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Re: Jesus von Nazareth (Book I), by Joseph Ratzinger Cannoli Send a noteboard - 12/02/2012 11:11:45 PM

There were a few points where I found myself wishing that I had an opportunity to press Ratzinger on some of the points that he made. For example, if disciples of Jesus were assuming that he was Elijah or Jeremiah, or that John the Baptist was Elijah returned, does that not, in and of itself, imply that reincarnation or metempsychosis of some sort was entertained as a possibility by Jews in the time of Jesus? If so, why then must we wait for the Pauline letters for a refutation of that concept?
The actual belief is that they did not really die, and were taken away by God to Heaven or the Garden of Eden to await their return, presumably at the Second Coming or something. It's not a reincarnation issue. What's the Pauline writing on the topic which you reference?

I was also somewhat surprised at Ratzinger's exegesis of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. While I know that Ratzinger is deeply antagonistic to "liberation theology" and anything that approaches Marxism (an antagonism which, incidentally, I share), his statement that Lazarus, stabbed and left dead on the doorstep of the rich man, is a metaphor for Christ and the Church, dead on the doorstep of a "rich" and "complacent" Israel, seems to be wilfully ignoring the direct statement about wealth and poverty. There were several other places where Ratzinger studiously turns what seems to be a socioeconomic message into a more deeply metaphoric and spiritual one. While I don't discount his interpretations, I think he has avoided talking about wealth in a Christian setting on the basis of an anti-Marxist confessional stance.

In Catholic theology, the teachings of Christ on the subject of wealth and the poor have nothing to do with temporal or material substance and everything to do with the spiritual. Wealth is not evil, but being so much of a material thing, should be regarded as a burden to spiritual fulfillment in Christ. What is pleasing to Christ is that we love one another as He loves us all, and who could truly love his brother man, and see him starve or suffer want, when he has the means to easily alleviate that suffering. Christ's admonition to give to the poor was not for the benefit of the poor but the rich, which is fundamentally the exact opposite of Marx and Engels and their ilk.

While you may be right about Ratzinger avoiding getting caught up in a controversy or being seen to endorse a view he opposes (as happened with the supposed advocacy of condom use parsed from an extremely out-of-context quote in a discussion about the AIDS issue) through the superficial similarities of Marxian class preferences and Christian charity, it may be that the answer is much simpler from a Catholic perspective - the Marxist parallels pass unnoticed for the simple reason that in our mindset they do not remotely exist or parallel.

I recommend the book to anyone who thinks it sounds interesting based on this review. It is a solid work of theology with deep insight.
“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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Jesus von Nazareth (Book I), by Joseph Ratzinger - 12/02/2012 12:52:30 AM 7825 Views
Do you know of any works by Ratzinger that directly address Ontological and Cosmological issues? *NM* - 12/02/2012 01:54:08 PM 750 Views
Not that I am aware of. - 12/02/2012 02:18:47 PM 1364 Views
Ah, that's a pity. - 12/02/2012 09:11:18 PM 1489 Views
Re: Jesus von Nazareth (Book I), by Joseph Ratzinger - 12/02/2012 11:11:45 PM 1550 Views

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