Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

General and Miscellaneous -- la Chiesa Nella Storia by Giuseppe Alberigo

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

General and Miscellaneous -- la Chiesa Nella Storia by Giuseppe Alberigo

Article excerpt

La Chiesa nella storia. By Giuseppe Alberigo.

Biblioteca di cultura religiosa, 51.

(Brescia: Paidei Editrice. 1988. Pp. 335. Lire 35,000 paperback.)

The author is director of the Istituto di Scienze Religiose in Bologna and editor of the historico-theological review Christanesimo nella storia, a periodical of outstanding scholarly import also in consideration of interests associated with the Transalpine schools of theology. The present book is fundamentally a history of ecclesiology in the second Christian millennium, that is, from the Late Middle Ages to Vatican Council II, so that a subtitle indicating the chronological boundaries would have been in order. This volume contrasts vividly and sharply the ecclesiastical vends originating in the pontificate of John XXIII and the council with the major lines of the preceding ages. Professor Alberigo, who has been teaching these matters for several decades in the University of Bologna and is a co-editor of the Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta (latest edition: Bologna, 1991), has produced a substantial number of thoroughly articulate studies on histotico-theological issues of the councils and especially on ecclesiology from the Council of Florence 1431-1445) to Vatican Council II. The present work deserves to be treasured by both Catholic and Protestant theologians and professors of ecclesiology. It is difficult to resist the temptation to underline his points reading the re-evaluation of the universal priesthood of the people of God and the reappraisal of the sensus fidelium.

Yet a sort of pessimism, often too polemically pungent, with regard to the entire ecclesiology of bygone ages deserves further criticism; indeed, expressions such as ""regime sinodale," "antico regime di comunione," "cristianesimo occidentale," "cattolicesimo romano," "obbligatorieta sociale del cristianesimo" (social mandatory status of Christianity) suggest caution, since they promote a theological construction of thought often cleverly political and quite contradictory of the ecumenical and irenical spirit otherwise continually recommended. …

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