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Eschatology, Second Edition: Death and Eternal Life 2nd Edition
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In this book, Ratzinger writes in a very clear and direct style, but as it is an academic piece, it does presuppose some background knowledge in Christian theology. The book begins by asking the questions, what do people think, and why do they think this. The beauty of this work is that it is an understandable but incredibly thorough study of the Judeo-Christian intellectual history for the topics of death and eternal life.
The book begins with an overview of the perspectives in contemporary Biblical scholarship on the issues of death, judgment and an afterlife. It explains in very simple terms what the Bible says on these topics and how this has been interpreted in Christian history. How various questions associated with death were approached in the Old Testament, the New Testament and in the Tradition of the Church, right up to the present day.
The final sections of the book make a close analysis of numerous questions of what was and is meant by Immortality, the Resurrection of the Dead, Final Judgment, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. The book then finishes with an updated overview of contemporary approaches, written by then Cardinal Ratzinger on the occasion on the translation of this book into English in 1987.
If you want to really understand what Christianity teaches about death and an afterlife and why this is so, this book is for you.
In "Eschatology ...", Joseph Ratzinger and Johann Auer lay forth a timely study in the "Last Things" according to a truly Catholic view point. While the text is an erudite, theological (and mildly philosophical) discussion of eschatology, it should not be viewed as being overwhelming for the reader. Anyone who has a true interest in the full foundation of Catholicism's stand on humanity's final destiny should read this.
A great strength of the treatise is its reflection upon modern theological thoughts with respect to Catholic Tradition. While many readers may not know of the thinkers of the last two centuries by name, we all live in the world which has been effected by their thoughts. Ratzinger and Auer show where some of these thinkers have departed from the Christian notion of the end of time. This is not performed in a polemic fashion. Instead, each subject is shown in light of its Old Testament roots, through the New Testament, and into continuous Church Tradition. In doing this, the authors help to refine the philosophical and theological thoughts of the readers. They show the pitfalls inherent in various modes of thinking, allowing the reader to see the Truth more clearly.
Perhaps the greatest strength, however, is not its theological erudition (in the pure sense). It is the fact that the text is soaked with the realization of Christianity as a religion of community. It emphasizes that we find our end in a Person, namely Christ and how this relates to all that we do in life.Read more ›
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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is excellent! The most comprehensible book that I have read on the subject of Exchatology.
Carmen J. Calvanese, Ph.D.
What a classic from our pope emeritus! VERY good work on the last thingsPublished 6 months ago by Zachary Barry
Item was received within 5 days in like-new condition. Item was exactly as described. Great Book!Published 18 months ago by chris
Here's a list of who should read this book:
1) Are you a lapsed Catholic unsure of your faith and need to reinforce your spiritual growth? Buy this book. Read more
Here is Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) at his theological best. In 1977, in the last year of Joseph Ratzinger's formal academic career, the original version of this text was published... Read morePublished on August 2, 2013 by Jacob W. Torbeck
Typical Ratzinger text. Good intro. Solid teaching. Discussion and historic and early church context for last things. This is a text, not light reading or an intro of light readingPublished on June 29, 2013 by Karina Olson
If you're a catholic, you must sometimes wonder what happens after death, well this reading will point you in that direction, besides its author is probably the best theologian of... Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by PEDRO F. OLIVARES
Written when Joseph Ratzinger was a Cardinal (before he became pope). He writes beautifully and clearly, and he is very deep but not so that you can't follow him. Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I don't know why but everything this man has written blows my mind. I try to quote it every chance I get especially to those misinformed Catholics, including other priests that... Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by John P. Bolger