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Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth, Part II, Holy week, From the entrance into Jerusalem to the resurrection, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2011.
Pope Benedict XVI, also known as Joseph Ratzinger, occupies a very significant place in the field of theology. He is a great pastor, preacher and teacher who believes that the world is becoming more and more secularized, and so getting back to the roots of our Christian faith is absolutely necessary. Joseph Ratzinger¶s Jesus of Nazareth, Holy week, From the entrance into Jerusalem to the resurrection, issued in 2011 is the second part of or a continuation of Jesus of Nazareth, From the baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration issued earlier in 2007. Pope Benedict XVI affirms that the life of the historical Jesus was truly the revelation of the Word made flesh for our salvation. He sees the modern historical Jesus research as an obstacle to really grasping who Jesus is because of its illicit use of the distinction between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith. He does not flinch in emphasizing and showing that the gospel are reliable when they tell us that Jesus declared his divinity while here on earth. The norm for doing theologyfor Benedict XVI is understanding Christ, (Christocentricism as recorded in the scriptures) which not only presupposes faith and reason but also entails drawing from the Church¶s living tradition. Scripture for Benedict XVI is of prime importance. Looking from the tittle of the book-, From the entrance into Jerusalem to the resurrection we can see that the scripture holds a big place in this theology. One of the very first instances where we see Benedict¶s good use of scripture is his commentary of the entrance into Jerusalem from Galilee. He notes that, to go from Galilee to Jerusalem one has to ascend, for Jerusalem is up the hill. 1
9:24). Mathew and Mark simply says that they laid their garments on the donkey and Jesus sat upon it. His life is within the Word of God and according to the mission received from his Father. This accent into God presence leads via the cross ± it is the accent towards loving to the end (Jn 13:1) which is the real mountain of God. This very fact. testifies to the ³right´ that kings in those days had. but the Old Testament speaks of him. He also notes that Jesus actually intended his actions to be understood in terms of Old Testament promises that are fulfilled in his person. The gospel of Luke says that ³they sat Jesus upon it´(Mt 21:7. He believed that scripture should be read in its entirety for both the Old and New Testaments are part of a single whole. Mk 11:7. When the disciples bring the donkey to Jesus. and that which is mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews (Heb. He shows that Jesus does not only speak of the Old Testament. Benedict XVI quotes 2Kings 9:13 to drive home the point that the spreading out of garments belongs to the tradition of Israelites kingship. We also see another connection that Benedict XVI makes with the fact that Jesus rides on an ass that had never been used. Jesus Christ turned down the tables of the money changers (Mk 11:15) and was justified from the Old Testament book of the prophet Jeremiah ± My house shall be 2 . Benedict XVI makes a connection between this accent. Lk 19:35). We also note how Benedict is fond of using Old Testament passages to illumine and bring a new understanding of the New Testament. for Benedict XVI.Jesus¶ accent to his self-offering on the cross supplants the old sacrifices. Examples of this is his use of Gen 49:10-11 and Zachariah 9:9 to how forth that Jesus¶ kingship was prophesied in the Old Testament. Benedict is indeed a master in putting together Old and New Testament passages.
Hosanna to the God of David.also disappeared from history. two ways of reading the Old Testament anew after the year 70: the reading in the light of Christ. based on the prophets.33 Ibid. had lost his dwelling place on earth.called a house of prayer for all the nations but you have turned it into a den of robbers (Jer 7:11. he sees a historical fulfillment in the destruction of the Temple. Second. First.. Benedict XVI writes: There were two possible responses to this situation.p. Benedict XVI is strong upholder of tradition. According to Benedict XVI: ³One thing is clear: the bible-the Old Testament had to be read anew. and let this present world pass away. Also. 1 2 Ibid. he sees them from the perspective of continuity with the tradition that came before. ³let his grace draw near. he views it in terms of an eschatology that is beyond our present time and reality. We see this manifested through out his book. God who had set down his name in the temple area and thus in a mysterious way dwelled within it. He quotes one of the most ancient church documents ± the didache (ca 100). He constantly draws from the church¶s tradition and from ancient documents.´1Because the Judaism of the Sadducees was also entirely bound to the temple it did not survive this catastrophe. Qumran ± which despite its opposition to the Herodian Temple lived in expectation of the new temple . Third. Is 56:7) With the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. and the rabbinical reading´2 He looks at the destruction of the temple from three perspective lenses. The early church considered the ³hosanna to the Son of David´ (also mentioned in the Didache) as an anticipation of what she does in her liturgy. As far as Tradition is concerned. 3 .
He uses Gregory of Nazienzus. the Christians had fled to the city of Pella beyond the Jordan.p. He relies on the testimony Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 2011. III/5). Maranatha. These different phases show how God progressively and patiently abolishes certain customs. part II. have washed your feet. It was the same thing that happened to the temple. while contemplating with hindsight the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem.´(Didache 10.6). Eusebius of Caesarea thinks that the Christians decided to flee after a command to do so had been communicated to ³those who were worthy´ by a revelation.30. while at the same time leaving others to continue. Ignatius Press. Holy week.3 Benedict XVI is of the idea that the destruction of the temple that occurred in the year 70 AD ushered a new way of interpreting the Old Testament. 3 4 . and was indeed surpassed by Christ. divided up the world religious history into a series of phases. something temporal had to be surpassed.ca 403) to tell us that even before the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem. We see his use of the Church Fathers again when he explains the passage of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.Whoever is holy let him approach.8). Amen. Jesus says to the disciples : ³You are clean´(John 13) and then later on says ³if then I your Lord and teacher. a fourth century Church Father who. (Haer 29. you also Joseph Ratzinger. Flavius Josephus is also one of the figures that Benedict XVI uses to note the fact Titus must have arrived at the gate of the Passover feast. The age of the temple was ended. let him repent.339) and from a different perspective Epiphanis of Salamis (d. Jesus of Nazareth.ca. From the entrance into Jerusalem to the resurrection. (Hist. San Francisco. Eccl. on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan and therefore on the fortieth anniversary of Jesus¶ crucifixion. Epiphanius on the other hand writes that Christ had told the Christians to abandon Jerusalem and go elsewhere because it would be besieged. whoever is not.
the sacramentum. while always remaining a gift.p. 5 . It simply flows ³from the inner dynamic of gift with which the Lord renews us and draws us into what is his´5. using the categories of Sacramentum and Examplum. To be Christian is primarily a gift. the creed). Benedict XVI dismisses this approach as being too narrow4 and draws from the traditional interpretation of the church Fathers.p.becomes an exemplum.62 Ibid. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you´ (Jn 13:14-15). The command to do as Jesus did is therefore neither a mere moral appendix to the mystery nor an antithesis. Rudolf Schnacknburg believes that. renewing them from within and unleashes a dynamic of new life. For Benedict XVI The gift. Scripture has to be read in the light of Tradition for the early church discovered (Not invent) two fundamental elements (in addition to apostolic succession) necessary for her unity. Asking the apostles to do as he has done to them posses a purely moral conception of Christianity that needs to be clarified. an example.. The Fathers of the church.62. Sacramentum entails the entire mystery of Christ that includes his life and death. The regular fidei is a summary 4 5 Ibid. the statement ³you are clean´ that Jesus says to his apostle has nothing to do with Him asking them to do to others as he has done to them.. For Benedict XVI.have to wash one another¶s feet. which then unfolds in the dynamic of living and acting in and around the gift. This mystery touches the lives of people. These elements are the canons of scripture and what is usually called regular Fidei or (the rule of faith. had long expressed the difference between these two aspects as well as their mutual relationship.
7 Benedict XVI is to a large extent completely at logger heads with Jurgen Moltmann who thinks that Tradition has rubbed eschatological events of their directive. the traditional way of doing theology has not been very helpful.p. will inevitably lead us to a life that befits that knowledge. According to Moltman¶s theology of hope. He enjoys a high degree of logical coherence. 6 . evident in the way he substantiate his claims and brings out his fact but he does not extensively philosophize in a way that John Paul II for instance did. uplifting and critical significance. yet it is not explicitly stated in his theological methodology. The place of experience in Benedict XVI¶s theological method. 6 7 Ibid. of the Church. that the tradition is maintained. but with its references to Trinitarian faith and to being sent. getting to know Jesus better for who he is. scripture and the rule of faith (creed) is the true guarantee that the word can resound authentically. This rule of Faith constitute the real µhermeneutic¶ of scripture.6 The three elements ± the sacrament of succession.of the essential contents of the faith. Even when talking about Tradition Benedict XVI still grounds it on scripture.which Benedict XVI presupposes in order to fully grasp who Jesus of Nazareth is. Even though Reason is said to go together with faith.. Ibid. the key derived from scripture itself by which the sacred text can be interpreted according to the Spirit. He notes that even though John¶s gospel does not speak in so many words of these pillars of the community of disciples. even though very hard to find.99. could be derived from the fact that. it lays the foundation for them. Knowing Christ for who he is necessarily make use of faith and faith is not abstract but is manifested and shown in daily experience.
In essence. 7 . Reason and faith are joined as they should have been all along and it will continue to turn the world upside down. Jesus of Nazareth brings with it a new way of reading the Gospels without avoiding the tough questions that arise when we read the Gospel accounts of Christ¶s life. as is our Lord. It is not alive.¶ He makes a link between the breaking of the bread. by way of anticipation. it is. risen and alive indeed. as a means of better understanding the passage at hand. He is second to none in showing how various scriptural passages come together to make one whole. While some people (especially some Protestants) may not be satisfied with his explanation of how Christ can say µThis is My Body¶ while He is still standing there physically in the flesh and bone. makes us not only to understand certain biblical passages better but also to delve more deeply into their deeper meaning. evident in this book. His work and method in doing theology. and the hospitality and caring of God¶s church.Benedict XVI seems in numerous ways different from Mark C. Taylor who does away with not only anything scriptural but everything biblical and absolute as well. Jesus knows that He will indeed offer His life to His disciples. however. He does it in a manner that keeps the relevant scholarship before. µthe thanksgiving that leads to blessing and to transformation. at the expense of reason. Benedict XVI¶s method of doing theology drives home the fact that the age of faith is not over. we see how Benedict explains what Jesus meant in a way that does not stir polemics. This is what gives strength to his theological method. One can praise the Pope for situating the words of institution in the context of prayer. He completely rejects the historical critical method that put faith aside.
according to him. scripture is the main source of theology. which enables us to see and understand the internal unity of scripture. so as to learn from Jesus how to understand the bible. followed by. He does not seem very coherent with lived experience as one would have loved. This makes him appear on A2 on the Barth Chart. 8 . getting a good and lucid understanding of the nature and person of Jesus of Nazareth will lead us to a better life experience. The key. Learning from Jesus presupposes a prior act of faith.whichmakes absolutely no use of scripture. It is also important to note that for Benedict XVI. We cannot base ourselves on pure historical method without a faith based on reason. it is worthwhile to mention that for the Pope. and understood in the light of.One can say Benedict XVI is the direct opposite of Gordon Kaufman¶s poor method of doing theology.To conclude. He does not intend to write another µlife of Christ¶ but wants simply to present the figure and message of Jesus. without which all our findings will be void of substance. He is for sure externally and internally coherent both with scripture and tradition. While Feminists like Serene Jones will see some flaw in his method. Benedict the XVI is not at all concerned with gender or race but he sees humanity as one whole. One can however posit that for him. tradition. it is impossible to fully grasp the history and person of Jesus of Nazareth unless we fully immerse ourselves in the whole process of revelation.This process for him moves in a single direction from the Old Testament to the New Testament. to understanding the scripture as a whole is to have a Christocentric mindset.