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The Nature and Mission of Theology: Essays to Orient Theology in Today's Debates

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Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this book in response to the dialogue going on today concerning theology and the clarification of its methods, its mission and its limits which he thinks has become urgent. Ratzinger states: "To do theology-as the Magisterium understands theology-it is not sufficient merely to calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to uti Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this book in response to the dialogue going on today concerning theology and the clarification of its methods, its mission and its limits which he thinks has become urgent. Ratzinger states: "To do theology-as the Magisterium understands theology-it is not sufficient merely to calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to utilize bits and pieces of the Christian tradition accordingly. Theology is born when the arbitrary judgment of reason encounters a limit, in that we discover something which we have not excogitated ourselves but which has been revealed to us. For this reason, not every religious theory has the right to label itself as Christian or Catholic theology simply because it wishes to do so; whoever would lay claim to this title is obligated to accept as meaningful the prior given which goes along with it."


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Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this book in response to the dialogue going on today concerning theology and the clarification of its methods, its mission and its limits which he thinks has become urgent. Ratzinger states: "To do theology-as the Magisterium understands theology-it is not sufficient merely to calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to uti Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this book in response to the dialogue going on today concerning theology and the clarification of its methods, its mission and its limits which he thinks has become urgent. Ratzinger states: "To do theology-as the Magisterium understands theology-it is not sufficient merely to calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to utilize bits and pieces of the Christian tradition accordingly. Theology is born when the arbitrary judgment of reason encounters a limit, in that we discover something which we have not excogitated ourselves but which has been revealed to us. For this reason, not every religious theory has the right to label itself as Christian or Catholic theology simply because it wishes to do so; whoever would lay claim to this title is obligated to accept as meaningful the prior given which goes along with it."

30 review for The Nature and Mission of Theology: Essays to Orient Theology in Today's Debates

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Wong Schirmer

    What is theology? One traditional understanding of the term is "faith seeking understanding." For Ratzinger, theology begins where the human intellect, while important, is not sufficient. Theology is not meant for academic theologians alone, but for everyone. For Catholic theology to retain its character, its Catholicity, and not to merely comprise the content of any theologian's own thoughts, the Church and her Magisterium are necessary safeguards. As one reviewer put it, a book like this is not What is theology? One traditional understanding of the term is "faith seeking understanding." For Ratzinger, theology begins where the human intellect, while important, is not sufficient. Theology is not meant for academic theologians alone, but for everyone. For Catholic theology to retain its character, its Catholicity, and not to merely comprise the content of any theologian's own thoughts, the Church and her Magisterium are necessary safeguards. As one reviewer put it, a book like this is not a devotional manual. Joseph Ratzinger wrote a good deal, and some of his work can be more accessible than others, depending on what it is and the audience (his general audiences and encyclicals, for example, are more accessible than, say, the likes of Introduction to Christianity or The Spirit of the Liturgy). That said, what Ratzinger has always been about is the "why" of the Catholic faith-- in other words, what undergirds, focuses, and ultimately guides any devotion or prayer unto its proper end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chemteacher

    Scholarly and the man speaks philosophy like a philosopher. Gives a very good look at how the former pope thinks. Much, much more sophisticated than something like the Fr. Dubay book I read last week. This book is written about what it is to be a theologian, but the preconditions for that are not a lot different than those required for other Catholics involved in the Church's public sphere. Recommended for those who are willing to take their time with it. A lot of people read this stuff devotion Scholarly and the man speaks philosophy like a philosopher. Gives a very good look at how the former pope thinks. Much, much more sophisticated than something like the Fr. Dubay book I read last week. This book is written about what it is to be a theologian, but the preconditions for that are not a lot different than those required for other Catholics involved in the Church's public sphere. Recommended for those who are willing to take their time with it. A lot of people read this stuff devotionally. It's NOT a devotional book and to read it that way is to abuse it. Some looking things up may be required. A familiarity with Guardini, Ratzinger's touchstone, is helpful and some knowledge of philosophical argument and major philosophical movements of the last 100 years is helpful for fully understanding the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    An important collection on the ecclesial nature of theology, and the inauthenticity which occurs when theologians operate apart from the Church. Goes well with the 1949 Holy Office letter to the Archbishop of Boston, The Ratzinger Report and What Went Wrong with Vatican II.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Mosley

    The man is a genius!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Benedict with surprising equanimity and poise tackles several issues germane to contemporary thinkers: the relationship between faith and philosophy, the role of freedom in the Academy, the ecclesial basis for theology, the true need and origin of pluralism in the Church and theology, as well as the theologians relationship to the Magisterium (in response to criticisms of Donum Veritatis). Informative, not overly dense, useful for fashioning a catholic approach to theology, but not all encompass Benedict with surprising equanimity and poise tackles several issues germane to contemporary thinkers: the relationship between faith and philosophy, the role of freedom in the Academy, the ecclesial basis for theology, the true need and origin of pluralism in the Church and theology, as well as the theologians relationship to the Magisterium (in response to criticisms of Donum Veritatis). Informative, not overly dense, useful for fashioning a catholic approach to theology, but not all encompassing (as Ratzinger admits was not possible given his limited time for writing). Worth the read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher McCaffery

    Timely meditations.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Padgett (thebookaholic1 )

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Szopiak

  9. 5 out of 5

    Seth

  10. 4 out of 5

    Café

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Hanley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt Hale

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jalen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Saulo S Vicente

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Vallejo

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Douye

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Neira

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Yang

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daryn Henry

  21. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christina Jaloway

  24. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  25. 5 out of 5

    Todd Hains

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcela

    The first two chapters are pure gold. Very much needed: "Faith, Philosophy, and Theology" and "On the Essence of the Academy and Its Freedom." The first two chapters are pure gold. Very much needed: "Faith, Philosophy, and Theology" and "On the Essence of the Academy and Its Freedom."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom Gourlay

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hala

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