Books Reviewed

On this page I will review books that I have purchased. Most of them will be related to the Christian ministry and to Bible study or Theology.

Among my favorite books this year are those by Pope Benedict XVI. He is a very fine writer, and he is able to clearly explain and expand upon complex theological topics in an engaging and often exciting way.

Most of Pope Benedict's books were written when he was known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Because of his status as Perfect (head) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was second only to Pope John Paul II before himself becoming Pope.

Pope Benedict writes convincingly about the teachings of the Church. His presentations are based on thorough scholarship. The Bible and historical Christian theology are his foundation.

His books are published by Ignatius Press, San Francisco.

Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith

The Church as Communion

Two hundred and ninety eight pages of text- Plus eighty one pages of bibliography....

Ignatius Press, 2005, San Francisco

This wonderful volume gives the reader keen insight into the thinking of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on a broad array of theological topics.

The best indication would be to look at the listing of subjects from the table of contents:

  • Faith and Theology
  • What in Fact is Theology
  • The Holy Spirit as Communion
  • Communion: Eucharist-Fellowship-Mission
  • Eucharist-Christology-Ecclesiology
  • Eucharist and Mission
  • The Ecclesiology of the Constitution Lumen Gentium
  • The Ministry and Life of Priests
  • Church Movements and Their Place in Theoolgy
  • Presentation of the Declaration Dominus Jesus
  • Exchange of Letters between Metropolitan Damakinos and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
  • Exchange of Letters between Provincial Bishop Johannes Hanselmann and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
  • On the Ecumenical Situation
  • The Heritage of Abraham
  • The Church's Guilt
  • The Church on the Threshold of the Third Mellenium
  • This is not casual reading but it is good solid theology of very high quality. For the serious student of theology, I suggest that this is "must read" material- Not the least because it is seminal truth for the Cardinal who is now Pope.

    There is a lot of hope in this book. His Holiness clearly relates the development of the issues he addresses. Then he thoroughly examines the premise, development and conclusions of the discussion. All along the way, he applies his thinking to daily practice. His is a real theologie which will inform the reader, challenge his thinking, and point the way to a more adequate theological conclusion.

    Church Fathers

    From Clement of Rome to Augustine

    One hundred and ninety six pages of text-

    Ignatius Press, 2008, San Francisco

    This wonderful volume gives the English Translations of the Pope Benedict XVI General Audiences 7 March 2007 - 27 February 2008.

    ISBN Number 978-1-58617-245-9

    This is a "must have" reference book for all Pastors and dedicated Church workers. It is also a very readable introduction to the great Church leaders aka. "Saints" of early Christianity from " Saint Clement, Bishop of Rome in the last years of the first century, ..the third Successor of Peter, after Linus and Anacletus." (p.7) to Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo, in North Africa, A.D. 395, about whom Paul VI wrote, ' It may be said that all the thought-currents of the past meet in his works and form the source which provides the whole doctrinal tradition of succeeding ages.'"(p.167,168)

    Table of Contents:

  • Saint Clement of Rome
  • Saint Ignatius of Antioch
  • Saint Justin, Philosopher and Martyr
  • Saint Irenaeus of Lyons
  • Clement of Alexandria
  • Origen of Alexandria
  • Terullian
  • Saint Cyprian
  • Eusebius of Caesarea
  • Saint Athanasius of Alexandria
  • Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
  • Saint Basil
  • Saint Gregory of Nazianzen
  • Saint Gregory of Nyssa
  • Saint John Chrysostom
  • Saint Cyril of Alexandria
  • Saint Hilary of Poitiers
  • Saint Eusebius of Vercelli
  • Saint Ambrose of Milan
  • Saint Maximus of Turin
  • Saint Jerome
  • Aphraates, "the Sage"
  • Saint Ephrem
  • Saint Chromatius of Aquileia
  • Saint Paulinus of Nola
  • Saint Augustine of Hippo
  • An Example why this is a good reference book

    Aphraates, "the Sage"

    Pope Benedict introduces us to this wonderful brother in the faith.

    "In our excursion into the world of the Fathers of the Church, I would like to guide you today to a little-known part of the universe of faith, in the territories where the Semitic-language Churches flourished, still uninfluenced by Greek thought." CF.p.144

    "I would like to introduce this world through the great figure of Aphraates, known also by the sobriquet "the Sage". He was one of the most important and at the same time most enigmatic personages of fourth century Syriac Christianity. A native of the Ninive-Mossul region, today in Iraq." CF.p.145

    Church Fathers by Pope Benedict is a delightfully easy read. Each church father is covered in a few well written pages. Each page filled with historical information, theological insight and biographical detail. It is a book for every Pastor's book shelf. It makes a fine gift for Church teachers and Sunday School staff. His holiness, has again shown a finely tuned ability to interest the reader, inform and teach while never losing sight of the greatest goal, namely, that Jesus be lifted up and his name be praised. This little volume does all of that with grace and truth.