I just got back from one of my favorite weeks of the year: the Letter and Spirit Summer Institute with Scott Hahn. It's a consortium of young Ph.D.'s and doctoral students who come together once a year to study Sacred Doctrine and Sacred Scripture. It's essentially a 7 hours per day doctoral seminar salted with the Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic adoration, holy Rosary, and daily Mass.
For the last three years, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have joined us. They are the gracious leaven that raises the event from "seminar" to "spiritual retreat." Their presence also keeps us from becoming too doctrinally cocky.
This year, Dr. Hahn focused on his recently published Kinship by Covenant (Yale, 2009).
He was fantastic. My favorite aspect of Hahn's teaching is that he constantly returns to the practical application and the means by which such ideas can be introduced to academic situations, journal articles, seminars, etc. This is Hahn in full gear - Hahn with footnotes, journal articles, dissertations, monographs, and bibliographies.
In the evenings we listened presentations from other presenters. The first evening we enjoyed Dr. John Bergsma who discussed the dating of Ezekiel in relation to Leviticus - a discussion related to his doctoral dissertation at Notre Dame: “The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran” (2004). If you've seen his article in JBL, you'll be familiar with this talk (“What Laws Were Not Good? A Canonical Approach to the Theological Problem of Ezekiel 20:25–26,” with Scott W. Hahn, Journal of Biblical Literature 123 (2004) 201–18).
On the second evening, Dr. Jeff Morrow presented a talk on the historical context from which Julius Wellhausen's documentary hypothesis (the infamous JEPD explanation for the Pentateuch) developed. Morrow demonstrated from Wellhausen's own words that the theory derived from a prejudice against "true religion" as priestly, cultic, and universal. Wellhausen was deeply indebted to late 19th century German fascination for romantic accounts of its ancient pagan Teutonic roots - recall Nietzsche, Wagner, Grimm, et al. The Germanic love for the virtue of war is perfectly revealed in the fact that Wellhausen's favorite book of the Bible was Judges.
On the last evening, I presented a talk entitled "Divine Law and Filial Probation: Understanding Galatians in Light of the Abrahamic Covenant." Some of the material came from my upcoming book: The Catholic Perspective on Paul.
My own discussion centered on how Scott Hahn describes progress of the Abrahamic Covenant as Promise (Gen 15), "Law" (Gen 17), and "Oath" (Gen 22).
From this I distilled a number of analogues that are found in redemptive history, the epistles Saint Paul (primarily Galatians), in the Council of Trent, and finally in the mystical (Carmelite) tradition of the Catholic Church. Here's a rough outline:
My Suggested Analogues of the “Promise > Law > Oath Paradigm”
Life of Adam (Creation > Fall > Divine Oath, e.g. Gen 3:15 and New Covenant)
Life of Abraham (Gen 15 > Gen 16-17 > Gen 22)
History of Israel (Abraham > Moses > Christ)
Ministry of Christ (Baptism > Wilderness till Holy Thursday > Passion/Resurrection)
Galatians Argument (Sons under God > Slaves under Angels > Heirs in Christ + Spirit)
Romans Argument (Baptism > War with Concupiscence/Flesh > Heirs in Christ + Spirit)
Council of Trent (Justification > Increase of Justification > Final Salvation)
Threefold Way (Purgative > Illuminative > Unitive or Contemplative)
Paradigm Distilled (Filiation/Adoption > Struggle Leading to Death > Inheritance)
I also spoke about Paul's exotic reference to "elemental spirits" in Galatians. If you interested in this topic, I wrote a post about it here that covers the same material: The "Elemental Spirits" of the Apostle Paul.
I'm still resting up, but I'll try to post more tomorrow.