By Brant PitreImage, $23.00, 208 pages
In his newest book, Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, Brant Pitre focuses on the concept of the Christian covenant, defined by the Apostle Paul as “the wedding of a bridegroom and his bride.” Pitre argues that Christ’s crucifixion was more than a violent means of Roman execution, and was in fact the “fulfillment of the God of Israel’s eternal plan to wed himself to humankind in an everlasting marital covenant.” This analogy is consistent throughout the New Testament, from the first miracle Jesus performs at a Jewish wedding through the last days of Jesus’ life and to the eternal “marriage supper of the Lamb” in Revelation.
“In short, according to the New Testament, ancient Christian tradition, and contemporary Church teaching, every single Christian, whether single or married, man or woman, priest or virgin, monk or nun, husband or wife – every single baptized person – is inextricably caught up in the “great mystery” of the love of God for his people….If we have eyes to see it – that is, if we can learn to see Jesus through ancient Jewish eyes – then the “entire Christian life” does indeed bear the marks of the spousal love of Christ for each and every one of us.”
Pitre wisely expands the “spousal and sacrificial relationship between Christ and the Church” into a more complex metaphor beyond the simple patriarchal submission of traditional marriage. Whether Pitre successfully moves past the marginalizing concept of wifely submission is arguable, but his overall consideration of the New Testament marriage metaphor is astute and worth considering.
Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop