VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, presented the first volume of the "Opera omina" of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, published in German by the publishing house Herder Verlag.
Also participating in the press conference were Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the management board of the Vatican Publishing House, and Fr. Giuseppe Costa S.D.B., director of the same institution.
Bishop Muller affirmed that "Benedict XVI, during the lengthy course of his academic activities as professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology, produced an autonomous theological 'opus' which without doubt places him among the most important scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries. For more than 50 years, the name of Joseph Ratzinger has been linked to an original overview of systematic theology".
"In his academic work, Benedict XVI has always drawn from his admirable knowledge of the history of theology and dogma, with which he enlightens others by highlighting the divine vision of man upon which everything rests".
The bishop of Regensburg indicated that the Pope had ordered the publication of his works in 16 volumes. "In order to put this project into effect", he said, "I founded the 'Pope Benedict XVI Institute' in Regensburg. This will house complete documentation on the life, thought and work of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, theologian, bishop and pontiff".
"The aim is to produce as complete as possible a presentation of already-published works, integrated with other texts either unpublished or not yet available in German, following a systematic order which creates a link between chronology and subject matter".
Going on to describe the 16 volumes, Bishop Muller indicated that they begin with two university theses by the future Pope: his graduation thesis on the Augustinian doctrine of the Church, and his teaching degree thesis on Bonaventure's doctrine of the Revelation.
Volume three "takes as its starting point the inaugural lecture of Professor Ratzinger: 'The God of the Faith and the God of the Philosophers', given in Bonn in 1959", and includes all his reflections on the historical-ideal foundations of Europe.
Volume four, Bishop Muller explained, "begins with the 'Introduction to Christianity' of 1968, ... while volume six opens with the book 'Jesus of Nazareth' (2007) and brings together all his studies on the subject of Christology".
Volume thirteen "is a collection of the many interviews given by Joseph Ratzinger" and volume fourteen presents a selection of his "many homilies, including little-known and meditations unpublished until now".
As for the last two volumes, number fifteen is dedicated to the autobiography of Joseph Ratzinger which appeared in 1997/1998 with the title of "My Life", and his many declarations concerning such people as his predecessor John Paul II or his brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, as well as many other addresses delivered during Jubilee Years, etc. Volume sixteen contains a complete bibliography of Joseph Ratzinger's works in German, and an index to all the volumes.
German Publisher Teams Up With Vatican
VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT. 2008 (Zenit.org).- The secret of Benedict XVI's theology is not just in his extraordinary knowledge, but in the fact that he lives what he believes, says the bishop in charge of the publication of his "Complete Works."
Bishop Gerhard Muller of Regensburg presented today in the Vatican's press office the first volume of a 16-volume series in German with the Pope's complete works. The project, which will include previously unpublished texts, is being prepared by the German publishing house Herder in collaboration with the Vatican Publishing House.
The writings of Joseph Ratzinger, the bishop said, "unite scientific knowledge of theology to the figure of a living and lived faith."
"As a science genuinely within the framework of the Church, theology can indicate for us the particular vocation of man as a creature and image of God," he said.
Bishop Muller called Benedict XVI "one of the great theologians to arrive to the See of Peter" and "one of the most significant intellectuals of the 20th and 21st century."
"In his scientific activity, Benedict XVI has always been able to draw from his admirable knowledge of the history of theology and of the dogmas, which he transmits in an illuminating way, highlighting the divine vision of man, upon which everything is based," the prelate continued. "This is made accessible to many by way of the language adopted by Joseph Ratzinger. Complex themes are not subjected to a complicated reflection that impedes common understanding, but rather presented with transparency."
At the center of all his thought, Bishop Muller added, "is the divine will to speak with each person and his Word that becomes light to illuminate every man."
The Regensburg bishop explained that the Pope had personally asked him to take charge of the publication of the "Complete Works." He added that the elaboration of the project is being carried out in agreement with the Holy Father, who has approved the organization of each volume.
The first volume, for example, presents two academic theses: his licentiate thesis on St. Augustine's doctrine of the Church and his work on St. Bonaventure's doctrine on revelation. The volume also includes other essays and texts dedicated to Augustine and Bonaventure.
Another volume is based on the 1959 inaugural conference given by Father Ratzinger: "The God of Faith and the God of the Philosophers." It also includes other texts on the theme of faith and reason.
Another volume begins with his 1968 "Introduction to Christianity" and includes other texts on the profession of faith, baptism, conversion, the following of Christ and Christian life.