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Tom Ryan uncovers what medieval Biblical commentaries can teach us today

August 30, 2013

Medieval biblical interpretation isn’t just a curious antiquity, according to Tom Ryan, Ph.D., director of Loyola University New Orleans Institute for Ministry. It can illuminate contemporary scriptural practices often taken for granted as well as suggest new perspectives on the Bible and God. He argues this as co-author of “The Letter to the Romans,” the latest volume in Eerdmans’ Bible in Medieval Tradition commentary series, for which he is co-editor.

Ryan was responsible for the introduction and for translating the selections from St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Commentary on Romans.” Bibles in the Middle Ages were hand-copied manuscripts with additions, omissions and mistakes, so biblical commentaries offered a way for people to understand it. Ryan uncovers the meaning of these “odd texts” and extracts nuggets of truth still relevant today.

“For example, commenting on a passage near the end of Psalm 35 (36:9 in most modern Bibles), Aquinas reminds us that we are destined to live a life beyond all imagining, a life with God that only the language of excess, intoxication and fertility can describe,” Ryan said of the book.

More information about the book is available online.

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