The theological legacy of Benedict XVI – Catholic World Report

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

His writings on a vast spectrum of theological and philosophical topics have a clarity and a depth that make his theology inspiring and therefore liberating.

Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered above all for his literary and scholarly output. Many of his Collected Works (sixteen massive volumes in German) have been translated into several languages and are only now being discovered by a younger generation of theologians. His early classic Introduction to Christianity (1968) has been translated into over twenty languages.

His writings on a vast spectrum of theological and philosophical topics have a clarity and a depth that make his theology inspiring and therefore liberating. His theology also stimulates further scholarly research, since all he could ever do was sketch the contours of the truth. Like a masterful artist, he paints in broad strokes and writes in superb prose, at times almost poetic.

His election as Archbishop and later as Cardinal Prefect put an end to the plans he had, when he decided in 1969 to transfer from the old and famous University of Tubingen to the little-known, quiet backwater that was the new University of Regensburg. Away from the tension and turmoil of Tubingen’s theology faculty, it was his hope that in Regensburg, stimulated by his doctoral and postdoctoral students, he would have the needed academic conditions to research and write the multi-volume Dogmatics (i.e., a full systematic of the doctrine of the Church) he had planned. His election as Archbishop in 1977, and later as Cardinal Prefect, put an end to such a scholarly project. Now future theologians can build on the foundations he has laid.

He long held that the most basic problem in theology today (one which is at the root of the Church’s present crisis) is to be found in an interpretation of the New Testament that, in effect, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. To develop an interpretation of Scripture that would not only consider the modern, historical-critical methodology of exegesis but would also be faithful to the whole of the Church’s Tradition, he used every minute of his spare time as Pope to write his three-volume Jesus of Nazareth (2006-2013). That work will be his most enduring legacy in the discipline of theology.

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The theological legacy of Benedict XVI – Catholic World Report

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