Letter and Spirit
From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy
By Scott Hahn
(Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385509336, 238pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2005
List Price: $22.95*
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The bestselling author of "The Lamb's Supper" continues his thoughtful exploration of the complex relationship between the Bible and the Catholic liturgy in a revelatory work that will appeal to all readers.
Scott Hahn has inspired millions of readers with his perceptive and unique view of Catholic theology and worship, becoming one of the most looked-to contemporary authorities in these areas. In "Letter and Spirit," Hahn extends the message he began in "The Lamb's Supper," offering far-reaching and profound insights into what the Bible teaches us about living the spiritual life.
For both Christians and Jews, the texts of the Bible are not simply records of historical events. They are intended, through public recitations in churches and synagogues, to bring listeners and readers into the sweeping story of redemption as it unfolds in the Bible. Focusing on the Catholic Mass, Hahn describes how God's Word is meant to open our eyes to the life-giving power of the sacraments, and how the liturgy brings about the "actualization" of the saving truths of Scripture.
"Letter and Spirit" is a stunningly original contribution to the field of biblical studies and will help Hahn's many loyal and enthusiastic readers understand the relationship between the Bible and the Mass in a deeper way.
Praise for Letter and Spirit
“What is different about reading the Bible in a classroom and hearing it read in Church? That is the question Scott Hahn addresses in this lively and informative book. His answer is that when the Bible is read in Christian worship it becomes the living Christ present in the midst of his people. In crisp and concise prose, Letter and Spirit offers an introduction to the history, theology, and present liturgical practice of the Christian reading of the Scriptures in the Eucharist. After reading Hahn, one will never doze when the Scriptures are read in Church.” —Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the History of Christianity,University of Virginia; author of The Spirit of Early Christian Thought; and past president of the North American Patristic Society
“The spirit of the great theologians Danielou and Congar breathes anew in this work of Dr. Scott Hahn. Letter and Spirit promises to become a classic in the revitalization of the liturgical renewal begun by Vatican II.” —Very Reverend Kurt Belsole, O.S.B. Rector, Saint Vincent Seminary
“This is a most important book and needs to be very carefully read and studied. Every devout Catholic should be spiritually fed by Scripture and liturgy. Obviously these two are meant to go together. In ways that you probably have never thought of, Scott Hahn brings the two together and relates them in a most integrated way. This book could be a new vista in your own spiritual life.” —Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, author of In the Presence of the Lord
“An appealingly fresh retrieval of the art of reading and living Scripture through the lens of liturgy and worship. Paraphrasing St. Francis de Sales, Hahn offers us the Bible, not so much as read, but as sung. Scholars will find biblical and theological acuteness; students and general readers, excellent scholarship expressed in friendly ways. Highly recommended.” —Dr. William Thompson-Uberuaga, Professor of Theology, Duquesne University, and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America
“Scott Hahn’s new book, Letter and Spirit, betokens the resurgence of the art of mystagogy—the spiritual exegesis of the liturgy. A late blossom on the stem of the twentieth-century ‘Ressourcement,’ it will help to heal the eyes with which we read Holy Scripture. This has to be one of Scott Hahn’s very best books—one that will excite scholars and nonspecialists in equal measure.” —Stratford Caldecott, G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture, Oxford
“This is a wonderful book . . . Hahn’s exposition is lucid, accessible to any serious layperson, and a wonderful synthesis and summation concerning what it means to ‘pray the Scriptures’ in a life-transforming way.” —Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University