Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection - critique
on February 16, 2011
This book differs from the majority of Ray Brown's work in that it is far more brief than most of the other books he has authored. Unlike "The Birth of the Messiah" and "The Death of the Messiah" or his "Introduction to the New Testament," "The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection" is only 130 pages and can be read in a reasonable period of time. The body of the work is concise; he has limited this work to two topics, but his expertise and thoroughness in outlining these two volatile topics is nothing short of his usual exhaustive research. Not only does he speak of his own stance on these issues, he thoroughly scours the current and past academic community, and their accompanying ideas, critiquing each for helpful input or erroneous conclusions.
As usual, Ray Brown clearly knows where the Catholic line in the sand has been drawn and although he doesn't step past it, he recognizes far more than most traditional Catholics would dare consider, given the high visibility of these two issues. And his brilliance allows him to see that both conservatives and liberals can and will take him to task for the conclusions he draws. Other current theologians, both Protestant and Catholic, believe there is ample evidence out there that points toward a modern understanding of the issues, (and that this evidence ought to engender some change in official church teaching) but Brown, who clearly knows all the evidence, won't quite go there. In other words, Brown allows for the fact that "it could have happened another way" and because it is the mandate of the theologian to "inform" the magesterium to the best of his/her ability utilizing the resources (and sources) as best they can, Brown will not presume to encroach upon the official teaching body of the Church and the Spiritual tradition that accompanies it.
This is a good book for anyone who wants a shortened version of the scholarly debate that stretches back as far as the early second century. It's easy to see why Ray Brown is revered as one of the most influential 20th century theologians.