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God and the World: A Conversation With Peter Seewald Paperback – May 27, 2003


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God and the World: A Conversation With Peter Seewald + Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium-  An Interview With Peter Seewald + Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs Of The Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First American edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898708680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898708684
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,666 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

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The book is worth reading by anyone, and a must reading by a Christian Catholic.
Joseph Nastasi
The dialogue format works extremely well, enabling the reader to digest complex issues in small, well-written presentations.
Steven K. Szmutko
It's a great way to start learning more about what Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) is like and how he thinks.
D. Horan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, gave an interview to Peter Seewald a few years before the turn of the millennium, in a book entitled 'Salt of the Earth'. A few years after the turn of the millennium, Seewald followed up this earlier publication with this book, 'God and the World'. In it, Seewald take a bit more of a systematic approach to discussing theological topics.

In the first section, the Prologue, Seewald continues in a vein similar to the earlier book, asking questions that are both academic and personal, discussing issues of faith, vocation, mystery and belief. Ratzinger speaks of his personal devotion and prayer practices, which include traditional forms of standard communal prayer (noontime Angelus, Vespers, Compline) as well as his own personal prayer practices, such as reciting a prayer before rising in the morning. He gives an account of how this kind of practice strengthens and reinforces itself, saying that 'the organ of sensitivity to God can atrophy to such an extent that the words of faith become quite meaningless.'

Seewald directs the questions in a format that might serve as a guide to following a systematic theology - while this is not Ratzinger's systematic theology by any means, one can see the philosophical and theological consistency even in the answers to the question-and-answer format. He speaks of God, creation, Christology, scripture, sacraments, ecclesiology, and more. These are done in creative but traditional ways - for example, the section of Christology (speaking of Jesus Christ), the conversation falls under broad headings of Revelation, The Way, The Truth, and The Light (as separate sections). He also explores issues of Mariology and the significance of the Cross.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a Cardinal the current Pope gave an astonishing interview to Peter Seewald. The astonishing part of this book is the breadth of the questions asked and the simple but deeply moving answers that were given. If you have read Ratzingers own works, you know that they are not easy reading. This book is very very different. It is an interview and the tone is conversational. Some of the questions asked of him are provoking eg., "Was Jesus a Catholic?" The answers are surprisingly moving, tolerant and reveal a depth of knowledge. Other questions such as "Is God male or female". "What does God look like?" "Is faith an auto-suggestion" etc are handled in the same manner.

If regular theology is too much of a chore for you but you want to know what the theology of Ratzinger/Benedict is, then look no further. This is a very easy-to-read book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Horan on June 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Read this book.

There are so many things that are wonderful about this book; it is hard to know where to begin. First and foremost, this is a fantastic comprehensive synthesis of Ratzinger's views regarding much of the current concerns of the Church and of the world.

Additionally, the question and answer format makes this book extremely accessible, even for those who might think they are too busy to read about the new Pope. I would even say that the topics that are discussed in this interview are of interest to everybody as they do not necessarily revolve around interior Church issues.

Like I said earlier, I suggest that you read this book. It's a great way to start learning more about what Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) is like and how he thinks.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Arthem on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had been quite surprised reading "Salt of the Earth" at Cardinal Ratzinger's measured response to Peter Seewald's questions. But in "God and the World", Cardinal Ratzinger displays an amazingly intrinsic faith, one that encompasses the complexities of theology and history, while never being separated from the personal and central Christian relationship.

In respect to Peter Seewald, his questions were far more nuanced in "God and the World," and reflected thorough study in preparation for the interview. The tone of the book is much broader than "Salt of the Earth," but no less sensational. Seewald attempts to address the controversies of faith, spending a great deal of time sketching the debate over the role of women in the Church, but is not hesitant to bring in lengthy questions that are more "mood setting" than actually interrogative. An excellent example of this is in Chapter 11 "The Truth", in which Seewald's three paragraph "comment" on the Paternal model of God prompts Cardinal Ratzinger's two page response on human relationships and why the father-son relationship is intrinsic to our experience of God.

I have learned to read Cardinal Ratzinger's works with a pencil in hand, and to dog-ear the pages when necessary. This became self-defeating when reading God and the World, as so many pages are now dog-eared that my efforts to flip to a desired section are frustrated. Still, a few sections stand out.

First among these is Cardinal Ratzinger's treatment of transubstantiation and communion. While the entirety of the discussion is worthwhile and provocative, I was moved by the Cardinal's assertion that with the Eucharist "Jesus is saying here that it is the opposite to how it is with ordinary food that your body assimilates.
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