Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon: Tobit as World Literature

We chat with the Orthodox priest and author on the Bible’s place in human life and imagination.

Episode 15 of “Bad” Books of the Bible is live! Below is a transcript of our conversation with Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. Tell someone about it.

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Jamey: Well, Joel, the time has come. We are on our last episode for Tobit. I can't believe we've gotten through so much material. I've learned a lot, and these interviews have been fantastic.

Joel: We're talking today with someone who is no stranger to Ancient Faith Radio, Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. He is, of course, the author of very popular books like Christ in His Saints, The Jesus We Missed, and many, many others. He's also well known for his long connection to Touchstone magazine, and of course his podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio.

Jamey: It was really a privilege to get to talk to him, someone of his knowledge, caliber, and pastoral experience. I think he just really brings a lot to the table to talk about a book like Tobit.

Joel: Yeah, I agree. It was a real fun time.

Jamey: Well, let's get into it.

Jamey: The book of Tobit is a Jewish book, but it was preserved primarily by Christians in Christian Bibles. What would you say makes Tobit Christian?

Fr. Pat: The fact that it's in Christian Bibles. Your best evidence for any of these things has to do with history. We don't have any theory about these things in the Orthodox Church; there is no theory about the canon, and that's why the Orthodox Church has never actually come right out and pronounced on the matter, the way the Roman Catholics did not do until after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent, in response to the Reformation and this really wild theory of Luther's about this severely limited canon.

Something that strikes me as very funny: If you take the canon that's in the Protestant Bible, there's not a single manuscript, not one manuscript from antiquity, that has the Protestant Bible. Not one, not one. All of them have the Catholic or the Orthodox Bible. Now, they don't all have the same books, but Tobit, as far as I know, is in every single Christian manuscript, even among those who doubted it was supposed to be in the Bible, like Jerome—and Jerome is almost kind of unique in this case. Jerome toyed around with the book of Tobit, the most famous example, of course, is the wagging of the dog's tail, when little Toby comes home, because he's getting that right out of the Odyssey, when the dog wags his tail when Ulysses, when Odysseus comes in. I believe the dog's name was Argos: he wags his tail and dies, because he recognizes his voice. Well, Jerome, being a classicist, put that in there. I don't think he would have felt free to do that if he had accepted the text whole in itself.

On the other hand, look at this. The two major textual traditions on the Greek version of Tobit, the one, the [Sinaiticus] is the longer one—the [Vaticanus] and the Alexandrinus are somewhat shorter—all your translations, as far as I know, are made on the one in the [Sinaiticus], the Vaticanus one just coming, you'll notice, just prior to the Protestant Reformation. Erasmus found it when he visited Rome, and he used it and he had some people check that down, and he used it for his own version of the New Testament, which was the first kind of critical version of the New Testament, from Erasmus, which was simply to accompany his new Latin translation. But he's our first historical witness of somebody actually using the Vaticanus, but that text was about 1 John. Still the same manuscript.

Now, think for a minute. If everybody's really quiet in their mind that this text we have is the word of God, why would they still be fooling with the text? Why are there these rather egregious introductions, or rather insertions into the Vaticanus text? But that is the Orthodox position. This is nothing we felt we needed to settle. This is not part of the faith handed on originally to the saints. None of the apostles were going to die a martyr's death of the canonicity of Tobit. [Laughter] It wasn't up there like… For those who have a black-and-white view of these matters are not going to be able to understand the Orthodox position, which will seem sort of wishy-washy and almost not to take a position. But we take that freedom of the biblical texts in general. There are absolutely no two manuscripts of any book of the Bible that are identical in every single manuscript. There's not a single example of it. As when they copied the texts, they did a pretty good job, but not with the kind of precision that we expect in the publishing industry.

Joel: Which is a modern standard.

Fr. Pat: It really is.

Joel: Your point about the canon not really being something determined in a final way as Rome did with Trent or various Protestant groups did before that strikes me as not only true, but you can see that in the historical witness. But it's interesting that some Orthodox believers insist on calling these books, these books from the so-called Apocrypha, "Deuterocanonical," which is, it seems to me, a Roman Catholic term.

Fr. Pat: It is. It's a recent Roman Catholic term. I think something like 300 years, something like that. Yeah, it's not a traditional term at all. I certainly prefer "Deuterocanonical" to "Apocryphal," because there's nothing apocryphal about them; they're not hidden books.

Joel: You've written several articles on key aspects to Tobit. There's two chapters in one of the books that you've published, Christ in His Saints. What are some of the themes you see displayed in this book?

Fr. Pat: There are two chapters in Christ in His Saints on something besides Tobit, on that book?

Joel: Yep.

Fr. Pat: Oh, that's probably Sarah. I did one on Sarah, yes. Oh my goodness. From the perspective of general piety in the Orthodox Church, I would say probably what most Orthodox would remember most is the Archangel Raphael. Certainly there are far more images of Raphael in our iconography than any other character in that book. I think—and this is not my field, the history of iconography—but I don't think there are any images of Tobit, none that I know, in our iconography, prior to about the sixteenth century. But anyway, the angels: Tobit being one of those who stands, one of the seven who stands before the face of God—pardon me, Raphael, one of those.

Orthodox icon featuring the seven archangels. Left to right: Jegudiel, Gabriel, Selaphiel, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Barachiel. Cherubim (blue) and Seraphim (red) are beneath the mandorla of Christ in the center. Image

Back when I was still serving the Divine Liturgy and I would do the proskomidi, I always commemorated Raphael with Michael and Gabriel. Now, all three of those angels come from very late books, post-exilic books. Daniel's probably later than Tobit, by the way. Just think about that. When you start questioning what's canonical and what's non-canonical. Daniel was certainly not written before the second century BC. Tobit could be a bit earlier than that.

Joel: Wow.

Fr. Pat: Now, among themes. Okay, the angels. The angels. With respect to piety, Tobit presents us with a systematic Jewish form of piety, which has to do with prayer, fasting, and what is called eleemosyna, which is works of mercy: eleemosyna, a Greek word, from which we get the English word "alms" for example, works of mercy. Now that is standard rabbinical piety at the time of the… It took form at the time of the Babylonian captivity when there was no longer a ritual sacrifice in the Temple.

The book of Tobit testifies to the habit of prayer, and there's a great deal about prayer in the book. Recall that as the book opens, you've got two distressful situations. The old man has been blinded, and he was blinded doing a work of mercy. And then you have the situation, of course, Sarah, over in Ecbatana, a city of the Medes, so a city at the extreme east of biblical geography; her last seven husbands have all been killed on the wedding night, which can be kind of discouraging, I think, to a young woman, if you think about it. I haven't had any personal experience of that as a priest. Nobody's come to me with that problem yet, but who knows what the future holds. [Laughter]

So the two of them start to pray. Now, notice that their prayer is simultaneous. I've always fancied, if I had the talent to do it, of putting—and somebody should—making an opera out of the book of Tobit. It'd be wonderful to do that, with these various voices, and I could see the old man doing a bass, for example, and on the other side of the stage, simultaneously, Sarah doing a soprano, and the two of them singing this together, because they're praying at the same time in the book. Then that's a standard device in opera, to have two scenes and so forth. Remember that I guess the most famous one is the quartet from Rigoletto, "Bella figlia dell'amore." The tenor comes out with this, and then you have these other voices. I would love to do that, if I had any talent to write opera—which it appears I don't have it yet, but somebody should do that.

But anyway, they're praying simultaneously, and God's hearing their prayers simultaneously. You have things like that going on in the Bible. While Joseph, for example, is being very chaste with Mrs. Potiphar, it's at the very time when Judah is being seduced by his daughter-in-law back in the book of Genesis. Those things are happening simultaneously. The Lord is speaking simultaneously to Simon Peter… While he speaks to Simon Peter at the sixth hour, he speaks to Cornelius at the ninth hour. You have both of these two hours of prayer. By the way these hours of prayers also come from time, of the captivity. Daniel turns, faces west, faces Jerusalem, where the Temple should be, and he prays three times a day. Well, we've been doing that ever since.

We still pray the third, sixth, and ninth hours every day. Notice how those times are delineated in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is crucified at the third hour, the darkness descends at the sixth hour, he dies at the ninth hour. Remember when Hippolytus does this, in the Apostolic Tradition; Hippolytus comments on prayer at these hours. But prayer at these hours is very common. Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the sixth hour at the well. Jesus speaks to Peter in the hour of conversion in the sixth hour, the way Peter describes it. Peter and John go up to the Temple at the hour of prayer at the ninth hour. The Holy Spirit descends upon the Church at the third hour. Prayer is a major thing.

Now, with respect to almsgiving—that's the works of mercy—almsgiving, taking care and exercising kindness toward others.

The other one is fasting. Now, what can the Jew do in captivity? He can pray, he can fast, he can be kind. In other words, personal piety. He's not in a position any more to make a pilgrimage. The Temple is no longer absolutely essential to his religious experience. Now, that is the piety that's been handed on in Judaism ever since. I don't think contemporary Jews do all that much praying on Wednesdays and Fridays—pardon me, Mondays and Thursdays—the way you have in the Mishnah, but there you have in the Mishnah: prayer and prayer and fasting and works of mercy.

Now, notice that chapter six of the Sermon on the Mount is structured on those three aspects: When you pray, when you fast, when you give alms. By the way, Ancient Faith is now in the process of putting out a series of books by Joseph Letendre on those three things: When You Pray, When You Fast: those two books I think are already out, and Joseph's working on that third one.

Jamey: What are some highlights there for you in Tobit where we see echoes of other biblical books?

Fr. Pat: The one that's the most striking to me is the book of Jonah, since a fish is essential to each of these stories. In both books, you have a fish attempting to eat somebody. [Laughter] The better known, of course, is Jonah and the whale; that's the better known one. But you've got this fish also going to eat Toby, but Toby wins that battle. It appears to me that the author of Tobit clearly has the book of Jonah in mind. For me, that would be one of the most salient.

Tobit is also related to, in a special way, what I would call diaspora piety, so it's very much related thematically, it's related to the diasporic books. I'm thinking of Esther, for example. Both those books take that part of the world, that is to say, the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent. The book of Esther, the book of Daniel, because remember that the piety of Daniel is very much that of Tobit, even though Daniel is persecuted and Tobit's not. The book of Tobit reflects all of those various books that have to do with living outside the Holy Land, and the piety of someone living outside the Holy Land.

Now, your original model for that is Joseph, isn't it? See, Joseph lives almost his entire life in Egypt, and he develops this personal piety in Egypt, which has to do with being led by God, by the guidance of God. Remember when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers in chapter 45 of Genesis, verses 1–5. He introduces up to his brothers, and he starts this discussion: "You meant this for evil; God meant it for good." It comes back up again in chapter 50 of Genesis: God's guidance of it all. God's guidance of Israel by sending his angel who will lead Israel through the desert, the angel that goes before them, that accompanies Israel through the desert and brings them to the promised land. Who was the guide in the book of Tobit? It's the angel Raphael. He's the one who takes them out and brings them back.

Joel: A follow-up question: So we've talked about Jewish literature that echoes in the book. You've already mentioned some pagan literature that echoes in the book, like the Odyssey, like Sophocles; are there other echoes from the classical world or the Hellenistic kind of world in the book? And what might that mean for modern readers?

Fr. Pat: There are, but it's not just our own classical literature. The author of Tobit is not confined within our Western canon. He's also thinking of themes that appear in letters from Persia, for example. There's this demon, Asmodeus, for example, that's well-known in Zoroastrianism, which has an old tradition on this.

What does this mean for modern readers? I have not given much thought to that, but let me mention this at least. The word of God, the Bible, has incarnated itself within the world of literature, and it's made its own contribution to the world of literature. I think that people who are going to grasp the Bible in its fullness may be those who can read it within the larger dimension in which the Bible has taken shape. You can't read very much, for example, even someone like Hemingway and notice biblical themes going through Hemingway. I guess his most famous is his short story, where they call him the senior citizen and the sea? Oh no, that's "The Old Man and the Sea." That's right, I forgot. I'm getting politically correct there for a moment. [Laughter] Try to read Faulkner, for example, without the Bible. Even other Southern writers! I'm thinking of Flannery O'Connor; I'm thinking of Jesse Hill Ford, The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones. Just the description of Lord Byron Jones's death is very Christo-formative. Someone like Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Even the characters of Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden.

I guess the greatest of them all is Melville! When you talk about fish stories: Melville! Melville's not the least bit subtle about the whole thing. He has Fr. Mapple up there in his pulpit which is shaped like the prow of a ship, and the [Seamen's] Bethel up in New England, and he's preaching on the book of Jonah. I would try to be sensitive to this. I think the reading of the Bible is part of the reading of literature. It's too bad that some folks don't read it that way. It's very obvious, for example, in most parishes, the psalms are not read as poetry. You can tell that by the way they do the hexapsalmos at matins, or Psalm 103 at vespers. The person assigned to do it is clearly trying to mimic a dentist's drill. He's not praying these psalms at all! [Drilling noises] I'm not talking about dramatic reading of poetry, because I don't think we should be doing dramatic reading, but at least a poetic reading of poetry.

But anyway, I do believe that reading the Bible within a larger context of thought, philosophy, literature, and especially history, because the Bible has been so central to history… In fact, the Bible has done a great deal for the last 3,000 years to shape history. When you interpret history, you shape it, because how people feel about history and how they understand it, that also is part of the structure of history.

Joel: What people believe, they tend to do; they tend to act on. I just wanted to tag onto that comment you made a moment ago about the fact that the Scripture invites us to read it that way by its very composition. If a book like Tobit reflects these echoes not only from within the canon but also extracanonical literature, foreign literature, it's telling us to think that way also.

Fr. Pat: Look at Dante. Just look at Dante. By the way, in The Divine Comedy, Dante's Tobit appears, if memory serves, in Book IV of the Paradiso, where he talks about it. He's describing the angels, and he says that l'altro angelo, the other angel who helped, or who heals—who healed; yeah, that's the word, because that's what "Raphael" means—who healed Tobit. But look at Dante. When Dante considered Jephthah, for example, he thinks of Jephthah in terms of Agamemnon. These are both men who sacrificed their daughters.

In my chapter on Jacob, in Christ in His Saints, I give a lot of parallels with Jacob and Odysseus. I think anything we can do to make the Bible more living, vibrant, formative in our minds, structuring our imagination, nourishing the spirit, we should do, and I think the study of literature is very important to that.

Joel: Well, and you've been studying Scripture specifically since you were—well, your whole life.

Fr. Pat: Since I was a child, yes.

Joel: Through that time, though, you've spent time in various Christian confessions, whether—

Fr. Pat: I was raised Roman Catholic, so I have a fundamental idea in my head that the Church is sacramental, that it's historical, that it's founded on a tradition, a body of believers, and that has never left me. I never was a Southern Baptist, but I did study in a Southern Baptist seminary, and that was very important to me. It made me much more critical. I did not study Bible in Southern Baptist seminary, though; that is interesting. I did not; I didn't. When I was at Southern Baptist seminary, my field was Church history.

Jamey: Are there any moments through that journey that Tobit stands out?

Fr. Pat: There are biblical stories that are very much part of my story, for instance, the particular stories of Elijah. I had an icon of Elijah being fed by the ravens. That was after searching my conscience, but that was pretty much how our family was fed for several years when we joined the Orthodox Church and I was seeking to get out of my seminary job. [Laughter] Yes, we were fed by ravens a lot.

Joel: How would you say the book of Tobit could or should fit in a modern Christian's devotional life?

Fr. Pat: The structure of piety in Tobit and the experience of providence in Tobit… I don't know any other way to live without that structure of piety, the three-fold cord of prayer, fasting, and works of mercy. Notice, for example, how St. Maximus the Confessor joins those three things, in his Century on Charity. That's very much the piety of Maximus the Confessor. I don't know why I don't see that stressed more, because Maximus the Confessor is thought about a great deal in the Orthodox Church, but very little, I think, with respect to that particular aspect. He tends to be much more important in, oh, the realm of dogmatic theology.

St. Leo the Great, St. Leo of Rome, the author of the Tome of the Council of Chalcedon: look at his lenten sermons. They're based on those three things. Personal piety—daily piety, piety when you're not within the four walls of the Church—is extremely important. There should be daily prayer within the Christian home, within the Christian's personal life. A strict observance, as far as possible, to the maintenance of the days of discipline, which for the Jew was Monday and Thursday—you have that in the Mishnah, and you have that in the Didache: the Jew fasts on Mondays and Thursdays; Christians on Wednesdays and Fridays because of the Christological question, Wednesday's the day that Jesus is sold for the 30 pieces of silver; Friday's the day when the Bridegroom was taken away. And then works of piety.

Now, that's not just my imagination. The Christian handbook of how to live is the Sermon on the Mount, and the central chapter of the Sermon on the Mount is structured on these three things that are right out of the book of Tobit.

Jamey: Have you ever preached on this?

Fr. Pat: Oh yes, yes. And I've suspected if one listens to the sermons on Ancient Faith, sermons from All Saints, I suspect there are quite a number of sermons that bring this up. Oh yes, I've preached on this a lot.

Joel: Have you preached on the book of Tobit in particular?

Fr. Pat: Yes, but not extensively. I checked my notes the other day, just went through… I have files on every book in the Bible in my computer, and I brought up the Tobit file, and I did find some sermons in there, but not in any systematic way. I never preached through the book. I preached through Exodus! [Laughter] I preached through Deuteronomy!

Joel: Wow.

Fr. Pat: I preached through Numbers! But I never preached through a little book like Tobit.

Joel: How would you say that Tobit helps a Christian understand angels and demons?

Fr. Pat: We should be aware all the time, as Christians, that we're part of a larger battle. I recall when I was a small child, living down in Louisville, coming out of my house one day into the front yard—I could not have been more than five or six, probably about age six, because that was about the time I flunked first grade [Laughter] and I did flunk first grade; I only flunked first grade once. But anyway, I remember walking out of the house and asking myself, "What is this all about? What is it all about? There must be something important. What is this all about?" As best I recall, I stood down, either on my porch or in my front yard, and looking up into this tree, without leaves, silhouetted against the sky, and looking up and looking and looking and looking. I thought, "We have to be bigger… We're bigger… There's something bigger than we are, and we're part of it."

Now, the closest I could come as a child, I knew there was a war going on. I knew that my daddy was away at war. He was out in the Pacific helping General MacArthur defeat the Japanese—or MacArthur was helping him, I think, defeat the Japanese. That was the closest I could come. I said that we're part of a bigger battle. Now, this is a theory I had! We're part of a bigger battle. That battle is between angels and demons. So I had enough Christian education to know the difference between them and know they were important. I already knew what St. Paul speaks of in the epistle to the Ephesians, that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but the spirits of power in the high places. I just sensed that that was the case.

By the way, when I get back to Louisville, I make it a point to go back there and stand up and look at that tree again. It's still there. It's still there, and this is almost 80 years later. That's how important that experience was to me as a child. Of course, what I was asking was, "What's the meaning of life?" but I wouldn't have put it that way. I wouldn't have put it that way; just, "What is it all about?" because I knew things had to have a meaning, and I believe that still to be the case.

We are at war. All of life is at war. The book of Psalms was written for people who are carrying on warfare. If you're not carrying on warfare, don't even bother with the book of Psalms; just skip it. If life for you is not a struggle, just skip it. If life for you is not a struggle, don't even bother to read the Iliad; just don't bother to read the Iliad. If your life is not war, you're not going to understand the Iliad. If life for you is not a journey, then don't read the Odyssey and don't read the Aeneid and don't read the Canterbury Tales, and above all don't read the Divine Comedy! [Laughter] And don't read the book of Exodus. These big themes, these big themes into which the Bible puts its own content—that, it seems to me, is important to the formation of the Christian mind.

I have three—no, four—times specifically during the day that are assigned to me by myself where I invoke my guardian angel. In fact, that's the third prayer I say when I rise in the morning. The first one is the Our Father, then I go in front of the icon of our Lady and pray the Hail Mary, and then pray the prayer to my guardian angel. And three other times through the rest of the day. That's almost the last prayer I pray at night before I fall asleep, is the prayer to my guardian angel, to ask him to guide me and guard me during the night from all the evil assaults of the demons and from the business that moveth at noonday and the spiritual darkness.

Jamey: If you were speaking to a Protestant who was reluctant to read the book of Tobit, what would you do to encourage them to give it a shot?

Fr. Pat: Probably talk to them about the things we've talked about here in the… I could convince him… I actually, if he would read Luther, that would be a start, because Luther encouraged them to read it!

Jamey: That's true.

Fr. Pat: Luther appreciated the book of Tobit, because Luther did the stuff I've been talking about. Luther had this massive humanistic approach to the Bible. I mean, goodness gracious, Luther did a translation-introduction to Aesop's Fables, for crying out loud! [Laughter] Luther was not this little narrow-minded, cramped fellow that we tend to… Luther just happened to be in the wrong church and had a couple of weird ideas about external justification. [Laughter] I would like to have had about 45 minutes with Luther, and match him on the Bible. I'd want to argue Bible with him. He messed up bad on the subject of the Bible.

Jamey: That's a debate I would pay to see!

Joel: I would pay to see that, too!

Fr. Pat: But I would say: Just read the book. Just read it! But there's no reason he wouldn't except it's not in this Bible. See, in the British editions of the King James Bible, those books are included! In the British edition—not in the American edition. Remember, that's an Anglican Bible. In fact, the real Protestants in England would have called it the Catholic Bible!

Jamey: Are there any other favorite moments in the story that you'd like to share with us?

Fr. Pat: My favorite, I think, is the prayer at the beginning, the return to home, the return to the father's house. See, there's the place—to come back to one of Joel's earlier questions—there's the place where Tobit certainly fits within a pattern. I mean, where does the Odyssey end? The Odyssey does not end with the reunion of Penelope and Odysseus; that's the second to last book. That's an important book. Remember when Odysseus comes home to Penelope and they go to the marital bed together, and that's a great scene. One of the foremost posts of the bed is a tree rooted in the ground, and the bed is built, structured on that tree. That is just so deep, that man and woman under the tree, and consummating their marriage under that tree. I mean, anybody who's ever stood on Calvary in his mind must ponder that.

But that's not the last book. The last book is when Odysseus comes back home to his father and when he's back in his father's arms. That's where the book ends, see. The book does not… It's not like a modern romance. The book doesn't end with the love story of Toby and Sarah. Their marriage is the penultimate scene. They get back home, and he's back with his father. That's the ultimate scene. See, when Ignatius of Antioch hears the living waters flowing through his soul, what are the living waters saying? "[Devro] pros ton Patera. Come to the Father. Return to the Father." The Father is the root of reality.

I'm going to be talking to a group of Lutherans in Corpus Christi early next month on contemporary Gnosticism and the loss of this idea that the universe itself, reality itself, is patriarchal. The pater is the arche. The Father, God the Father, is the font of reality. God the Father is what the Greek Fathers called the riza theotetos, the font of divinity, the root of divinity….

So where does Toby finally end up? He ends up back with his father. He's not like the prodigal son. He did not go out and waste his living with harlots; he came back with a bride. To take a bride back to the father's house: that's a great scene.

Joel: Given Tobias's return with the bride, sent from the father, there is a clear connection, Christologically, to the story of Christ, to the story of the gospels. How do you put those together? How does that inform our reading?

Fr. Pat: Well, I think you've just summarized it. You've asked a question which is really the answer. [Laughter] But the odd thing, the strange thing, the unexpected thing in this, the way the father himself needs healing. He's bringing back what is going to heal the father's blindness. I'm not sure exactly what to do with that. That one probably needs a little more explanation. It probably needs a great deal more explanation than I have given it, but I have been struck by that, that the one who's actually hurting through this whole thing and needs for this to end well is the father. Everybody else is in the best of health, but the father himself is sort of blind. And he is blind. You notice how he falsely accuses his wife, for example, when she brings in the kid, that she stole it. How to work that into the metaphysics of a patriarchy—I'm not sure just yet how to do that, but the book is certainly patriarchal, because reality is patriarchal. The Holy Trinity is patriarchal. All fatherhood and heaven on earth is named after that Father, according to St. Paul.

My goodness, is there anything more under attack today? And not under attack: in fact, it's been beaten down, trampled underfoot, is the notion of patriarchy. In fact, it's considered a bad thing, patriarchy, whereas it's actually essential to the Christian view of reality.

Jamey: Well, that's about it for today. We've had a great conversation with Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon.

Joel: Yeah, you know, having gone through the book of Tobit, having taken the long, long journey, just like Tobias all the way to Ecbatana and back again, we are done with this book and in need of a bit of a break in order to get ready for the next book. We are going to be covering 1 Maccabees, and in order to cover 1 Maccabees, we are going to take four weeks off. So in the next four weeks, feel free to jump back to prior episodes to catch up on anything you might have missed. Make sure you check the episode guides that are available at, and you'll want to subscribe to that if you're not subscribed already, so you can, in fact, roll on in to 1 Maccabees uninterrupted.

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