SOUTH CANAAN, PA [STM] – May 2015
Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press here recently announced the publication of two new books, The Soul’s Longing: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Biblical Interpretation by Dr. Mary Ford, and Being Bread by Deacon Stephen Muse.
In The Soul’s Longing, Dr. Ford—Associate Professor of New Testament and Spirituality at Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and a scholar in the field of biblical hermeneutics—demonstrates the essential connection between spiritual life and authoritative, inspiring biblical interpretation. She also explains the profound effect of one’s theology – especially Christology – on one’s hermeneutic. This, she writes, is accomplished by looking at fundamental principles of traditional Christian theology, with an historical overview indicating the close connection between exegesis and spiritual life in the Church of the early centuries, and describing what led to the problems found in much of today’s biblical scholarship. Dr. Ford demonstrates why the exegetical strengths of the early Church can and should be brought into the present while retaining what is of value in the biblical scholarship of the recent past and offers examples of how this can be done. The volume is written in a most approachable style that will prove of value to scholar and layperson alike.
“Utilizing all that is valuable in historical-critical and related research, Dr. Ford demonstrates with force and clarity just why biblical hermeneutics needs to return to the perspectives and methods of early Christian interpreters, particularly those of Eastern Church tradition,” writes Archpriest John Breck.
According to His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York, Rector of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, “The Soul’s Longing is an invaluable examination of the vital relationship between one’s spiritual life and the authoritative and inspired exegesis of Scripture. Using the analogy of the myth of Psyche and Cupid, Dr. Ford guides us to an understanding of the traditional exegesis of the Holy Fathers, presenting us with the principles of Orthodox hermeneutics, and tracing for us the history of biblical exegesis from the patristic age through the Middle Ages and Protestant Reformation to the modern historical-critical method. Dr. Ford provides us with a sample exegesis of ‘We beheld His glory’ (John 1:14) in the context of the Bridegroom/Marriage theme – our yearning for the good God Who loves mankind. And it is this longing for the Divine Beauty, she concludes, that makes exegesis truly inspiring. This book, by a gifted writer and beloved professor, should be required reading for anyone wishing to truly understand the Scriptures from the traditional Christian perspective.”
Dr. Ford and her husband, Dr. David C. Ford, coauthored Marriage As a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints, also published by Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press.
The author of Being Bread—Deacon Stephem Muse Ph.D., LMF, LPC, B.C.E.T.S.—is the Director of the Pastoral Counselor Training program and Clinical Services for the D. A. and Elizabeth Turner Ministry Resource Center of the Pastoral Institute, Inc., Columbus, GA. In his book, originally published in 2013 by the Orthodox Research Institute, he contends that, if as Dostoevsky says, “Beauty will save the world,” it is because beauty arises only in the presence of love. Without love, there is nothing beautiful, valuable or meaningful. Meaning arises and transformation occurs through the call and response of personal encounter when we discover a third presence Who offers us being-in-relationship that is greater than the determinism and inertia of biological life. The stories and reflections in this volume are offered in celebration of the One Who, in surprising ways and unexpected circumstances, becomes the precious and pure gift of our being bread so that we may live the mystery of becoming bread for others.
“Stephen Muse’s finely written book is full of profound insights, eyebrow raising surprises and unforgettable stories,” observes Jim Forest, author of Saint George and the Dragon, All is Grace, and For the Peace from Above. “He adds new depths to a sentence most of us pray at least once daily, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’”