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The Regensburg Lecture [Hardcover]

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Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.76" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.82"
Weight:   0.78 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2007
Publisher   St. Augustines Press
ISBN  1587316951  
EAN  9781587316951  

Availability  0 units.

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The Regensburg Lecture by James V. Schall

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Fr. James V. Schall teaches political philosophy at Georgetown University and a prolific essayist and author. Among his many works are the following from St. Augustine s Press: " The Regensburg Lecture, Sum Total of Human Happiness, The Modern Age," and "The Classical Moment. "

Rev. C. John McCloskey III is a Research Fellow of the Faith and Reason Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Essential Belloc and of the well-known Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan"

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Popes   [79  similar products]
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Outstanding  Jul 16, 2008
Schall extrapolates the incredible depth of the Regensburg Address in this quick, easy read. His insights are profound, but no one should read this expecting any sort of answer to why the worldwide reaction was as it was. In the true form of a philosopher, Schall takes the words of the address and explains to us why the speech is so relevant and the implications made by Benedict. This book doesn't read like its the end-all, be-all on the subject, I think Schall hopes his book opens dialog and conversation among philosophers, theologians and scientists about the proper relationship of Reason to our world. He covers Faith and Reason, Science and Reason, and Truth and Reason, with the hope that we next examine the works of the Great John Paul II, Plato, Benedict himself, and Greek and Muslim thought (both philosophical and theological) on our own and in relation to the plight of Modern Man. I agree with that timeliness and timelessness of the Address ranks among some of the greatest speeches of time immemorial and as a Catholic Christian Political Philosopher myself, I think this book is one of the most important analyses of our intellectually and spiritually troubled world.
Good lecture, mediocre commentary  May 22, 2008
I'm an admirer of Benedict XVI's erudition, and I've read much (although by no means all) of his vast theological and philosophical writings. I find his style overly teutonic and dry, and I often disagree with his conclusions. But I rarely close one of his books without having learned something of value that either fruitfully challenges or clarifies my thinking. He is a very good thinker indeed.

That's why I was delighted to learn that the notorious Regensburg lecture had made its way into print in James Schall's book. Upon reading (and re-reading) the lecture, I was impressed. It's a tidy summative apologia for Hellenized Christianity that places a premium on reason/logos, and in turn defends values commonly associated with Christian humanism. Benedict's reference to the 14th century remark of Manuel II Paleologus--"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached"--is intended as an illustration of the broader point that "voluntarism" in religion can lead to a subjective/fanatic flouting of rational moral codes (such as those against violence). Clearly, Benedict could have invoked any number of illustrations from the history of Christianity rather than Islam, and perhaps he should've. But it's also the case that in our day and age, it's Islam more than any other religion that's actually breeding perpetrators of violence (which is not necessarily to say that Islam itself is a violent religion).

So far, so good. But what's disappointing is the 129-page commentary that Schall has wrapped around Benedict's 4,000 word lecture. Schall's commentary is overly-long and short on analysis. Even he senses that there's something a bit strange about devoting an entire book to a single lecture (p. 13). So he scrambles to justify the project by inflating the value of Benedict's words, claiming that "this lecture is one of the fundamental tractates of our time" (p. 9).* This claim simply stretches credulity. Benedict's defense of natural theology is summative, not original. I suspect the Holy Father would be astounded to hear one of his academic lectures, which was not delivered ex cathedra, described in such a way.

Schall's book is terribly repetitious, sometimes virtually repeating sentences back-to-back--a common "filler" tactic. And his "commentary" on Benedict's summative speech is itself little more than summative. It would've been grand, for example, had Schall bothered to speculate as to whether the rational model defended by Benedict was more a product of modernity than Hellenistic thought, or to what extent voluntarism (such as that defended by Duns Scotus or, later, thinkers such as Soren Kierkegaard) might enrich religious experience. But he never ventures outside of the strict parameters set by Benedict's short speech. So his commentary is a combination of hyperbolic praise and a needlessly long and totally uncritical re-hashing of what Benedict said at Regensburg.

Conclusion: the Holy Father's lecture is well worth reading. But Schall's lackluster commentary and inflated praise overall makes this a dreary book.
* Hyperbolic as this claim is, it's nothing compared to the publisher's book blurb which, misquoting Schall, incredibly claims that the lecture is "as timeless as the Gettysburg Address, Pericles' Funeral Oration, Plato's Apology, and Henry V's Speech on St. Crispin's Day"! The same over-zealous marketing editor also calls Schall "our world's modern G.K. Chesterton."
A Primary Reference  Apr 19, 2008
Hold all the instant biographies and analyses of Pope Benedict, however useful in whole or (mostly) part. Hold the plethora of books and writings by him (many scholarly, some indifferently translated). This is a primary reference on his fundamental thought in the context of what may remain his most important public statement. That statement regarding the dialogue between Christianity and Islam is appended here in a finally sound translation. And despite the relative speed with which Fr. Schall has released this commentary, it is a first rate job which thoroughly explicates the Regensburg address and will likely constitute an important source on it for a long time.

Benedict opened this talk in an academic setting with reference to a similar dialogue, between a Byzantine and a Muslim, centuries ago. It posed a question, and not an unfamiliar one, to the Muslim world from the Christian concerning religion and violence--not necessarily an answer. It moves quickly to an exploration of concepts of the Godhead and rationality, Muslim and Christian, which apparently only the pope, out of all the Western world, is these days willing to publicly address. That this talk was mis-translated and lambasted is perhaps a more astonishing and baleful sign of the times than that of certain Muslim militants who reacted violently in the days following the speech. Can the heirs of "the Enlightenment" any longer even tolerate the mere posing and exploration of large questions in an academic setting, supposedly one of the Enlightenment's most important institutions? The English speaking mass media (which Christians Catholic or non-Catholic should not mistake for the legitimate heir of anything) has answered no. Thus the Regensburg lecture has already, among other effects, oddly posed questions concerning societal order to the present West at least as pressing as they do to the Muslim world. That political correctness spells the end of liberty, in the classic American sense, has never been more dramatically demonstrated.

Fr. Schall quickly moves into a full exploration of all resonances of the Regensburg address, particularly as they relate to what is popularly called "terrorism" and its consequences for what remains of the Western political order. For the posing of the ancient question about an arbitrary diety, as opposed to a God self-limiting in His loving rationality, is double-edged. Fr. Schall brings in Benedict's concerns with the dissolution of European and Western culture generally, a de-hellenization which, undermining the church's embracing of classical era rational thought and natural law, leaves the West at present particularly vulnerable. This is finally seen to occur as much because of the West's own, mysterious inner breakdown as due to any outside threat.

This book is an indispensible guide which takes up Benedict's challenge at Regensburg--namely to articulate an ageed protocal at the highest levels of both Western culture and the Muslim world, so as walk both slowly backwards from an abyss.
A Wake Up Call for the World's Thinkers...  Jul 5, 2007
This book was my first introduction to Fr. Schall and I must say I was very impressed. This book is a great resource for those who have either read the Pope's Regensburg speech or have not read it yet, seeing as the first appendix contains the Pope's speech at Regensburg in its entirety.

Fr. Schall really unlocks the genius of the Pope's address and really gets to the reality of what the Pope was saying and at the same time shows the incredible neglect by the media in the recent past in it's treatment of what the Pope "said".

This book is a must and a challenge for anyone in higher education who thinks that the Roman Catholic Church and her teachings about reality, God, and man are outdated. Fr. Schall demonstrates with certain clarity that Pope Benedict XVI clearly understands the current cultural problems and makes them clear in this work, namely the abandonment of the objective rational world in religion and politics. Also given in this wonderful work is the foundational answer to getting our culture back on track in order to realize the true good for you and all peoples.

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