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Introduction to Christianity (Rev. ed.)

, 2004
ISBN: 9781586170295

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One of Cardinal Ratzinger’s most important and widely read books, this volume is a revised second edition with an improved translation and an in-depth 20-page preface by the cardinal. As he states in the preface, since this book was first published over 30 years ago, many changes and significant events have occurred in the world and in the church. But even so, he says he is firmly convinced that his fundamental approach in this book is still very timely and crucial for the spiritual needs of modern man. That approach puts the question of God and the question about Christ in the very center, which leads to a “narrative Christology” and demonstrates that the place for faith is in the church.

Thus, this remarkable elucidation of the Apostles’ Creed gives an excellent, modern interpretation of the foundations of Christianity. Ratzinger’s profound treatment of Christianity’s basic truths combines a spiritual outlook with a deep knowledge of Scripture and the history of theology.

With the Logos Bible Software edition of Introduction to Christianity, you have an abundance of resources that offer applicable and insightful material for study. You can easily search the subject of Christian unity and access an assortment of useful resources and perspectives from a variety of pastors and theologians.

  • Prefaces to each edition of Introduction to Christianity
  • General index and Scripture index

Top Highlights

“In other words, belief signifies the decision that at the very core of human existence there is a point that cannot be nourished and supported on the visible and tangible, that encounters and comes into contact with what cannot be seen and finds that it is a necessity for its own existence.” (Page 51)

“Meaning that is self-made is in the last analysis no meaning. Meaning, that is, the ground on which our existence as a totality can stand and live, cannot be made but only received.” (Page 73)

“Fastened to the cross—with the cross fastened to nothing, drifting over the abyss. The situation of the contemporary believer could hardly be more accurately and impressively described.” (Page 44)

“For to believe as a Christian means in fact entrusting oneself to the meaning that upholds me and the world; taking it as the firm ground on which I can stand fearlessly.” (Page 73)

“The tool with which man is equipped to deal with the truth of being is not knowledge but understanding: understanding of the meaning to which he has entrusted himself. And we must certainly add that ‘understanding’ only reveals itself in ‘standing’, not apart from it. One cannot occur without the other, for understanding means seizing and grasping as meaning the meaning that man has received as ground. I think this is the precise significance of what we mean by understanding: that we learn to grasp the ground on which we have taken our stand as meaning and truth; that we learn to perceive that ground represents meaning.” (Page 77)

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. He 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 effect.

—Fr. Kenneth Baker S. J., editor, Homiletic and Pastoral Review

It takes a great deal of courage to attempt to give a commentary on the Apostles’ Creed today. Ratzinger has done this in an admirable fashion. His book is profound, contemporary, straightforward.

Review for Religious

  • Title: Introduction to Christianity
  • Author: Joseph Ratzinger
  • Translator: J. R. Foster
  • Edition: Revised
  • Publisher: Ignatius
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 300

Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, is one of our time’s most revered Catholic prelates, scholars, theologians, teachers, and authors. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, modern gender roles, marriage, the priesthood, and the future. As a teenager, he studied classical languages and, in 1939, entered the minor seminary in Traunstein. Though he was drafted into the German antiaircraft corps in 1943, he reentered the seminary in 1945, when World War II ended. On June 29, 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Freising on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He received his doctorate in theology in 1953, from the University of Munich. Starting in 1959, Ratzinger taught theology at the University of Bonn.

At 35, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed chief theological advisor to the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings, and he maintained that title for four years. After many years of teaching at several German universities, Ratzinger was appointed by Pope Paul VI as archbishop of Munich and Freising in March 1977 and, in June 1977, was elevated to cardinal. In November 1981, Ratzinger was summoned by Pope John Paul II to Rome, where he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and president of the International Theological Commission.

On April 19, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. Since that time, he has continued to receive worldwide respect and has been a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike.


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  1. Br Damien-Joseph OSB
    This is a fantastic book. With such a humble name, it's easy to think that it's merely a short apologetic for Christianity, but it truly is much deeper. Cardinal Ratzinger demonstrates a very prayerful and vast wisdom of the ages. This is actually a very theological and philosophical treatise of the Christian faith, very different from, say, Lewis' Mere Christianity or Chesterton's Orthodoxy, which were written for the masses in a very approachable way. While Introduction to Christianity was also meant for the masses, it (perhaps unconsciously) relies on the philosophical and historical knowledge of the reader. (You also need to be a patient reader, who reads things slowly, because there simply is no powering-through this one.)


Digital list price: $16.99
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