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Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898707536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898707533
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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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This is a surprising book!
George C. Moore
This is dealt with in the sections I, II and III of the book.
Paul
This book is an easy read for an educated layman.
G. Weidman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 110 people found the following review helpful By James C. Woods on January 16, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cardinal Ratzinger presents a lucid summary of the central theological issues arising out of the covenant shared by Jews and Christians. Insisting (properly) that the Abrahamic and Chrisitian covenants represent a single movement of God in his work of reconciliation of human kind, Ratzinger shows how the work of Christ is a fulfillment of God's promise announced in the covenant with Abraham-- 'all the nations of the world shall be blessed through you'
Ratzinger recognizes that for this blessing to be realized, priority must be given to the relationship between Jews and Christians. Until Christians recognize their fundamental kinship with Judaism and Jews, and until that recognition leads to reconciliation between them, the proclamation of God's reconciling work in the world will be truncated and compromised. He recognizes that the often tragic misunderstandings in Chrisitian Jewish relationships raise very specific difficulties, especially for Jews, and Christians have a major responsibility to address those difficulties.
Ratzinger's presentation should be read by Christians, Jews and others for the clear and consise scriptural and theological perspective it offers. I am not a Roamn Catholic but one need not be Roman Catholic to appreciate the charity and discipline that inform this work.
Jim Woods
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Cardinal Ratzinger, the new pope Benedict XVI, spent much of his career prior to being in the Vatican teaching theology and philosophy; after his move to the Vatican, he spent much of his time in the work of clarifying the theology of the church. One of the hallmarks of his predecessor's papacy (John Paul II) was a concerted effort at Jewish-Christian dialogue, and Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger was an integral part of these conversations.

Ratzinger is a theologian of wide reading and study, and not just within the confines of official Catholic doctrine. One of his frequent references, in this work and in others, is to the twentieth-century Jewish theologian, Martin Buber. His work on Jewish-Christian dialogue in this text is very biblically grounded, looking at ideas of 'covenant' and 'testament', seeing the covenant of God as crucial for understanding our relationship to God either as Christians or as Jews. Israel is the root from which Christianity's branches grow, so a clear understanding of that basis as well as the understanding of the continuing covenant God has with the Jews is an important consideration.

This work falls under the category of post-Holocaust or post-Shoah theology. Ratzinger wrote, 'After Auschwitz the mission of reconciliation [of Jews and Christians] permits no deferral.' Very importantly, Ratzinger dispels the age-old idea of the collective guilt of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus, arguing that 'all sinners' participate in the problem of Jesus' death.

Jewish-Christian dialogue and post-Shoah theology is one of the issues that concerns me greatly in my theological studies, so this text has been an important one.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By G. Weidman on June 13, 2005
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This book by Joseph Ratzinger is not, as one might expect, a treatise on the relationship between Catholicism and Judaism. Rather, it is a collection of four lectures that the author gave at different points on different occasions, all dealing with the subject of the meaning of the "New Covenant" as contrasted with the covenants (plural) in the old testament. One of the talks does address slightly the implications for this study for current-day Jewish/Catholic interaction, but a footnote indicates that this section was appended later to a previously written lecture.

The third piece in this collection is simply a homily that Ratzinger gave one Sunday on the subject of God's covenantial relations with us. The fourth piece deals more with ecumenism in general, and only peripherally in relation to Judaism.

I don't speak German, so I can't be sure, but I strongly suspect that the title of this book is mistranslated. The German title is "Die Vielfalt der Religionen und der Eine Bund." If this were translated as "The variety of religions and the one covenant," this certainly would better reflect the content of the book. With the current title one is inclined to suspect the author of a mealy-mouthed relativism; this is decidedly not the case. The title seems to come from a phrase in the fourth lecture, but in context the author is presenting a case that the headship of Peter (i.e. the Pope) is the proper expression of the one new and everlasting covenant of Christ's body and blood. This is seemingly the opposite of what the title implies.

I find it useful to contrast this author with the works of the previous Pope. John Paul II shows a propensity to break a question down into every possible category, and then fully analyze each category.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul on July 10, 2005
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The foreword begins "This book is a majestic bridge, fashioned by a master builder." Possibly this represented a prescient moment for the forward writer, Dr. Scott Hahn, who penned this years before Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI and became Pontifex Maximus, or "the bridge builder". This book deals with the bridges God has made with his people, commonly referred to as "covenants" and our attempts to build bridges through ecumenism.

Of great interest to me is the relationship between the covenants with Israel and Judah and the new Christian covenant. This is dealt with in the sections I, II and III of the book. Section I, "Israel, the Church, and the World" starts off by demonstrating in the story of the Magi that the world has always looked to Israel and Judah for guidance in some degree. It goes on to explain why Jews should not be collectively blamed for Christ's death and how Christ and his contemporaries who were Rabbi's and Jewish officials didn't really have any argument about the Law, the Torah, but rather primarily the argument was about his proclaiming his divine identity.

Section II deals with the Christian belief of the uniqueness and fulfilling nature of the "New Covenant" as compared to the old covenants. He goes into depth looking at the Eucharistic institution accounts, especially those of Mark and Matthew, and comparing these to the covenant institution at Mount Sinai.

The third section is my favorite where he deals with the "New Manna", the Holy Eucharist. In the institution of the Holy Eucharist we find the only mention Christ makes of the word "covenant", so it is proper that this be included in the book. It was originally a homily; I wished it could have been longer or supplemented by other material.
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