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The Meaning of Tradition Paperback – November 30, 2004


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The Meaning of Tradition + The Shape of Catholic Theology: An Introduction to Its Sources, Principles, and History + The Nature and Mission of Theology: Essays to Orient Theology in Today's Debates
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Pr (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158617021X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170219
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Very insightful, short read.
Bobby Bambino
On my journey back to the faith this book helped me understand the Catholic concept of Tradition.
Benedictus
Protestants who have so long downplayed or misunderstood tradition will find understanding here.
Stratiotes Doxha Theon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
As the Catholic Church in the 20th century has rebounded from its Reformation-induced four-century hunkered-down posture, one of the things it has done is to recover a gracefulness of apologetics that has become one of its greatest attributes. The works of such authors as Jean Guitton (e.g., The Church and the Gospel and The Problem of Jesus), Rene Girard (I See Satan Fall Like Lightening), Jean-Luc Marion (God Without Being), Hans Urs von Balthasar, Romano Guardini, and Louis Bouyer (e.g., The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism and Word, Church, and Sacrament in Protestantism and Catholicism)--not to mention those of John Paul II and Benedict XVI--have positioned the Church more in the stance of dialog partner than of antagonist even as she has maintained the integrity of her position as bearer of the fullness of the faith.

This great little book by Yves Congar, long out of print but now once again, thankfully, available, solidifies the Church's well-deserved reputation as a gentle warrior for truth even in relation to those who find themselves, largely through no fault of their own, outside its precincts.

In my thirty-year journey to Catholicism from evangelical Protestantism, I don't ever recall encountering a formal delineation of the Catholic understanding of Tradition. Even though I had come to a position where I felt I could substantially affirm Catholic self-understandings, I can't remember ever coming face to face with the Catholic position on Tradition.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Vick on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I came to this text a Protestant with just a little knowledge of the Roman Catholic view of Tradtion. However, I am a frustrated Protestant since I firmly believe that my fellow Protestants have either ignored tradtion or have dismissed it altogether simply becasue it is a "Roman Catholic teaching."

Congar's book is a very well written text, quite easy to follow and can be read by anyone from a simple lay person with no background knowledge to a well educated individual who has studied the issues for years. Having read this book I now have a much better understanding of Tradition and a better understanding where Roman Catholics and Protestans differ in this issue. Let me summarize a few of these differences in this review.

At the end of chapter three Congar summarizes Tradition by declaring, "Tradition signifies, then, the Catholic spirit together with the living manner in which the whole apostolic deposit, whose subject is the Church, is transmitted." This is clearly a summation of Congar's overall view of Tradition, but is very telling and important for Protestants to grasp. Congar teaches that all the essential elements or features of Tradition are norms for the Church to in fact be the Church. This means Catholics begin with the reality in which Christianity is presented in history from Christ to the present day and how this reality is manifested in and through the Church is the underlining factor of the overall deposit presented to the Church by the apostles. Therefore, Scripture and Tradition are of equal authority.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Benedictus on July 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
On my journey back to the faith this book helped me understand the Catholic concept of Tradition. Chapter III on Tradition and Scripture is the best short description on this topic that I have read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Tradition is memory, and memory enriches experience. If we remembered nothing it would be impossible to advance; the same would be true if we were bound to a slavish imitation of the past. True tradition is not servility but fidelity." Yves Cardinal Congar

"For Congar, Tradition is a real, living self-communication of God. Its content is the whole Christian reality disclosed in Jesus Christ. It is transmitted not only by written and spoken words, but equally by prayer, sacramental worship and participation in the Church's life." Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.

Tradition and Traditions:
The process and content of the transmission of beliefs, doctrines, rituals, Scriptures, and life of the Church. As a process, tradition constitutes the modern sense of the whole life of the Church. Nor does it refer to traditions as a collection of traditions, that is, ecclesiastical customs. Rather "Traditions" refer to apostolic traditions, what is essential to faith. examples of traditions (in the Tridentine sense) would be the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist." Susan Wood, Encyclopedia of Catholicism

On Tradition:
"There is a sense in which the very notion of tradition seems inconsistent with the idea of history as movement and change. For tradition is thought to be ancient, hallowed by age, unchanged since it was first established once upon a time. It does not have a history, since history implies the appearance, at a certain point in time, of that which has not been before....Upon closer examination, however, the problem of tradition and history is seen to be more complex. Even the most doctrinaire traditionalist must be concerned with such questions as the authenticity of works ascribed to an ecclesiastical writer or of decrees ascribed to a council;...
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