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Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   113
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.36" Width: 4.8" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1999
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898707536  
EAN  9780898707533  
UPC  008987075363  

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Item Description...
Presents an exploration of the covenant which defines religion for Christians and Jews and unites the New Testament with the Old Testament.

Publishers Description
In Many Religions, One Covenant, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spans the deep divides in modern Catholic scholarship to present a compelling biblical theology, modern in its concerns yet classical in its breadth. It is his classical mastery, his ressourcement, that enables the Cardinal to build a bridge.

Cardinal Ratzinger seeks to deepen our understanding of the Bible's most fundamental principle. The covenant defines religion for Christians and Jews. We cannot discern God's design or his will if we do not meditate upon his covenant.

The covenant, then, is the principle that unites the New Testament with the Old, the Scriptures with Tradition, and each of the various branches of theology with all the others. The covenant does more than bridge the gaps between these elements; it fills in the gaps, so that biblical scholarship, dogmatic theology, and magesterial authority all stand on common ground -- solid ground.

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More About Benedict

Pope 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...
  1. Benedict XVI
  2. Bioethics & Culture
  3. Communio Books
  4. Fathers (Our Sunday Visitor)
  5. Giniger Books
  6. Publication
  7. Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
  8. Spiritual Thoughts

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Bright Thinking Presented Too Briefly  Dec 17, 2007
Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time of this writing he was Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith.

This small book is his exploration of ressourcement involving but not limited to a very broad sketching of biblical theology, involving "not just a recovery of the Fathers, but a return to the place where the Fathers returned, again and again: the living oracles, the Word of God" (15).

In Part One, "Israel, the Church and the World," Ratzinger considers whether a rapprochement between the Church and Israel is possible after Auschwitz, and if so toward what end. He begins by examining how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) highlights the role of Jesus in uniting Jew and Gentile in the worship of the true and Living God. Through His coming, Jesus "brings together the histories of the nations in the community of the the history of Abraham the history of Israel. His mission is unification, reconciliation, as the Letter to the Ephesians (2:18-22) will then present it. The history of Israel should become the history of all" (27). Focusing on how the history and status of the Jews as the chosen people is foundational to the identity and reality of the Church, he establishes the continuing importance of Israel for the Church. The key theme of Jesus' coming is reconciliation, not only of Jew and Gentile to God, but of Jew and Gentile to one another.

Besides reconciliation, Ratzinger explores continuity in the realm of Torah, highlighting the catechism's avowal that Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill (and thus, validate) the Law. There must also be a continuity between Jesus and Israel, or he is an agent of division rather than reconciliation. Ratzinger tends to collapse the Law into the moral law, and sees Jesus as elevating that moral Law to its highest plane and deepest focus, thus validating rather than replacing it. He sees the Older Testmant as fundamentally Law and Promise, and Christ as the interpreter of the former and the fulfillment of the latter.

In Part Two, "The New Covenant," he explores whether the older and New Covenants are each a vassal covenant or a grant covenant, and collapses the covenants plural and lower case into the one Covenant singular and upper case, failing to adequately explain the rationale for and the nature of this shift. I find his theologizing too abstract and self-consciously christocentric, as if all of God's doings collapse into the work of Christ. Part Three is a Homily, "The New Manna," exploring the paradoxical nature of our relationship with God and of His work in the world, forswearing force, accepting weakness and vulnerability, yet inexorably transforming everything.

Part Four, "The Dialogue of The Religions and the Relationship Between Judaism and Christianity," is the most crucial chapter for my work. It involves a bare and careful sketch of a kind of logos theology, in which the truths we know of God are always partial, and the revelation we receive is often a journey in the dark, yet toward the light.

The chapter includes a sletch of the birth and nature of ecumenism, and how Christendom discovered and began to honor the religious imprinting of peoples whom it simply viewed as a target audience. He views discussions of unity and diversity to be crucial, since the geopolitical realities we all live with require of us progress in peace, justice, and preservation of the earth.

He broadly divides world religions into two categories: tribal and universal, and then divides universal religions into theistic ones (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and mystical ones. He opens the question as to whether unity is to be attained either by mystical religions absorbing the theistic ones, or vice versa. To these two options he adds a third, the pragmatic solution, orthoprzxy, by which any religion would be evaluated and disciplined through its practice of the Golden Rule.

He identifies four problems, or four losses, if mystical religion were to absorb theistic religion: loss of a distinction between theistic and mystical religions, loss of the cosmos through all embracing interiority, loss of the relevance and meaning of history, and loss of binding ethics. As for the pragmatic model (orthopraxy) he indicates that religion must inform and structure ethics and morality which are not free-floating self evident categories, and that the goal is not religion as moralism but rather growth in the knowledge and service of God.

As for theistic religion absorbing the mystical, he first considers the unique relationship between Judaism and Christianity, and the question for their peaceful reconciliation (he would probably view coexistence as inadequate). He identifies two key ideas to reduce the tension and increase agreement between the Church and Israel: that through Jesus Israel's God becomes the God of the nations, and that Jesus is the servant of Israel's God for the nations' sake. These two facts can be freely acknowledged by both Jews and Christians. He suggests that two poles anchor the faith of Israel: Torah and the Messianic hope. He sees Christianity as similarly anchored, with Jesus as the Church's Sinai, and the second coming as her messianic hope. These two poles--Torah and hope link past, present and future for Israel as obedience to a received deposit, present living out of God's will, and hope in the Messiah to come. The same is true for the Church, living in the obedience of faith (past/faith), anticipation of the parousia (future/hope), and love in the present. Ratzinger avers that Christ therefore both separates and unites the Church and Israel.

Finally, in configuring the relationship between the Christian faith and mystical religions, Ratzinger says Christianity has room for a God who s always greater than our formulations, and that God's self-revelation simultaneously conceals, as in the kenosis (the self-emptying of Christ in the Incarnation). In structuring and conceiving the dialogue or religions, he says (1) the encounter of thr religions is not possible by renouncing or downplaying truth but only by encountering truth more deeply; (2) We must be prepared to acknowledge and find the truth others have found even when it comes to us in strange and foreign garb; (3) Mission and dialogue go hand in hand, since dialogue aims at finding truth and missionaries must always be learners as well as teachers. Returning to his logos imagery, he closes by indicating that all of us have encountered truth to some degree and we must learn from each other, listening to the Logos.

Clearly, Ratzinger is a first-class thinker. That the book is so brief is both a strength and weakness, as matters are repeatedly sketched instead of drawn. One wants to know more, and yet, appreciates the momentum of the overview. I appreciate the book as a summation of now Pope Benedict XVI's perspective, and have three problems with the treatment. First, I find myself alienated and unconvinced by overly abstract theological arguments: it seems a linguistic game to me (cf. Wittgenstein). Second, to the degree he seeks to speak for Israel, as in the case of what Jews believe, he offends. He would not welcome a Jews defining and characterizing the Holy See. The editors should have had a rabbi on hand to Jewishly validate or invalidate the portrait of the Jewish people Ratzinger constructs. Finally, I find myself far less sanguine about the prospects of absorbing or reaching rapprochement with the world religions. My evangelical conditioning suggests that the voices heard in some religions come from a different kingdom.

Despite these caveats, this is an important book for those seeking an orientation to the current pope's mindset and views on the Jews.

Insightful  Sep 2, 2007
This is a surprising book! I was amazed to read of such views taken by the Holy Pontiff. I have a more positive view after reading this short but important book.
A Beginning to Fruitful Reflection  Jul 7, 2006
Much of what Cardinal Ratzinger has said here has been said in other works (by him or by others). However, the given text functions as a thoughtful synthesis of these movements of thought. It is not an attempt to completely answer the question of pluralism or of the Christian-Jewish relationship. Instead, this text lays a basic framework for considering Christ's role in fulfilling the Jewish faith, the nature of Covenant as God's self-communication, the nature of the New Covenant, and religious dialogue.

I suggest this text to all but not lightly. While it is not very esoteric, it is weighty enough to require quiet reflection. The fruits of reading it are great and also give one a starting point for further thought on the subject material. I suggest it to all open minds.
Many Religions,One Covenant:Isreal,the Church,and the World  Jul 1, 2006
The style is typical Ratzinger. Thoughtful and insightful. Slow reading at times yet this is to be expected when dealing with a devisive issue which as firmented for nearly 1500 years. Definately worth the time to read and digest if for no other reason than to provide the reader with a farmilarization to the author. More professionally known these days as Pope Benedict XVI.
Engaging on many levels  Mar 19, 2006
As always, Card. Ratzinger approaches the issues at hand, gives an overview of various approaches to the topic, and critiques each of them. You can read other reviews to see what the book is "about" but let me just add to those and say that it is also worth reading simply for the covenant theology that is presented, which is certainly related to the topic.

At the end is an address he gave regarding dialogue with other religions, and he says that dialogue can by no means replace missionary/evangelization activity. Again, he critiques 3 different views regarding "unification of world religions" and shows how 2 of them are certainly not faithful to the Catholic faith, despite their reminding us of the "mystical" elements of our own faith. Then he says that anybody who expects the world religions to be united is in for a sad disappointment, and it's probably not even desirable that they all unite as such. But he is for some "togetherness" in working for world peace and ideals that the big 3 (Jews, Christians, Muslims) have in common.

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