Item description for Introduction To Christianity (Communio Books) by Benedict XVI...
Overview Provides an elucidation of the Apostles' Creed, examining the theological and practical significance of each line and exploring such fundamental questions to Christianity as belief, faith, and the nature of Christ and of the Trinity.
Publishers Description One of Cardinal Ratzinger's most important and widely read books, this volume is a revised second edition with an improved translation and an in-depth 20 page preface by the Cardinal. As he states in the preface, since this book was first published over 30 years ago, many changes and significant events have occurred in the world, and in the Church. But even so, he says he is firmly convinced that his fundamental approach in this book is still very timely and crucial for the spiritual needs of modern man. That approach puts the question of God and the question about Christ in the very center, which leads to a "narrative Christology" and demonstrates that the place for faith is in the Church.
Thus, this remarkable elucidation of the Apostle's Creed gives an excellent, modern interpretation of the foundations of Christianity. Ratzinger's profound treatment of Christianity's basic truths combines a spiritual outlook with a deep knowledge of Scripture and the history of theology.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.01" Width: 5.32" Height: 1" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Nov 30, 2004
Publisher Ignatius Press
ISBN 1586170295 ISBN13 9781586170295
Availability 0 units.
More About Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.
Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.
He was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He renewed the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, viewing the use of beauty as a path to the sacred, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s. Several of Pope Benedict's students from his academic career are also prominent churchmen today and confidantes of him, notably Christoph Schönborn.
On 11 February 2013, Benedict announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. He is the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Pope Celestine V in 1294. As pope emeritus, Benedict retains the style of His Holiness, and the title of Pope, and will continue to dress in the papal colour of white. He was succeeded by Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated Mater Ecclesiae monastery for his retirement on 2 May 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927.
Pope Benedict XVI has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Introduction To Christianity (Communio Books)?
Neat Sep 19, 2008
Really good, but really hard. Not an "Introduction" in the way most of us understand the word. But it is B16, so it is well worth trying to understand.
Beyond the unassuming introduction Jul 29, 2008
Let not the unassuming title mislead you. This is not a simple introduction to Christianity but a bold philosophical treatise to the heart of Christianity. In this commentary on the Apostle's creed, Father Ratzinger first dissects what it means to assert, "We believe..." and continues to the conclusion on what (or rather who) is the essence of Christianity. Christianity is not a religion or a creed but a person. It is a challenge to the philosophies of men and their attempts to understand God outside the context of the Son.
Father Ratzinger draws on unlikely philosophers and theologians such as Nietzsche and Luther to make his point. He finds and reveals truth in the Lutheran martyr Bonhoeffer and his passion. But Father Ratzinger takes us beyond simply finding deep philosophical truths and guides us to a passion and adoration of the personification of truth in Jesus. Father Ratzinger seems to echo Francis Bacon who said, "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." Only, the religion of Father Ratzinger is not a thing but a person. The book ends with the hope that is contained in that person, "A salvation of the world does exist - that is the confidence that supports the Christian and that still makes it rewarding even today to be a Christian."
There is enough philosophical insight here to challenge the most theoretical thinkers. But Father Ratzinger does not stop at mere theory but goes on to the concrete implications to the Christian found in that theory. There is perhaps no more thorough "introduction" than this to a vibrant faith. Well worth the investment of reading and re-reading to plumb the depths of philosophical truths contained in that faith. Very highly recommended for every Christian.
A Rare Gem Jul 11, 2008
Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) is a rare gem. He has a clear mind that cuts like a scalpel. Combine that with a stellar education, decades of painstaking and thorough study, and a gift for writing profoundly yet with simplicity. Introduction to Christianity is a fine example of his erudition and seemingly effortless intellectual elegance. His capacity to consider and master a vast array of histories, cultures, theologies and philosophies, and integrate them into his own penetrating thought, is remarkable.
To be read and re-read Mar 5, 2008
Written 40 years ago by Ratzinger, this book still resonates with the times. In itself, this shows that Ratzinger is focused on what really matters in the Christian mystery - he nevers gets side tracked into going down blind and fruitless alleys. It is only on my second reading of this book that I began to see how important a book this is. This book is an important exploration of the nature of belief and of the articles of belief set down in the Apostles creed. I believe that in this book Ratzinger surpasses his mentors, namely De Lubac and von Balthasar. His analysis of the kenosis of Christ is particularly impressive, Christ "being from" and "being for".
Ratzinger first deals squarely with belief and points out that it is within the context of doubt that the theist and the atheist can enter into dialogue. After all, the Christian believes; he does not see. Likewise, the atheists "sees" what is optical and does not believe in what cannot be empirically verified. But, both the Christian and the atheist, if he is honest, must have doubts about the nature of his belief or non-belief. There must be times when the atheist says: "yet perhaps it is true (page 46).
For Ratzinger the word credo means:
"man does not regard seeing, hearing and touching as the totality of what concerns him, that he does not view the area of his world as marked off by what he can see and touch but seeks a second mode of access to reality, a mode he calls in fact belief, and in such a way that he finds in it the decisive enlargement of his whole view of the world" (page 50).
For Ratzinger the radicality of Christianity is that "God has come so near to us that we can kill him and that he thereby, so it seems, ceases to be God for us".
Ratzinger poses the question of whether "it would not have been much simpler to believe in the Mysterious Eternal... to leave us as at an infinite distance". (page 55)
Ratzinger notes that belief does not come "though the private search for truth but through a process of reception.. Faith cannot and should not be a mere product of reflection" (page 92). Faith demands unity and calls for the fellow believer; it is by nature related to a Church." (page 98).
On the nature of the Trinity, he noted that: "He is one, but at as the exceedingly great, entirely Other, he himself transcends the bounds of singular and plural; he lies beyond the" (page 125).
On the "I am who I am" scene in exodus, he notes that the words sound like a "rebuff","like a refusal to give a name than the pronouncement of a name (page 127) "I am" is as much as to say "I am here for you" " a Being-for". (page 129).
"The name is no longer merely a word, but a person: Jesus himself." (page 133) Ratzinger goes on to say that the meaning of a "name" is its invocability. God, by having a name, becomes accessible to me. "He is handing himself over to men in such a way that he can be called upon".
"And by doing this he enters into coexistence with them; he puts himself within reach; he is "there" for them". The name is no longer just a word at which we clutch; it is now flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. God is one of us" (page 134/135).
Ratzinger notes the great saying by Tertullian: "Christ called himself truth, not custom". (page 141)
His thought then becomes even more metaphysical:
"Whoever looks thoroughly at matter will discover that it is being-thought objectivised thought. So it cannot be ultimate. All being is ultimately being-thought and can be traced back to
"Christian belief in God means that things are the being-thought of a creative consciousness of a creative freedom and that the creative conciousness that hears up all things has released what has been thought into the freedom of its own, independent existence". (page 137).
"The doctrine of the triune God, means at bottom renouncing any solution and remaining content with a mystery that cannot be plumbed by man (page 168)". "Faith consists of a series of contradictions held together by grace". (page 171).
"It now became clear that the dialogue, the relatio stands behind substance as an equally primordial form of being". I note here that Ratzinger preempts some of the philosophical work done by the great Jesuit Thomist, Norris Clarke and by the personalist, John F Crosby. "Father is purely a concept of relationship. Only in being for the other is he Father; in his own being in himself he is simply God". (page 183). "By calling the Lord "Son", John gives him a name that always points away from him and beyond him; he thus employs a term that denotes essentially a relatedness, He thereby puts his whole Christology into the context of the idea of relation" (page 185).
Moving on to focus of the office and nature of Christ, he notes that Christ "performs himself and gives himself; his work is the giving of himself" (page 204). "The person of Jesus is his teaching and his teaching is he himself" "message and person are identical" (page 206). "Jesus is his work" "His being is pure actualitas of "from" and "for"(page 228).
"For John, the picture of the pierced side forms the climax not only of the crucifixion scene but the whole story of Jesus... his existence is completely open. Now he is entirely "for"; now he is no longer a single individual but "Adam" from whose side, Eve, a new mankind is formed". (page 241) "The future of man hangs on the Criss - the redemption of Man is the Cross. And, he can only come to himself by letting the walls of his existence be broken down, by looking on him who has been pierced" (p242)
"Talk of original sin means no man can start from scratch any more (completely unimpaired by history" (page 249). "Last judgement, on the other hand is the answer to these collective entanglements" (page 249).
"Being a Christian means essentially changing over from being for oneself to being for one another". "Christ is the infinite self expenditure of God" (page 261).
"Love demands infinity, indestructibility; indeed it is, so to love demands, infinity, indestructibility; indeed, it is, so to speak, a call for infinity" (page 302).
Ratzinger's analysis of the resurrection and the Last judgement is deeply impressive, noting its deeply serious nature. Of hell, he notes that it "consists in man's being unwilling to receive anything, in his desire to be self sufficient. It is the expression of enclosure in one's own being alone."
Finally, on the Church, Ratzinger approaches the evil evident in the Church in a sober fashion. "At bottom there is always a hidden pride at work when criticism of the Church adopts that tone of rancorous bitterness which today is already becoming a fashionable habit"
He notes that Christ in his earthly ministry scandalised others; is is surprising that he does so again when he gives himself over to be broken sacramentally on his altars, ministered, at times, by deeply sinful ministers and consumed also by those whose lifes often contradict the gospel. Don't we all in our own way contradict the gospel in our daily lives?
Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict XVI Nov 15, 2007
Our Holy Father is great! He is so clear in his writing and conveying his ideas. He articulates and conveys theological ideas in ways that students can grasp, digest, and make their own. I know this was written long before he would even be considered for Pope- but it only goes to show that he has been doing the kind of work and prayer this work needs to be able to do for a long time. He is the kind of student who has done the work so well and sought such understanding as to teach well.