Where are the Catholic Pauline Scholars?


Recently it seems to me that Catholics and Protestants can agree (at least to some extent) on St Paul’s views on grace and justification. John Barclay has written extensively on this, and many Protestants hold justification is not wholly forensic, and Christianity has an important communal dimension, in agreement with Catholic teaching.

Scholars write about various perspectives in Paul, but all the leading ones seem to be Protestant, such as NT Wright and JDG Dunn. Catholic views in modern scholarship seem to be ignored to a great extent.
Are there any leading serious Catholic Pauline writers?
Is the ‘Sacra Pagina’ series the best we have?



Splendid:) !


Note: The Protestant Scholars of the- New Perspective on Paul - are discovering many things the Church and Catholic Scholars have taught or understood etc. There is that “movement” for it is new for them.

I am not dismissing their efforts but just noting that this part of why that movement has been increasing among Protestants.

There have been serious Pauline Scholars all down through the centuries in the Church.


The late Father Joseph Fitzmyer was a Pauline scholar.


Father Matera from the Catholic University of America (retired) and now a pastor in Connecticut is a great Pauline scholar and has written several books. What are you looking for?


Thanks for all the excellent replies, to which I will try to reply.

Bookcat #2

I have Saint Paul the Apostle by BXVI, but in it he wrote as a popular writer rather than as a biblical scholar. It is an excellent book containing talks he gave at audiences during the Pauline Year (2008).


Bookcat #3

I am not a biblical scholar unfortunately, but I have felt that some modern Protestant thinking is becoming like traditional Catholic ideas. Many Protestants would seem to hold that we are changed/transformed by grace (infused rather than imputed) and that grace has a communal as well as an individual effect, as I previously wrote. Lutherans and Catholics now seem to hold much in common.

Did modern Protestant biblical scholarship begin in the 18th century, while modern Catholic scholarship is not much more than 100 years old? Perhaps it started with Providentissimus Deus by Leo XIII in 1893, followed by* Divino Afflante Spiritu* by Pius XII in 1943 and with* Dei Verbum* by Paul VI in 1965.


“wrote as a popular writer”?

No your mistaken there. He wrote (well spoke) as the Pope!

And he is likely the greatest Theologian alive today…who was very much involved in Sacred Scripture - and loved St. Paul - even if not a professional Biblical Scholar. He is one of the Greatest Theologians of the Bible…



Chesster #4

Thank you for reminding me of Fr Joseph Fitzmyer SJ, who died on Christmas Eve, aged 96.

I have several of his books, including his* Romans* and The Letter to Philemon, as well as The New Jerome Biblical Commentary which he co-edited.

I do not think he wrote explicitly on the New Perspective on Paul.


Blessedwith five #5
Thank you for recommending Fr Frank Matera.

In my original post I did mention the Sacra Pagina series, and having read your post I am encouraged to study again my copy of Fr Matera’s *Galatians.


Some commentaries for you:

The Navarre

and the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture.

One the various letters of Paul.


Thanks for your immediate reply to me.

It is not unknown for me to be mistaken.

Is the image in the web-site you recommend plagiarized, as it looks very like the library in Trinity College Dublin, and there is no acknowledge? Is plagiarism not a bit naughty?


You would have to contact them on that - they are certainly on the “up and up” so would not be interested plagiarism as you put it. Permissions can be obtained when needed or images can exist that are taken by someones camera etc.

I will not too that his library is very very large too (though without the fine building…) over 40,000 books…

But I was pointing to his book there :slight_smile: that he wrote.


Thanks again for your post. It encouraged me to look again (as I informed you) at Matera’s Galatians.
Right from the start (preface ix) he adopts a New Perspective on Paul approach
*"works of the Law (2:16) , refers primarily to circumcision… *



Only for some.

Discussing the reality of what Paul meant is not ‘adopting a new perspective’ - unless one was a Protestant who had followed the Protestant perspective before…


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