Critical readings of biblical texts challenge established cultures, both secular and religious. The Christian Church, caught in a culture and history of its own making, can find the Gospel difficult to follow"a hard saying," (John 6:60). In this collection of essays, Moloney focuses upon aspects of the New Testament, especially from the story of Jesus and the four Gospels, which raise issues of contemporary concern.
"A Hard Saying" shows how biblical texts written two thousand years ago continue to address problems within contemporary Church and society. Studies of the gospel message on woman, discipleship, marriage and celibacy, literary criticism, the Eucharist, healthcare, resurrection, and the Spirit, allow the living voice of the Gospel to be heard.
In "A Hard Saying" Moloney examines Christianity's claim that it is not the fruit of human endeavors, but a response to God's saving concern for our well-being. He shows how this concern has been demonstrated in and through the inspired telling of the story of Israel, Jesus Christ, and the Jewish and Christian response to that story, as it is found in the Bible.
The founding "Word of God" and subsequent responses to it can often live in an uneasy tension. Christianity, which is a part of the human story, has formed its own culture and many sub-cultures. The essays that form "A Hard Saying" focus upon that relationship between New Testament and contemporary cultural questions.
Essays included under The Synoptic Gospels are "Jesus and Woman," "Matthew 19:3-12 and Celibacy, A Redactional and Form Critical Study," "The Vocation of the Disciples in the Gospel of Mark," "Faith in the Risen Jesus," and "Narrative Criticism of the Gospels." Essays included under The Gospel of John are "Who Is 'The Reader' in/of the Fourth Gospel?" "When Is John Talking about Sacraments?" "John 18:15-27: A Johannine View of the Church," "The Gospel of John: A Tale of Two Paracletes," and "'God So Loved the Word,' The Jesus of John's Gospel." Essays included under The New Testament and Contemporary Culture are "Jesus Christ: The Question to Cultures," "The Eucharist as Jesus' Presence to the Broken," "Life, Healing, and the Bible: A Christian Challenge," "Adventure with Nicodemus, An Exercise in Hermeneutics," and "Biblical Notions of Redemption and the Contemporary World."
Francis J. Moloney, SDB, AM, FAHA, is the professor of New Testament at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of numerous books including The Gospel of John of the Sacra Pagina series published by The Liturgical Press.