David S. T.'s Reviews > Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God

Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn
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Jan 15, 15

bookshelves: read-in-2010, religion
Read from August 07 to 22, 2010

If I remember correctly from Rome Sweet Home, Scott Hahn has a Masters in Theology from a Protestant college and then eventually converted to Catholicism. One of the questions I have from a Protestant perspective is the Mariology of the Catholic Church, sure I’ll admit that often Protestants don’t give her the respect she deserves, but at the same time I don’t understand all of the attention Catholics give her, so to help with my questions I went to this book. For a book written by someone who used to preach about the problems with the Catholic Church and has a masters degree, I figured I would find some sound arguments to the questions I had, sadly I was mistaken.

For example one issue I had was on page 66 he mentions the greek word “adelphos” and says this “literally means ‘from the same woumb’. From John and Irenaeus through Ephrem and Agustine, the early Christians believed that womb belonged to Mary.” He goes on to say that this means all Christians are from the same womb as Mary therefore she is the Mother of the Christians and the Church. Okay, but later when discussing the perpetual virginity of Mary he says that the “brothers” of Christ could mean cousins or close relative and therefore not technically as literal from the same womb (according to him the greek didn’t have a word for cousins”. The problem I have with this is that with a quick internet search the word translated brothers in those passages is the same “adelphos” mentioned above, so literally this should mean from the same womb, or does it mean cousins, does it change based on the point you’re trying to prove? He conveniently leaves the greek word out in this instance. Okay so the word can mean either then it’s possible that the brotherhood of Christ means we are close relatives or cousins or possibly that the brothers of Christ are from the same womb.

Okay, maybe I’m being too picky, but from discussing Mary with a Catholic I know, I had as much information in 15 minutes than Hahn presented in 180 pages and the friend could discuss it better. Really I probably expected too much, the obvious audience of this book has to be Catholics who already accept Mary dogma and not so much as a defense to Protestant questioning the subject. To better understand this, I’ll have to look elsewhere.
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Robert This is an extremely narrow point that does nothing to debunk the numerous positions on Mariology (or the greater points) that are taken in this book. When I read a book, I evaluate the author and his credentials first (just as you seem to have, here). Scott Hahn is obviously well-versed in Scriptural Exegesis. I'm certain Mr. Hahn did more than "a quick internet search" before arriving at his interpretations of terms like adelphos. Perhaps you should email Scott Hahn and press him on this. That would be fair. However, discrediting the entire book over an issue like this doesn't seem to be very honest. It's a 170-somethig page book. It's not an exhaustive text on Mariology; it's at best an introduction. Given this, I would expect an author who is highly trained in the subject to take certain conclusions as assumed (his educated conclusions on the meaning of adelphos, for example) without going into great detail about each and every educated-conclusion ("educated" because Hahn is surely not an amateur). I would doubt very much that Scott Hahn has never considered what one could find in a "quick internet search." No offense intended, but this review seems to imply a distrust of the author. My advice: email him with your question and be open to the answer. As a Protestant who is reading works on Mariology, you've obviously shown your openness to Catholic answers, even if you disagree.


message 2: by David S. T. (last edited Jan 08, 2011 09:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

David S. T. In no way am I saying that I know more than anyone else, including Mr. Hahn. My biggest disappointment from Mr. Hahn's book is that he writes it only as a devotional with straw man arguments. Someone who comes from the protestant side and is seriously trying to understand the mariology would quickly see through (or with a little bit of research). From a book by someone like Hahn who himself had to struggle with the doctrines of Mary, I expected something more. If you're looking for a mary devotion this book is okay, but its terrible for protestant apologetics. Its been long enough now that I would have to pull it out and reread parts of it to remember some of the other things which really bugged me.

Going back to my example there IS actually a greek word for cousin 'syngenes' and its used in Luke 1:36 in relation to Mary and Elizabeth, so to use his example that Hebrew doesn't have a word for cousin(p 104) completely ignores the fact that Mark was written in Greek and he could have used the word for cousin or close relative if he meant cousins. So you argue that well perhaps Luke only knew the technical greek word for cousin, then fine please explain Luke 8:19-21.

So getting back to my 2 star rating, for a protestant who seriously wants to understand the catholic view and has his own questions this book does nothing to get to the meat of the problem. So truthfully this whole argument about Mary can only go back to the true question, does the Catholic church have full authority on earth, to interpret / enhance scripture and to make new doctrine. I understand saying that you have only traditions passed down from the apostolic fathers, but I beg to differ, I think you'll find it hard to find 2nd century or earlier proof texts for many church teachings.

So here is my final question which I'm having so much trouble understand. Why? Why do these doctrines even matter? Why if I'm a catholic do I have to believe that Mary was ever virgin, sinless, a co-redeemer, that she gave him to the cross (even though Christ himself said that he alone freely gives himself), ect. In the ultimate purpose what purpose do these doctrines focusing on Mary serve? I was hoping that Scott Hahn's book would answer these questions yet I have the same ones.


Espresso Mary was the mother of God, Jesus, chosen by God to carry Him in her womb. Jesus shows his mother great respect, should we show her any less? When Jesus was in the cross he gave John to Mary as her so , and Mary to John as his mother.

To understand the meaning behind the Greek, we have to look not only at the basic definition, but also at the usage. I'm sure you have used a word at some point that was not used in the same context in a different period of time. It will take a great deal of research to ferret out all the linguistic snags. ;)


Espresso I also recommend catholic.com - it has a catholic question forum that is even for protestants. It goes into great detail on this topic!


message 5: by David S. T. (last edited May 18, 2012 08:34AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

David S. T. Hi Espresso, during my time exploring the Catholic faith, I spend countless hours listening to the Catholic Answers podcasts. I liked Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples probably the best and surprising, I always liked listening to Hahn's occasional guest appearances, personally I prefer to listen to him speak rather than read his books which always seem to slightly disappoint me.

As for the Mariology and the Catholic faith, I've put my search for the "true" version of Christianity on hold. I still don't think things like the perpetual virginity of Christ or the immaculate conception are anything essential to faith and it does bother me that if I were a catholic I'd be required to believe them to be in good standings with the church. Anyways I could be wrong but, I believe that if you're getting closer to god in your church then more power to you and please continue, I don't think its any worse or better than any mainline Christian denomination (cultist groups excluded). I can't imagine getting to heaven and being sent to hell for having the wrong beliefs about the virginity/sin status of Mary.


Dcrotts See "the teachings of the Church Fathers" to gain much insight into how the early church received the deposit of faith and the teachings they received on the subject at hand...amongst many others.


message 7: by Jm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jm David, can you tell us what you consider a straw man argument in Hahn's book?

I would call his book theology light, but I wouldn't call it wrong.


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