Corrine L. CARVALHO (ed), Pastoral Essays in Honor of Lawrence Boadt, CSP.  Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Books, 2013. Pp. xii + 162. $18.95 pb. ISBN978-0-8091-4838-7. Reviewed by Francis X. KLOSE,  La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA 19141

Anyone who has used Paulist Father Lawrence Boadt's Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction (Paulist Press, 1984) knows that it is one of the most comprehensive textbooks a professor teaching a course on the Hebrew Scriptures can choose.  In honor of Boadt's great work, Corrine L. Carvalho has edited Pastoral Essays in Honor of Lawrence Boadt, CSP, a collection of 12 essays.  Each essay responds to many "why" questions that surround a reading of the Old Testament and reading the Bible in general.   There are several reasons why this text makes a great addition to an Old Testament course reading list.

Some of the questions addressed relate to making the Old Testament accessible to readers.   Chapter one is "Why Do We Have So Many Translations of the Bible?" opens with a comparison between three different translations of the opening of the book of Genesis.  We are reminded that any reading of Scripture requires language accessible to the reader, in the language of the day.   Chapter six, "Why Learn About Biblical Archaeology?" shows how readers can connect to the Old Testament through an "authentic encounter"  created by studying Biblical Archaeology.

Major theological questions are addressed in Pastoral Essays regarding the nature of God in the Old Testament.  "Why Does God Have Many Names in the Old Testament?" looks at the potential confusion that might come from God being known as "Elohim", the tetragrammaton, and  the many visions of God, including God as warrior, lord, or king.   "Why Is a Loving God So Angry In the Bible?" helps reconcile visions of an angry God by demonstrating that there is proof that God is one who cares and is compassionate, hoping to get the attention of the people he loves.   Finally, "Why Bless God?" looks at the reciprocal relationship between God and the people, and the role of humanity in this relationship.

Finally, several essays relate to the Old Testament and its application in the modern world and what a present-day reader of the Old Testament could benefit by reading the Old Testament.  "Why Read the Story in the Garden?", "Why Pray the Psalms?" and "Why Read the Book of Proverbs?" each provides the opportunity to reflect on life today, by asking questions and examining realities of our lives today.   These three essays keep each book fresh in an era far removed from that of the Old Testament, and can keep students engaged with the text.

Each essay/chapter offers a solid conclusion and questions for further personal reflection or discussion, making Pastoral Essays in Honor of Lawrence Boadt, CSP, a wonderful supplemental text for a course in the Hebrew Scriptures.  I can easily envision myself supplementing Boadt's Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction with this work.  A great honor to Boadt and the Old Testament itself,  Caravalho's work is a work well-done.