Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
unfortunately, Juan Coles hasn't gotten my comment up yet, and I did not make a copy...

But basically all the things Cole quotes are summaries made by Ratzinger of positions of other people. "The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes", "According to the experts".

he uses "us" (as we, including himself) only to mark his critizism of the brusque words he quotes and "I" only when he draws his own conclusion about what he speaks about. And what is that: "I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God."
Where does this give a personal criticism of Islam, especially if the line of thought then only deals with the relationship of Hellenism and Christianity?

Two more things. The whole speech has also to been seen in the context of the ongoing discussion in Germany, namely the place of Theology in the University. There are many voices, both on the secular and on the christian front, that do not want Theology being tought inside a "scientific" institute. The Pope is very much in favour. He does not want to go back before modernity. He seeks the (intellectual) confrontation with the scientific community.

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why shouldn't Theology be taught in universities?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:33:07 AM EST
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I agree, it must!
From a simplified secular point: State pays for the education of missionaries.
From a simplified christian point: "They are thinking to much, they should belief more. All this historical critical stuff makes my head spin. God verbally inspired both contradictory creation stories in Gen 1 and 2  and anybody that tells me differently is not strong of faith."

while I have some sympathy with the first I have none with the second...

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: if you study theology at a public university are you authomatically ordained?

I am not sure that theology must be taught at universities, but I don't see why it should be abolished as an academic discipline where it does exist.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in Germany. Your final exams are also taken by a group consisting of members of your regional church  (where you will later want to work) and university staff. You will then also have to have two more years of "Seminary, in job education" have a second exam now purely consisting of Churchy types, before they will consider your ordination.
But in order to be eligible for your first exam you have to have spend at least 2 years at a University (average! education of a German Theologian before first degree is 7  1/2 years)
You can also sit your universities exam, but then you will not be eligible  (or only under difficulties) to join the "Seminary" or in its propper word, Vikariat, which would lead you to the second exam.

Regionality is important as each region in Germany has its own little quircks (lutheran, calvinistic and so on tendencies) which means that a move from one town to the next can be very difficult, if this town is in a different "Landeskirche" You will always need a special dispensation from your Bishop (this has to do with your pension as well as with their tradition...)
This is of course different, if you are a Catholic.

by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:06:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afaik, it is similar in UK universities. A Theology degree doesn't automatically qualify you for the orders.

I'm surprised (see this UCAS search result) to see how many courses in Theology are still offered in UK universities.

You can do Theology and Gaelic at Aberdeen, PeWi (Colman will envy you ;)). Or Theology in Welsh at Lampeter (perhaps ceebs would be interested...)

Oxford says in this booklet (pdf) that, of 80 Theology graduates in a year, about 6 "eventually" end up in the Church. Here's their chart of what Theology grads do:

Those who go into orders are probably in the first group or more likely "Other Study".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 08:37:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and to make this really clear. It is the way the emporer draws the conclusion, not the conclusion itself that is importent for the further development of the thought. Because in the way the emporer draws the conclusion he displays reason. Ratzinger might also agree that violence is not the right way to convince someone, but that is not why he brings this problem up.
by PeWi on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Ratzinger realize that he speaks to a global audience and not to a seminar of academic theologians?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:39:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that I subscribe to the criticism implied by Migeru's reply, but I have another quibble: if there is a tendency in what is quoted from others, one unrelated to the structure of the argument, then the quoter is culpable.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:17:59 AM EST
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To large extent. To me it looks like the classic problem of not what you say, but the way how you say it. Heaven knows (sorry, pun) I've been guilty of that so often.

The pope would have been walking a fine line past two pitfalls if Pewi's explanation was indeed Ratzinger's motivation. On one hand criticizing the blindness of Enlightenment & Reason (but he has done that before on a plenty of occassions so nothing really new there), and on one hand the tender issue of Islam today. Guess he fell into the Islam pitfall (kettle?) today.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:39:39 AM EST
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Right, it's not what the emperor said but how he formulated it. Mr. Ratzinger could just as easily have explained what the quote was meant to illustrate in clear, concrete language. He is a very smart man. Can you believe it: a fifteenth century BYZANTINE emperor! He knows that as 'the representative of god on earth' his every word is examined. He also knows that by hiding behind a distant political figure he can make a statement which appeals to the basest instincts of his base while not being directly responsible for it. He throws up balloon: will it float? Evidently it does. Ratzinger very cheekily excuses himself for such a 'brusque' remark which he has very carefully considered and weighed for content and effect. Make no mistake about it, he says nothing lightly and casually. This man has always walked away from the light at the end of the tunnel.
by Quentin on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:44:30 AM EST
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