Exodus recounts the origins of ancient Israel, but it is also a book of religious symbols. How should it be interpreted, especially in light of modern historical-critical study? In this addition to an acclaimed series, a respected scholar offers a theological reading of Exodus that highlights Aquinas’s interpretations of the text. As with other volumes in the series, this commentary is ideal for those called to ministry, serving as a rich resource for preachers, teachers, students, and study groups.
Pastors and leaders of the classical church—such as Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and Wesley—interpreted the Bible theologically, believing Scripture as a whole witnessed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Modern interpreters of the Bible questioned this premise. But in recent decades, a critical mass of theologians and biblical scholars has begun to reassert the priority of a theological reading of Scripture. The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible enlists leading theologians to read and interpret Scripture for the twenty-first century, just as the church fathers, the Reformers, and other Orthodox Christians did for their times and places.
The commentaries are designed to serve the church—through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth—and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.
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Thomas Aquinas left us no commentary on Exodus. But Thomas Joseph White succeeds in giving us a sense of what one from his hand might look like today
—Bruce D. Marshall, Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
White’s reading of Exodus tackles head-on the peculiarly modern conceit that all that stands between the reader of scripture and wise reading is a lack of knowledge—a deficiency of information. Surely, say White and the Catholic tradition to which he hereby contributes, as readers we typically lack the moral formation to see clearly the text and its truths. As such, we take a journey in tandem with the Israelites: from darkness to light and from slavery in Egypt to life-giving service (and understanding) under God’s law. Drawing deeply on the fourfold sense of scripture in dialogue with Aquinas and many other serious theological voices, this commentary will strengthen and challenge all readers in pursuit of the God to whom the book of Exodus bears witness.
—Richard S. Briggs, lecturer in Old Testament and director of biblical studies, Cranmer Hall, St. John's College, Durham University
In his introduction to this extraordinary commentary and reflection on Exodus, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, writes that ‘the classical Catholic approach to the moral law on Exodus is in many ways convergent with Judaism.’ Thus I can now better understand why Maimonides (who so greatly influenced Thomas Aquinas, Fr. White’s auctoritas) taught that Jews like me may learn Torah with Christians like Fr. White, who accept the Torah as divine revelation. In addition to that theological commonality (with differences to be sure), I very much identify with Fr. White’s philosophically informed way of reading the Torah. Indeed, ‘those who fear the Lord speak to one another . . . who fear the Lord and think of his name’ (Malachi 3:16).
—Rabbi David Novak, University of Toronto
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Thomas Joseph White,OP (DPhil, Oxford University), is director of the Thomistic Institute and associate professor of systematic theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of several books, including Wisdom in the Face of Modernity: A Thomistic Study in Natural Theology and The Incarnate Lord: A Thomistic Study in Christology. He was appointed a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2011.