WOMEN, HOLY AND NOT
Women of the Bible. By N. V. Morton. (Methuen, 5s. net).
St. Mary Magdalen. By Father Vincent
McNabb, O.P. (Bums, Oates, 3s. 6d.).
Reviewed by DONALD ATTWATER
" 130PULARISATION " is a most neces
sary and worthy work: to it many are called but few chosen. H. V. Morton is one of the, chosen; he does it well, and his books are widely appreciated.
Women of the Bible is an excellent addition to his previous volumes on biblical
subjects. He casts his net widely, from Eve to the Second Eve, from Lot's wife to the Witch of Endor, from Rachel to Herodias; and he combines his knowledgeable topography of the Holy Land, wide reading and Christian ethic with a lively up-to-dateness of thought and writing. The result is a series of sketches that are alive and topical. A perusal of them by Catholics would surely result In an increase of Bible-readings which the Church so often urges and which 'we are so slow to undertake.
MR. Morton's last sketch is concerned .1-'1. with Mary of lailagdala, and his treatment of her is in sharp contrast with Father Vincent McNabb's. He rejects the view that she was " the woman that was a sinner " (and here he has the Eastern Church with him) and keeps carefully to the facts about her that the New Testament makes more certain : Father Vincent follows the opinion, usual in the West, identifying the two women, and his book is a loving little mystical and ascetical treatise in which the idea of repentance for grievous sin has a principal part.
It is written in that way. schematic arid rather staccato, which we have come to associate with Father Vincent; at times it is very effective, hut the present reviewer finds Mr. Morton's few straightforward pages more moving, better " preaching," in fact, although that is not what Mr. Morton is out to do (directly, anyway). It is a pity, too, that in a book intended for general reading Father Vincent did not expound his Greek words more Clearly.