Item description for The Apostles: The Origin of the Church and Their Co-Workers by Pope Benedict XVI...
Overview Argues that Christians can come to a greater understanding of Jesus through exploring the callings and works of the Apostles, and shows the connection between Jesus, His Apostles, the church, and the faithful.
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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...
Bioethics & Culture
Fathers (Our Sunday Visitor)
John Ratzinger in Communio
Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
Reviews - What do customers think about The Apostles?
Meditations on the Apostles Nov 21, 2008
Our Sunday Visitor has complied a year of Pope Benedict XVI's public talks and assembled them as a book. If you are looking for detailed and scholarly biographies of the Apostles, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for inspirational meditations on the Apostles and their role in the founding of the Church, this book by the Holy Father certainly delivers. The Holy Father generally stays close to the sources from the New Testament and only rarely does he bring in traditional stories and legends. Too often, Pope Benedict sighs that we simply do not know that much about a number of them (and so Simon and Jude are lumped together and a paragraph on Matthias is added to the chapter on Judas). Still, Benedict is able to make due and breathes some life into some of the lesser known Apostles (Philip for instance). Once Benedict leaves the "portrait gallery" (a charming description that the Pope uses a few times in the book) of the Apostles and starts pondering Paul's companions, the book loses its momentum and the descriptions of the likes of Timothy, Silus and Titus come off as an afterthought. On the whole, "The Apostles" is more a hagiography than a biography but it remains inspiring nonetheless.
Top Marks Nov 3, 2008
More great lessons and insight from the Holy Father. He is truly a wise and humble teacher that can get the point across directly; and I am always amazed that it is translated as though he wrote in English!
Great Book but Poorly Published Jul 17, 2008
This book reprints a year's worth of Pope Benedict XVI's weekly addresses at his public audiences where he meditates on the stories of the twelve apostles, St. Paul and other early disciples of Christ. He draws lessons from these that apply to all of us. An excellent and easy read with short chapters that can be read independently.
Caveat emptor: This is the same exact content as "Jesus, The Apostles and The Early Church" published by Ignatius Press. The Ignatius Press version is printed on heavier paper and is a more well produced book for the same price. Buy that one instead! Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church: General Audiences, 15 March 2006-14 February 2007
The Apostles Jun 1, 2008
I consider that nowadays Pope Benedict XVI is currently "an universal moral reference" for mankind, the Catholic Church is all over the world the only one of churches growing vigorously among the young and the intellectuals .. The message of Jesus is as fresh as always !!!
Biased scholarship, frontloaded with Roman theology Jun 1, 2008
This book is well-written but its title is deceptive. The early chapters front-load what follows with the theological premises of the Roman Catholic Church so it is less about the Apostles than we might hope. BXVI is known as a scholar, and certainly his scholarly bent shows in what he writes, leaving many people who haven't personally dug into the current scholarship feeling impressed. If one believes in apostolic succession and Christ's entrusting the apostles with maintaining fidelity and truth (and this reviewer does accept this concept), then there are those of us who feel that the mandate for truth has failed. I have to assume that the Bishop of Rome believes what he has written, but the world has changed in that the world of scholarship is open to those of us in the pews. We don't have to accept a distorted and incomplete scholarship. We're no longer illiterates who are dependent upon the Church to tell us what to believe. We can dig it out and weigh its efficacy for ourselves. It cannot be that the Bishop of Rome is unaware of the extensive scholarship, as he has the unfathomable riches of the Roman Catholic Church that would make it easy.
I will only briefly address two overwhelmingly glaring areas. We note that women disciples are discussed in the very back of the book. BXVI lists many of the women, but he is only able to magnify the works of those who are coupled, such as Priscilla and Aquila. He makes no note of the importance that in scripture, Priscilla is listed first. And he manages to get through chapters on St. Paul's co-workers and the chapter on women without mentioning the Apostle Junia (Romans 16:7). The scholarship here is clear: There was one named female Apostle. See Eldon Jay Epp (2005). Junia: The First Woman Apostle. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (available on this site).
Then, the gospel material on St. Peter is, as would be expected, seriously selective, reinterpreted and reworked. What is lost is that the meaning of "Apostle" was being fought in the first century, and we know who won out in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Luke carves out a view that the 12 are the only trustworthy witnesses of the Resurrection.
Luke's "twelve" is a select group and it is ONLY in Luke they are specifically chosen FROM a larger group of followers, a group not present in Mark and Matthew [see Luke 6:13]. Matthew uses the term, "apostolic" only once [10:2-5]. Mark uses it only once [6:30]. Luke uses the term 6 times in the Gospel, and 34 times in Luke-Acts. The author of Luke and Acts writes several decades after Paul and adds new requirements for apostleship, limiting it to the Twelve, excluding Paul, James the brother of Jesus, who rose to head the Jerusalem Church, and all female apostles. The restriction of "Apostle" seen in Luke-Acts is not seen in Paul. Luke downplays the functionality of the role or mission of Apostleship and makes it more symbolic.
The preeminence of Peter is not uniform across the Gospels so we can see the struggle for authority that was going on. In 4G, Jesus never specifically chooses Peter as a member of a subgroup of disciples. He does not have any special resurrection appearance until Chapter 21, which is a later add-on redaction.
Contrary to BXVI, Peter is not depicted as the first to see the Risen Christ across the Gospels. Matthew, Mark and John give prominence to Mary Magdalene. It is only in Luke that Peter is gifted with an individual appearance of the Lord [Luke 24:33-34]. In the other three Gospels, Jesus or angelic messengers send Mary Magdalene alone or with other women to proclaim the Resurrection. This is such an inconvenience to Rome that it must be obscured. So, at a minimum, the history as recounted in the canonical Gospels shows that the conflict for authority was going on in the 1st century.
If you want to see some of the available scholarship for yourself, read Ann Graham Brock (2003). Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle: The Struggle for Authority. Harvard University Press (available on this site). Based on her PhD dissertation at Harvard, she has very effectively demonstrated in the canonical Gospels, with supplementary non-canonical sources including the Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul, that where Peter is made prominent in the Gospels, Mary Magdalene and the other women are diminished, and vice versa.
The Apostles reads easily if you accept the underlying premises, and if you don't, the book well captures official Roman Catholic views. It is not an unbiased account of the early history of the church. There is good information in this book, but it should not be read in isolation or as an accurate picture of the first century of Christianity.