Too much Scott Hahn?

A fellow at my parish who is in a lay Master’s program at a seminary said recently that his theology professors were disdainful of Scott Hahn’s work. I have really like his Bible studies. But, perhaps I should expand my reading.

Two questions: what other authors would you recommend on scripture study–I am looking for someone who writes to lay people, not theologians? And, what do you think of Scott Hahn’s various studies?

[quote=JMJ Theresa]A fellow at my parish who is in a lay Master’s program at a seminary said recently that his theology professors were disdainful of Scott Hahn’s work. I have really like his Bible studies. But, perhaps I should expand my reading.

Two questions: what other authors would you recommend on scripture study–I am looking for someone who writes to lay people, not theologians? And, what do you think of Scott Hahn’s various studies?
[/quote]

I’ve found that most people that are “disdainful” of Scott Hahn are either Protestants who don’t like his Catholic approach, or modernist or extreme Traditionalist “Catholics” who don’t like his “Protestant” approach. Rather than cater to the predjudices of others, if Scott Hahn is helpful to you, continue to read him.

Of course there is lots of other good Catholic Bible study material out there which should not be neglected. My favorites are Steve Ray and the Navarre Bible commentary series. Are you looking for something specific? I humbly recommend you visit my Catholic Scripture website (linked below) for more info.

I buy, read, enjoy, and recommend Hahn’s books; but I agree that he has a Protestant approach to Scripture which, I believe, does seem to twist the facts into his favor.

As a former Protestant I can tell you that one of their techniques is to put all of Scripture into some ‘grand scheme’ that fits some idiosyncratic view of theirs; a genuinely true, spiritual perspective that they take great pains to fit all of Scripture into. You can recognize this Protestant quirk immediately in Hahn’s covenant theology, especially in his book ‘A Father Who Keeps His Promises.’

There are many, many slight bends of the facts to make his covenant theology work. I will mention just one that I noticed. Look for other websites for more.

He completely glosses over the covenant with Phineas (Num 25). Sirach 45 says Phineas has a covenant of peace (NJB) or friendship (NAB). This covenant just happens to be out of sync with Hahn’s ‘bigger and better’ covenant chart on page 35 of his above mentioned book. So he just doesn’t include Phineas. Scripture testifies there was a covenant made–deal with it; especially in a book whose main theme is Biblical covenants!

I’m just a regular guy and I’ve noticed many other such inconsistencies; just think of what a trained Scripture scholar can do. I believe Hahn’s good points outweigh the bad; but–here’s the rub–you’ve got to know your Scripture! And so many of us Catholics don’t.

It’s seductive to our rationally trained minds to take this humongous collection of books in Scripture and, in the interest of making sense of it all, squeeze them into one over-arching theme. I believe there is one over-arching theme: God’s will–simple enough for a child to know; and mysterious enough for great theologians to get lost in. Hahn, like the rest of us, is some where inbetween.

If you’re looking for something geared towards us lay folks, try the Catholic Home Study Services. amm.org/chss.htm They’re free and very informative. They’re also easy to understand, but don’t make me feel like I’m being talked down to, kwim?

Take a look at some of Tim Gray’s and Edward Sri’s books. They really show the links between the Old and the New Testament to show God’s plan for our Salvation.

Notworthy

I have a couple of Hahn’s books. I really like SCRIPTURE MATTERS which is the subject of a thread I started a couple weeks ago. It’s a collection of articles, quite good I think.

I get tripped up on his excitement and rhetoric. Some of his book writing is quite conversational like you are hearing him talk on some EWTN program. I feel like I’m waiting for him to settle down to say something that I can understand.

But, I do think I benefit from what he is saying, beneath that layer of excitement.

In SCRIPTURE MATTERS, he is analytical enough to talk about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its outline for Bible studies. So, he expounds on the literal and spiritual “senses” of scripture.

but, in his own works I don’t see (so far) a clear delineation of those “senses” of scripture. I would like to see someone comment on scripture with sensitivity to explaining those different senses of scripture.

Late on Dec 23, 2005 (11:30 p.m. Eastern) I saw the first in a new (?) series by Tim Gray, which is also quite good. I can assure you that I hae forgotten a lot of what he said at that late hour. I was impressed at the time.

Oh, yeah, he was talking about the significance of the geneology of Christ in Matthew’s gospel. He made the point that the first two parts of the geneology reflect Genesis, Kings, and Chronicles, but the third part of the geneology focuses on Jesus’ particular descendency (which would be quite important to Jewish communities).

So much interesting and helpful stuff has come from Gray and Hahn, and I look forward to what they both will contribute, generally in their enthusiasm for scripture, and specifically in their expositions.

As a cradle Catholic, I am very thankful for Scott Hahn’s gifted approach to Scripture. Even though I’ve received all of my sacraments, been baptised in the Holy Spirit and have a fond devotion to Mary – Scott enlightens me every time I read his analysis of Scripture or Mary or the Church. God has truly gifted him, particularly when it comes to Mary and the Holy Eucharist. I find his enthusiasm refreshing and his child-like faith with his scholarly analysis just the right combination.

Keep up the good work, Scott,
and a Joyous Christmas and New Year to everyone! :thumbsup:

Peace,
Brenda

[quote=JMJ Theresa]A fellow at my parish who is in a lay Master’s program at a seminary said recently that his theology professors were disdainful of Scott Hahn’s work. I have really like his Bible studies. But, perhaps I should expand my reading.

Two questions: what other authors would you recommend on scripture study–I am looking for someone who writes to lay people, not theologians? And, what do you think of Scott Hahn’s various studies?
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Another comment: I think it’s a common temptation to criticize people with broad brush strokes, like criticizing Hahn. You need to see where these critics might be criticizing Hahn, on a point by point basis.

Criticizing Hahn is called an “ad hominem” (to the man) argument. They need to explain where they disagree with Hahn, in detail, starting with perhaps whether they disagree with Hahn embracing the principles of Bible study outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. How can any Catholic criticize that?

[quote=seabird3579]As a cradle Catholic, I am very thankful for Scott Hahn’s gifted approach to Scripture. Even though I’ve received all of my sacraments, been baptised in the Holy Spirit and have a fond devotion to Mary – Scott enlightens me every time I read his analysis of Scripture or Mary or the Church. God has truly gifted him, particularly when it comes to Mary and the Holy Eucharist. I find his enthusiasm refreshing and his child-like faith with his scholarly analysis just the right combination.

Keep up the good work, Scott,
and a Joyous Christmas and New Year to everyone! :thumbsup:

Peace,
Brenda
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All of the above except I’m a convert! God bless and keep you Scott Hahn!:slight_smile:

I don’t quite understand. What is wrong with reading, and attempting to extract, “themes” from scripture?

I love how Hahn does this with, for example, his essay on the “fourth cup” and his comments on the Wedding at Cana and how it relates to his views on Mary, and his description of the Mass in The Lambs Supper.

Maybe this is a “protestant” way of viewing things but I like to think that there is much typology, much prophesy, much more to the story of the bible then what my relatively newbie mind extracts when I read scripture. And therefore I lean on people such as Hahn to aid me in getting more of my scripture reading.

I’m not suggesting, of course, going counter to Catholic teaching (such as the Protestant teaching on the rapture/bibe codes and other such extravagant stretches of scripture), but I do like to believe there much there, under the words and that I have much to learn.

Again: I read, enjoy, learn from, and recommend Hahn’s books. He provides excellent insights for all of us. Praise God we have theologians like this to bolster our understanding of the faith. :thumbsup:

My reservations are for the convolutions he and others make to Scripture in their exaggerated attempts to bring their legitimate, accurate perspectives to bear on ALL of Scripture; when this happens, abuses *might * occur.

The small example I gave was how Hahn wrote an entire book about God’s successive covenants without mentioning God’s covenant with Phineas. The covenant perspective is an entirely appropiate way to approach Scripture; but please, Mr. Hahn, use all of God’s covenants and don’t leave out the ones that don’t fit your particularscheme of things.

Another example is family. Approaching Scripture with the point of view of studying God’s idea of family is wonderful, necessary, and legitimate. But to use this idea to explain the Trinity as ‘family’ and applying a feminine nature to the Holy Spirit so that we have a ‘family’ of Father, female Holy Spirit, and Son, is entirely against Catholic history and teaching.

To repeat: I study Hahn and recommend his books; but I just have reservations when he, I believe, steps over the line from Catholic theology to Hahn’s theology.

To be entirely fair I would like to point out that Hahn, I believe, does an excellent job of pointing out when he goes over that line. His footnotes, at least in *A Father Who Keeps His Promises * are enlightening and thought provoking. For example, read his reasoning for equating the eldest son of Noah, Shem, with Melchizedek. Interesting; not particularly convincing; yet altogether possible–but please, Mr. Hahn, don’t present it as Catholic teaching or the Patrisically dominant believe that we Catholics should all share.

Hahn tells us when he’s stepping over the line–let’s listen to him.

Sounds like Hahn is being called a heretic.

When a theologian speculates on something that the Church has not formally defined-- it is not considered heresy.

When a theologian presents his speculations in a book and guides us into his speculative reasoning with accurate footnotes–that’s good writing.

When Catholics mistakenly believe a theologian’s speculations are Catholic teaching–that’s an ignorance of Scripture and Tradition.

We are, all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, ignorant of Scripture and Tradition; no one can know it all.

[quote=scriabin]Another example is family. Approaching Scripture with the point of view of studying God’s idea of family is wonderful, necessary, and legitimate. But to use this idea to explain the Trinity as ‘family’ and applying a feminine nature to the Holy Spirit so that we have a ‘family’ of Father, female Holy Spirit, and Son, is entirely against Catholic history and teaching…
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I don’t believe he has actually done that, has he? After all, how can the Holy Spirit be both ‘female’ and the ‘spouse’ of Mary? Can you cite book and page references to Scott’s references as to the Holy Spirit having a female likeness. Scripture points out that in heaven there is neither male or female, Jew or Greek, etc…No one would be more aware of this than Scott Hahn.

[quote=scriabin]To be entirely fair I would like to point out that Hahn, I believe, does an excellent job of pointing out when he goes over that line. His footnotes, at least in *A Father Who Keeps His Promises * are enlightening and thought provoking. For example, read his reasoning for equating the eldest son of Noah, Shem, with Melchizedek. Interesting; not particularly convincing; yet altogether possible–but please, Mr. Hahn, don’t present it as Catholic teaching or the Patrisically dominant believe that we Catholics should all share.

Hahn tells us when he’s stepping over the line–let’s listen to him.
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And when Catholic Scripture scholars make “interesting” comparisons in scripture and the Church does not condemn their comparisons as heresy, they are known as private revelations and Catholics are free to believe or not believe.

Personally, I find his comparisons build up the Body of Christ, strengthen Catholic doctrine and are edifying as a whole.

I’ll give you space to be personally ‘disturbed’ by his ‘perceived’ license with Scripture.

Could you maybe entertain the thought that the Holy Spirit has revealed some of these comparisons to him to have us rethink some of these passages with new insight?

Not only do I entertain the idea that the Holy Spirit is working through Scott Hahn; I believe it!

I think Hahn’s books, in general, edify the Church.

As far as I know, he is no heretic.

I guess the printed word (at least used by me) cannot convey subtleties or shades of gray.

I’ll try again. :banghead:

I repeat: I read, enjoy, learn from, and recommend Scott Hahn’s books. I am a Scott Hahn fan. But I do not worship the man, folks.

The one beef I have is that some of us Catholics are confusing his good theological speculations with good Catholic theology.

And to the extent his writings confuse people–that’s the extent of my distaste for his writings. Period.

P.S. I can’t give you the Hahn book and page for the female Holy Spirit (I don’t happen to have *that * Hahn book); just google “Scott Hahn female Holy Spirit” and you’ll get a host of references and explanations for this inaccurate theology.

I think it’s good to discuss the pro’s and con’s of ideas, like is being done here.

I’d like to jump into this thread again and recommend Hahn’s SCRIPTURE MATTERS. This book is readable (it’s a series of articles he wrote).

He makes a very good point there about the relation of scripture and theology. It’s virtually a work of art, as far as I am concerned.

The point in the last several posts about whether he has gone beyond Church teaching, is well taken. That should always be kept in mind. It raises the question in my mind about whether we need so many theologians? That sounds like a dumb question. but, honestly, why do we need books and books and books about theology?

Does anyone see my point? The more books there are, the more transgressions of the boundaries of Church doctrine.

And, then, there’s the practical problem that I don’t want to read, much less expend my small budget, for books that go way beyond that line where church doctrine is forgotten or attacked.

Scripture is such a rich mine of good stuff that no single scripture scholar/teacher can come near to extracting all that is there. Each one often has a favorite approach and it is good to not stick with one person as being the be all and end all of scripture scholars. I am doing Cavin’s study on The Great Adventure-Bible Time Line. It is excellent and I am learning a lot, but it easy to see that he and Scott Hahn are big on the Covenant Theme. I personally don’t see this as a problem, but view it more as being able to see well at least one of the facets that bounds the diamond of Sacred Scripture. To learn and understand almost ant field of knowledge one must look to more tha one teaching source, why should it be any different for study of the Bible?

Don’t we need theologians to accurately and practically apply timeless religious principles to ever-changing modern day problems?

Stem cell research, contraception, and artificially sustaining life are all modern day situations that demand a thoughtful, measured response from the Church. Moral theologians are needed here.

JPII’s Theology of the Body helps us understand ourselves from a religious (theological) perspective as opposed to a modern secular understanding of sexuality.

I don’t think we’ll ever run out of the need for theologians; because we’re sinful and keep discovering ways to screw things up.

I was under the impression that many of Scott’s “ideas” were not actually his but simply ones that drew on the writings of many Church fathers. I’m thinking he was talking about that in “Rome Sweet Home” when referring to his research in the covenants.

A butcher knife is an important, useful, perfectly valid tool. But you wouldn’t use it for all kitchen situations. Would we hand the butcher knife to a 7 year old to butter his bread?

Same with covenant theology–an important, useful, perfectly valid theology. But most theologians wouldn’t use it for all Biblical situations.

Same with family theology. Who would deny that family isn’t important to Catholics? But to apply the family model–male, female, child–to the Trinity–Father, Holy Spirit, Son–is not traditional Catholic theology. It’s conjecture. Which is where theologians start. Theological speculation is good. Hahn is a Catholic theologian who transmits 99% of Catholic theology to the Catholic public-GREAT! But his reputation has many of us, especially new Catholics, believing *everything * he comes up with is valid–and it’s not.

We’re dealing with shades of gray.

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