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Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed) [Paperback]

Tracey Rowland
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Book Description

13 May 2010 Guides for the Perplexed
This title presents an upper-level introduction to the thought and theology of Pope Benedict XVI. This Guide provides students of theology with a guide around the theoretical axes upon which the theology of Joseph Ratzinger revolves. It begins with a presentation of the key ideas in the works of his intellectual antecedents and contemporary interlocutors and then moves to an account of Ratzinger's responses to a number of theological crises. The work then moves to an account of Ratzinger's understanding of Christianity as an encounter with the Person of Christ and his placement of Christianity within the context of world religions in general. This theme is spread throughout his publications and recurs in the first encyclical of his papacy, Deus Caritas Est. This first encyclical will be treated in depth along with the second and third encyclicals which form a trilogy on the theological virtues (love, hope and faith). The work concludes with an assessment of the primacy of the transcendental of beauty in the theology of Ratzinger, his affinity with Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Augustinian motif of the relationship between love and reason. "Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging - or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.


Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: T& T Clark (13 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567034372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567034373
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 912,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Tracey Rowland's beautifully composed book is a masterpiece of scholarship and argument. With exceptional clarity, she shows that Pope Benedict's critique of secularism and his defense of traditional Catholicism are grounded in a symphonic synthesis - of Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church, the teachings of its Doctors and Fathers as well as a modern attention to history and culture. His Romantic Orthodoxy is key to a Christian Renaissance and the reunification of the episcopally-based Churches. As Rowland's vivid portrait reveals, Benedict's theological vision makes him one of the most significant pontiffs since the Reformation.' - Adrian Pabst, Lecturer in Politics, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK. --Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology at the John Paul II Institute (Melbourne), a member of the Centre for Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham and a member of the editorial board of the English language edition of Communio, founded, among others, by Joseph Ratzinger. She is the author of Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II (2003) and Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Benedict XVI (2008).

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 3 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book on Benedict XVI by a very trustworthy and competent Catholic author who writes well for readers of all abilities
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to Pope Benedict 7 Aug 2014
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this short work of 200 or so pages, Australian theologian Tracy Rowland explores the thought of Pope Benedict, particularly his theological system, biography, and personal focus in his role as Pope.

This book might be seen as an update of her earlier book, 'The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger', published in 2007 when he was arguably at the height of his powers as the prefect for the CDF, the most influential Vatican congregation.

Rowland gives an interesting series of insights into Pope Benedict's personal development, such as his early years growing up in Nazi Germany, his early liberalism, his later rejection of the same liberalism because of the 1968 radical student protests at his university, his rise in the church, and his attempt to revitalise Catholic theology with a more experiential, Augustinian and orthodox theological focus, away from both the dry manuals of Vatican I Neo-Scholastic Thomism and the apparent relativistic and secularising excesses in the post Vatican II church.

Rowland is a deeply conservative theologian and her admiration for Benedict shines through in this book. This is perhaps also its main weakness - she overlooks the questionable record Ratzinger had as head of the CDF under John Paul II, particularly his often brutal treatment of progressive and revisionist theologians, his slow response to the gravity of the sex abuse scandals worldwide, and his rigid treatment of women's aspirations by working with John Paul II to get women's ministry in the church off the agenda permanently by trying to make even attempting to discuss the matter a grave ecclesial crime.

Yet Rowland does also highlight some of Benedict's more positive teachings, such as his appreciation for St Benedict and Benedictine spirituality in the church's tradition, his deep, reflective theology, his encouragement of contemplation, his rehabilitation of great church figures like Origen and John Scotus Eriugena, and his focus on social justice and the environment.

A worthwhile book to read if you want to understand the former Pope.
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