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UST Theology Professor Writes Two Books Published Internationally

Fr. Dempsey Rosales AcostaBiblical Scholar Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, associate professor in theology at University of St. Thomas, wrote two theology books published internationally that brings together his rich scholarly life’s work.

An Introduction to the Four Evangelists

The first book is in Spanish titled, "Introducción a los evangelios canónicos. Un compendio para la formación bíblica de adultos."

The book explores the development of the four canonical gospels – Mathew, Mark, Luke and John - beginning with the event of Jesus and the preaching of the apostles. Fr. Dempsey looks at the historical context, the sociological and political situation of the day and the characteristics of each community that receives the written texts. He also examines the original Greek texts, structure, and theological themes of each book.

“My book is the result of tailoring the biblical theology of the multicultural dimension of Scripture adapted to the sociological multiethnic dimension of the Hispanic Catholic population of the United States,” Fr. Dempsey said.

He uses this book, now in its second printing, in his graduate classes. For the first time, in 2019, UST is offering a graduate course completely in Spanish. This Master in Pastoral Theology is being taught completely in Spanish fulfilling the educational needs of the Hispanic Catholic population of Houston who serve at the Archdiocese in many different dimensions.

Encountering the Unfathomable Divinity of the Savior

Dempsey's booksThe second book published in July 2019, is titled, “Lectio Divina: A Ladder towards God. A Patristic Approach to the Scripture.”

The book focuses on the ancient practice of prayer and meditation titled Lectio Divina as a spiritual ladder towards God, which is a Patristic hermeneutical approach to the Word of God.

“It is an expression of my personal passion of biblical exegesis through the looking glass of the ancient patristic traditions, and how this tradition can be very effective to our modern lives,” Fr. Dempsey said.

He articulates the elucidation of this tradition in three parts in his book – examining the influential Jewish history and others, providing a careful description of each theological moment: lectio, meditatio, oratio, et contemplatio and more. Then, how to apply three cases of Lectio Divina to the sacred Greek text looking at semantics of a word, phrase, expression, themes or episodes in Scripture.

In Christianity, Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living Word.

The benefits of Lectio Divina is that it engages several of one’s mental faculties and powers, which improves understanding, facilitates integrity of one’s heart, mind and soul, and glorifies God.

According to the forward written by fellow UST professor Sr. Chau Nguyen, OP, Ph.D., “Dempsey Rosales Acosta invites us to a family banquet as he brings us to the table of the Word of God, a table arranged by Wisdom, laden with food, where the unfathomable divinity of the Savior is itself offered as nourishment for all.”

Toward the end of her prose, Sr. Chau writes, “The presentation {in the second phase of the book] is rounded out with concrete guidelines, practical tips and recommendations for an effective lectio. Altogether, the stages of Lectio divina intertwine to constitute on dynamic movement in the spiritual life.”

Concluding, Sr. Chau states, “In a world famished and desiccated, Dempsey Rosales Acosta’s [book] is a welcomed guidepost. [All at once, it is] theologically dense, spiritually profound, concrete and practical, it is essential reading for every serious Christian.”

Fr. Dempsey is an official representative of the American Bible Society and because of that role it was his personal task of defending the practice of Lectio Divina that led to an invitation to present this patristic biblical practice and spirituality at the World Meeting of the Family in Philadelphia.

Both books are being promoted on international platforms like Amazon, Google Books, Digital Libraries, and the editorial houses websites.

Fr. Dempsey, who is originally from Venezuela, came to teach at UST in 2010. He speaks on Catholic issues including abortion, matrimony, immigration and social justice. He earned his bachelor of theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (S.T.B.), his Licentiate in Science in Holy Scripture (S.S.L.) from the Pontifical Biblicum Institute in Rome and his doctorate in Sacred Theology from Pontifical Gregorian University (S.T.D.). Fr. Dempsey is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and English.