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At the Origin of the Christian Claim [Paperback]

By Luigi Giussani (Author) & Viviane Hewitt (Translator)
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Item description for At the Origin of the Christian Claim by Luigi Giussani & Viviane Hewitt...

Giussani argues that if we accept the hypothesis that the mystery entered the realm of human existence and spoke in human terms, the relationship between the individual and God is no longer based on a moral, imaginative, or aesthetic human effort but instead on coming upon an event in one's life. Thus the religious method is overturned by Christ: in Christianity it is no longer the person who seeks to know the mystery but the mystery that makes himself known by entering history. At the Origin of the Christian Claim presents an intriguing argument supported with ample documentation from the gospels and other theological writings.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: McGill-Queen's University Press
Pages   124
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.85" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 24, 1998
Publisher   McGill-Queen's University Press
ISBN  0773516271  
ISBN13  9780773516274  

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More About Luigi Giussani & Viviane Hewitt

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Monsignor Luigi Giussani (1922-2005) was professor emeritus of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, and the founder of Communion and Liberation. His writings have been translated into over twenty languages. Julian Carron is a Spanish Catholic priest and theologian. He is a professor of theology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and was appointed by Benedict XVI as consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and consultor of the new Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about At the Origin of the Christian Claim?

At the Origin of the Christian Claim  Mar 26, 2008
The second volume of Giussani's trilogy. After having set the basis of his method for the search of truth in "The religious sense", he makes the jump from a general concept of religion, intended as the desire and need to pursue the unreachable absolute that gives meaning to existence, to the specificity of christianism.

The exposition starts with a question: if we are talking of a search without an ultimate answer, imposing boundaries and directions to this search should be considered a violence to the individuality of man. Then why does he adhere to a religion that does this very thing?

While the problem is well formulated, and precisely addresses the curiosity that brought me to take an interest in this book, I feel that he doesn't really give a satisfactory answer.

This answer is mainly a presentation of the reaction that Jesus inspired in the persons who personally met him and followed him: they recognized him as the son of God, as the only one who could give the answers that completely satisfy the human needs. Actually only the "honest" ones recognized this, but this is the main problem of Giussani: he seems to think that everyone with a perception different than his is not honest, and must necessarily be deluding himself because of his fear of truth.

For example he often makes bitter comments about intellectuals, philosophers and journalists on this basis, and he never seems to realize that someone with different ideas could say the same of him using the same criterion.

However, if we accept his method of "moral certainty", the fact that people believed in Jesus after having met and followed him, demonstrates that the absolute that he calls God has actually interfered with the temporal history of man, and to follow the trace of this interference is clearly the best road to take for anyone who seriously wants to approach him.

The reason why this answer is unsatisfactory for me is that every other religion supposes that God interfered in the history of man, although not always with a physical incarnation. I consider the method of judging the probability of a fact by the feeling of certainty it inspires in you or others fundamentally wrong. I would call it 'charismatic evidence', and it worked not only for many self declared messiahs but also with dangerous political men who could inspire this same feeling of evidence in people.

I feel that this book could have a crucial relevance for a christian, for the insights on the origin and the meaning of their faith. If you haven't any particular curiosity in christianism it will of course have no value to you, but you could still enjoy the first book of the trilogy, "The religious sense", which can perfectly stand alone. As someone who sees religions as concealed mystical systems and not expositions of objective truth, and having enjoyed the humanity of the feelings inspired by the meditation on the life of Jesus, I rate it 3 stars.
Even better than Religious Sense  Mar 2, 2002
I was incredibly moved by the first book of this trilogy, and suggest to all of my friends to read Religious Sense, but this book is even better. This book identifies the core of the Christian Claim and what is a reasonable position in front of this claim... But more than that, this book helps me identify my personal attraction to Christ. Helps me realize my faith in Christ is much more than a moral code, philosophy, or doctrine...
The end of cheap belief.  Nov 5, 2000
If we live in a time and place of relative religious freedom, we may say that we "believe in Christ" or that we are "Christian" or that "Jesus is our Saviour" without worrying too much about the impact (on ourselves or others) of our statements. We also have the benefit of retrospect, the canon of Scripture, the established creeds... in short, we know the end of the Christian story.

But those who first heard the claims of Christ did not have the privilege of standing back and looking at a completed picture. And so the question arises... What was it about this man Jesus that caused those who spent the most time with him, to come to the conclusion that he was the Son of God? Exactly how radical of a position was this for them to hold? In turn, how radical is it for us?

This is what Giussani's book is all about. He shows that "in Christianity it is no longer the person who seeks to know the mystery but the mystery that makes himself known by entering history." It is a profound study of the process of Christ's self-revelation. In this process, Christ constantly appealed to men's understanding. We learn that the faith that Christ asks of us is not opposed to reason, and the "reason" that Christ intends for us to enjoy, does not preclude faith.

I followed along in my own Bible as I read, and I would encourage all other readers to do the same. You will gain new insights. I especially appreciated the fact that in Giussani's interpretive method, he thoroughly sticks to a crucial exegetical rule which states: Scripture cannot mean to us today, what it could not possibly have meant to its original hearers! He shows that a careful study of the Gospels reveals "belief" as not only the discovery of, but the UNDERSTANDING of, the truth that is proposed to us. As such, when I now say "I believe in Christ" I ought to be able to consider... "Through what cognitive process have I arrived at such a grandiose conclusion?" I know that such questioning will reap great benefits, for it already has. Rather than diminish my faith, it has strengthened it. It is a joy to discover that the claims of Christ can bear intellectual scrutiny. This discovery gives Giussani's book its overwhelming five-starness.

In the 1937 publication of "Nachfolge" German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer first cautioned his hearers to be wary of "cheap grace." "At The Origin Of The Christian Claim" seems to me to be a worthy and comparable polemic on "cheap belief."

Why it's reasonable to be Christian  Jan 13, 2000
This is the most important book I've ever read, because it showed me the reasonableness of faith in Christ, and brought Christ to life as a man, (not some ethereal figure that people always talk about in abstract terms or as an easy way out of explaining the meaning of life). Giussani's amazing work exalts both the rationality and the humanity of the Christian position.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who questions the reasonableness of the Christian claim: that God walked among us as one of us, and is present even now. Giussani's understanding of the Gospels is amazing - though I've read the Bible my whole life I've never understood them as he explains - yet his explanation is the most complete and human that I've found. Furthermore, he satisfies intelligence's need for the Christian claim to be rational - since Christ entering human history is a *fact*, not a product of our imagination. (It's impossible to be fulfilled in life if we live according to fantasy!) So either this fact happened or it didn't. How can I verify this claim? What does are the implications for my life now? Giussani's love for Christ and each individual shines in the answers he gives to these questions in this incredible book.

Another masterpiece  Dec 23, 1999
Guissani has once again shown himself to be among the greatest living theologians with this vibrant, and robust account of the lives of Jesus Christ and his disciples. An amazingly readable book (it is only 100+ pages) I have read it several times since.

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