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In the Beginning…': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Ressourcement: Retreival and Renewal in Catholic Thought) Paperback – November 2, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Ressourcement: Retreival and Renewal in Catholic Thought
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Reprint edition (November 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802841066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802841063
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As the Vatican's Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger is responsible for public orthodoxy in Catholic faith and morals. The first four of his five sermons included here, which have been published in English (Our Sunday Visitor, 1986), originated as 1981 Lenten homilies given in Munich's cathedral to counter a modern abandonment of creation doctrine based on scripture. A fifth homily by a different translator augments this edition. Ratzinger's sermons treat God the creator, biblical creation accounts, creation of human beings, sin and salvation, and the consequences of faith on creation. The readable but challenging meditations attempt a balance between extremes of fundamentalism and rationalism and emphasize a unity between the Old and New Testaments. Notes are generally from German sources. Recommended for Catholic collections.
Anna Donnelly, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

The readable but challenging meditations attempt a balance between extremes of fundamentalism and rationalism. -- Library Journal

With penetrating insight, Ratzinger here treats the profoundly important and far-reaching doctrine of Genesis. -- New Oxford Review

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Besides this interesting perspective, the book is also very well written.
GPK
This book is a collection of four homilies that were given by Cardinal Ratzinger on the creation account in Genesis.
Joe
Altogether, the book clears up many misconceptions regarding Catholic doctrine.
Mark Schmittle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Joe on October 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of four homilies that were given by Cardinal Ratzinger on the creation account in Genesis. It gives a Catholic understanding of the theological implications from the teachings of creation found in Genesis. Cardinal Ratzinger starts with the importance about the necessity of properly understanding this, and the problems with ignoring the creation account. He shows how you cannot answer the question of "What we do" without first addressing the question of "What we are".
From this he proceeds to give a brilliant understanding of what it means to be a human being. What kind of creature we are and our place in creation. His first homily is based on "God the Creator" and its relevance to the differences between our view of God creating the world and other religions views. He then goes to his second homily "The Meaning of the Biblical Account", which gives a more balanced understanding of creation, and its cultural significance at the time. His third homily, "The creation of the Human Being" gives an understanding of what it means to be human and our place and reasons for being. His fourth, and final homily, "Sin and Salvation" gives and understanding of our nature, and our responsibility in our decision-making. Also touches upon the resurrection and the way it addresses our innate struggles. The book ends with an appendix that briefly goes into certain other semi related topics.
It should also be mentioned that Cardinal Ratzinger addresses the scientific implications of the creation account very little in this book. He addresses the problem in proving that the creation account was never meant to be a strict fundamentalist scientific view of how the world was created.
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68 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Joseph L. Ponessa on April 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is to be noted that from 1981 to 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger held a second job in the Vatican. In addition to being Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he also served as President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. The latter board provides oversight for the study of Sacred Scripture within the Catholic church.

This set of homilies on the first chapters of Genesis, in continuity with the great encyclical Humani Generis by Pope Pius XII, sets forth the Catholic approach, which is neither fundamentalist nor rationalist. For example, how long is one of these days of creation? The fundamentalist says 24 hours or you're damned. The rationalist says billions of years or you're a fool. The Catholic says: Just as long as God wanted it to be, and not a minute more or less. How does the timeless God experience time? Not as we do. The Second Letter of Peter says "A thousand years are in your sight as a day, and a day as a thousand years." (But this gives us two yardsticks, which are not the same.) Since only God witnessed the first five days of creation, they were divine days, not human days.

We may hear more on this subject from Pope Benedict XVI in an encyclical in coming months. Stay tuned.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Merlino on April 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this collection consists of five separate homilies of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the following themes: the Creator, the Biblical account of creation, the creation of man, original sin and faith in creation. This very theological work concisely lays out the Catholic understanding of creation.

Cardinal Ratzinger begins by explain how the passages in Genesis about creation should be interpreted, explaining that they cannot be read in isolation from the New Testament. They must be read with Christ.

He goes on to look at the symbolism found in Genesis, especially the symbolism of the Sabbath day with its meaning as a day of worship. He then goes on to assess human responsibilities to look after the world.

The third homily looks specifically to creation of the human being, arguing that all humans have their origins in the same earth and are all created in God's image and likeness. He argues that Genesis explains that there is one humanity and that through Christ humans can become the children of God. Cardinal Ratzinger then goes on to argue that the Biblical accounts explain what human beings are, whereas the theory of evolution explains how human beings developed. He affirms that the natural sciences explain how the divine project of creation grows.

The fourth homily addresses the issues of sin, human freedom and original sin, explaining that humans cannot save themselves and that Christ instead has redeemed humanity.

The concluding chapter talks about the reception of the idea of creation in modern times. He looks at the suppression of faith, naturalism, nihilism, and gnosticism. He finishes by arguing that the question of creation does matter and that creation is an inseparable part of Redemption.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By GPK on June 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a scientist myself, I was very interested in this book: how does a religious man explain the christian creation story? In particular, how does he relate it to modern scientific insights. After all, the two seems to be mutually exclusive?

Well, they are not. The author shows in a very credible way that the two can coexist next to each other, and that each of them can be interpreted in such a way that this makes sense. Science is related to 'how-questions', and religion to 'why-questions'.

Besides this interesting perspective, the book is also very well written. It is my impression that every sentence has been well thought through, and that the author has taken the time to write a short book. It is easy to write long books, filled with many words and little real information. But writing a concise book, which is to the point all the time, that is something different. The author has achieved exactly that.

This is definitely a book I can recommend to everyone. You do not need to be religious to appreciate it. Perhaps it is even more interesting if you are critical to religion. I will definitely read it again to rethink everything once more.

Recommended!
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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.

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In the Beginning…': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Ressourcement: Retreival and Renewal in Catholic Thought)
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