Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are Ezra 4-6.

According to Drs Bergsma and Pitre in their Catholic Introduction to the Bible, it is the "descendants of the peoples brought in by the Assyrians to repopulate northern Israel (2 Kings 17:24-41) and ancestors of the Samaritans" who want to help build the new Temple. Perhaps remembering their ancestors' unfortunate alliances with neighboring populations, the returned exiles are not in the mood for interfaith collaboration.

References to "Ahasuersus" might be a bit strange; the more familiar name in our history books is Xerxes.

Start reading here.

If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

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