This book focuses on worship in the letters of Paul in an effort to shed some light upon this key theme and bring the various dimensions of its significance into the foreground of Pauline studies. Each of the thirteen New Testament letters attributed to Paul are treated exclusively from the aspect of worship, as understood in its most comprehensive sense in the biblical tradition, with the liturgical and the ethical facets of worship held in dynamic interrelationship. The result is a fresh way of reading and listening to the letters of Paul for a deeper appreciation of their original purpose and message.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"When Heil calls the thirteen letters of Paul 'rituals of worship,' he means that each is written as a script to be performed for a community gathered for worship over which Paul presides through the letter, thereby evoking and sharing in the prayer of his audience. Heil also explores how the language of the letters uses imagery from temple worship metaphorically, to interpret Christian life itself as worship. Heil manages to provide a fresh, pastoral reading of the Pauline corpus as a whole." --Dennis Hamm, SJ Department of Theology Creighton University
"This book offers a unique and much needed narrative on the way St. Paul understands liturgy from the inside and how he invites others to do the same. The major factor in Heil's interpretation of the Pauline corpus is that he restores them to the context in which they were first received--as proclaimed in a liturgical assembly--and in which believers hear them today. This respects the letters not as literary output but as proclamations about the mystery of God as proclaimed in the liturgical and sacramental settings they were intended for. Highly recommended. Christian 'spirituality' at its best." --Kevin W. Irwin Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies The Catholic University of America
"The connection between communal worship and the NT is a fascinating topic. Understanding 'worship' comprehensively, Prof. Heil is the first to focus on all the letters attributed to Paul. Prof. Heil appreciates the uniqueness of each letter but notes they all begin with a prayer-greeting for divine grace, include ritualistic and liturgical language, and refer to both the ethical and liturgical worship of the audience. His book is insightful, instructive, and, as always, excellent scholarship." --Robert F. O'Toole, SJ, SSD Gregorian University Foundation
John Paul Heil
John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is the author of Ephesians: Empowerment to Walk in Love for the Unity of All in Christ (2007).