Emmaus Academic is the publishing arm of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and it is quickly becoming my favorite Catholic publisher. This reason is twofold. The first reason is that they publish my favorite annual journal, Letter & Spirit, and the second reason is that they are publishing books that are deeper than entry-level Catholicism. As I have said for years, we need more of these “tougher” books that get us to go beyond the basics.
Today, I am looking at one of their thicker books entitled The Eucharist: Mystery of Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion by Lawrence Feingold, author of the series The Mystery of Israel and the Church. The book is divided into sixteen chapters:
- Why Did Christ Institute the Eucharist?
- The Eucharist Prefigured in the Old Testament
- The Eucharist in the New Testament
- The Eucharist According to the Fathers of the Church
- Essential Elements of the Eucharist
- The Berengarian Controversy and Development of Eucharistic Theology
- The Doctrine of Transubstantiation According to St. Thomas
- Transubstantiation in Dispute: The Reformation and its Legacy
- The Sacrifice of the Mass
- Objections to the Sacrificial Nature of the Mass
- The Participation of the Faithful in Offering the Sacrifice of the Mass
- Fruits of the Sacrifice of the Mass
- Effects of Holy Communion
- Holy Communion Presupposes Ecclesial Communion, Invisible and Visible
- Reception of Holy Communion
- Eucharistic Adoration
The way the chapters and book are structured is like a textbook for a college level course. In it, you will see a coherent progression of four parts, going from foundations of the Eucharist to the Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion referenced in the title. The book is approximately 700 pages, but 70 of those pages are bibliography and each page of text is about 75% text and 25% footnotes. Yes, this is a textbook, but it doesn’t read like one. Dr. Feingold has a writing style that conveys authoritative knowledge without getting so deep that you feel like you are going to drown.
My favorite parts of this book were Chapters 2, 3, and 4 as I love Scriptural analysis and anything having to do with the Church Fathers. In the Old Testament we see the Eucharist in the Manna from Heaven, the Offering of Melchizedek, and the Unleavened Bread at Passover, as well as many others. In the New Testament, there is Bread of Life Discourse in John 6, as well as the four different Gospel accounts of the Institution of the Eucharist. The Church Fathers referenced are Sts. Ambrose, Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Augustine, and John Chrysostom to name a few.
This book is THE book on the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Not only is it a wealth of knowledge, but the way that each chapter ends with study questions and suggestions for more reading, you could spend your whole life using this book and its many references and never exhaust the treasure stored within. I cannot recommend this book enough!
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Copyright 2019 Stuart Dunn
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