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Celebrating the release of The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the 21st Century

As one of the four editors of the third edition of the Jerome Biblical Commentary, Professor Gina Hens-Piazza worked for ten years to help create a brand-new global representation of contemporary Catholic interpretation of the Bible. JST faculty and alumni contributed to the volume, and JST students supported the work over the years by checking footnotes, Hebrew diacritical marks, and gathering other resources.

The Jesuit School of Theology has long been committed to doing theology as though people really matter, and Professor Gina Hens-Piazza’s work editing The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the 21st Century exemplifies this approach. This third edition, which contains all-new contributions, many authored by JST faculty and alumni, represents currents in Biblical interpretation showing that Catholic scholarship now extends beyond historical criticism alone, as licensed by the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.”

The formal endorsement of contextual approaches has empowered scholarship that was already ongoing. The result was a widely diverse set of contributors and perspectives in this volume who honor historical criticism but also employ other complementary approaches, such as literary, feminist, post colonial, and other types of criticism. Professor Hens-Piazza said, “There are over 100 contributors to this volume, and a significant number of the contributors are people who studied at JST and are now scholars all over the world. Their contributions represent the global nature of Catholic Biblical scholarship now and JST’s ongoing commitment to such work.” 

The volume is dedicated to Pope Francis, who contributed a foreword to the volume. The four editors worked with the goal to align the new commentary with Pope Francis’s often-expressed vision that “the Bible is the book of the LORD’s people who, in listening to it, move beyond dispersion and division, towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people.” With contributions from scholars in Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Africa, the volume exemplifies this focus on the word of God and amplifies the voices of those once marginalized.

“Our school can be very proud of this volume because of the contribution that we have made to what is now the standard of Catholic Biblical scholarship,” said Professor Hens-Piazza. “It stands as illustrative of the scholarship fostered at JST that has a formative impact for theology, and in particular, in this volume, for Biblical Studies.”

Read more about The Jerome Biblical Commentary and see a full list of its contributors.