For years rumors have been floating around over who were the major shapers of the new pope's thought. Rowland argues convincingly that Benedict follows Augustine more than Aquinas and that his intellectual development is best understood in the context of those academic circles he belonged to and the people he knew. 232 pages, hardcover. Oxford University.
A popular reading of Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) is that he started out as a progressive but had second thoughts after the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. A more negative portrait is that of an ambitious and intellectually precocious young man who changed theological allegiances for the sake of promotion within the Catholic hierarchy.
Now, in this probing book, Tracey Rowland offers a third reading, one that situates the thought of Pope Benedict within the intellectual history and academic circles of his time. The first serious assessment of the new Pope's theological vision, this thoughtful volume covers topics such as the interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict's relations with other important scholars and theologians, and his attitudes on moral and political theology, western culture, the structure of the Catholic Church, liturgy, and love. It has become a commonplace observation that Pope Benedict has been influenced by the thought of St. Augustine in contrast to many of his predecessors in the papacy who were much more strongly influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas. This work therefore addresses the topic of in what way Benedict is an Augustinian. The volume also includes a bibliography arranged thematically for those who want to explore his thought more deeply in a particular area.
A penetrating account of the thought of the reigning pontiff, this volume offers a wealth of insight for everyone interested in Pope Benedict and the direction of the modern Catholic Church.
Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology of the John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and Member of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham.
"The pope's deep and passionate love for the adventure of theology shines through this text, which is geared to the reasonably educated lay reader. Not only papal enthusiasts but also libraries and professional theologians will want to have this book." --Theological Studies
""Both intellectually sophisticated and yet aimed at the ordinary educated reader...Provides valuable insight into how an influential contemporary theologian and--perhaps--other members of her circle view the development of contemporary Catholic theology and Ratzinger's role in it." --The Thomist