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Matthias Joseph Scheeben
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Where and how do we encounter God’s revelation made once for-all in Christ Jesus? The answer to this urgent question is explored in Matthias Joseph Scheeben’s Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics, Book One: Theological Epistemology, Part One: The Objective Principles of Theological Knowledge, here translated for the first time in English by Michael J. Miller. Scheeben (1835–1888), a renowned German theologian, in this unabridged first part of a two-volume set, begins with a discussion of the nature and scope of dogmatic theology as a science. He treats divine revelation as the source of theological knowledge and as transmitted in Scripture and in the Apostolic Tradition. Included in this volume is Scheeben’s treatise, “The Objective Principles of Theological Knowledge.” Scheeben writes on faith in its source, contents, and handing on in the Church as it confronts the believer, eliciting his or her assent.
Matthias Joseph Scheeben (1835–1888) was a German priest and scholar whose theology points to the inner coherence of the Christian faith and its supernatural mysteries. Notable in his own time, Scheeben later received praise from Pope Pius XI, who in 1935 encouraged study of the late theologian’s works, reflecting: “The entire theology of Scheeben bears the stamp of a pious ascetical theology.” Hans Urs von Balthasar credited Scheeben as “the greatest German theologian to date.” Scheeben’s works include Nature and Grace, The Mysteries of Christianity, and the unfinished Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics.
“To Matthias Joseph Scheeben we owe the most valuable work of Catholic dogmatic theology in modern times, a priceless combination of deep love for the mysteries of the Catholic faith, profound learning, and speculative genius.”—Bruce D. Marshall, Southern Methodist University
“In [Sheeben’s] unsurpassed masterwork, the reader encounters a profound fusion of dogmatic, speculative, and spiritual theology, a deep ressourcement (avant la lettre) in the theology of the patristic period, both West and East (Augustine as much as Cyril of Alexandria), an intense engagement of medieval theology (with a double focus on Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas), and a surprisingly detailed and nuanced appreciation of Baroque scholasticism. The translation of this theological masterwork into English is an intellectual achievement and theological event of the first order.”— Reinhard Hütter, The Catholic University of America
“In the present volume, Scheeben’s reflections on divine revelation, Scripture and Tradition, and the Church’s doctrinal judgments will instruct Catholic theologians who seek to navigate between the twin perils of an ahistorical triumphalism and an accommodationist liberalism, in light of Vatican II’s dogmatic constitutions Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium.” —Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
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