Covenant and Communion

The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI brought a world-class biblical theologian to the papacy. There is an intensely biblical quality to his pastoral teaching and he has demonstrated a keen concern for the authentic interpretation of sacred Scripture.

Here a foremost interpreter of Catholic thought and life offers a probing look at Benedict’s biblical theology and provides a clear and concise introduction to his life and work. Bestselling author and theologian Scott Hahn argues that the heart of Benedict’s theology is salvation history and the Bible and shows how Benedict accepts historical criticism but recognizes its limits. The author also explains how Benedict reads the overall narrative of Scripture and how he puts it to work in theology, liturgy, and Christian discipleship.


  1. Ignorance of Scripture Is Ignorance of Christ: The Theological Project of Joseph Ratzinger
  2. The Critique of Criticism: Beginning the Search for a New Theological Synthesis
  3. The Hermeneutic of Faith: Critical and Historical Foundations for a Biblical Theology
  4. The Spiritual Science of Theology: Its Mission and Method in the Life of the Church
  5. Reading God’s Testament to Humankind: Biblical Realism, Typology, and the Inner Unity of Revelation
  6. The Theology of the Divine Economy: Covenant, Kingdom, and the History of Salvation
  7. The Embrace of Salvation: Mystagogy and the Transformation of Sacrifice
  8. The Cosmic Liturgy: The Eucharistic Kingdom and the World as Temple
  9. The Authority of Mystery: The Beauty and Necessity of the Theologian’s Task Indexes


"Scott Hahn's new book on the pope's interpretation of the Gospels and the New Testament is essential reading for any informed Catholic. I have been waiting for someone to expand and bring together the conclusions that Pope Benedict XVI brings to us in his powerful book Jesus of Nazareth. This is a very important book for all Catholics, clergy, religious, and laity alike."--Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR

"Scott Hahn offers us a lucidly written and trenchant study of the biblical theology of Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict. He shows how one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century gently but firmly corrected the historical critics who dominate much of contemporary academic Scripture study. Hahn further demonstrates how, in making this correction, Ratzinger / Benedict allowed for the recovery of much of the richness of patristic biblical interpretation, including typology, an integrated understanding of the Old and New Testaments, a sense of Jesus as the interpretive key for the whole of revelation, and the deep rapport between kingdom and Church. This is a beautiful and thought-provoking text, one that will prove helpful to any serious student of the sacred page."--Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

"The increasingly painful bankruptcy of the historical-critical method in our time has created a vacuum precisely at the point where the living Church requires substantial nurture. Pope Benedict XVI has spoken into this crisis like no one else, and his best expositor, Scott Hahn, has done us a tremendous service by synthesizing Benedict's erudite and prayerful biblical theology into a lively, readable, and intellectually reliable conspectus. This excellent volume will be indispensable for all Christians who seek to be more maturely grounded in Scripture."--David Lyle Jeffrey, distinguished professor of literature and the humanities, Baylor University

"This is an extraordinary book. Exploring Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI's theology, Hahn masterfully sets forth the links between Scripture and Church, history and typology, Word and liturgy. In clear and succinct prose, Hahn shows how these links derive from Christ's Pasch. More than an introduction to Ratzinger / Benedict's theology--although it is this as well--Hahn's marvelous book provides an introduction to biblical exegesis, Catholic theology, and ultimately to the life of discipleship itself. This is a book for all readers, a rich feast of spiritual and intellectual transformation."--Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary, University of Saint Mary of the Lake

"Biblical theology--that is, the work of tracing major scriptural themes from promise to fulfillment--is essential for the life and health of the Church. Long before his election as pope, Benedict XVI brought his wide-ranging gifts to bear in this field in a Christ-centered exposition. Even when one disagrees with some of his conclusions, Benedict's insights, as well as his engagement with critical scholarship, offer a wealth of reflection. In this remarkable book, Scott Hahn has drawn out the central themes of Benedict's teaching in a highly readable summary that includes not only the pope's published works but also his less-accessible homilies and addresses. This is an eminently useful guide for introducing the thought of an important theologian of our time."--Michael S. Horton, J. G. Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

"The two revolutions that have undermined the Faith most effectively for the young today are surely the sexual revolution and the modernist revolution in biblical theology. As John Paul II's theology of the body is the Church's triumphant alternative to the sexual revolution, Benedict's biblical theology is her triumphant alternative to modernist biblical theology. This book explains the second response to us as Christopher West explains the first. When Benedict writes about the Bible, it is like an archangel interpreting the seraphim; and when Scott Hahn writes about Benedict, it is like our guardian angel interpreting the archangel to us. Thus this is a triply beautiful book!"--Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College

"This book arrives at an important time when many exegetes are reflecting on the relationship between historical studies and the theological understanding of the biblical text. Scott Hahn gives us a clear résumé of the lifetime of teaching that Joseph Ratzinger has given to this question. Hahn's amply documented study shows Ratzinger challenging the philosophical principles of many practitioners of the historical-critical method, pointing out that faith is not an exterior norm but rather a respectful light that illumines study from within while welcoming whatever is true in the results of historical investigation. I recommend Covenant and Communion to anyone who wishes to read a competent synthesis of one of the great theologians of our time on the questions of revelation, Church, history, and language."--Francis Martin, Dominican House of Studies

"Covenant and Communion is a compelling manuduction right into the very core of Pope Benedict XVI's theological vision. In this clearly written and cogently argued essay, Hahn makes a convincing and highly pertinent case for what Pope Benedict holds to be the crucial challenge for the Church and theology today--the reunification, and thereby the renewal, of exegesis theologically conceived and theology exegetically grounded. By way of excellently chosen samplings from the pope's sprawling oeuvre, Hahn persuasively demonstrates the way Benedict's theology incessantly arises from and circles around the living Word of God as received and witnessed by God's pilgrim people. Theologically insightful and surefooted, this book is one of the best and certainly the most timely and urgent among the recent introductions to the theology of Pope Benedict XVI."--Reinhard Hütter, professor of Christian theology, Duke Divinity School

"Exploring the foundations of Benedict's theology, Hahn's latest book presents an in-depth exposition of the pope's theology of Scripture. This lucid exposition introduces the reader to Benedict's understanding of historical criticism, faith and reason, typology, covenant, sacrifice, liturgy, and a variety of other topics. The book beautifully models what for Pope Benedict is the central task of theology: it leads believers into a real participation in the mystery of faith."--Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College

"Scott Hahn here renders an important service in so clearly setting forth the hermeneutical principles, biblical framework, and doctrinal positions of Pope Benedict XVI, arguably the world's most important contemporary theologian. The parallels between the biblical theology of the pope and of evangelicals, together with their respective attempts to interpret Scripture theologically in an age marked by modern biblical criticism, are particularly fascinating."--Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"As a Protestant biblical scholar, I found Scott Hahn's exposition of Pope Benedict's biblical theology both informative and inspiring. In spite of differences, Protestants need to read this book to understand how deeply we can agree on the primacy of Christ and the Word. Through Hahn, I have a new appreciation for the mind and heart of Pope Benedict."--Tremper Longman III, Distinguished Scholar of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"Scott Hahn offers the reader a superb introduction to the way in which the theology of Pope Benedict XVI has been shaped by the Bible. Hahn's crisp and clear analysis puts the reader at the very center of this remarkable pope's thought."--Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

"In the growing body of literature on the theology of Benedict XVI, there is a conspicuously missing theme: the consciously biblical character of the pontiff's theology. If John Paul II was at heart always the Philosopher Pope, Benedict is the Exegete and Theologian of Scripture. In his new book, Scott Hahn places this concern for theology as a scriptural--and hence a liturgical--activity center stage with the verve and clarity we have come to expect from him. Hahn uses his encyclopedic knowledge of Ratzinger / Benedict's corpus to tease out many threads, weaving them into a compelling account of the new hermeneutic at the heart of Benedict's vision. Not only students of the pope but also all of us who desire the revitalization of theology and exegesis should welcome the passion and insight that Hahn has brought to bear on his subject."--Lewis Ayres, Bede Professor of Catholic Theology, Durham University

The Author

  1. Scott W. Hahn

    Scott W. Hahn

    Scott W. Hahn (PhD, Marquette University) is the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, and is founder and president of the Saint Paul Center...

    Continue reading about Scott W. Hahn


"For those in search of a holistic and comprehensive approach to biblical interpretation and theology, [this book] will be very helpful."--Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, America

"A love for Scripture and the incorporation of the Bible in his theological writing and speaking have long been hallmarks of Pope Benedict XVI, both during his career as a distinguished theologian and now as pope. This book by Scott Hahn offers a thoughtful and informative extended essay . . . describing the role of Scripture and biblical theology in the Pope's overall theological vision. . . . The Pope's perspective does not assume the 'painful bankruptcy' of the historical critical method or the need to abandon it, but rather the need to realize the full spectrum of valid approaches to biblical interpretation and, equally important, to ensure that biblical inquiry not be separated from the life of the church or from faith itself. Hahn accurately describes the proper balance the Pope himself champions in his writing and teaching."--Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

"With regard to concise explication of the pope's theology, one could certainly do worse, and almost certainly not a whole lot better, than Hahn's volume. . . . Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister and widely published author, now almost 25 years removed from the drama of his conversion to Roman Catholicism, has set aside the convert's enthusiasms and concentrates only on giving voice to Benedict by means of judicious quotation and well-aimed encapsulation. . . . As Hahn presents him, Benedict proposes Scripture and the Church as unified elements in a grand, symphonic vision of redemption before the Lamb."--Daniel Muth, Living Church

"Hahn's approach is descriptive and appreciative. His greatest service is gathering a large number of extensive quotations from many different sources. Indeed, many of the pope's best insights and sharpest comments come from homilies and other occasional allocutions that most of us may find difficult to access. At every point Hahn lets Benedict speak for himself, and so the reader not only gets a firsthand acquaintance with the pope's theological presuppositions and concerns but also is treated to his many brilliant and challenging insights about the significance of particular biblical texts and themes. . . . For biblical scholars and students of theology interested in theological exegesis (a growing and lively field in recent years), this volume presents a distinguished theologian's comprehensive and holistic approach to biblical interpretation that can be accepted or adapted in various ways."--Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Scott Hahn has quickly become a prominent Catholic apologist. Hahn all but bilocates to chair his seminary and University professorships while managing a packed speaking schedule and an ambitious scholarly agenda that sees a new book or two annually. His conversion from Protestantism is well known, and his persuasive scriptural exegesis has garnered the approbation of doctrinally diverse Christians. Add to that already impressive resume his latest volume . . . outlining Pope Benedict's emerging theology. . . . Hahn demonstrates Pope Benedict XVI's unprecedented reliance on Scripture . . . but Hahn accomplishes far more. He cues everything from papal addresses to dogmatic constitutions into an aria of catholic unity, demonstrating Benedict's awe-inspiring command of liturgy, prayer, philosophy, sacraments, salvation history, and even cosmology. . . . As the book nears its conclusion, Hahn's epiphanies multiply. . . . The reader is often moved here to put down the book and raise his heart in thanksgiving for both Benedict and Hahn. . . . We can hope that Hahn will expand this study into a multivolume work, adding another movement to an already concordant repertoire."--Stephen Mirarchi, National Catholic Register

"[This book] makes an excellent contribution to the study of the pope's work by capturing how the Bible has shaped Benedict's entire approach to his theological enterprise. . . . By seamlessly weaving together numerous citations from the vast corpus of Benedict's major writings and pontifical addresses, Hahn shows how the Bible provides the raison d'être of Benedict's 'polyphonic melody.'. . . Hahn makes his greatest contribution to the study of Benedict's thought by identifying the liturgy . . . as both the end and fulfillment of God's revelation. . . . Hahn clearly explains Benedict's theology of Scripture and he masterfully illuminates the heart and unity of Benedict's covenant theology, ecclesiology, and liturgical theology."--David G. Bonagura Jr., Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly