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Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI 1st Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199570348
ISBN-10: 0199570345
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Editorial Reviews


"The pope's deep and passionate love for the adventure of theology shines through this text, which is geared to the reasonably educated lay reader. Not only papal enthusiasts but also libraries and professional theologians will want to have this book." --Theological Studies

"I have never read an author who identifies and explains all the essential questions with such intelligence and clarity...It should be the number one choice of anyone who wants to understand more fully the contemporary predicament in which both Church and culture find themselves...It is not too much to say that if you haven't read this book-as the best way to understand the thought of Pope Benedict XVI-you are doomed to have significant gaps in your own analysis of how things are. So if you can read only one more intellectually serious book this year, read Tracey Rowland's Ratzinger's Faith." -- Dr. Jeff Mirus,

"Tracey Rowland's excellent exposition of his thought...Ratzinger's Faith is meant to be an exploration of the Pope's thinking, not a thematic biography. But Professor Rowland treats Benedict's ideas with a keen eye to his life, and she largely succeeds in giving us a well developed theology-in-history." -- Jeremy Lott, Catholic World Report

About the Author

Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology at the John Paul II Institute, Melbourne.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199570345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199570348
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Alcuin Reid on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Associate Professor Tracey Rowland, Dean of the Melbourne John Paul II Institute, is described by Cardinal Pell in the foreword to this book as making progress towards "becoming Australia's leading theologian." Anyone who has read her 'Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II' will understand that she is a theologian of substance. Those who read 'The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI' will see why she is indeed becoming a leading theologian, not just in Australia but in the English-speaking world.

For her present work demonstrates a profound grasp of the wide-ranging theological work of Pope Benedict XVI and of the theological and philosophical schools within which and in contradistinction to which he has written. No one book can hope to encompass his theological achievement, but certainly one finds here a reliable and sympathetic introduction to it. For serious students of Catholic theology and indeed for those seeking an insight into Pope Benedict's vision of the Church's role in the modern world, this book is a must.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Davie 44 on December 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Of the recent "introduction" books out there on Benedict XVI, I found Rowland's introduction to be the best.

Rowland pulls together a wide range of material and synthesizes it quite well. Unlike Nicol's book, which just walks the reader through some early texts (where he seems to simply restate what Ratzinger just wrote) and other books which attempt to polemicize him needlessly, this one honestly looks at the controversial aspects of his insights, but not in a hysterical tone.

She moves from some of his earlier ideas into his later thought, again done thematically. I thought she also provided excellent insight into the general theological atmosphere in which Ratzinger wrote. She contextualizes in a straightforward manner that allows the reader to grasp the significance and deeper targets Ratzinger sets his sights on. One glaring omission in the text is handled deftly by Hahn in his book Covenant and Communion (2009). While Rowland covers the wide range of Ratzinger's thought, Hahn tackles Ratzinger's understanding of Scripture and synthesizes a tremendous amount of the pope's scholarship in order to develop the heart of Ratzinger's theology: a eucharistic/Christological/sacramental communio ecclesiology.

For those not versed in theology, Rowland will require some work. It is worth it. Those versed in the field will find this extremely insightful. It is a must read for those who want to delve into Benedict's work and gain some sense of coherence and direction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Danny Boy on March 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dr Rowland's second work is an excellent piece of scholarship. It introduces the reader to the major trends in Ratzinger's thought. Material is carefully synthesised and arranged in a thematic order. This work is obviously the result of a thorough read of Ratzinger's work. The author is to be commended for surveying his major ideas, including his more controversial ones, particularly those on the liturgy. Whatever you think of the current Pope, if you want to understand the blueprint for this papacy, this book is a must.
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Format: Hardcover
This book brilliantly explains Pope Benedict's theological understandings, but more importantly for this reader, relates these to the dramatic debates occurring within the Church and the broader society. Thus, in explaining the relationship between theology and history and culture (indeed, the book notes there is no such thing as a theologically "neutral" state) it is particularly useful for those Catholics stranded within the outer reaches of the Anglo-sphere, such as Australia, where a new and decidedly aggressive post-Protestant secular liberalism now dominates the public space. Unfortunately, the fact that the modern state has its own secular theology and is also increasingly coercive has yet to penetrate the minds of many Catholic pastoralists and bureaucrats. Within Australia, one has only to look at how they let themselves be rolled on a compulsory national curriculum, which by its very nature will impose a world view at variance with a Catholic understanding of history, and which will ignore or minimize the vital rôle of Christianity in forming our society. How we wish that Dr Rowland's book could somehow be made compulsory reading for those guiding the future of Catholic institutions within this country.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Francis G on February 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Tracey Rowland has produced a work which should be of immense interest to both "fans" and "enemies" of the famous "panzer-Kardinal" now His Holiness Benedict XVI. This is so because she paints the theological landscape as it stood at the (now long ago) time of the Second Vatican Council. I am not aware of any author who has as skillfully and concisely achieved this difficult and complex task. It is also remarkable for the breadth of work which is synthesized and faithfully presented and unpolemically explained. Exception must be taken to this aspect of a another reviewer's attack on Mm Rowland, he has it would seem taken a shot at the messenger. Whatever the merit of the reviewers arguments it is with Pope Benedict that battle must be joined as Mm Rowland in almost every instance meticulously supports the assertions she makes with her subject's cited authority.

The Communion school of theology and its Ressourcement project would seem to be vibrant with not only the Holy Father but Cardinals Scola and Ouelet among others leading the cutting edge of a Christo-centric, Trinitarian and Nuptial reading within the Tradition. All of this can be said to have begun well prior to Vatican II - John Henry Newman emphasized the importance of being "deep in history" and led a recovery of interest in the Fathers which echoed to Przywara and Balthasar. To derrogate the importance of history in theology is to have failed to grasp the central and burning question facing theology in this and the later part of the last century.
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