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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars

on 20 May 2017
This is an excellent , hopeful book on life and death. It clearly articulates how our real life is in God and for this reason we should be forever joyful even when facing death.we are very fortunate to have someone as insightful as joseph ratzinger.may God hold him in the palm of his hand.tadhg mc tiernan
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on 10 April 2012
This book is amazing. It is well written and so well structured that it was a joy to read page after page. No other book on this topic is as clear and concise with all arguments explained. I loved it.
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on 15 September 2009
In this book, Ratzinger tackles the big issue of the end times and all those issues which go with it:

i) including the seriousness of history and the development of doctrine given the biblical data provides a sketch of life after death but hardly explains in toto what happens to those who die before the parousia, there is an excellent overview of the data of the Old Testament which clearly shows a development in understanding

ii) the importance of philosophy and the breakthrough made by St Thomas Aquinas in fusing platonic and aristotleian thought so as to arrive at the conclusion that the soul is the form of the body,

iii) the immortality of the soul, which curiously underpins the resurrection of the body;

iv) the rejection of resurrection into death as contrary to the facts and also contrary to taking history seriously; curiously embracing such a docrine imperils resurrection itself as resurrection then becomes a new name for the soul! Also, look at the pastoral effect of telling the mourners at the funeral that the man lying in the coffin is risen despite the evidence!

v) the apparent rupture in catholic theology, which discarded many long held beliefs including immortality of the soul - a change in attitude towards tradition;

vi) the reasonableness of belief in heaven, hell and purgatory.

vii) the importance of faith being in harmony with reason and vice versa ( aver important theme for B16 - Regensberg address for one.

viii) Liturgy as anticipated parousia - the Eucharist, God with us but not yet

ix) christology as key to the evolving doctrine of life after death

But, the key point one comes away with is the centrality of communion to Ratzinger's thought - for Ratzinger, everything hangs on communion - God is communion, we are made in his image and are thus orientated to communion - there cannot be eternal bliss until all the body of Christ are gathered into communion at the end of time where God will be all in all.

"But his final place for us in the whole can be determined only when the total organism is complete, when the passio et action of history has come to an end. And so the gathering together of the whole will be an act that leaves no person unaffected. Only at that juncture can the definitive general judgement take place, judging each man in terms of the whole and giving him that just place which he can receive only in conjunction with the rest (Ratzinger, Eschatology, 190)

Finally, if this book has been to your liking, I would also recommend "Introduction to Christianity" and "The Spirit of the Liturgy" and his "Jesus of Nazareth" (as Benedict XVI) - these represent Ratzinger at his best.
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on 13 February 2009
Easy to read synopsis of what Christianity is really about (preparation for Heaven) by the world's expert on the most important subject of all.

Good introduction that covers the religious aspects without the academic depth of the author's earlier works (on mediaeval scholarship) which some might find arduous.
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on 4 January 2014
This book is enlightening and well worth the effort taken to read it. Intellectually challenging at times on a topic not commonly dealt with.
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on 3 September 2009
If you are seeking a book which seeks to prove that there is truth behind a long held figment of the imagination, this is definitely worth reading. 'Eschatology', the study of the 'Last Things' i.e. Death, Judgement, Resurrection, Heaven and Hell is based not on evidence, hypotheses subjected to experiment or, indeed, any research whatever. The notions stem purely from selections of Biblical verses, written down often as a result of prophetic visions and trances.

When these 'sources' prove inadequate as they sometimes do for this writer - 'Pure Biblicism does not get us very far'- he writes at one stage, Joseph Ratzinger makes up suitable things on the spot. What would any reasonable person make of the following 'conclusions'? - a. Human beings live on 'with the Lord' even before the resurrection - b. This living is not yet identical with the Resurrection which comes only at ''at the end of days'' which will be the full breaking in of God's Lordship over the world'

These ramblings of a deranged mind, no matter how correct and 'educated' the language, would not matter were the author not the Pope - he who proclaims himself to be Jesus' own unique earthly rep.

So long as such peculiar works are venerated, there will continue to be a strong case for a new 'Age of Enlightenment'. Religious obscurantism is wreaking enough global havoc with its current, (hopefully temporary) revival.
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on 13 August 2015
Unless you are an ardent Roman Catholic, you will find this utterly disappointing. To the extent that it purports to be a philosophical work, it is utterly dishonest. This work is not one of philosophy but of shameless propaganda.
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