Hebrews

series: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture

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More information on the CCSS series is available at www.CatholicScriptureCommentary.com

In this addition to the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, respected New Testament scholar Mary Healy unpacks the Letter to the Hebrews, making its difficult and puzzling passages accessible to pastoral ministers, lay readers, and students. Her commentary shows how Hebrews reveals the meaning of Christ's death in light of the Old Testament figures, rites, and sacrifices that foreshadowed it. Healy explains that Hebrews, when fully understood, transforms our understanding of who God is, what he has done for us, and how we are to live as Christians today.

About the Series
The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (CCSS) responds to the desire of Catholics to study the Bible in depth and in a way that integrates Scripture with Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life. The series will include seventeen volumes, offering readable, informative commentary on each book of the New Testament. The CCSS implements the theological principles taught by Vatican II for interpreting Scripture "in accord with the same Spirit by which it was written"--that is, interpreting Scripture in its canonical context and in the light of Catholic tradition and the analogy of faith (Dei Verbum 12).

The CCSS is packed with features designed to help readers use the Bible more effectively in teaching, preaching, evangelization, and other forms of ministry. Each volume provides exegesis as well as reflection and application sections. Cross-references link each passage to the Catechism, the Lectionary, and related biblical texts. Sidebars present information on the background of the text and on how the text has been interpreted by the Church. Abundant quotations from saints and Church Fathers enable readers to glimpse the continuity of Catholic tradition. Each volume includes a glossary, a list of suggested resources, an index of pastoral topics, and an Index of sidebars. Further resources are posted at the series website, www.CatholicScriptureCommentary.com.

Consulting editors: Scott Hahn (Franciscan University of Steubenville); Daniel J. Harrington, SJ (1940-2014); William S. Kurz, SJ (Marquette University); Francis Martin (Dominican House of Studies); Frank J. Matera (Catholic University of America); George T. Montague, SM (St. Mary's University); and Terrence Prendergast (Archbishop of Ottawa)

General editors: Peter S. Williamson (Sacred Heart Major Seminary) and Mary Healy (Sacred Heart Major Seminary); associate editor: Kevin Perrotta (award-winning Catholic journalist and editor of the Six Weeks with the Bible series)


Endorsements

"Dr. Mary Healy has a way in her books of skillfully presenting Scripture and the Church's teaching in a clear, accessible, and engaging manner. In her commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews, she brings rich insight, depth, and understanding to this ancient teaching on how the perfect sacrifice of Jesus--the divine high priest who is also one of us, sharing in our human frailty--has definitively achieved our redemption and eternal salvation. Dr. Healy's commentary is a masterful treatise that offers significant assistance to those of us who seek to better know our faith as we make the journey toward the heavenly kingdom amidst all the struggles of the human condition."

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

"In the New Testament the Letter to the Hebrews is a work of singular theological richness. Dr. Mary Healy has provided an accessible and insightful commentary, beneficial to seminarians, priests, and laypeople alike. The truths of the Sacred Scripture touch the very core of our lives, and this work, like the others from the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, makes it possible for more of the faithful to experience the life-transforming power the Word offers them."

Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit

"This superb commentary contains an ideal mix of academic and devotional content, admirably fulfilling the series' goal of presenting 'scholarship illumined by faith.' Mary Healy's solid exegesis wonderfully leads us into the exceptional theological richness of Hebrews. Especially noteworthy are the 'Reflection and Application' sections, the numerous sidebars, and the enrichment provided by quotations from the Church Fathers. This is a commentary not merely for the mind but for the nurture of one's spiritual life. I recommend it enthusiastically!"

Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Mary Healy's commentary demonstrates that this mysterious homily is a living word that addressed an ancient community in crisis and continues to speak to the issues of our time. Readers will benefit from Healy's firm grasp of the history of the interpretation of Hebrews and the applications of this homily for today."

James W. Thompson, scholar-in-residence, Abilene Christian University

"The Letter to the Hebrews is one of the richest and yet least understood of the New Testament writings. The arguments are complex and deeply rooted in the Old Testament. This commentary uses the best of Catholic teaching and biblical scholarship to illuminate some of the key teachings of Hebrews in a way that Catholics can appreciate and apply to their own understanding of Jesus Christ."

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, senior fellow, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Steubenville, Ohio

"One of the most frequent requests I get for Bible study is for a good commentary. I enthusiastically endorse the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. In this volume, Dr. Healy demonstrates her giftedness at taking complex ideas and presenting them in an understandable and practical way. Her writing draws readers into the text in a heartwarming way. I enjoyed this commentary, and I know my students will as well."

Jeff Cavins, founder, The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study System

Praise for the CCSS Series

"After twenty years of teaching priests as well as teaching Catholic laypeople, seminarians, and deacons in formation, I can say with confidence that the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is a landmark achievement in theological interpretation of Scripture in and for the Church. Everything about it is inviting and edifying, from the format, photos, background notes, and cross-references (to Scripture and the Catechism) to the rich exposition of the text, quotations from the Church's living tradition, and reflections for contemporary life. It is a wonderful gift to the Catholic Church and a model for the rest of us. Highly recommended for all!"

Michael J. Gorman, professor of Sacred Scripture and dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore

"By bringing together historical background, exegetical interpretation, Church tradition, theological reflection, and pastoral application, this series promises to enkindle thoughtful discussion about the implications of the New Testament for lived Christian faith in the Church today. Its accessible format and multi-angled approach offer a model for teaching and ministry."

Katherine Hayes, associate professor of Sacred Scripture, Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

"Coinciding with the Bishops' Synod on 'The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,' this great project of a seventeen-volume commentary on the New Testament starts with the volume on Saint Mark. This series represents a much-needed approach, based on good scholarship but not overloaded with it. The frequent references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church help us to read Holy Scripture with a vivid sense of the living tradition of the Church."

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna

"I welcome with great joy the launch of this new collection of commentaries on the Bible because the project corresponds perfectly to a pressing need in the Church. I am speaking about exegetical studies that are well grounded from a scholarly point of view but not overburdened with technical details, and at the same time related to the riches of ancient interpretation, nourishing for spiritual life, and useful for catechesis, preaching, evangelization, and other forms of pastoral ministry. Indeed, this is the kind of commentary for which the majority of readers have a great desire."

Albert Cardinal Vanhoye, SJ, emeritus professor of biblical exegesis, Pontifical Biblical Institute, former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission

"The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture richly provides what has for so long been lacking among contemporary scriptural commentaries. Its goal is to assist Catholic preachers and teachers, lay and ordained, in their ministry of the Word. Moreover, it offers ordinary Catholics a scriptural resource that will enhance their understanding of God's Word and thereby deepen their faith. Thus these commentaries, nourished on the faith of the Church and guided by scholarly wisdom, are both exegetically sound and spiritually nourishing. They are indispensable tools for preaching, catechesis, evangelization, and other forms of pastoral ministry."

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM Cap, executive director of the secretariat for doctrine, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"The Word of God is the source of Christian life, and the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is an ideal tool for living our faith more deeply. This extraordinary resource combines superior scholarship and a vivid, accessible style that will serve the interested layperson and the serious scholar equally well. It feeds both the mind and the heart and should be on the shelf of every committed Catholic believer. I highly recommend it."

Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Philadelphia

"Mary Healy and Peter S. Williamson, with Kevin Perrotta, have launched an exciting and most promising Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. I plan to read and use it as a basis for preaching and am already profiting from the advanced segments."

Michael Scanlan, TOR, chancellor, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"This series of commentaries is just what the Church needs today. It combines sound exegesis with pastoral and spiritual sensitivity and is accessible to any Catholic who wishes a reliable commentary on Scripture that is understandable, solid in its scholarship, and applicable to life. Recommended."

Ralph Martin, director graduate theology programs in the new evangelization, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Archdiocese of Detroit; author of The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints

"Catholic biblical literature is so abundant that one might raise the question, do we need another commentary on the Holy Scriptures? Such a question will inevitably arise in the minds of those for whom science and mathematics alone give us valid knowledge. But whereas these branches of knowledge grow 'horizontally' (that is, solve one problem to turn to the next), knowledge of God grows 'vertically.' Every word coming from the mouth of God is so rich in content that commentaries--profound as they are--can never exhaust the divine manna. This is why the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is to be warmly welcomed. It builds on the sublime insights delivered by tradition and adds another flower to the bouquet of human homage to revelation."

Alice von Hildebrand, professor emerita, City University of New York

"Those who preach and teach will find their burden lightened and turned into delight with the help of these commentaries. In a time when much biblical scholarship is written for other biblical scholars, these authors understand that the Bible is the book of the Church, the entire people of God."

Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"This new Bible commentary series is based on solid scholarship and enriched by the church's long tradition of study and reflection. Enhanced by an attractive format, it provides an excellent resource for all who are serving in pastoral ministry and for the individual reader who searches the Scriptures for guidance in the Christian life."

Emil A. Wcela, Auxiliary Bishop (retired), Diocese of Rockville Centre; past president, Catholic Biblical Association

"Direct, clear, and spiritually rich, the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is just what we need today: patient exposition of God's Word that illuminates and is illuminated by the teaching and practice of the Church."

R. R. Reno, professor of theological ethics, Creighton University

"This new commentary series should meet a need that has long been pointed out: a guide to Scripture that will be both historically responsible and shaped by the mind of the Church's tradition. It promises to be a milestone in the recovery of a distinctively Catholic approach to exegesis."

Aidan Nichols, OP, John Paul II Memorial Visiting Lecturer, University of Oxford; Fellow of Greyfriars, Oxford

"In the four decades since the Second Vatican Council, Catholics of all backgrounds have been blessed with quite a number of excellent commentaries on the Sacred Scriptures. Many of these were very scholarly and others more popular. There has long been a need for a commentary that provides a certain amount of depth while still being very accessible to people of all backgrounds--preachers and teachers of the Word, lay or ordained, as well as ordinary Catholics. Peter Williamson, Mary Healy, and Kevin Perrotta have put together a team that is now writing a seventeen-volume New Testament series entitled The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Following the theological principle of Dei Verbum 12, that Scripture should be interpreted 'in accord with the same spirit by which it was written,' these volumes seek to integrate Scripture with Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life. The authors and consulting editors are world-class theologians and Scripture scholars, the format is easy to read, and the price is hard to beat!"

Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit

"Informed by careful scholarship, yet accessible to a wide audience, the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture belongs in homes, parishes, college classrooms, and anywhere that a clear, lively, faithful guide to Bible study is welcome. Catholics delving into Scripture will find here a first-class resource for discovering, or rediscovering, the spiritual riches of the New Testament."

Paul Thigpen, professor of theology, Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville, Georgia, and editor of The Catholic Answer magazine

"The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture employs the Church's methodology of studying Sacred Scripture in a faithful, dynamic, and fruitful way. With interest in Catholic Bible studies growing rapidly, the repeated question has been, 'can you suggest a reliable commentary?' The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is now the go-to resource that I can enthusiastically recommend to all my students."

Jeff Cavins, founder, The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Study System

"There is a great hunger among Catholic laity for a deeper understanding of the Bible. The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture fills the need for a more in-depth interpretation of Scripture. I am very excited to be able to recommend this new series to our Bible Study groups around the world."

Gail Buckley, founder and director, Catholic Scripture Study International (www.cssprogram.net)

"This new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (New Testament) grew out of a perception that there was a need, yet to be met, for commentaries oriented to Christian faith and life today. The first two volumes--The Gospel of Mark and First and Second Timothy, Titus--indicate that this series promises to be spiritually and doctrinally informative, based on careful, solid biblical exegesis. The method and content of this work will be helpful to teachers of the faith at different levels and will provide a reliable guide to people seeking to deepen their knowledge and thereby nourish their faith. With the advance of secularism in our times Christian conviction and evangelization need sustained support, especially through Sacred Scripture. I strongly recommend the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture."

Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster

"Pope Benedict XVI has reminded the Church that continuous encounter with the Word remains the source of her renewal and the font of 'a new spiritual Spring.' The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture affords its readers a helpful guide for encountering the books of the Bible in a way that respects both the whole of Scripture and the givens of Catholic faith. Many will discover in the volumes of this collection wellsprings of spiritual refreshment."

Romanus Cessario, OP, professor of systematic theology, St John's Seminary

"As a former evangelical Bible teacher I own hundreds of Bible commentaries, but after my conversion to the Catholic Church, I was dismayed by the lack of good Catholic commentaries on Scripture. It is thrilling to see the new seventeen-volume Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, which is scholarly, easy to read, and faithful to Catholic teaching. The references to the Catechism, the Fathers of the Church, and a variety of other sources make this an exceptionally rich resource. Each volume is loaded with rich detail, theological insight, and helpful background information. These solidly orthodox Catholic scholars have done us a great service by filling the void--providing a commentary series on Scripture that has set a cutting-edge standard for years to come."

Steve Ray, lecturer; author of the Bible Study Guides for Genesis and Acts; and writer, producer, and host of the ten-part documentary series Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine

"Besides being a clearly written, comprehensive, and pastorally instructive guide to the Bible for Catholics, the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture is also a great commentary for Protestant readers. By being faithful to the Church's teaching and by drawing so much from the wisdom of all of church history, it offers much to Protestant readers who want to read Scripture through the Great Tradition."

David Mills, editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity

"This new commentary series appears to me to be a gift of the Holy Spirit to Catholic clergy, religious, and laity at this historic moment. Pope Benedict has effectively announced the rebirth of Catholic biblical theology, bringing together Scripture, tradition, and the teachings of the Church. An up-to-date popular guide to the New Testament is urgently needed at this moment. This commentary reflects not only biblical criticism but also the unity of the Word of God as it applies to our lives. We accept this Word with the confident belief that these writings are given to us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and reliably present the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is imperative that we study the New Testament because, inspired by Christ himself, it is the guide to eternal life. This is a marvelous and timely introduction. Sign up and learn."

Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, author and preacher

"The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture gives serious American Catholics a critical study tool they've lacked: a spiritually invigorated and intellectually keen verse-by-verse analysis of the biblical text from scholars who are thinking within the heart of the Church. All of this is achieved without getting bogged down in questions of purely academic interest. The commentaries are rich in textual insight and practical illustration, making them immensely helpful to homilists, teachers, and readers. This project is terrific; undoubtedly one of the most exciting works of today's freshly assertive American Catholicism."

Donald Senior, CP, president, Catholic Theological Union

"When the Scripture is read in the liturgy, it is heard as a living voice. But when expounded in a commentary, it is too often read as a document from the past. This fine new series unites the ancient and the contemporary by offering insight into the biblical text--verse by verse--as well as spiritual application to the lives of Christians today. I particularly like the sidebars inserted into the text called 'Living Tradition' that feature memorable sayings from great Christian teachers or brief explanations of puzzling terms and ideas."

Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of the history of Christianity, University of Virginia

"The CCSS is a long-awaited addition to Catholic books on the Bible. It is clearly written, sticks to the facts, treats the Bible as true history, and does not get lost in idle speculation and guesswork about the sources of the Gospels and the other books. Homilists will find here the pearl of great price and the treasure hidden in a field. Laypersons who are looking for a truly Catholic interpretation of the Bible will find it here. Those who want to know more about God's holy word in the Bible will want to purchase the whole set."

Kenneth Baker, SJ, editor, Homiletics and Pastoral Review

"In my opinion, the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture embodies the type of biblical exegesis hoped for by Pius XII. In his 1943 encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, the late Pontiff taught that biblical scholars 'should set forth in particular the theological doctrine in faith and morals of the individual books or texts so that their exposition . . . may help all the faithful to lead a life that is holy and worthy of a Christian.'"

Robert L. Fastiggi, professor of systematic theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit


The Author

  1. Mary Healy

    Mary Healy

    Mary Healy (STD, Pontifical Gregorian University) is professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. She is the author of several books, including The Gospel of Mark...

    Continue reading about Mary Healy

Reviews

"This is a fine new addition to the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. Healy . . . provides a clear and rich exposition of this unique New Testament text. . . . In the spirit of the series Healy also provides occasional reflections on the meaning of Hebrews for Catholic faith today."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"[This commentary] is written for those who are preparing for the priesthood as well as for laypeople who wish to gain a deeper understanding of their faith. . . . In keeping with the purpose of the series, [Healy] consistently addresses Catholic concerns but also speaks to a larger ecumenical audience. . . . The commentary's strength is not in describing the world behind the text but rather the world in front of the text. Helpful sidebars demonstrate the impact of Hebrews throughout history. Artistic representations indicate depictions through the ages. Patristic interpretations illuminate the ways in which the church has grappled with Hebrews. Readers of the commentary will also benefit from the explanation of the wider theological significance of themes introduced in Hebrews."

James W. Thompson,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"A solid, brief commentary from a Catholic perspective."

Ray Van Neste,

Preaching

"This is a solid mid-range commentary. It evinces interaction with the scholarly literature while not being overly technical. The commentary does not give a detailed explication of the Greek text, but rather provides a good overview of the flow of thought of Hebrews. . . . Clearly the commentary is geared towards Catholic readers. Occasionally Healy refers to the Catechism or she quotes one of the popes, or she makes mention of well-known Catholic figures of the past. Nevertheless, these references are occasional and Christians of other traditions can benefit from her commentary."

Brian Small,

Polumeros Kai Polutropos blog

Praise for the CCSS Series

"There's something about this series that is notable: the authors explain the Bible in theologically orthodox ways and explain the text clearly, succinctly, and without a lengthy apparatus of the history of interpretation or discussions of alternative views. Solid exegesis; discussion of the evidence as needed; not much bibliographical reference. Just expounds what the text says and moves on. In other words, this could be the first commentary read by a pastor preparing a text and could be read easily by a Sunday school teacher preparing a text, and it would be an excellent commentary for a college Bible class. . . . The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture will prove itself to be a reliable, Catholic--but ecumenically open and respectful--commentary."

Scot McKnight,

Jesus Creed blog


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