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New. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis (Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of San Francisco) invites us to a ''cordial'' reading of St. Matthew's Gospel-cordial as understood by the Church Fathers who, despite being philosophers, theologians, and linguists, ''never forgot that, above all...he Word of God intended to strike their hearts and evoke from them a response aimed at striking the Heart of God. '' Constantly situating the text within its liturgical context and convinced, like patristic exegetes, that every word of Scripture ''seminally contains the whole Word, '' Leiva-Merikakis takes a short Greek phrase, or sometimes a potent individual word, translates it, and proceeds to dance around it, glossing it like a medieval scribe. Indeed, self-described as more scribe than commentator (''one who copies the Word of God and in his enthusiasm cannot refrain from scribbling random thoughts up and down the margins'') these scribblings flow from the pen of a true ''philologian''-a lover of words. Requesting that we play along as he demonstrates how ''a detailed etymology, a remark on the symmetry and contrasts within a phrase, the way in which the same word used in proximity in two apparently different contexts establishes a subterranean link between seemingly unrelated passages, '' his sole prayer is that the radiance of the Word will shine forth and mold us, that it will ''echo in our souls and establish its own rhythm in our thinking, feeling, and even breathing. '' Indeed, Leiva-Merikakis' short ruminations on the Gospel of St. Matthew invite us on a transforming pilgrimage to the Heart of the Word, providing a taste of what Louis Bouyer has called a ''true lectio divina, a meditative reading of the divine Word that is at once rigorously critical and deeply moving. '' Volume one covers chapters 1-11.
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