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Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

, 2009
ISBN: 9781441252524


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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI brought a world-class theologian to the papacy. With an intensely biblical quality to his pastoral teaching, he has demonstrated a keen concern for the authentic interpretation and application of sacred Scripture.

In Covenant and Communion, Scott Hahn, a preeminent interpreter of Catholic thought and life, offers a probing look at Benedict’s theology, providing a clear and concise introduction to the 265th pope’s life and work. Hahn argues that the heart of Benedict’s theology is salvation history and the Bible, and he shows how Benedict accepts historical criticism—but recognizes its limits. Examining how Benedict reads the overall narrative of Scripture, Hahn shows how Benedict puts it to work in theology, liturgy, and Christian discipleship.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI is designed to encourage and stimulate your Bible study. With Logos, every word is essentially a link, and double-clicking any Scripture reference brings you straight to the original-language text or your preferred English translation. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say, making this volume ideal for studying and interpreting the Bible.

  • Looks at the theology of Pope Benedict XVI
  • Provides a clear and concise introduction to Benedict’s life and work
  • Examines how Benedict reads Scripture

Top Highlights

“Sacred Scripture, reflecting the lived experience of the people of God in the Church, is the vehicle for his revelation in history.” (Page 25)

“the historical-critical method also employs an unchallenged and unquestioned hermeneutic of suspicion” (Page 30)

“Scripture is at the center of the Church’s tradition,24 but tradition is properly understood as the whole of ‘the responsive Word of the Church’25—a living dialogue in which the Church constantly listens to the Word addressed to her and responds to the claims the Word makes on her through her preaching, teaching, doctrine, and liturgy.” (Page 51)

“At the root of the historical-critical method is an exaggerated and unnecessary separation between faith and reason” (Page 32)

“Why would students of the Bible establish, as a methodological principle, that these religious texts should be studied in isolation from the religious communities that produced these texts and still regard them as sacred and authoritative?” (Page 31)

Scott Hahn offers us a lucidly written and trenchant study of the biblical theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict. He shows how one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century gently but firmly corrected the historical critics who dominate much of contemporary academic Scripture study. Hahn further demonstrates how, in making this correction, Ratzinger/Benedict allowed for the recovery of much of the richness of patristic biblical interpretation, including typology, an integrated understanding of the Old and New Testaments, a sense of Jesus as the interpretive key for the whole of revelation, and the deep rapport between kingdom and Church. This is a beautiful and thought-provoking text, one that will prove helpful to any serious student of the sacred page.

Robert Barron, Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture, Mundelein Seminary, University of St. Mary of the Lake

Scott Hahn has done us a tremendous service by synthesizing Benedict’s erudite and prayerful biblical theology into a lively, readable, and intellectually reliable conspectus. This excellent volume will be indispensable for all Christians who seek to be more maturely grounded in Scripture.

David L. Jeffrey, distinguished professor of literature and the humanities, Baylor University

I recommend Covenant and Communion to anyone who wishes to read a competent synthesis of one of the great theologians of our time on the questions of revelation, Church, history, and language.

Francis Martin, professor of New Testament, Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC

Theologically insightful and surefooted, this book is one of the best and certainly the most timely and urgent among the recent introductions to the theology of Pope Benedict XVI.

—Reinhard Huetter, professor of Christian theology, Duke Divinity School

Exploring the foundations of Benedict’s theology, Hahn’s latest book presents an in-depth exposition of the pope’s theology of Scripture. This lucid exposition introduces the reader to Benedict’s understanding of historical criticism, faith and reason, typology, covenant, sacrifice, liturgy, and a variety of other topics. The book beautifully models what for Pope Benedict is the central task of theology: it leads believers into a real participation in the mystery of faith.

Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College

Scott Hahn here renders an important service in so clearly setting forth the hermeneutical principles, biblical framework, and doctrinal positions of Pope Benedict XVI, arguably the world’s most important contemporary theologian. The parallels between the biblical theology of the pope and of evangelicals, together with their respective attempts to interpret Scripture theologically in an age marked by modern biblical criticism, are particularly fascinating.

Kevin Vanhoozer, Blanchard Professor of Theology, Wheaton College and Graduate School

As a Protestant biblical scholar, I found Scott Hahn’s exposition of Pope Benedict’s biblical theology both informative and inspiring. In spite of differences, Protestants need to read this book to understand how deeply we can agree on the primacy of Christ and the Word. Through Hahn, I have a new appreciation for the mind and heart of Pope Benedict.

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

Scott Hahn offers the reader a superb introduction to the way in which the theology of Pope Benedict XVI has been shaped by the Bible. Hahn’s crisp and clear analysis puts the reader at the very center of this remarkable pope’s thought.

Gary Anderson, professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, University of Notre Dame

This is an extraordinary book. Exploring Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s theology, Hahn masterfully sets forth the links between Scripture and Church, history and typology, Word and liturgy. In clear and succinct prose, Hahn shows how these links derive from Christ’s Pasch. . . . Hahn’s marvelous book provides an introduction to biblical exegesis, Catholic theology, and ultimately to the life of discipleship itself. This is a book for all readers, a rich feast of spiritual and intellectual transformation.

Matthew Levering, professor of theology, University of Dayton

In this remarkable book, Scott Hahn has drawn out the central themes of Benedict’s teaching in a highly readable summary that includes not only the pope’s published works but also his less-accessible homilies and addresses. This is an eminently useful guide for introducing the thought of an important theologian of our time.

Michael S. Horton, J. G. Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

For those in search of a holistic and comprehensive approach to biblical interpretation and theology, [this book] will be very helpful.


Hahn’s approach is descriptive and appreciative. His greatest service is gathering a large number of extensive quotations from many different sources. . . . At every point Hahn lets Benedict speak for himself, and so the reader not only gets a firsthand acquaintance with the pope’s theological presuppositions and concerns but also is treated to his many brilliant and challenging insights about the significance of particular biblical texts and themes. . . . For biblical scholars and students of theology interested in theological exegesis (a growing and lively field in recent years), this volume presents a distinguished theologian’s comprehensive and holistic approach to biblical interpretation that can be accepted or adapted in various ways.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Scott Hahn has quickly become a prominent Catholic apologist. . . . His conversion from Protestantism is well known, and his persuasive scriptural exegesis has garnered the approbation of doctrinally diverse Christians. Add to that already impressive resume his latest volume . . . outlining Pope Benedict’s emerging theology. . . . Hahn demonstrates Pope Benedict XVI’s unprecedented reliance on Scripture . . . but Hahn accomplishes far more. He cues everything from papal addresses to dogmatic constitutions into an aria of catholic unity, demonstrating Benedict’s awe-inspiring command of liturgy, prayer, philosophy, sacraments, salvation history, and even cosmology. . . . As the book nears its conclusion, Hahn’s epiphanies multiply. . . . The reader is often moved here to put down the book and raise his heart in thanksgiving for both Benedict and Hahn. . . . We can hope that Hahn will expand this study into a multivolume work, adding another movement to an already concordant repertoire.

National Catholic Register

[This book] makes an excellent contribution to the study of the pope’s work by capturing how the Bible has shaped Benedict’s entire approach to his theological enterprise. . . . By seamlessly weaving together numerous citations from the vast corpus of Benedict’s major writings and pontifical addresses, Hahn shows how the Bible provides the raison d’etre of Benedict’s ‘polyphonic melody.’ . . . Hahn makes his greatest contribution to the study of Benedict’s thought by identifying the liturgy . . . as both the end and fulfillment of God’s revelation. . . . Hahn clearly explains Benedict’s theology of Scripture and he masterfully illuminates the heart and unity of Benedict’s covenant theology, ecclesiology, and liturgical theology.

Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly

  • Title: Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI
  • Author: Scott W. Hahn
  • Publisher: Brazos
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 208

Scott Hahn (born October 28, 1957) is a contemporary author, theologian, and Catholic apologist. His works include Rome Sweet Home and The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. He currently teaches at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic university in the United States.


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Print list price: $19.00
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