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Introduction to Christianity
by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
In this remarkable elucidation of the Apostles' Creed, Cardinal Ratzinger, a highly regarded theologian, gives an excellent, modern interpretation of the foundations of Christianity. This profound treatment of Christianity's basic truths combines a spiritual outlook with a deep knowledge of Scripture and the history of theology. A solid and contemporary discussion of the fundamental Christian mysteries.
"Cardinal Ratzinger offers us a profound meditation on the twelve articles of the Apostles Creed. These reflections will challenge and expand one's knowledge of the Catholic faith. The Cardinal addresses and answers many of the modern objections to faith in God the Father and Creator, his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church. This is solid food that must be eaten slowly, but it is very nourishing and worth the effort."
– Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Table of Contents:
Preface to the New Edition
Preface to the 1968 Edition
Preface to the 1969 Edition
Introduction: "I Believe – Amen"
I. Belief in the World of Today
Doubt and belief – Man's situation before the question of God
The origin of belief – Provisional attempt at a definition of belief
The dilemma of belief in the world of today
The boundary of the modern understanding of reality and the place of belief
Faith as standing firm and understanding
The rationality of faith
"I believe in you"
II. The Ecclesiastical Form of Faith
Introductory remarks on the history and structure of the Apostle's Creed
Limits and meaning of the text
Creed and dogma
The Creed as expression of the structure of faith
Part One: God
I. Prolegomena to the Subject of God
The scope of the question
The profession of faith in the one God
II. The Biblical Belief in God
The problem of the story of the burning bush
The intrinsic assumption of the belief in Yahweh: The God of [Israel's] fathers
Yahweh, the "God of our Fathers" and the God of Jesus Christ
The idea of the name
The two sides of the biblical concepts of God
III. The God of Faith and the God of the Philosophers
The decision of the early Church in favor of philosophy
The transformation of the god of the philosophers
The reflection of the question in the text of the Creed
IV. Faith in God Today
The primacy of the logos
The personal God
V. Belief in the Triune God
A start at understanding
Part Two: Jesus Christ
I. "I Believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord"
A. The Problem of Faith in Jesus Today
B. Jesus the Christ: The Basic Form of the Christological Profession of Faith
The dilemma of modern theology: Jesus of Christ?
The Creed's image of Christ
The point of departure of faith in Jesus: The Cross
Jesus the Christ
C. Jesus Christ – True God and True Man
The formulation of the question
A Modern stock idea of the "historical Jesus"
The claim of christological dogma
D. The Different Paths Taken by Christology
Theology of the Incarnation and the theology of the Cross
Christology and the doctrine of redemption
Christ, "the last man"
Excursus: Christian Structures
II. The Development of Faith in Christ in the Christological Articles of the Creed
"Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary"
"Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried"
"Descended into hell"
"Rose again [from the dead]"
"He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father"
"He will come again to judge the living and the dead"
Part Three: The Spirit and the Church
I. The Intrinsic Unity of the Last Statements in the Creed
II. Two Major Questions Posed by the Articles on the Spirit and the Church
"The holy, catholic Church"
"The resurrection of the body"