Mihai CIUREA, Commentary on the Catholic Epistles of Saint John

Mitropolia Olteniei Publishing House, Craiova, 2022

The work entitled Commentary on the Catholic Epistles of Saint John (Mitropolia Olteniei Publishing House, 2022) continues the series of commentaries dedicated to the canonical corpus of the Catholic Epistles and represents an exegetical-theological analysis of the Johannine epistolary. The theology of the St. John’s Letters forms a kind of synthesis of the Pauline and Petrine elements, so that the earthly and prophetic-heavenly tradition and the contemplative vision unite at the same point. Although it does not have all the elements of a classical epistle, 1 John has all the details of a pastoral letter, rather in a contemporary sense. The document as a whole presents the fluidity of a homily, an “Epistle-essay”, which, however, addresses issues specific to its readers. On the other hand, 2 John and 3 John are writings that fall into the epistolary genre of the Hellenistic period, with a strong personal character, being extremely short (13 and 15 verses), even the smallest literary productions within the New Testament canon. If the first Epistle was written in order to defend the authentic interpretation of the Johannine tradition, with a substantial theological argument, the last two letters address an ecclesial issue, resorting to formal and institutional arguments. The book has a Preface by His Eminence Dr. IRINEU, Archbishop of Craiova and Metropolitan of Oltenia, who, in addition to recommending its reading as useful and uplifting to both specialists and believers in love with the Word of God, appreciates the scientific and pedagogical nature of the work, the author’s responsibility for the original text, as well as its placement in the Orthodox hermeneutic tradition. The deep meaning of deifying love appears very clearly in the writings of St. John the Theologian, “The Apostle of Hypostatic Love”. The depth of love is preserved in the mystery of a unique and unrepeatable communion, which springs from the Trinity God and is shared with people. The work is original, filling a gap felt in the Romanian literature. The philological and theological approach is based on a careful analysis of Greek primary sources, as well as an up-to-date modern bibliography. The volume is divided into two essential parts, after the general isagogical part, which applies to each Johannine Epistle: the translation itself (highlighted by the bilingual column), then the more consistent part materialized in a very elaborate commentary, divided into thematic sections, permanently related to the Greek original, which highlights the internal structure of writing, the main theological themes, but also certain aspects related to the textual criticism (e.g. Comma Johanneum).