Long before his election to the papacy as Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger was a professor of theology, having taught at the universities of Freising, Bonn, Münster, Tübingen, and Regensburg. He first achieved international notice through his contributions to the work of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). His appointment as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave him a different kind of prominence―as the principal doctrinal guardian of the Roman Curia. From reform to conservation: Is this change of role a volte-face in theological direction, or is it, rather, the pursuit of the "extreme center" by changing means? What is the significance of Ratzinger's thought and its development over time for the future of the church? This important and illuminating book gets to the very heart of these crucial questions by focusing on Ratzinger's status as one of the preeminent Catholic theologians of the 20th century. Aidan Nichols provides a full-scale investigation of his theology as it develops from the 1950s onward. The book presents a chronological account of the development of Ratzinger's writing which reflects a wide range of historical and theoretical interests such as: Augustine's ecclesiology, early Franciscanism and the idea of salvation history, Christian brotherhood, the unfolding of the Second Vatican Council the Apostle's Creed, explorations of the concept of the Church, preaching, liturgy and Church music, eschatology, the foundations of dogmatic and moral theology, and the problem of pluralism. The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI is a comprehensive introduction to a major theologian in his own right, quite apart from his significance in the politics of the Church. For those attempting to chart the future of the Catholic faith as it struggles with the role of religion in war, women's reproductive rights, inter-religious dialogue, homosexuality, the roles of bishops and theologians, and international human rights issues, Nichol's work is indispensable as both a compass and an oracle.
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Aidan Nichols entered the Dominican Order in1970, and has since worked in Edinburgh, Oslo, Rome and Cambridge, where he nowlives. His other publications include TheArt of God Incarnate and The Shape of Catholic Theology, among others.Review:
‘Those who want to get closer to this thinker should consult [The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI]... This, the first study of its kind in English, is a meticulously researched, lucid account of Ratzinger’s thought.’ - Economist‘A beautiful presentation of the theological achievement of Joseph Ratzinger... combines a confident grasp of the general trends of Ratzinger’s thinking with almost a poet’s feel for particularities of place and with a trained historian’s sense of the period.’ - Chesterton Review ‘An important introduction, not only to the mind and heart of one man, but to the intellectual ferment of his times.’ - Expository Times ‘Nichols begins his book with an excellent chapter on the historical background of Ratzinger, tracing the history of Bavaria from its beginnings and giving much interesting material about the Church in Germany in the time of Hitler.’ - Priests and People ‘A highly lucid presentation of Ratzinger’s theology, which reveals a complete mastery of his writings as well as the secondary literature.’ - Heythrop Journal ‘So good an introduction is this book that I am eager to read more of Ratzinger, for he has a lot to say; not least, in criticism of my own position.’ - Reformed Theological Review‘Anyone who wants to understand where Ratzinger is coming from should read it carefully.’ - National Catholic Register
Book mention in the Sunday Times, 24/09/2006 (Sunday Times)
Book mention in Church Times, 11/08/2006 (Church Times)
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