28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 1998
Australia's leading Catholic biblical scholar, Francis Moloney, is the latest contributor to Liturgical Press' acclaimed series of New Testament commentaries, 'Sacra Pagina'. The series is being written by an international team of Catholic biblical scholars under the general editorship of Daniel J. Harrington SJ.
Fr Moloney's contribution is the commentary on the Gospel of John, a subject on which he is a world authority. His expert publications on John range from the 'Johannine Theology' article in 'The New Jerome Biblical Commentary' through to an innovative three-volume scholarly commentary on the Gospel of John being published by Fortress Press.
Which begs the question, why do we need another commentary on John from Professor Moloney? The answer lies in the distinctive approach adopted by the 'Sacra Pagina' series.
Produced with the needs of clergy, preachers, biblical professionals, graduate students, theologians, and religious educators in mind, the volumes present detailed, substantial exposition of the biblical texts, based on the best of modern Catholic scholarship while not bogging the reader down in the minutia of academic debates and references.
Moloney's volume is indicative of the well-structured nature of the books in the series. It begins with an introductory chapter that concisely examines general matters such as the Gospel's authorship and structure, as well as its theological contribution and contemporary significance.
The body of the commentary follows, the text broken down into major sections and subsections, according to the perceived intention of John's author. For each section, the book begins by presenting the text of John under consideration in English translation (Moloney uses the RSV with some alterations, including inclusive language; some other volumes have original translations). This is followed by the 'Interpretation', which is the core commentary, and in turn by the 'Notes'. The latter are where one finds the arguments for the particular positions adopted in the commentary, as well as presentations and evaluations of alternative points of view. Each section ends with a list of references and suggested further reading.
The beauty of this approach is that readers can easily access the level of commentary that they wish or require. Indexes of scripture texts, other ancient writings, and authors are also included.
Moloney's distinctive approach is to focus on the narrative design of John, aiming to trace the impact the Johannine form of the Jesus story makes on a reader, which brings its readers to a point of decision.
As with the other 'Sacra Pagina' volumes, the intention is to present the best of Catholic biblical scholarship, but also never to lose sight of the faith context, to continue to see the scripture as 'sacred page'.
Francis Moloney SDB is Foundation Professor of Theology at Australian Catholic University and was recently reappointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission for a third five-year term, making him one of the commission's longest-serving members. [Book of the Month Selection, John Garratt Catholic Book Club.]