Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Catholic Company Book Review: Come and See Catholic Bible Study Wisdom
About the Book: "Come and See Catholic Bible Study" Wisdom covers the wisdom literature of the bible found in the Old Testament -- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, Wisdom and Sirach. This study uses modern study tools -- inductive and deductive learning, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of popes and saints—to unlock an ancient treasure and show its current application.
Laurie Manhardt holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Detroit and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She led an interfaith Bible study for ten years, which convinced her of the need for quality Catholic Bible study resources. “Come and See” Catholic Bible Study is the result.
Fr. Jan Liesen, S.S.D., is librarian and professor of New Testament Exegesis, Biblical Theology, and Hebrew Bible at the Seminaire Rolduc in Kerkrade, Netherlands. He received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome.
My Thoughts: I listen to the scriptures weekly at mass. I read them on my own--one year I even read the whole Bible cover to cover, and I pray with them, but I've never seriously studied any part of the Bible so I thought this book would be an interesting new experience, and I was right. The book is designed to be used as the text for a group study, but it can also be used alone. The introductory section indicates that the best way to use the book is to pray, read the passages for the chapter of the week, read the commentary in the book, use the Bible and Catechism to write the answers to the home study questions, share your answers with the group, view the video that goes with the book and end with a wrap-up lecture or prayer. It also gives ideas about how to organize a parish Bible study.
This study covers the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, and Sirach. If you don't recognize the names of those last two books, then you probably aren't Catholic. We recognize a different Old Testament Canon than Jews and Protestants do--and this book explains why.
The book itself is divided into 22 chapters, and the number of books covered per chapter varies. For example, chapter 1 covers Job 1-2, chapter 2 covers Job 3-21 and chapter 10 covers Proverbs 22:17-31 (yes, less than a whole book). The chapter begins with a citation to the chapters to be read and some some representative verses. Next are several pages giving the historical background, a discussion of the literary forms used, and themes explored. Cross-references are given to related scripture. This is followed by several pages of study questions. The questions in Chapter 1 include asking you to describe Job's personal character and to list the blessings he received from God (references are given to proper verses). You are then asked to find and describe some righteous people in the Bible, explain some New Testament uses of the term "son of God", and tell what you can learn about Satan from the given passages. The questions are followed by citations to the Bible or to the Catechism of the Catholic Church--and the citations aren't just to Job, but to other books as well, showing Scripture as an integrated whole. In all, Chapter 1 has twenty questions, and they took me well over an hour to complete. I guarantee if you answer all those questions (think open-book test) you'll KNOW about the first two chapters of Job and how they relate to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I'd like to thank The Catholic Company for providing a review copy of this book. You can purchase it at their website. I also noted that there is a whole series of these books, so if another part of the Bible interests you, see if they have one about it.