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Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World Paperback – September 1, 1999
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Original Language: German
About the Author
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Five+ stars for anything that Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict has ever written--but zero stars for the way the editors have taken his works out of their proper context, in order... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Clare
This is one of the best short books I've ever read. Part 2 of the book is particularly extraordinary.Published 5 months ago by Ruben
This is a book for every person of faith. The Cardinal (actually pope emeritus) is far more than an important figure of the RC church: he is a true scholar with with a practical... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Ratzinger's subtlety, scholarship, and deep concern for neighbor avoid partisanship here.Published 10 months ago by Theoketos
Very well written and application to more than just Catholicism... I now find I readily quote this in many endeavors...Published 16 months ago by Denis Edwin Spencer
This book is an examination of the crux of the Judeo Christian faith - that "one covenant" is the overarching theme of the scriptures; apart from understanding that basic... Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Kathryn Stuart
It seems that Christian theologians have attempted to find the continuity of the faith with it's ancient Jewish roots since the beginning. Read morePublished on August 27, 2008 by Stratiotes Doxha Theon
Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time of this writing he was Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith. Read morePublished on December 16, 2007 by Stuart Dauermann
This is a surprising book! I was amazed to read of such views taken by the Holy Pontiff. I have a more positive view after reading this short but important book.Published on September 2, 2007 by George C. Moore