Scott HAHN: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God. New York: Double Day Books, 2001, pp. 191. $19.95 hb. ISBN 0-385-50168-4.
Reviewed by Joan A. RANGE, St. Louis University, ST. LOUIS, MO 63156-0907

The author of this book is a "convert" to the Catholic Church. And it shows. In the Introduction, Scott Hahn refers to himself as a "Marian Prodigal" (p.3). His early life as a devout Protestant and later as a Presbyterian minister reflects the usual anti-Marian bias of many, non-Catholic Christian churches. After his entry into the Catholic Church his bias strongly reversed itself. Now he laments that even some Catholics and Orthodox Christians have abandoned the rich heritage of Marian devotion. His book is an apology for this reversal.

The various chapters of the book are the author's reading of revelation, in creation but mostly in the Scriptures. Both testaments, he contends, are an elaborate typology of God's way of bringing about human salvation. Typology is the way to understand the meaning of God's revelation; it unlocks both the literal sense and the spiritual sense of the text. In Hahn's presentation the type of the woman is paramount in the story. With this method of reading Scripture it is clear that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, will be central to the story of both testaments.

The earliest post-New Testament writers of the Church laid the foundation for the significance of Mary in the story of salvation. Hahn makes use of Cardinal Newman's essay on "The New Eve" which establishes the points that he makes: Justin, Ireneaus, Tertullian and others saw Mary as the New Eve, remedying by her obedience what Eve had destroyed by her disobedience.

The Marian doctrines are implicit in the story of Mary's role in human salvation. Hahn refers to this as The Protoevangelium, the first gospel, as he translates the word, apparently prior in significance to the canonical gospels in the important information given about Mary.

Hahn's book has many inspirational texts and he is obviously devoted to Mary. However the book has some glaring weaknesses. First, his use of the term protoevangelium. There is an infamous document of that name, The Protoevangelium of James, a mid-second century text, that gave the church information about Mary which cannot be substantiated, is probably fictitious but which has had a considerable influence on the culture that developed around Mary. Second, his use of only typology as a method for understanding the senses of Scripture is unfortunate and reduces the significance of his work. Lastly, but most irritatingly, his use of slogans for Mary which are either ridiculous or trivializing: e.g., Ark, the Herald Angels Sing, A Fetal Attraction, The Mother is the Message, and I Dream of Genealogy. Really!

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