Spitzer in One: Scripture, History, Science, Reason, Faith
Just two-and-a-half weeks ago, in a review of Fr. Robert Spitzer’s new book from Ignatius Press, Science at the Doorstep to God, I mentioned that Fr. Spitzer had written so widely on the topics covered in this book that the potential reader should “choose the book(s) that focus most closely on the particular paths he or she is likely to find most helpful”. Little did I know that another new book by this remarkable priest was about to be released by Our Sunday Visitor: Science, Reason and Faith: Discovering the Bible.
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Once again, this 360-page book covers a lot of the same ground as several of his previous studies, but with two differences. First, it is organized primarily around questions that arise specifically in relationship to our reception of the Bible and the realities which the Bible recounts. Second, it is presented in question-and-answer form, which makes it easier and quicker to find more succinct treatments of the particular issues which may be of greatest interest. This also makes the book more accessible to the general reader. To a significant extent, you can jump around as mood and particular interests dictate, and without taking as much time as would be required by most of Fr. Spitzer’s previous books.
Therefore, I think the best thing I can do here is simply to provide an overview of Fr. Spitzer’s valuable work by reproducing the entire table of contents:
PART ONE: QUESTIONS ABOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT
Chapter 1: Foundational Questions Concerned with the Methods of Science, Scriptural Interpretation and History
OT#1: What Does the Catholic Church Say about Science and Faith?
OT#2: Are There Conditions of Inerrancy in Biblical Statements Concerned with Science, History, and Religious/Moral Matters?
OT#3: Is the Old Testament Historical?
OT#4: How Do We Interpret the Primeval Narratives (Genesis 1-11)
Chapter 2: Questions Concerned with Evidence for God and the Soul from Contemporary Science, Medicine, and Philosophy
OT#5: What Do Scientists and Physicians Say about God and Religion?
OT#6: Can Science Disprove the Existence of an Intelligent, Transcendent Creator?
OT#7: Can the Existence of God (“A Unique Uncaused Unrestricted Creator”) Be Rationally Disproved?
OT#8: What Is the Evidence of a Beginning/Creator from Science?
OT#9: What is the Evidence for an Intelligent Creator from Fine-Tuning for Life in Our Universe?
OT#10: Can the Existence of God (“A Unique Uncaused Unrestricted Creator”) Be Proved?—Philosophical Proof of God
OT#11: What Is the Evidence for a Transphysical Soul and Life after Death from Peer-Reviewed Medical Studies?
OT#12: What Is the Rational and Scientific Evidence for Human Freedom and the Uniqueness of Human Intelligence and Self-Consciousness?
Chapter 3: Questions Concerned with the Relationship between Science and the Bible
OT#13: What Is the Scientific Picture of Creation and Its Unfolding?
OT#14: How Can the Scientific Account of Creation Be Reconciled with the Bible’s Seven Days of Creation?
OT#15: What Is the Mainstream Catholic View of Evolution?
OT#16: Who Are Our First Ensouled Parents?
OT#17: How Can Original Sin and Its Consequences Be Reconciled with the Scientific View of Creation?
Chapter 4: Questions Concerned with the Historicity of the Old Testament
OT#18: Are the Patriarchal Narratives Historical?
OT#19: Are the Exodus, Desert Wandering, and Sinai Covenant Historical?
OT#20: Is Mosaic Yahwism Unique and Inspired?
OT#21: Is Israel’s Conquest of Canaan Historical?
Chapter 5: Questions Concerned with the Development of Morality, the Historicity of Miracles, and the Inspiration of Prophecy in the Old Testament
OT#22: Is There Development in the Moral Teaching of the Old Testament?
OT#23: Are the Old Testament Miracles Historical?
OT#24: Are Old Testament Prophecies Inspired by God?
Conclusion to Part One—The Old Testament
PART TWO: QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter 6; The Historicity of the Gospels
NT#1: What Is the Extratestamental Evidence for the Historical Jesus?
NT#2: Who Were the Eyewitnesses to the Gospel Traditions?
NT#3: How Were the Oral Traditions Transmitted?
NT#4: How Can We Validate the Truth of the Gospel Narratives and Their Eyewitness Authors?
Chapter 7: The Life and Miracles of Jesus: History and Science
NT#5: How Can We Validate Jesus’ Miracles?
NT#6: Are There Miracles Today Like Those of Jesus and the Apostles?
NT#7: Did Jesus Claim to Be Divine?
NT#8: What Did Jesus Say about Love, His Mission, and Satan?
Chapter 8: The Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist: History and Science
NT#9: What Is the Historical Evidence for Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion
NT#10: What Does the Shroud of Turin Tell Us about the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus?
NT#11: Did Jesus Intend to Give Us His Real Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist?
NT#12: Are There Scientifically Investigated Eucharistic Miracles Manifesting Jesus’ Body and Blood?
Chapter 9: The Resurrection, Holy Spirit, and Catholic Church: History and Science
NT#13: What Is the Historical Evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection?
NT#14: What Is the Scientific Evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection?
NT#15: What Is the Scriptural and Contemporary Evidence of Jesus’ Gift of the Holy Spirit?
NT#16: Why Did the Early Church Proclaim Jesus to Be Divine at Such Great Cost to Herself?
NT#17: Why Do We Need a Church?
NT#18: Did Jesus Initiate the Catholic Church?
Conclusion to Part Two—New Testament
Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, Science, Reason and Faith: Discovering the Bible: Our Sunday Visitor 2023. 360pp. Paper $34.95.
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