Dr. Martin A. Lang, biblical scholar of Old and New Testaments, writes "Christian Spirituality," based on St. Matthew's Gospel
Martin A. Lang, Ph.D., brings his strengths as a scholar of the Old and New Testaments, and a bent to inject psychology into his teaching, to bear in his latest book, "Christian Spirituality." Now Professor Emeritus of religious studies at Fairfield University, where he continues to teach the New Testament, Dr. Lang has used biblical and contemporary scholarship and added a psychological component to study St. Matthew's gospel with the goal of helping readers approach the Christian faith from a biblical perspective and form an enhanced spiritual lifestyle.
"Christianity may be two thousand years old," Dr. Lang says, "but it can offer a rich spirituality to the people of computers, cell phones and hybrid cars. Those who seek God in their everyday lives move from the faith of the past to sing the song of a new experience of daily life."
"Christian Spirituality" urges readers, either individually or in groups, to enter into the narrative by being with Jesus, and to "examine the earliest scriptures to recapture the theological perspective of the Old Testament." Dr. Lang says it is assumed that "Matthew or his instructors scoured the 'Hebrew Scriptures' for every conceivable reference to Christ" and that Matthew and his community "understood how Jesus fulfilled what God had spoken to the people of His covenant in times past."
The third technique that Dr. Lang employs, and the one that perhaps most distinguishes his methodology from other forms of interpretation is "The Psychological Witness." "Concepts that modern psychologists have identified also existed in biblical times, but without names attached to them," he says. Searching for these concepts within the biblical text is intended to "help our understanding of the text and to enhance our spiritual nourishment." While he avoids what he calls "scientific" psychology, he says people in study groups often find common ground in their experience that enlivens their discussions and understanding of the text.
Dr. Lang was a Christian counselor as director of the graduate program in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education at Fairfield for many years.
"Christian Spirituality" is published by University Press of America.
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Posted on September 3, 2008
Vol. 41, No. 39