“I shall be called John Paul”

On this day in 1978, the newly elected John Paul I explained his choice of name:

Yesterday morning I went to the Sistine Chapel to vote tranquilly. Never could I have imagined what was about to happen. As soon as the danger for me had begun, the two colleagues who were beside me whispered words of encouragement. One said: “Courage! If the Lord gives a burden, he also gives the strength to carry it.” The other colleague said: “Don’t be afraid; there are so many people in the whole world who are praying for the new Pope.” When the moment of decision came, I accepted.John Paul I

Then there was the question of the name, for they also ask what name you wish to take, and I had thought little about it. My thoughts ran along these lines: Pope John had decided to consecrate me himself in St Peter’s Basilica, then, however unworthy, I succeeded him in Venice on the Chair of St Mark, in that Venice which is still full of Pope John. He is remembered by the gondoliers, the Sisters, everyone.

Then Pope Paul not only made me a Cardinal, but some months earlier, on the wide footbridge in St Mark’s Square, he made me blush to the roots of my hair in the presence of 20,000 people, because he removed his stole and placed it on my shoulders. Never have I blushed so much!

Furthermore, during his fifteen years of pontificate this Pope has shown, not only to me but to the whole world, how to love, how to serve, how to labour and to suffer for the Church of Christ.

For that reason I said: “I shall be called John Paul.” I have neither the “wisdom of the heart” of Pope John, nor the preparation and culture of Pope Paul, but I am in their place. I must seek to serve the Church. I hope that you will help me with your prayers.

All of John Paul I’s papal messages, radio talks, and more are available in The Homilies, Audiences, and Other Writings of Pope John Paul I (6 volumes, Latin and English) from Verbum for $25. 

Advertisements

Free Bonhoeffer Book From Logos

The free book of the month from Logos is worth a download: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Vol. 3: Creation and Fall:

Creation and Fall originated in lectures given by Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the University of Berlin in the winter semester of 1932–1933 during the demise of the Weimar Republic and the birth of the Third Reich. In the course of these events, Bonhoeffer called his students to focus their attention on the word of God—the word of truth in a time of turmoil.

It’s a commentary on Genesis 1-3.  Grab it while you can.

New Titles For Verbum/Logos

Verbum Bible Software continues to be the center of my academic world, particularly now that I’ve begun the final semester of my masters program with two scripture classes. I got word from Alex Renn at Logos/Verbum that some new stuff is available, or soon to be available:

Fathers of the Church Series (127 vols.): This is the big one, folks. The current “Fathers” series is nice, but those are old translations with gaps. The new Fathers set will have titles not seen in English, and be a more complete set of patristic texts. Expensive, but essential for masters and PhD work.

Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry (13 vols.): I’m very curious about this series, which is a fresh commentary that studies OT texts as they are, rather than trying to source them to death.

The Aramaic Bible Series (22 vols.): This one’s pretty hardcore: all extant targums translated into English. Aramaic, rather than Hebrew,was the dominant language in the century before Christ, and these translations and paraphrases provide an important link to the Judaism before, during, and after the life of Christ.

Sacra Pagina New Testament Commentary Series (18 vols.): New translations and commentaries of NT texts in a project akin to the old Anchor Bible series.

Catholic Scripture Study International Studies (30 vols.): Short Bible commentaries by Scott Hahn, Mark Shea, Cindy Morales, Steve Ray, and others. 

Peter Kreeft Bundle (27 vols.): Includes his Socrates series, apologetics, and theological works.

Catholic Answers Collection (21 vols.): This is a set of publications from Catholic Answers, ranging from pamphlets to full books by Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, and others. 

 

Verbum Prepares a Massive Patristic Collection

You don’t spend any time in deep study of the Church Fathers without coming across some reference to the Patrologiae Cursus Completus of Fr. Jacques Paul Migne. Fr. Migne’s goal was truly epic: create a cheap series of books collecting the complete writings of the Church Fathers, Greek and Latin.

His editions were massive and done with some haste, so they’ve been subjected to criticism over the years, but they remain the single largest source of patristic writing ever compiled. The English translations from Philip Schaff, which are in wide use on the internet and within the Verbum Bible Software, were based on Migne’s originals, but do not represent the complete corpus, which has never been rendered in English in its entirety.

Over the years, better, more academic texts and translations have replaced individual works from the Patrologiae, but there is no single source like it.

Verbum is bringing this treasure of the Church to their software in two editions: Patrologiae Latina (221 volumes of Western Fathers) Patrilogiae Graeca (167 volumes of Eastern Fathers). Each of these is currently on pre-publication sale for $250, which is a flat-out steal for academics and theology students. They’re also publishing  a set that includes Patrologia Syriaca (2 volumes) and Orientalis (17 volumes). These supplements were created by Rene Graffin to fill in the gaps of Migne’s work with writings from the Syriac Church Fathers as well as texts in Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Greek, Georgian, and Slavonic.

The editions are full of introductions, critical and supplementary material, and are fully adapted to the Verbum/Logos format. This means they are cross-linked the Schaff editions in English, which means you can spot check Schaff against the originals.

“But Tom,” I hear you saying. “I don’t read Latin or Greek! What’s a body to do?!”

Look, my Latin is wretched. I was a C-student, and time hasn’t improved it all that much despite my occasional forays into Wheelock. As for my Greek? A-ho-ho-he-he-ha! You know what Ben Jonson said about Shakespeare? “Small Latin and less Greek.” It’s like that, but worse. Here’s a picture from my desk:

Sad, isn’t it? I still need to count on my fingers, too.

But that’s the beauty of Verbum. Their language tools provide a sturdy crutch for the Latin/Greek challenged. You can pick your way through the text with the help of various dictionaries and word-study aids. It’s a beautiful thing.

This will be one of the jewels in Verbum’s crown for the serious academic. Order early to lock in a good price, because it’s not going to be $250 forever.

Upcoming from Verbum (Logos)

Verbum is charging ahead with more releases, many now on “pre-pub.” This means they’re gathering interesting by taking pre-orders, at a reduced price. That enables them to determine user interest in a certain title or bundle.

For example, Edward Schillebeeckx Collected Works (14 vols.), isn’t really something at the top of my list. But tell me you’re working on Select Works of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI (21 vols.)The Homilies and Angeli of Pope John Paul II (8 vols.) by John Paul II, or the first English translation of Aquinas’ Commentary on the Prophet Jeremiah: English and Latin (2 vols.), and I’m there, baby.

A new, larger Benedict/Ratzinger set is also on the way. The Select Works of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI (21 vols.) includes the following items:

 Another nice set, currently on community pricing, is Post-Reformation Catholic Thought and Piety (27 vols.). With community pricing, people bid on the highest price they’re willing to pay for the set. If the set goes lower, you pay the lesser price.

Here’s the official description of this set:

The Catholic Church has honored only 35 people with the title “Doctor of the Church,” recognizing them for their eminent learning and great sanctity. Nine of these thinkers have lived in the past five centuries: St. John of Ávila (1500–1569), St. Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582), St. John of the Cross (1542–1591), St. Peter Canisius (1521–1597), St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559–1619), St. Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787), and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897). Their brilliant works vary from Scriptural commentary, to mystical poetry, to catechetical instruction and spiritual direction, and will add historical, intellectual, and spiritual depth to your Logos library.

The Post-Reformation Catholic Thought and Piety (27 vols.) collection offers writings from each of these modern Doctors (with the exceptions of St. John of Ávila and Thérèse of Lisieux—whose Story of a Soul is available separately). Taken together, their writings provide a window into Catholic thought and piety as the Church faced the struggles of the Reformation and of modern society. But they are of more than historical importance. As is evidenced in their continued and profound influence on contemporary Christian thought and piety, the insights and spiritual accomplishments of the modern Doctors are of enduring value.

News From Verbum: Android App, Ignatius Study Bible, & More

Verbum for Android

Verbum (formerly Logos Catholic Bible Study Software) has some news:

  • First off, the software is finally available for Android devices, with a free app that provides access to your Verbum library. Check it out at either Google Play or Amazon.
  •  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is coming to the system and is now on pre-order. This package includes the RSV 2nd Catholic Edition, and comes with not only the whole New Testament, but also the first two available OT books from the series: Genesis and Exodus. This is a great work from Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. It’s perfectly accessible to everyday readers, but I’ve also made use of it in graduate-level work.
  • Some big announcements should be coming soon, including more packages and releases from Ignatius Press and Liturgical Press.
  • Verbum is hiring. They need Spanish-Language Marketing Specialist, a National Software Presenter, and a Marketing Assistant, all from their Bellingham WA offices.

I use Verbum almost every day and it’s essential to my work and my study. Check out the packages.

Bread & Wine | Life & Abundance

The moment when the Lord comes down and transforms bread and wine to become his Body and Blood cannot fail to stun, to the very core of their being, those who participate in the Eucharist by faith and prayer. When this happens, we cannot do other than fall to our knees and greet him. The Consecration is the moment of God’s great actio in the world for us. It draws our eyes and hearts on high. For a moment the world is silent, everything is silent, and in that silence we touch the eternal—for one beat of the heart we step out of time into God’s being-with-us.

Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy

There’s something simultaneously humble and profound in the use of bread and wine to convey the presence of Christ in the world. Bread and wine were deeply important to both the ritual and physical lives of the Jews, and thus it was natural for Christ to use them as vehicles for his new covenant. In doing so, he both fulfilled and extended their role and meaning.

Themes of replacement and abundance are central to the gospel of John. Jewish institutions, rituals, and feasts are to be replaced with the person of Christ himself. In particular, wine and bread shall be provided in great abundance, in fulfillment of the messianic promises of the Old Testament.

Over the next few days, I’m going to do a bit of catechesis on bread and wine in the Old Testament, and the way it is transformed in John’s gospel.

I want to start by isolating all the passages referencing bread and wine in both the Old and New Testaments, which is an easy task to do with Verbum. Here are the results:

Bread in the Old Testament and the New Testament

Here’s the distribution of the word bread among the books of the OT and NT:

“Bread” in the Old Testament

The use of “bread” in the OT is complex, since the word (לֶחֶם lechem) could have various meanings in Semitic languages, with the root representing any staple food. Thus, “in Arabic one has laḥm, ‘meat,’ in Ethiopic laḥm, ‘cow,’ and in the South Arabic language of Soqoṭra leḥem, ‘fish.’ In Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Mandaic lḥm referred to bread specifically and food generally.” (The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman) The highest number of references are grouped in Exodus, Leviticus, and 1 Samuel.

“Bread” in the New Testament

In the NT, it’s a little simpler, with  ἄρτος (artos, “bread”) used pretty consistently.  As you can see, the Gospels represent the most frequent usage of “bread,” with John having the most at 20.

Wine in the Old Testament and the New Testament

“Wine” in the Old Testament

Isaiah has by far the most references to wine, and we’ll see why as we go through this catechesis. There are several Hebrew words that get translated into “wine,” but the most common יַיִן (yayin).

“Wine” in the New Testament

By contrast with references to bread, references to wine are more predominant in Revelation (again, for reasons we’ll see) than the gospels. The Greek word here is οἶνος (ŏinŏs, “wine”).

These two elements become the vector for intense meaning both in the Old Testament and the New. Even before the last supper, bread and wine were imbued with deep layers of significance for the Jews. As we’ll see in this catechesis, together they fulfill key elements of John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Verbum: The New Logos for Catholics

I’ve used Logos Bible study software for used for many years, so when they began creating products aimed at the Catholic market, I was delighted. In the past year, Logos has been adding new titles and features specifically for Catholics, and now they have decided to turn that product line into its own brand: Verbum.

Thus far, I haven’t too deeply into some of the new features, but I’m pleased to see the easier search functions for catechism, church fathers, and church documents. These allow you to see, for example, every church document referencing John 1:1. It was possible to create groups like this manually, but it was labor intensive and each collection had to be updated each time a new text was added to the library.

I’m also pleased to see a much more robust set of Latin tools to compliment to Greek and Hebrew tools already developed by Logos. Evangelicals have no real need for Latin, but for Catholics in can be essential. I’m in a class on Christology right now where my ability to instantly swap back and forth between the Latin and English texts of the Summa is essential. St. Thomas requires some very special understanding of terminology and language, and sometimes it can really only be grasped at the Latin level.

The new series is offered in five packages ranging from Basic (226 resources) to Capstone (1020 resources). You can see what each package offers and decide which is the best fit for your needs. If you use the coupon code “Logos5Verbum” you get 15% off.

I had a chance to ask Andrew Jones, Director of Catholic Products for Logos, some questions about the new product line:

Why was Verbum created, and what distinguishes it from Logos?

What we’ve done with Verbum is taken the Logos 5 software and tweaked it here and there to make it better for Catholics. The idea was that while most of the tools and functions of Logos have great value to both Catholics and Protestants, there are certain things that Catholics do differently that needed our attention. Not least among these is our preferred texts. The software relies on a certain prioritized list of books. Whenever two books could occupy the same place, the software orders them according to this priority list. So, one of the things that we have done with Verbum is put the Catholic works at the top of the list. This may seem like a minor tweak, but it actually has significant consequences

Was there a feeling that Catholics needed a product that was somewhat separate from Logos, which is product with strong Evangelical roots?

There is just no way around the fact that Catholics and Evangelicals approach the study of Christianity in different ways and making use of different resources. It is a testament to the versatility of Logos’s software that Catholics could use it for our style of study and Evangelicals could use it for theirs. This remains the case. Verbum has all the functionality of the main Logos 5 product line. However, I felt that Catholics could be better served by producing a special version of the software just for them. It was important that Catholics could just pull the product off the shelve, open it up, and start using it without having to negotiate any sort of denominational “problems.” So, when you open Verbum for the first time, you will see a Catholic Bible, the Catholic lectionary, a Catholic blog feed and things like that. Verbum users are still a part of the Logos universe, with all the benefits that go along with that, but they have their own home now.

What are some of the new tools that are specifically tailored for Catholics?

One of the things we did was create default segments within the library of texts. There are three of them: Catechism, Church Fathers, and Church Documents. These segments allow for some simple, but very useful, functionality. For example, if you are doing a search on the word “Eucharist,” you can very quickly limit it to just the writings of the Church Fathers or to the Catechism. We have incorporated these segments into what we call the Passage Guide. The Passage Guide is a tool that behaves like a dynamic study Bible. So, if you are reading a certain passage in the Bible, the tool goes into your library, pulls out relevant information on that passage, and presents it to you in a useful format. In Verbum’s Passage Guide, you can see immediately how the Catechism uses the passage in question, where the documents of the Magisterium have cited it, and how the Church Fathers treated it. You can also see when the passage is read in Mass and with what other readings. This is in addition to the normal Passage Guide tools like cross references, parallel passages, maps, commentaries, and the like. You get the same sort of behavior in other Logos tools.

What are some of the new features of Logos Version 5

Logos 5 has a bunch of new features. For example, with the Clause Search you can do things like search for every sentence in the Bible where Jesus is the subject and Peter is the indirect object, even if pronouns are used. We have the Universal Timeline, which makes dates in Logos resources links, so that you can immediately see a certain event within the context of world or Biblical history. There’s the Topic Guide that allows you to pull information from the Bible and from throughout your library that is relevant for a certain topic. There’re new smart search features that suggest possible queries that are far more complex than that of a search engine like Google. We also have a lot of social media functionality. So, you can make a note in your Bible or Catechism or any other work and share it with a group. The members of the group can reply to your note and make their own—You can study the faith together with discussion threads right in the texts.

What are some of the new books being added to the base packages? 

We’ve added scores of books. We have the all the papal encyclicals since 1740; we have the Papal Exhortations and Constitutions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI; we have a reverse interlinear of the RSVCE; we have sermons of St. Thomas Aquinas, history works, reference books, and of course many, many different Bible texts. The full lists can be seen here.

Study the Catechism in a Year With Logos

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and to offer a opportunity to reflect on the gift of our faith, Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith beginning October 11th. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wants this to a be a year for people to “deepen their knowledge of the primary documents of the Second Vatican Council and their study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The best way to do this is to study the Catechism, and Logos Bible Software is offering a neat way to do just that.

Using Logos’s Faithlife tools and their bible study software, you can read the Catechism along with a group of the faithful, make comments, ask questions, and discuss issues. You can sign up for the program by going here and clicking the Join button. Once you connect Faithlife with your Logos software, this little icon will appear on your Logos homepage:

As you can see, it offers weekly readings in small chunks, and the Faithlife tools allow you to comment upon and discuss the readings each week. Even better, Logos offers free apps for the major mobile devices, so you can follow the reading plan and discussions that way as well.

The beauty of Logos is that it hyperlinks all the Biblical citations so you can pop to them instantly. If you have one of the bigger Logos sets, this power extends to even more citations, so if St. Thomas or a Council document is cited and you own that resource, you can see a quote or reference in context. There is simply no better way to study the Catechism than with Logos. Yes, it gets expensive to have all those resources, but if you’re a student, serious layperson, or involved in some ministry, it’s an excellent tool to own.

You can read more about the program at Verbum, the official blog for the Logos Catholic program.

An example of the Logos CCC, with hyperlinks straight to a specific Summa citation

If you use the coupon code WS18543, you’ll even save 15% off the 9-volume CCC Collection, and it works on base packages as well. Ends Sunday.

Find out more about the Logos CCC here, or view a tutorial here.

 

Scripture Study During the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Glossed medieval manuscript.

Andrew Jones, of Logos Bible Software’s Catholic division, has written an excellent pair of posts about the way Christians of the Middle Ages and Renaissance approached scripture study.

Although medieval Christians were known for striking feats of memory (some of them achieved using techniques I still teach to my own students), Jones points out that rote memorization was not the heart of the way they lived the scripture. Rather, it was the way they integrated the scripture into their very beings and let it change them over time that made their deep experience of the Bible so significant. Their very lives were a dialog with the scripture.

One concrete manifestation of this approach were the illuminated and glossed manuscripts, which were at the cutting edge of technology: kind of the Logos of their day:

There were amazingly intricate mental techniques for memorization, whole mental architectures that were built and refined as they were passed on from master to student. Even the physical form of the Bible was a technology. For example, much of the illumination we see in medieval manuscripts functioned as memory “tags,” giving the reader a visual anchor for the memorized text.

But even more impressive than the illuminations were the glosses that surrounded the Scripture text. As monks and scholars read, they would often jot down little reminders in the margins—anonymous sayings, references to, perhaps, St. Augustine or an early council. These were intended primarily as memory aids, so there were often only a few lines or even a couple words—just enough to evoke the memory. These notes are called glosses. Over the centuries, as Bibles were copied and recopied, traded and loaned, a standard gloss grew up around the text. The construction of this gloss was a process of dialogue across centuries as monks and scholars meditated on and digested the Scriptures and engaged with the ancient authorities and each other.

In his follow-up post on the Renaissance approach to textual studies, Jones makes another important point. The flowering of humanism led people away from the medieval conception of scripture, which was as an integral part of the individual, with each new generation continuing a dialog with the past. The Renaissance, on the other hand, saw the development of a more analytical style of understanding the Bible. Rather than being shaped by the text, they stood aloof from it, attempting to understand it with a more clinical detachment. This isn’t a bad thing, since it helped us get back to original languages and led to a deeper sense of history, context, interpretation, translation, and other issues. The approach continues down to the present time (for both good and ill), taking shape into historical-critical, form criticism, and similar approaches to the Bible.

As Jones observes, Renaissance scholars used the technology of their time (the printing press: still the most important technological revolution in history) to create new tools for Bible study:

Whereas in the Middle Ages, each Bible was the unique manifestation of sometimes centuries of tradition, the printing press could produce thousands of identical copies. This demanded a single text, a fundamental text that could serve as the printers’ source. Such a technological need was directly congruent with the humanist approach to historical texts, and so the humanists set to work producing critical editions, taking into account the various manuscript traditions, reconciling them, sorting out what they deemed to be corruptions from later ages, and finally producing the “text” as they supposed it to have been written. This text was printed, translated, and disseminated as a stand-alone book, without glosses or adornment.

You can read both posts at the Logos blog: The Technology of Scripture Study in the Middle Ages and The Technology of Scripture Study in the Renaissance.