Raymond E. Brown, Biblical Scholar, Dies

Father Raymond E. Brown, S.S., a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and one of America's preeminent biblical scholars, died after a heart attack on Saturday, August 8, 1998. He had been a frequent contributor to St. Anthony Messenger Press, sponsor of AmericanCatholic.org. Excerpts from an August 10  media release, as well as a listing of Brown's contributions to St. Anthony Messenger Press,  follow.

 St. Anthony Messenger Press Publisher Jeremy Harrington, O.F.M., said, "Raymond Brown reached scholars, religious educators and clergy with his academic books, but in his zeal he wanted to reach more: the people in the pew who hungered for a greater understanding of the Bible. We were honored that a scholar of his stature would write for a popular audience.

"Brown once commented that Catholic Update and St. Anthony Messenger reached hundreds of thousands, more than his books. He also reached that wider audience through Scripture From Scratch and the paperback books that he wrote for St. Anthony Messenger Press. He was a joy to work with. Some authors resist any suggestions, but Brown was open to ideas and editing. He was a gracious man and a brilliant scholar who knew the fruits of his labor were for everyone."

Brown, a Sulpician priest, was Auburn Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York. He was twice appointed a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, by Pope Paul VI in 1972 and by Pope John Paul II in 1996. He wrote extensively on the Bible. In addition to his books, he was a frequent contributor to Catholic UpdateSt. Anthony Messenger magazine and Scripture From Scratch (all publications of St. Anthony Messenger Press).

Brown's  last book, A Retreat With John the Evangelist: That You May Have Life (St. Anthony Messenger Press), was published the day before he died. Brown penned the work as part of the A Retreat With… series.

The book is a seven-day retreat with spiritual director John the Evangelist, author of the fourth Gospel. Through his artful appearance in the role of "Translator" for John, Brown wove the evangelist’s words into a week of prayer and deepening acquaintance, ending with a list of resources to help the reader continue this relationship. Brown brought immediacy to the "gospel message," allowing modern readers to understand and resolve difficulties in the text and its interpretation throughout the centuries. Transcending the political struggles and divisiveness of some modern Christians, this retreat refreshes for the reader what it means to be, first and foremost, a disciple of Jesus.

The following are some samples of Brown's work published by St. Anthony Messenger Press:

St. Anthony Messenger magazine (online edition)
Mary, the First Disciple

Catholic Update
(most were published simultaneously in St. Anthony Messenger)
How to Read the Resurrection Narratives
Lenten Stories From John's Gospel
The Fundamentalist Challenge
The Death of Jesus and Anti-Semitism
How the Infancy Narratives Were Written (out of print)
How to Read the Passion Narratives of Jesus (out of print)

Scripture from Scratch
The Holy Spirit As Paraclete
The Christmas Stories
The First and Most Perfect Disciple

Books by St. Anthony Messenger Press:
A Retreat With John the Evangelist: That You May Have Life
Reading the Gospels With the Church From Christmas Through Easter


Almighty God, help us to be disciples of your Son. If we are struggling with faith and doubting whether we should believe, overcome our obstacles. If we believe, strengthen our faith when it is tested by the difficulties of life. And as we face the specter of death, grant us the grace to see that already we possess your life that death cannot touch.

—from A Retreat With John the Evangelist:
That You May Have Life

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