Friday, September 15, 2006

Controversial lecture by Ratzinger (Pope Benedict)

There is a lot to do about the recent lecture by Ratzinger and its supposedly anti-Islamic contents (for the text of the lecture click here). What he does in this lecture is stating that the Greek concept of Reason / logos has not only become an intrinsic part of the Christian faith through the Septuagint and New Testament, but also that it does provide the only real platform for inter-faith dialogue ("It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.")
He makes some interesting comments on the Septuagint and the New Testament which, with a little imagination, warrant their reproduction on this blog (emphases mine).

"Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria - the Septuagint - is more than a simple (and in that sense really less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion."


"In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. "


  1. With regard to the OT, is he arguing that the LXX is secondary, but still important, for textual criticism (and canonical criticism), or is he trying to say something more positive about its value?

    I hope some voices will rise to bring the Pope's comments about Islam into perspective.

  2. Quite Augustinian? He does sound more learned about the subject than many Septuagintalists! I'm impressed.

  3. I'm quite impressed with the English of this speech, which I understand was delivered in German. Unfortunately the Greek didn't come through very well!