Farewell to the Devil?

The existence of the devil is not very compatible with modern thinking. Such is the view confronted by Benedict XVI in a response he once wrote to a book called Farewell to the Devil. Its author, an Old Testament scholar, expressed the view of many a modern man in claiming, “By now we have understood that the term ‘devil’ in the New Testament simply stands for the term ‘sin.’” The devil is just an image for sin, just something Jesus talks about to keep a little holy fear in us—but not someone we really have to fear, someone whose existence we can prove and wiles we can’t explain otherwise through modern psychology.

I recently authored a book entitled Dark Passages of the Bible: Engaging Scripture with Benedict XVI and Thomas Aquinas. In that book one of the three main themes I treat is the problem of evil in the Old Testament.  I encourage you to read my post at Benedictine College’s Gregorian Institute on what Pope Benedict has to say about the existence of the devil.  Do the Scriptures really affirm the existence of the devil, or is he a superstition from a bygone age which enlightened people today need to move beyond?

Current Scholarly Projects

I have been utterly neglectful of my blog the past couple months for a several reasons: the start of school here at BC, teaching over the weekend in Little Rock for their diocesan spiritual direction institute, my son breaking his leg, this new and intriguing papacy I’ve “had to” keep up on, and somewhat of a flurry of scholarly projects I’m engaged in.  I’m not going to post anything theologically new today; I just want to update readers on what I’m up to and what you can expect to find me writing on this blog in the future.

First, my book Dark Passages of the Bible is finally out and for sale on Amazon!  I just received my own copy yesterday, and it looks like a great read;)

Also in the works:

“Freedom in Obedience to the Truth: A Key for the New Evangelization.”  Homiletic and Pastoral Review (forthcoming January, 2014).

“In the Beginning: Aquinas, Benedict XVI, and the Book of Genesis.”  To be published in the volume Reading Sacred Scripture with Thomas Aquinas. Hermeneutical Tools and New Perspectives (forthcoming).

“Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus & the Substance of Catholic Doctrine: Towards a Realization of Benedict XVI’s ‘Hermeneutic of Reform.’” Forthcoming in Nova et Vetera, English edition.

 “Violence Is Incompatible with the Nature of God: Benedict, Aquinas, and Method C Exegesis of the ‘Dark’ Passages of the Bible.  Forthcoming in Nova et Vetera, English edition.

“Reception of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism,” to be published as a chapter in a scholarly volume on the reception of Vatican II after 50 years (forthcoming)

“Benedict XVI’s Hermeneutic of Reform: Towards a Rapprochement of the Magisterium and Modern Biblical Criticism” (currently under review with a journal).

Review of Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization by Ralph Martin (forthcoming in a scholarly journal)

“Benedict XVI’s Theological Aesthetics and the New Evangelization” (currently working on this to give as a presentation and then work into an article).

As the semester goes along I’ll be posting here and there with updates focusing on the results of these scholarly pursuits.