“Raymond E. Brown and the Catholic Biblical Renewal” by Donald Senior, CP

Fr. Donald Senior came into prominence as a Catholic Biblical Scholar in the mid-1970s, about fifteen years after Fr. Brown came on the scene. His doctoral thesis on the Passion of Matthew: A Redactional Approach gained unusual renown for such a work. He later published four popular guides to the passion narratives, as well as many other books and compendiums. He was also appointed to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and was President of Catholic Theological Union. He was also editor of the Catholic Study Bible, published by Oxford Press, which has gone through numerous editions and printings. Thus he is very qualified to examine and document the career of America’s most prominent post-conciliar biblical scholar, Fr. Raymond E. Brown, SS.

Fr. Senior’s expertise is invaluable in assessing the critical / scholarly aspects of Fr. Brown’s career. The book offers a tremendous window into the post-conciliar biblical renewal within the Catholic Church, in which both Fr. Brown and Fr. Senior played a leading role.

Fr. Senior is objective in presenting Fr. Brown’s human side and chronicling details of his personal life. The book is not a eulogy, but a testimony, richly deserved, to one of the most prolific biblical scholars of the post-conciliar Church. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Fr. Brown on two occasions, and found him to be very accessible and down-to-earth.

Those who have read Fr. Senior’s popular works know that he is a very lucid writer who aptly bridges the academic and popular worlds. This book is compelling evidence of this, and thus despite its depth and level of detail it is truly a compelling read.  I had trouble putting it down because there was so much in there that was new to me, though I was very familiar with Fr. Brown’s corpus and career. It would be difficult to find a more fitting biographer than Fr. Senior. Superbly done and highly recommended.

Excellent for scholars and informed laypersons familiar with Fr. Brown, but also for anyone wanting to understand the post-conciliar biblical renewal in the Catholic Church, as indicated in the book’s title.

The book is published by Paulist Press and retails at a most reasonable $29.95 for a hardcover book of over 300 pages. It is available from their website, paulistpress.com.

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