Calling all undergrads, grad students, and young professionals: I am pleased to be offering a short course, sponsored by the Abigail Adams Institute in Cambridge, Mass., using Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity. We will meet for five Thursdays from noon to 1:30 pm (lunch is included), on Oct. 11 to Nov. 15, with no meeting on Oct. 18.
In this book, Joseph Ratzinger grapples with the question: How does one introduce Christianity to a world riddled with unbelief? He explains Christianity today using an old German nursery story about “Clever Hans,” who exchanges the heavy lump of gold that bothers him for a horse, then a cow, a pig, a goose, and eventually a whetstone, which he finally chucks into the river—gaining, so he thinks, “the precious gift of complete freedom.” Have we exchanged a difficult but yet precious gift (Christianity) for an illusion of freedom, while the original gift was actually the means to true freedom? Ratzinger attempts to reburnish the gold of Christianity through his penetrating intellect and clear style. This course will work its way through this book and thereby touch on the key themes in Christian theology, focusing on the doctrine of God and of Jesus Christ.