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Pro Ecclesia Vol 17-N2: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology

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Pro Ecclesia is a quarterly journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It seeks to give contemporary expression to the one apostolic faith and its classic traditions, working for and manifesting the church's unity by research, theological construction, and free exchange of opinion. Members of its advisory council represent communities committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, ecumenical dogmatic teaching and the structural continuity of the church, and are themselves dedicated to maintaining and invigorating these commitments. The journal publishes biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal articles that promote or illumine its purposes.

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ISSN: 1063-8512

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COMMENTARY

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Eero Huovinen

It is extraordinary that a statesman and church leader should publish a theological volume of 450 pages on his eightieth birthday. And this is only the first tome; the second will come out if time and energy permit.

In Germany the publisher planned a first edition of 250,000 copies but was forced to print more. Last July saw the fourth edition, a total of 450,000 copies. Last spring the translations into Italian (more than 500,000) and Polish (100,000) were issued. The English and French versions became available in the early summer, and the publisher is planning to bring out thirty-five different languages.

Pope Benedict says he started writing this book while on summer holidays in 2003, continuing it in August 2004: “Since being elected to the episcopal see of Rome [April 2005] I have used every free moment to make progress on the book.” Joseph Ratzinger’s ability to focus is astounding, as there might be other pressing things to do. That which Mr. Tuomioja (former foreign minister of Finland) did as a politician, the pope twenty years his senior did as the shepherd of a billion faithful.1

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POPE BENEDICT XVI’S JESUS OF NAZARETH: AGAPE AND LOGOS

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Anthony C. Sciglitano Jr.

Pope Benedict XVI’s recent book, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, may prove a perplexing read.1 Certainly his early reviewers have puzzled over its genre and have noticed a tension between an evident devotional intention to seek “for the face of the Lord,” as Benedict says near the end of his foreword, and parts of the text that seem weighed down by intrascholarly intellectual pursuits.2 This perplexity is understandable, as Benedict does indeed discuss cultural and philosophical issues within a text putatively about Jesus of Nazareth as depicted by the New Testament writers, and not about Immanuel Kant, Adolf von Harnack, or Martin Heidegger. It is in light of this perplexity that this article seeks to offer a kind of guide to Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth by shedding some light on Benedict’s presuppositions, his method, and what this method might signal for Christian readings of Scripture and for Christian theology more generally. To accomplish this task, I will not restrict discussion of Benedict’s work to Jesus of Nazareth but will draw freely from his speech at Regensburg, his address on relativism, his remarks on John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio, and his essay on the modern crisis in biblical criticism.

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FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: WORSHIPPING JESUS AND THE INTEGRATION OF THE THEOLOGICAL DISCIPLINES

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C. Kavin Rowe

To anyone acquainted with the history and development of the theological disciplines, it should be evident that, outside of certain religious studies departments, the long-standing and thick wall of separation between biblical exegesis and constructive theological reflection has begun to crumble.1 As Brian Daley has recently observed, there is

a growing sense among biblical scholars and theologians—especially those under forty—that the dominant post-Enlightenment approach to identifying the meaning of scriptural texts has begun to lose some of its energy, that it has less that is new and substantial to say than once it did to those who want to spend their time reading the Christian Bible: the members, by and large, of the Christian churches.2

Indeed, if one measures simply by the number of new publication ventures, the interest in interweaving reflective theology and biblical studies is not only growing but growing rapidly.3 Whether we attribute this growth to a desire for deeply rooted traditions in the face of the intellectual and spiritual homelessness of postmodern experience, or to a recognition that Scripture cannot be read profitably merely on historicist terms (or to some combination thereof), the point for this essay remains the same: we stand now at an important moment in which there exists substantial potential for the integration of the theological disciplines.

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WESTERN, EASTERN, OR GLOBAL ORTHODOXY? SOME REFLECTIONS ON ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO IN RECENT LITERATURE

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A. G. Roeber*

In the stimulating collection of essays dedicated to the late Jaroslav Pelikan on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, one of the most hopeful signs occurred by virtue of its absence. None of the authors chose to highlight the controversial role Saint Augustine of Hippo has been forced to play upon the stage where often tense and acerbic Orthodox/non-Orthodox declamations proclaim very different histories of Christian doctrine.1 Pelikan himself, in reviewing his intentions in delivering the Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology for 1992–1993, pointed out that in examining Saints Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Macrina the Younger, he hoped to present “the systems of thought which, taken together, do for the Christian East much of what the theology and philosophy of Saint Augustine of Hippo do for the Latin West.”2

It would be unfair even to leave the impression that only a “convert” to Orthodoxy with such impeccable credentials of expertise on the Latin Fathers such as Pelikan possessed could exhibit such a sophisticated perspective. Twenty years ago, Father Theodore Stylianopoulos already raised his doubts about disputes over the filioque as “the” issue dividing Orthodoxy and the separated Latins. As he noted, Augustine was perhaps unfortunate in not having adopted the preposition “through” rather than the conjunctive “and” in his investigations of immanent Trinitarian relations. But despite the “headaches” caused to Christianity, Stylianopoulos still argued that a wholesale charge leveled against Augustine and all Latin theologians of depersonalizing the Trinity can no longer be sustained. However awkwardly Augustine’s language seems to jar on Cappadocian ears, within the context of his own theology, his usage neither compromises the monarchy of the Father nor leads to a “depersonalized” Trinitarian theology. The language, Stylianopoulos concludes, “marks not a decisive difference in dogma, but an important difference in the interpretation of dogma due to the differing Cappadocian and Augustinian approaches to the mystery of the Trinity.”3

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DOCTORES ECCLESIAE

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Andrew Hofer, O.P.

“Goodness encountered slandering mouths and made them praising harps; this is why all mouths should give praise to the one who removed slanderous speech from them,” begins St. Ephrem’s Homily on Our Lord.1 The greatest teacher of the Syriac Christian tradition, Ephrem meditates in this beautiful prose work upon how the goodness of the Lord’s humble speech wins over enemies to praise.2 This victory through humble speech is not simply an isolated aspect of Ephrem’s understanding of Christ in this particular text, but characterizes something of Ephrem’s entire theological project. Ephrem understands that the all-powerful and infinitely majestic Lord seeks human conversion through revelation in divine humility. The Syriac doctor deftly applies this understanding, moreover, to his hearers so that they may repent and imitate the Lord’s lowliness when they speak. Ephrem’s emphasis on the Lord’s humble speech has much to offer today, especially to those Christians who teach or preach.

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