29 December 2011

Three CPH Goodies

Over the last few days, I've been reading in three goodies lately put out by CPH.  You all know that I LOVE the direction our Publishing House has embraced in the last several years, and they continue to offer us outstanding books.  The three latest I'm enjoying:

A Year with the Church Fathers - by Synodical vice-president Scott Murray.  Scott has done a beautiful job with this volume.  Keyed to the readings of the day from the LSB daily lectionary, he offers a brief introduction and then a few paragraphs from a Church Father for each day of the Church's year.  This is a SUPER companion to those who regularly use the daily lectionary (or follow the Treasury, which amounts to the same thing).  For example, the reading for today is from Luke 1 in which he states that the holy Evangelist, St. Luke, proclaims that he writes that Theophilus might have certainty about the events of our Lord's life.  So picking up on the theme of the certainty that comes from Sacred Scripture, Pr. Murray provides a few paragraphs from St. Augustine's On the Trinity (3.1), including the following:  "But as I do not wish my reader to be bound down to me, so I do not wish my critic to be bound to himself.  Let not the pious reader love me more than the catholic faith.  Let not the critic love himself more than the catholic truth.  I say to the pious reader, do not be willing to accept my writings as canonical Scriptures.  But when you have discovered in the Scriptures what you did not previously believe, believe it unhesitatingly.  While in my writings, unless you have understood certainly what you did not before hold as certain, be unwilling to hold it fast.  I say to the critic, do not be wiling to amen my writings by your own opinion or argument, but [amend them] from the divine text or by unanswerable reason.  If you apprehend anything of truth in them, its being there does not make it mine, but by understanding and loving it, let it be both yours and mine.  But if you detect any falsehood, though it had once been mine in that I was guilty of error, now by avoiding it let it be neither yours nor mine."  LOTS more good stuff - a person who wants a decent introduction to the Church fathers cannot do better, in my opinion, than by picking up this book and journeying with them through the daily lectionary.  [Should note that this is a companion volume *A Year in the New Testament* of which I served as co-author along with five other pastors].

The Church from Age to Age  - General Editor, Edward Engelbrecht.  I'm only through the first section of this, but I am MEGA impressed.  If you've wanted a single volume that could walk you through Church history in a most unbiased and informative manner, this one is it.  I've been utterly amazed at the absence of all polemic, the desire simply to report the state and thinking of the Church as it grew across the ages and around the world.  This volume is exceedingly well written, engaging, full of fascinating detail and reliance on primary sources.  If I were teaching Church History at either seminary or undergrad level, this book would be the text book, hands down.  I really wasn't expecting it to be as scholarly and engaging as I have found it to be - kudos, CPH (and thanks, Meaghan!).

The Great Works of God - III-IV - More delicious Herberger brought to us by our good Classicist scholar Matthew Carver.  Herberger simply delights on every page.  How do you read Genesis?  Well, if it is all about the great works of God in Christ, then you read is by having a conversation with our Lord about the text itself, with prayer and supplications, thanksgiving and intercessions scattered about it.  This gem from the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy gives the lie to those who imagine that the Lutheran Orthodox were dry, boring, and over dogmatic.  The warmth and piety of this volume will draw the reader in from the get go.

In short, folks, you cannot go wrong with ANY of these volumes.  And thank you, thank you, thank you to the good folks at CPH for continuing to feed our souls and minds with such rich and succulent fare!


Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

I've only seen the reviews on CPH, so I would like a little more "objective" opinion, i.e. yours.

1) In A year with the Church Fathers, are the fathers exclusively western? What is the time frame? Do church fathers, for Lutherans, include the Lutheran fathers, e.g. Chemnitz, Melanchthon, etc.

2) With regards to the Church from age to age, would you agree that this book is a misnomer? I've only been able to read the table of contents and the Eastern Churches are marginalized and almost totally ignored. So, how can this be called The Church from AGe to Age?

William Weedon said...

Thanks for the questions, Christ.

1. Time frame is first to ninth centuries; fathers of East and West. For example:
Dec. 28 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Dec. 29 -St. Augustine
Dec. 30 - Blessed John Cassian
Dec. 31 - St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
Jan. 1 - St. Ambrose
Jan. 2 - St. Leo the Great
Jan. 3 - St. Cyprian
Jan. 4 - St. Ambrose
Jan. 5 - St. John Chrysostom
Jan. 6 - St. Hilary of Poitiers
Jan. 7 - St. John Chrysostom
Jan. 8 - St. John Chrysosotm

2. No, not a misnomer. Though the Eastern story is not the focus, it appears to be well represented. Of course, the early history is shared. Then, there is a large section on Asian and East African Christianity from 250 to 600. A section later on Byzantium and Controversies with the West. A section on the state of the Church in eastern European nations in modern times (including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and the huge influence of Russia). There is also a section devoted to the Eastern Orthodox Church after WW II. The book focuses mainly on the West, but the East is more than a footnote.

William Weedon said...

Oops. Left off the rest:


Chris said...

Thanks, Fr. Weedon. BTW, you can call me, Chris. I would prefer it.

With regards to the Church from Age to Age, though, as you admit, it is focused primarily on the Western Church, why not call it The Western Church from Age to Age unless the intent is, subtly, to convey that the Eastern churches are not the Church

William Weedon said...

Because I don't believe that's the intent. Rather, it accurately conveys from a Lutheran perspective that the East is not the WHOLE Church. It is still a part of it.