Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Teachers - A Book by Pope Benedict XVI

Great Teachers - A Book by Pope Benedict XVI

This book, Great Teachers, by Pope Benedict XVI is collection and transcription of some of the The Holy Father's weekly addresses.   I was drawn to it because of some of the teachers that are studied - particularly St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Francis of Assisi.

The Pope, a renowned church scholar, shares his vast knowledge of theology in these short but fact filled chapters.  His focus is on 13th century Dominicans and Franciscans.

The book is a small, 142 page hardcover volume.  It weighs less than a pound and is easy to carry.  I could put it into my purse to read a few chapters  at the pool while the boys swam, or during one of their martial arts classes. Great Teachers is available through the Catholic Company for $14.95

The study of each one of these men was magnificent on it's own.  Put together, they make a fantastic collection.  I enjoyed looking back at the impact they made, and how relevant their teachings still are today.

The opening chapters are:
  • Monastic Theology and Scholastic theology
  • Two Theological Models in Comparison: Bernard and Abelard
  • The Cluniac Reform
  • The Cathedral from the Romanesque to the Gothic Architechture: the Theological Background
After these introductory lessons come the studies of these Great Teachers:
  • Hugh and Richard of Saint-Victor
  • William of Saint-Thierry
  • Rupert of Dutz
  • John of Salisbury
  • Peter Lombard
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. Dominic Guzman
  • St. Anthony of Padua
  • St. Bonaventure
  • St. Albert the Great
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • John Duns Scotus
I enjoyed the chapter on St. Albert the Great, also known as Albertus Magnus.  He was the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas.   I have admired St. Thomas for a long time.  Learning more about his teacher shed some light on why it was so easy for him to intertwine reason and faith and write so persuasively.

The publisher's description:
  • "To renew the Church in every age, God raises up saints who themselves have been renewed by God and are in constant contact with God." -- Pope Benedict XVI
  • Discover the greatest teachers of the Faith as Pope Benedict XVI highlights their essential role during a time of scandal and strife in the Church.
  • Focusing specifically on the thirteenth-century founding of the Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi and the Dominicans by St. Dominic Guzman, the Pope said personal holiness led the two saints to preach -- and to help actualize -- a return to Gospel poverty, a deeper unity with the Church, and a new movement of evangelization, including within the European universities that were blossoming at the time.
  • Their example continues to be relevant today as we struggle with a culture that "focuses more on having than on being," and look to emulate those holy people who chose to live very simply.
I enjoyed and recommend this book for anyone interested in church history.  Pope Benedict has such a wealth of information to share.  He will surely be  remembered as a Great Teacher as well.
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Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected predecessor of Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005. Before and since his election as head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has written many works centered on the Catholic faith and it’s teachings. Pope Benedict XVI is a highly accredited theologian and influential world leader.

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**This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Great Teachers - Pope Benedict XVI. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.