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Eschatology, Second Edition: Death and Eternal Life 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813215167
ISBN-10: 0813215161
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press; 2 edition (November 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813215161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813215167
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1927 in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life" is a very mature and thorough study of this difficult topic. Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, originally wrote this book in German, as the final volume in a series on Dogmatic Theology. It is a very professional piece of scholarship and is the culmination of twenty years worth of research.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Note: Any references to Pope Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger in this review are not meant to slight him, but only to refer to him in his ecclesial context when he wrote this book. Now on to the review:

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.
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Format: Paperback
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!

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.
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