.”

First I want to call out that Dom Henry was the chief editor of the work of The Revised New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition, The introduction in this volume is taken almost directly from that work. At one point in the introduction it states:

“On authorship of the remaining six letters the introductions to the individual letters should be consulted.”

But those introductions to specific letters are omitted from this volume, and that sentence should have been dropped from the introduction. The passages I highlighted in the introduction are:

“Paul’s letters are written to individual communities (and one individual person, Philemon) in response to particular needs and problems which had come to his notice in the Christian communities which he had founded around the Mediterranean cities of the Greek-speaking world. With fiery enthusiasm he instructs, encourages, persuades, cajoles, rebukes, lambasts – and in so doing has given Christianity a body of insight and guidance which has formed the backbone of Christian thinking for twenty centuries.”

“The Acts of the Apostles gives an outline of Paul’s activities, though it is inevitably coloured by the author’s own interests and concerns. Reservations about this portrait are justified, in that Acts shows no awareness that Paul ever wrote any letters, while Paul himself gives no indication, among all his autobiographical nuggets, that he is a Roman citizen; a status that determines the latter part of the story of Acts.”

“The letters which have come down to us as Pauline are printed in descending order of length, from longest to shortest, first letters to communities, then letters to individuals. These are not all the letters Paul wrote, for he himself mentions at least one more letter to the Corinthians and one to the Laodiceans.”

“The only two reasonably firm absolute dates are the Damascus Road experience sometime before the death of King Aretas in AD 39/40 (2 Co 11:32) and Paul’s first visit to Corinth ending with an appearance before the Proconsul Gallio in AD 51 (Ac 18:12). Using the data of Acts, it may be helpful to place Paul’s pastoral activity between AD 37 and 60, but mainly in the 50s.”

When I returned to university as a mature student the first course I completed was RS 209 Paul’s Life and Letters, Pauline studies have been a field of interest since. One of the last courses I completed to graduate was a RS398 Selected Readings on Paul, a directed readings course with the same professor. Every year I try and read at least one academic work related to Paul and Pauline thought. I loved this little pocket version of his letters. I read it over 5 days working my way through. My son was excited because he had been waiting for me to read it so he could have it and read it next.

These are great little booklets. It is an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society! I just wish the introduction was fixed up or it included the introductions to each letter as well. It is great to pick up and read in a sitting or two or to pass on to a friend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Henry Wansbrough OSB:
CTS Books:
36 Days & 36 Ways Daily Meditations from Advent to the Epiphany Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year A
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year C
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: The Year of Mercy
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: Year B
Jesus: The Real Evidence
The CTS New Catholic Bible (Editor)

Other Books:
40 Days With Paul
Benedictines In Oxford (Editor)
Children's Atlas Of The Bible: A Photographic Account Of The Journeys In The Bible From Abraham To St. Paul
Doubleday Bible Commentary: Genesis
Doubleday Bible Commentary: The Gospel of Luke
Event And Interpretation
In the Beginning
Introducing the New Testament
Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition
Luke: A Bible Commentary For Every Day
Mark and Matthew
Risen from the Dead
Sunday Word: A Commentary on the Sunday Readings
The Bible A Reader's Guide: Summaries, Commentaries, Color Coding for Key Themes
The Gospel of Matthew: Take and Read (Editor)
The Gospels: Take and Read
The Holy Spirit
The Incarnation
The Lion and the Bull: The Gospels of Mark and Luke
The New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The New Testament of the New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The Passion
The Passion And Death Of Jesus
The Resurrection
The Spck Bible Guide
The Story of Jesus
The Story of Jesus: Photographed as If You Were There!
The Story Of The Bible: How It Came To Us
The Use and Abuse of the Bible: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation

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