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Many Religions-One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World Paperback – Sep 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Pr (Sept. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898707536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898707533
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 12.2 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #684,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The history of the relationship between Israel and Christendom is drenched with blood and tears. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 8 2006
Format: Paperback
Cardinal Ratzinger, the new pope Benedict XVI, spent much of his career prior to being in the Vatican teaching theology and philosophy; after his move to the Vatican, he spent much of his time in the work of clarifying the theology of the church. One of the hallmarks of his predecessor's papacy (John Paul II) was a concerted effort at Jewish-Christian dialogue, and Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger was an integral part of these conversations.
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.
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Cardinal Ratzinger presents a lucid summary of the central theological issues arising out of the covenant shared by Jews and Christians. Insisting (properly) that the Abrahamic and Chrisitian covenants represent a single movement of God in his work of reconciliation of human kind, Ratzinger shows how the work of Christ is a fulfillment of God's promise announced in the covenant with Abraham-- 'all the nations of the world shall be blessed through you'
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.
Jim Woods
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Just when you think all's been said on a topic, Joseph Ratzinger throws yet more light from a different yet utterly orthodox angle. I bought this book thinking Scott Hahn was co-author, but he writes only the foreword. Ratzinger isn't afraid to raise difficult questions and tackle them head-on. O, the lucidity of the catholic mind.
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By Fred Fayad on Feb. 5 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was a great Xmas gift for a person that is interested in reading about religion. My father-in-law enjoyed the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
The theological centrality of Jewish-Christian relations Jan. 16 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cardinal Ratzinger presents a lucid summary of the central theological issues arising out of the covenant shared by Jews and Christians. Insisting (properly) that the Abrahamic and Chrisitian covenants represent a single movement of God in his work of reconciliation of human kind, Ratzinger shows how the work of Christ is a fulfillment of God's promise announced in the covenant with Abraham-- 'all the nations of the world shall be blessed through you'
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.
Jim Woods
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The new pope on Jewish-Christian relations April 21 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cardinal Ratzinger, the new pope Benedict XVI, spent much of his career prior to being in the Vatican teaching theology and philosophy; after his move to the Vatican, he spent much of his time in the work of clarifying the theology of the church. One of the hallmarks of his predecessor's papacy (John Paul II) was a concerted effort at Jewish-Christian dialogue, and Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger was an integral part of these conversations.

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. There are a few pieces where Ratzinger and I might have more extended discussions - he tries hard to avoid the simple supersessionism that has long plagued Christian thinking with regard to the status of Judaism, but there is still some fuzziness in this regard when one speaks of 'fulfillment'. It just goes to show that there are conversations still worth continuing.

The work of Jewish-Christian dialogue, begun in earnest by the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican II, and intensified during the papacy of John Paul II, should be in capable hands with the new pope. This book is a good guide to see the points from with Benedict XVI will start in this ongoing, developing relationship.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful, but not what you might expect June 13 2005
By G. Weidman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book by Joseph Ratzinger is not, as one might expect, a treatise on the relationship between Catholicism and Judaism. Rather, it is a collection of four lectures that the author gave at different points on different occasions, all dealing with the subject of the meaning of the "New Covenant" as contrasted with the covenants (plural) in the old testament. One of the talks does address slightly the implications for this study for current-day Jewish/Catholic interaction, but a footnote indicates that this section was appended later to a previously written lecture.

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. Perhaps it is the limitation of the form in this book, but Ratzinger here instead will explain the limited scope of the particular question he wants to answer, and then find one or two small germs of truth that advance the discussion without fully answering it. The result is touching and very affecting. His analysis in the first section on what does it mean when Christ says he is the fulfillment of the law is striking: Jesus is speaking of his own death as the fulfillment of the ritual sacrifices of the law. Ratzinger's treatment of new-age style "ecumenism" as offsive to human dignity cuts right to the heart.

This book is an easy read for an educated layman. It won't give you in itself a full understanding of the relationship between Catholicism and Judaism, but it will lay out some of the stones along the path in beautiful detail.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great book on God's covenants - not casual reading July 10 2005
By Paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The foreword begins "This book is a majestic bridge, fashioned by a master builder." Possibly this represented a prescient moment for the forward writer, Dr. Scott Hahn, who penned this years before Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI and became Pontifex Maximus, or "the bridge builder". This book deals with the bridges God has made with his people, commonly referred to as "covenants" and our attempts to build bridges through ecumenism.

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.

The fourth section is where the former Cardinal is going to lose some people because of some very technical and scholarly language. He discusses the history of ecumenism and affirms the desire to see all Christians re-unified. He discusses the problems with Jewish-Christian dialogue. His concluding point is profound, he states "Let me speak plainly: Anyone who expects the dialogue between religions to result in their unification is bound for disappointment." Anyone offended by this might be tempted to say "Speak for yourself!" and I think he is; primarily he is speaking of the Roman Catholic Church for which he is a representative.

Because this book consists of an assemblage of two lectures, an essay and a homily it is not as cohesive a work as "God Is Near Us", "Spirit of the Liturgy" or one of my favorites, "The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood." One of those might be a better one to start off with if you are just beginning to read works written by the new pope. (In fact, "Spirit of the Liturgy" was recommended as a good first book in a recent lecture given by Dr. Hahn.)
107 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Simple and profound Dec 12 1999
By A. Williamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Just when you think all's been said on a topic, Joseph Ratzinger throws yet more light from a different yet utterly orthodox angle. I bought this book thinking Scott Hahn was co-author, but he writes only the foreword. Ratzinger isn't afraid to raise difficult questions and tackle them head-on. O, the lucidity of the catholic mind.


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