1. Felicific Forest
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    14 Apr '07 19:27
    Vatican Information Service (VIS)

    JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE POPE'S PATH TOWARDS JESUS

    VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2007 (VIS) - "Jesus of Nazareth," a book written by Benedict XVI will be on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops from Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languages.

    The Italian publishing house, Rizzoli, entrusted by the Vatican Publishing House with the sale of the rights of the book throughout the world, today released a press communique stating that "'Jesus of Nazareth' is the first part of a two-volume work examining Jesus' public life from His Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration."

    "On the one hand," the communique continues, "this is a pastoral narrative ... offering an introduction to the principles of Christianity. ... On the other, the text is an essay that maintains the strict academic discipline that distinguish the writings and talks of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger.

    "The pastoral concerns of the Pope," it adds, "and his exceptional theological doctrine, come together to focus on the central theme of the work: the conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to start from His union with the Father.

    "A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis." Such a methodology "has granted access to a great quantity of material and knowledge that enable us to reconstruct the figure of Jesus with a profundity unimaginable a few decades ago. Nonetheless, only faith can lead to the understanding that Jesus is God; and if in the light of this conviction the sacred texts are read with the instruments of modern historical-critical methodology, ... they reveal ... a figure worthy of faith.

    "For Joseph Ratzinger, faith and critical research are complementary, not antagonistic, and the Jesus of the Gospels is the historical Jesus," the communique concludes.

    A synopsis of the new volume, entitled "the Pope's path towards Jesus," makes it clear that this book "reflects the personal search by Joseph Ratzinger for the 'face of Jesus,' and is not a document of the Magisterium."

    "For Benedict XVI, the biblical text contains all the elements to affirm that the historical figure of Jesus Christ is also in fact the Son of God, Who came to earth to save humankind."

    "Based on the intimate unity between the Old and New Testament, and employing Christological hermeneutics which see in Jesus Christ to the key to the entire Bible, Joseph Ratzinger presents the Jesus of the Gospels as the 'new Moses' Who fulfills the ancient expectations of Israel. This new and true Moses must lead the people of God to real and definitive freedom. He does so through successive steps which, nonetheless, always allow God's plan to be seen in its entirety."

    In this light, "the immersion of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan is the symbol of His death and descent into hell, a reality that accompanied Him throughout His life. In order to save humanity, ... He had to overcome the principal temptations that in different forms threaten mankind of all times and, transforming them into obedience, reopen the way towards God, towards the Promised Land which is the Kingdom of God."

    "The theme of the 'Kingdom of God' which runs throughout Jesus' announcement is given deeper consideration in the Pope's reflection on the Sermon on the Mount, ... in which the Beatitudes constitute the main points of the new Law and, at the same time, represent a self-portrait of Jesus." The Sermon "shows that this Law is not just, as in Moses' case, the result of a 'face to face' meeting with God, but carries in itself the fullness that arises from Jesus' intimate union with the Father."

    Hence, a "fundamental element" of man's life is "talking and listening to God. And for this reason Benedict XVI has dedicated an entire chapter to prayer, explaining the Our Father that Jesus Himself taught us."

    The synopsis continues: "The profound contact of men and women with God the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit brings them together in the 'us' of a new family which, with the choosing of the Twelve, recalls the origins of Israel. ... Even in its highly varied composition, the new family of Jesus, the Church of all times, finds in Him the unifying center and the guidance to live the universal nature of His Gospel.

    "In order to make the content of His message more accessible and to turn it into a form of practical guidance, Jesus used parables. ... However, there is also a purely theological explanation of the meaning of the parables, and Joseph Ratzinger highlights this in a singularly profound analysis."

    The Holy Father's book then goes on to consider "the metaphors used by Jesus to explain His mystery." These are "the great images of St. John," but "before analyzing them the Pope presents a very interesting summary of the various results of academic research into who John the Evangelist was," and "opens new horizons for readers, revealing Jesus ever more clearly as the 'Word of God'."

    "This point of view is broadened further in the last two chapters of the book ... where the true mission of the Messiah of God and the destiny of those who follow Him is definitively established." Finally "an in-depth analysis of the titles which, according to the Gospels, Jesus used for Himself, concludes the Pontiff's book."

    "Alongside the man of faith, ... alongside the highly sophisticated theologian, ... what also emerges from this book is the pastor who truly manages to 'encourage in readers the growth of a living relationship' with Jesus Christ. ... In this light," the synopsis concludes, "the Pontiff is not afraid to tell the world that, by excluding God and clinging only to visible and material reality, we risk self destruction in the selfish search for a purely material wellbeing," while renouncing the possibility "of achieving true freedom in the 'Promised Land,' the 'Kingdom of God'."

    BXVI-BOOK/JESUS OF NAZARETH/... VIS 070413 (1000)
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Apr '07 21:05
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Vatican Information Service (VIS)

    JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE POPE'S PATH TOWARDS JESUS

    VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2007 (VIS) - "Jesus of Nazareth," a book written by Benedict XVI will be on sale in Italian, German, and Polish bookshops from Monday, April 16, which is also the Pope's 80th birthday. The volume, 448 pages long, is to be translated into 20 languag ...[text shortened]... 413 (1000)
    "A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis."

    I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.

    According to Amazon.com, the English version will be available May 15th.

    ____________________________________

    Albert Schweitzer said: “Of the historical Jesus, we can little know.”

    Rudolph Bultmann said: “Of the historical Jesus, we can nothing know.”

    Geza Vermes might say: “Of the historical Jesus, we can surely something know.”

    John Dominic Crossan might say: “Of the historical Jesus, we can say he was a Jewish Cynic.”

    Vermes, author of Jesus the Jew, himself Jewish, is one of those who have been involved in the huge amount of “historical Jesus” scholarship in recent years. He takes a minimalist view, which makes him a great deal more cautious than some others, but does see layers of historical information regarding the man Jesus in the Gospel accounts.

    Crossan’s scholarship is immense, and his methodology consistent (and pretty much, I think, unchallenged): nevertheless, his conclusion did seem to me to be a bit like the elephant laboring to bring forth a mouse.

    Now, it might be somewhat fatuous of me to say that, in Buddhism, the historical Gautama “doesn’t matter.” But the “matter” is not his historical life per se, but (1) his perceived embodiment of the Buddha-nature, and as the tathagata (the “thus-come-one” ), of the tathata; and (2) his teachings.

    I’m not trying to state an equation here, or do some religious syncretism—just to say that, within a different paradigm, I’ve always thought there were some parallels here that might be germane to all the historical Jesus research. Valid, yes. Important, yes. Christologically critical? Not really. There what matters is Jesus’ perceived embodiment of the logos, which is what makes Jesus ho Christos, “the Christ”; and his teachings.

    A number of years ago, I read several of the “Jesus scholars”: including Crossan, Vermes, Luke Timothy Johnson, Marcus Borg, N.T. Wright... I’ll likely read some more.

    But even if Bultmann was right (and in his time, he might have been), the critical theological core of Christianity would remain intact (theology, Christology and soteriology, all). Some particular theories might fall, but the theological core of such churches as the RCC, Orthodox, Anglicans, etc. (despite their differences) would not be at all shattered.

    Otherwise, not only historical Jesus scholarship, but historical-critical exegesis and textual criticism would pose as great a risk.
  3. Joined
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    15 Apr '07 01:59
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]"A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis."

    I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.

    According to Amazon.com, the English version will be available May 15th.

    ______________________ ...[text shortened]... cholarship, but historical-critical exegesis and textual criticism would pose as great a risk.[/b]
    Oh how I wish I could engage in dialog with you! But you're just too smart. I feel so inadequate as I read your words. It must be a challenge to find worthy minds.(I'm not at all being sarcastic as my wife suggested). And this is not a negative criticism. I understood every word. There is just nothing I can say except if there is a God the pope and those others would be the last people I would go to for guidance and instruction. The church of God marches on down here in the trenches.

    I wish I knew who you are. You seem like a good person. 😳
  4. Joined
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    15 Apr '07 02:031 edit
    Originally posted by josephw
    Oh how I wish I could engage in dialog with you! But you're just too smart. I feel so inadequate as I read your words. It must be a challenge to find worthy minds.(I'm not at all being sarcastic as my wife suggested). And this is not a negative criticism. I understood every word. There is just nothing I can say except if there is a God the pope and those oth ...[text shortened]... es on down here in the trenches.

    I wish I knew who you are. You seem like a good person. 😳
    Why are you so implacably hostile to the pope? (not to suggest that I take issue with your praise of vistesd.)
  5. Joined
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    15 Apr '07 02:10
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]"A historical-critical methodology is indispensable for serious exegesis."

    I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.

    According to Amazon.com, the English version will be available May 15th.

    ______________________ ...[text shortened]... cholarship, but historical-critical exegesis and textual criticism would pose as great a risk.[/b]
    I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.

    If the pope would not disagree, is the innuendo, then, that he is a heretic?

    I'm also interested to know what your thoughts are on this quote:

    "Based on the intimate unity between the Old and New Testament, and employing Christological hermeneutics which see in Jesus Christ to the key to the entire Bible, Joseph Ratzinger presents the Jesus of the Gospels as the 'new Moses' Who fulfills the ancient expectations of Israel."

    I remember you, some while ago, criticising exegetes who look for evidence of Christ in the Old Testament with the sort of premise, "the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed".

    Perhaps I'm just a little confused as to what "Christological hermeneutics" is.
  6. Joined
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    15 Apr '07 02:27
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Why are you so implacably hostile to the pope? (not to suggest that I take issue with your praise of vistesd.)
    It's not the man I take issue with. It's the religiosity of the catholic church. And not only the catholic church but all other religious institutions as well.
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Apr '07 02:45
    Originally posted by josephw
    Oh how I wish I could engage in dialog with you! But you're just too smart. I feel so inadequate as I read your words. It must be a challenge to find worthy minds.(I'm not at all being sarcastic as my wife suggested). And this is not a negative criticism. I understood every word. There is just nothing I can say except if there is a God the pope and those oth ...[text shortened]... es on down here in the trenches.

    I wish I knew who you are. You seem like a good person. 😳
    Well, thank you for the compliments—but you don’t know how many times I’ve had my brains scrambled by others on here (and elsewhere as well)!

    Lucifershammer once suggested that I spend my time wandering the (spiritual) countryside, muttering to myself about the various “maps” versus the “territory.” That may be a fair description. Since my last “re-entry” here (after about a 3-month or so break) I’ve been attacking a number of different questions from a variety of different angles, and seeing what comes out of the argument. There’s a method in the madness, but I won’t be able to explain it until some things coalesce (if they do).

    I wandered off the Christian “reservation” several years ago (the “whys” aren’t important) and have not settled on another one, though I have visited a number. I am likely to be somewhat confusing to others because sometimes I sound like a Taoist, sometimes like a Zen Buddhist, sometimes like a neo-Hasidic Jew, sometimes like a (undoubtedly heretical) Christian. If I don’t fit any of the labels, that’s fine. The labels belong to the maps, not the territory. In the territory there aren’t even any words... Again, there is a method in my madness, a point to my trekking in the wilderness.

    I don’t know that I’m a good person. I do suspect that if we were engaged face to face, even in argument, it would be fine, and we could part friends.

    Be well.
  8. Donationkirksey957
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    15 Apr '07 02:50
    Originally posted by josephw
    Oh how I wish I could engage in dialog with you! But you're just too smart. I feel so inadequate as I read your words. It must be a challenge to find worthy minds.(I'm not at all being sarcastic as my wife suggested). And this is not a negative criticism. I understood every word. There is just nothing I can say except if there is a God the pope and those oth ...[text shortened]... es on down here in the trenches.

    I wish I knew who you are. You seem like a good person. 😳
    He's not that smart. If he were, he would get a lot more questions right in the BWA spiritual thread.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Apr '07 03:09
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    [b]I would add form criticism, literary criticism and textual criticism as well—and I doubt the Holy Father would disagree. Nevertheless, that’s all “heresy” in some quarters.

    If the pope would not disagree, is the innuendo, then, that he is a heretic?

    I'm also interested to know what your thoughts are on this quote:

    "Based on the intimate un ...[text shortened]... ".

    Perhaps I'm just a little confused as to what "Christological hermeneutics" is.[/b]
    If the pope would not disagree, is the innuendo, then, that he is a heretic?

    No, no, no. I should’ve put the scare quotes around “heresy” in bold.

    As for the rest, I don’t object to Christians looking through the lens of the NT to exegete the Hebrew Scriptures; I don’t see how they could not do that. I do object to any pretense of not doing that, in such a way that it implies that the way Jews exegete their own scriptures is (and perhaps always has been) somehow invalid.

    I have also argued many times that the Hebrew language itself, and the way it is set down, does not allow for a one “right” reading, but multiple possibilities—a fact that Jewish exegesis recognizes, and that early Christians seem to have realized as well. The same goes for any single-word translation; Hebrew is a kind of “depth” language, and very few words admit of one meaning.

    I am also finding that there are some Greek words (such as logos) that I can no longer translate, even in my own head.

    Everyone who reads the texts brings some hermeneutical assumptions to the table; literalism, historical criticism, midrash, whatever.

    With regard to the Jesus/Moses parallel, you might be interested in St. Gregory of Nyssa’s The Life of Moses (Paulist Press). Nyssa explores that, and at the same time offers an example of early (4th century) Christian “midrash.”

    I take "Christological hermeneutics" as reading the texts through the lens of Jesus as the logos incarnate, and hence the Christ. Now, there is no single messianic model in Judaism (in fact, one need not hold to any messianology at all); but it's clear that the messianology of the NT is distinctive (though there have been a number of variations articulated over the history of Christian doctrine). And it's also clear that that messianology is rooted in the Judaic, not the Hellenic, side of Christianity.
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Apr '07 03:10
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    He's not that smart. If he were, he would get a lot more questions right in the BWA spiritual thread.
    Yeah, but I didn't study...
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