Benedict XVI’s writing as priest-professor, bishop, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now pope has shaped Catholic theological thought in the twentieth century. In Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI, a multidisciplinary group of scholars treat the full scope of Benedict’s theological oeuvre, including the Augustinian context of his thought; his ecclesiology; his theologically grounded approach to biblical exegesis and Christology; his unfolding of a theology of history and culture; his liturgical and sacramental theology; his theological analysis of political and economic developments; his use of the natural law in ethics and conscience; his commitment to a form of interreligious dialogue from a place of particularity; and his function as a public, catechetical theologian.
This volume originated at a conference at the University of Notre Dame on the occasion of the pontiff and theologian’s eighty-fifth birthday. It provides an introduction to Benedict’s ecclesially grounded theology, articulated in his essays, monographs, and sermons, and also serves as a primer in the major concerns of Catholic theological discourse in the twentieth century.
John C. Cavadini is professor of theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. He is editor and co-editor of a number of books, including Who Do You Say That I Am? Confessing the Mystery of Christ (2004), Miracles in Jewish and Christian Antiquity: Imagining Truth (2000), and Gregory the Great: A Symposium (1996), all published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
Contributors: John C. Cavadini, Cyril O’Regan, Peter Casarella, Edward T. Oakes, S.J., Robert M. Gimello, Lawrence S. Cunningham, Daniel Philpott, Simona Beretta, Francesca Aran Murphy, Gary A. Anderson, Kimberly Hope Belcher, and Matthew Levering.
“This collection of essays on the theology of Benedict XVI offers a new apologetics founded ‘not so much on the desire to outdo one’s opponent in dialectical victory but to allow the Love in which the original Word was spoken . . . to make its own case, its own apologia, in the hearts of those who hear.’ It is, in short, an excellent presentation of what Benedict XVI means when he says that ‘love and reason are the twin pillars of all reality.’ The essays sympathetically uncover the pontiff’s theological foundation stones.” — Tracey Rowland, John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia
“If you’re looking for a synoptic view of Benedict XVI’s theological achievement, this is by a long way the best thing on offer in English. Each of the essays provides a detailed engagement with a central theme in Benedict’s theology, treated not merely in isolation but also in terms of its relations to the whole. The result is a profound depiction of the range, scope, and integrated nature of Benedict’s theology. This is a volume that honors the thinker it treats by taking him seriously not only as pope, but also as a theologian.” — Paul J. Griffiths, Duke Divinity School
“This is quite simply the best exploration of Pope Benedict’s theology available in English. Some of these essays dig deep into the younger Ratzinger’s Augustinian soil and reveal to us the roots of Benedict’s papal teaching. Others trace the lines of growth from those roots out to his striking papal encyclicals, and to the apologetics of love that grounds his vision of the Church’s task. The fruitfulness of the collection is perhaps most evident in the way that the authors do not simply repeat, but think with and in the light of Benedict’s theology. Above all, this collection displays Benedict’s theology as a personal, living faith and a reasoned faith, as a theology of divine and human love that invites humanity into faith’s re-imagining of human existence.” — Lewis Ayres, Durham University
“Shunning simplistic varieties of both caricature and adulation, these essays provide an appreciative but rigorous engagement with the breadth and depth of Benedict’s theology. The result is not merely a collection of summaries of different texts and themes but rather a convincing portrait of the vitality, integrity, and fecundity of Benedict’s theological vision and its prophetic witness to the evangelical message of God’s unfathomable love.” — Khaled Anatolios, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
“In this collection the theology behind the writings of Benedict XVI is examined by a group of scholars from a variety of different backgrounds. They reflect on his Augustine thought context, his ecclesiology, his Christology, his liturgical and sacramental theology, and more.” — U.S. Catholic.com
“Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI explores the religious writing of the depart[ed] pope, detailing his studies into scripture and the writings of the countless monks before him. . . . A core addition to any Catholic theological discussion, highly recommended.” — Library Bookwatch
“This festchrift is crafted out of love, and stands as an excellent synthesis of Benedict’s thoughts concerning the power of Advent, love and truth, and God’s love for humanity. . . . It is highly recommended for advanced students of theology, and institutions with collections dedicated to Ecclesiology, Ecumenism, Moral Theology, and Papal History.” — Catholic Library World
“Certainly achieving its goal to appreciate and ‘to honor [Benedict XVI], as theologians,’ the essays contained therein provide much fodder for theological background and discussion around key themes of Benedict XVI’s writings as Pope, especially his encyclicals, and on his writing prior to his election as he engaged currents of cultural thought more directly.” — Journal for Peace and Justice Studies
“This volume, the result of a conference at the University of Notre Dame honouring Benedict the theologian on his eighty-fifth birthday, is an excellent set of twelve essays. The essays are valuable both individually and as a whole. . . . John C. Cavadini’s introduction turns the volume into a whole, suggesting that Benedict’s theology provides a way of holding together Augustine’s two phases of theology: the phases of discovery and of communication.” — Theology