- Copertina flessibile: 176 pagine
- Editore: Basic Books (30 gennaio 2007)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0465006272
- ISBN-13: 978-0465006274
- Peso di spedizione: 100 g
- Media recensioni: 5.0 su 5 stelle Visualizza tutte le recensioni (1 recensione cliente)
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 220.858 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
Without Roots: Europe, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 30 gen 2007
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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the late Pope John Paul II, and has long been regarded as one of the most profound Catholic theological and spiritual writers of our times. His numerous books include God and the World, Introduction to Christianity, Salt of the Earth, and The Spirit of Liturgy. Marcello Pera, a professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Pisa, is also President of the Italian Senate. He lives in Italy.
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Pera's lecture is given first, where he critiques the notion that Western culture is not superior to other cultures (irrespective of the practical consequences of holding such a view), with postmodernism, deconstructionism, and the like as his primary targets. He argues for the conception of the West as a harbinger of "universal values" of freedom, equality, religious toleration, etc., while not at all denying that such a culture never would exist without the historical fact of the Christian tradition in Europe. Pera is an interesting voice, because he is an atheist, but a classical liberal in the true sense of the word; he stands athwart political correctness and is not ashamed of the West's Christian roots, even going so far as affirming marriage as a natural institution and actively wanting Christianity to be a prolific voice in the public square.
Ratzinger's presentation is equally interesting, although slightly different. He seems a bit more concerned with the hard specifics of Western decline, talking less about abstract ideas, and focusing on the historic evolution of Christianity in Europe (or rather, defining Europe in its wake) and how these developments affected the relationship of church and state. He laments Europe's declining birth rates and lack of concern for its posterity, as well as the continual assault on the family. And he proposes a future, which looks increasingly prescient on this side of the Atlantic as well, of Christians as a "creative minority", influencing culture with grace and patience, likely connected in some way with Monastic life.
All in all, the reflections of the two leaders of Church and State were enlightening. I don't agree with each of them on all the specifics, but they are generally speaking "on my team" in knowing that there is, broadly speaking, something profoundly wrong with the cultural malaise engulfing Europe and the United States (the two of them seem a bit more optimistic about America than this reviewer; I wonder what they would say about it if the lectures were given today). One of my only criticism is that I would have liked for them to have written a little longer! For example, Pera gives a solid treatment of hard left, post-modern critiques of classical liberalism as a universal set of beliefs capable of any culture's usage. This is all well and good. However, there is another critique of universalism, one which this reviewer is sympathetic to, that is "right-wing" to use the vulgar paradigm (though certainly not "conservative" [read:fusionism] as the term is meant in the U.S.), espoused by thinkers like MacIntyre, Milbank, Deneen, and the like. I would be curious to hear Pera's thoughts on this critique, and the claim that these "universal values" smuggle in their own distinct metaphysical, anthropological, and religious convictions that undergird its ethical content.
These lectures and letters between Ratzinger (Benedict XV) and Pera, present just such a monumentally cogent piece of work.
Importantly, both these great minds have a way of articualting their positions in straightforward, understandable terms which even the average reader can appreciate. No high sounding philosophical language...but solid philosophical and moral analysis.
If there is any issue that will impact every human being alive over the next few decades...it is the crisis of identity which this little book addresses. Time well spent, indeed.
The speech given by Pope Benedict (then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) focuses more on the cultural heritage of the West and its roots in the Mediterranean. In the face of the decline of the West, the Pope offers a positive assessment of the hopes for development by means of "energetic minorities," a topic which is fleshed out in somewhat greater detail in the correspondence included as an appendix to the essays. This idea remains as a hopeful focus against the semi-biologicistic view of culture as a birth-growth-death process which has no hope of breaking out of a death spiral. The continuity of Ratzinger's understanding of the West through history, a continuity which historically has braved storms of philosophical uncertainty by means of energetic groups (be they monastic, academic, or familial).
In view of the grim realities reflected on by both Ratzinger and Pera as they speak of the West's Fall, they both build a staunchly Christian-underpinning for Europe, an under-pinning which is necessary to have roots for the survival. This discussion is all-the-more convincing in light of Pera's atheism which still acknowledges the philosophical necessity of Christianity to combat relativism and restore the roots of the West.
This strong, sober, yet hopeful vision for the West which is a necessary read for us living in a crucial period of history for not only the Church, Europe, and the Extended West but for the entire world.
Marcello Pera: He tackles relativism, Christianity, the west, political correctness, and the clash of Islam. His thesis is a comparison of cultures; the deconstruction: to prove its purpose or foundation; the weakening of the church and Christianity; the paralyzed west. Pera is a professor and philosopher, and amazingly enough, agnostic. "In the age of relativism and silent apostasy belief in the true no longer exists; the mission of the true is considered fundamentalism, and the very affirmation of the true creates or raised fears."
Joseph Ratzinger: He discusses Europe and its borders; the failings, birth, influence and outflow of Christianity; the rise of secularism; God and Christ the foundation. Ratzinger sees the world clearly, and his boldness is refreshing. Is Europe on the decline and is the U.S. following suite?
Letter to Joseph Ratzinger from Marcello Pera: Marcello praises Joseph, and brings forth important questions, such as: Europe choosing a religious identity over a Christian; fearing intolerance; the double standards.
Letter to Marcello Pera from Joseph Ratzinger: Joseph answers some of Marcello's questions: the Catholic/Protestant secularism; the struggles of the church, losing their way; ethics and society. A look at problems from a different angle.
Wish you well