Few books in theology have faced the twentieth century with all its horrors and yet revoiced the redemptive Christian antidote as convincingly as Joseph Ratzinger’s 1968 masterpiece, Introduction to Christianity. In Gift to Church and World, John Cavadini and Donald Wallenfang present papers from the conference held at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this classic book’s publication and, through it, Ratzinger’s lasting influence on the world of Christian theology. Bishops, priests, and lay men and women set their hands to ‘the trowel of tribute,’ honoring the legacy of Joseph Ratzinger and the pivotal role he has played in the recent history of the Catholic Church.
Covering Ratzinger’s work on fundamental theology, philosophical theology, dogmatic theology, spiritual theology, and pedagogy, the essays gathered here shed new light on Ratzinger’s theological genius. Throughout, the authors return to his compelling expression of the divine call to reawaken to our true identity as beloved children of God. Altogether, readers will deepen their appreciation and understanding of the theological contributions of Joseph Ratzinger, and his continued relevance to mission and evangelisation today.
Endorsements and Reviews
Joseph Ratzinger’s demanding and original Introduction to Christianity deserves a set of interlocutors able to rise to its own high level. It has found them in the studies collected here, ranging as they do from close-up snapshots of the work in its place and time to confrontations with a choice of theologians, culture-critics, filmmakers, and visual artists closer either to now or to home. Aidan Nichols, OP, author of The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger
This collection provides sixteen precious vignettes into Ratzinger’s celebrated classic Introduction to Christianity. These eminently scholarly perspectives celebrate a book that presents in 1968 divine-human relationality as the concrete Vatican II watershed. The authors convincingly argue that this christocentric shift grounds the believer in the life and charity of the Blessed Trinity, which in turn permits genuine interhuman charity to flourish. This volume is indispensable for understanding deeper Ratzinger. Most welcome and highly recommended! Emery de Gaál, Chairperson of Dogmatic Theology at Mundelein Seminary
This book identifies a classic that has never received the notice it’s due. Ratzinger’s Introduction is so much more than a book; it’s a pedagogy, a way of teaching. This fact shines through every contribution here, but especially in the pages that compare Ratzinger’s masterpiece with C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Ratzinger did not simply introduce people to Christianity; he invited them into communion, where the mysteries lead to a living faith. Gift is the rare book that acknowledges the deeply mystical element in the theological task and a person’s intellectual life. Scott Hahn, founder and president of the St. Paul Center of Biblical Theology