In Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics, Book V, Soteriology Part 2 the nineteenth-century German dogmatician Matthias Joseph Schee­ben turns to an in-depth study of Christ’s redemptive deed. He begins this work with an exploration of the prerequisites for the In­carnate Word’s redemptive efficacy—his personal/capital grace and resultant perfections of intellect and will.

Scheeben then examines the various states or mysteries of Christ’s life as well as the efficacy proper to his redemptive deed, by which the God-man restores and superabundantly perfects the supernatural or­der ruined by the first human sin.

In this connection, Scheeben also includes his Mariology in this volume precisely insofar as Mary is the mother of the Redeemer. Located here in his Dogmatics, the figure of Mary thus serves as the point of departure for his planned treatment of the grace of Christ in its ecclesial mediation.



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.


“It seems opportune for Catholic theology, struggling to find its way in the mists of contemporary loss of faith, to return to the greatest theologians who prepared the way for the Second Vatican Council in order to carry forward the evangelizing and Christocentric mission of that Council. Now is the time to retrieve the Roman-trained spiritual master Matthias Joseph Scheeben—and there is no better place to begin than with this towering masterpiece on Christ the Savior. Read­ing Scheeben, one finds oneself immersed in Scripture and Tradition, as he effortlessly probes into the details of scriptural and patristic thought, guided by the overarching framework of the high medieval and post-Tridentine reception of the Catholic dogmatic inheritance. Do you wish to be a theologian? Read this book!”

—Gerhard Cardinal Müller—

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

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Handbook of Catholic Dogmatics 5.2