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Saint Paul Hardcover – March 27, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 131 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (March 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586173677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586173678
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,492 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: Hardcover
Before addressing the substance of the reflections contained in this book, I'd like to address the book itself. This book is yet another example fo the high quality work done by Ignatius press, which is the main publisher of Pope Benedict's books in English. Other publishers will likely put out a similar book, but as was the case with their attempts with the Church Fathers series and the Apostles series, their work, while good, will never come close to the beauty and elegance of the books put forth by Ignatius Press.

As far as the content of the book, quite simply another volume of rich, and insightful reflections by Pope Benedict. He fleshes out the person of St. Paul, his conversion, his ministry, and his theology. St. Paul is an important figure not only because he is a great example of the transformation which can occur in the life of a person after encountering God, but also because his mission and his theology give great witness to the person of Jesus. The Pauline year ends June 29, 2009, but the reflections in this book are timeless.
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Pope Benedict's treatment of St. Paul's contribution to Christianity is an extremely well thought out presentation of the key elements of St. Paul's teachings that emphasizes in a clear way the importance of his writings and the centrality of Paul's works. Pope Benedict surrounds Paul's writings with the historical environment in which they were written and the social situations that existed at that time, thus giving a deeper insight to the man and his work. This book is the next best thing to having some one-on-one time with Pope Benedict XVI.
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This book is a collection of Wednesday audiences given by Pope Benedict during the year of Saint Paul which expound upon some of St Paul's teachings and theology as well as his life. Hence, each chapter is one shorty talk given by the Pope. This allows for a quick, coffee table reading of each chapter, since they are only about 6-10 pages each. As such, they are not too deep and heady, but they still give good theological points to ponder and meditate upon. One chapter discusses St Paul's conversion, another discusses the "faith vs. works" "controversy." It is interesting to get a glimpse into the mind of BXVI and his thoughts on St Paul. A good book with a lot to think about.
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The Pope continues the teaching he began in earlier audiences that have been turned into books, like The Fathers and The Apostles. This sketch of The Apostle is a loving, insightful meditation on Paul's conversion and teaching.

One of the left-handed compliments in vogue in the secular world is to label Paul as the "founder of the Church." Beware of people who propagate this myth; they'll use the bible as a reliable, historical source when they wish to document Paul's travels - and travel he did - he truly was the apostle to the Gentiles, and evangelized much of the Mediterranean.

Yet these same people suddenly adopt a skeptical approach to the bible when you try to point out that Paul actually met Christ on the road to Damascus, or the years he spent in learning the teaching of Christ from the twelve in Jerusalem. The goal of such people is to separate Christ from his Church, to say that the Church is a human creation and not the mystical body of the Son of God. Pope Benedict carefully and lovingly presents Paul as very much a pillar of Christ's Church, but not its founder.

Pope Benedict also explains Paul's message of justification by faith, pointing out the places of agreement with Protestants, but also very gently distinguishing the place of charity (manifested in works) as the ultimate fruit of faith. Faith without works is indeed a dead faith.

Some of the topics covered are the sacraments (especially Baptism, the Eucharist and Marriage), Paul's Christology, the Cross and the Resurrection (and why the two can't be separated and make up one Paschal mystery), and the Parousia.

This is excellent teaching for all believers; it is deep in meaning without being technical or difficult to understand.
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I must admit I am partial to just about anything Pope Benedict writes, but this is very good. I have always had an aversion to St. Paul, probably because I could not understand his writings well, but this book is very clear and concise and helped me to have a much better appreciation for these irreplaceable writings of our New Testament. Pope Benedict as usual is deeply theological but at the same time easy to read for people at any stage of their journey towards Christ. Highly recommended.
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This little book is based on B.16's Catechesis on St. Paul. He situates Paul in his historical and cultural context; this includes references and quotes from contemporaneous pagan, Jewish, and Christian authors. Benedict's presentation and reflections are succinct and insightful at the same time. Few scholars could do such a fine job with the same ease and clarity. Highly recommended as an introduction to St. Paul by a recognized expert.
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He does it again. His knowledge of all things catholic and his ability to make anyone understand the complexities is unrivaled.
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