Oct 26, 2013 / 11:21 am
At the conclusion of an international symposium in Rome, Pope Francis granted the prestigious “Joseph Ratzinger award” to two professors for their exemplary scholarship in theology.
The winners were the Anglican Rev. Canon Professor Richard Burridge, Dean of Kings College, London, and Catholic professor of theology Christian Schaller, vice director of the Pope Benedict XVI institute of Regensburg, Germany.
“Special congratulations go to the Revered Professor Richard Burridge, however, and Professor Christian Schaller, who have been awarded this year’s Joseph Ratzinger Prize. said Pope Francis on Oct. 26.
“Also on behalf of my beloved predecessor, with whom I was three or four days ago – I express my congratulations: may the Lord always bless you and your work in the service of his kingdom,” he added.
The award is given to scholars whose work demonstrates a meaningful contribution to theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger.
The Pope met with participants of the symposium, which was held by the Joseph Ratzinger foundation, at the close of their conference entitled “The Gospels, Historical and Christological Research.”
Scholars from around the world had gathered to discuss the main themes found in the “Jesus of Nazareth” series written by Benedict XVI before and during his papacy. The three volumes involve an in-depth study of the life and person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospels.
Pope Francis took a moment during his audience with the group to reflect on these works: “I remember when the first volume came out, some people were saying: but what is this? A Pope doesn’t write books of theology, he writes encyclicals!”
“Certainly Pope Benedict had considered this problem,” he continued, “but even in this case, like always, he followed the voice of the Lord in the light of his conscience.”
“He made a gift to the Church, and to all men, of that which was most precious to him: his knowledge of Jesus, the fruit of years and years of study, theological confrontation, and prayer. Because Benedict XVI did theology on his knees, and we all know it. And this has made it available in the most accessible form,” explained Pope Francis.
“The work of Benedict XVI has stimulated a new season of study between history and Christology regarding the Gospels,” the Pope added.
Award winner Burridge described how his academic work complemented that of Benedict XVI.
“I have been working for the last 30 years on the literary character of the Gospels and in particular how they relate to the literary genre of Greco-Roman biographies. And obviously Pope Benedict Emeritus wrote his biography of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in which he has argued also that the key to interpreting the Gospels is through the portrait of Jesus and I’ve demonstrated how you do that by looking at Greco-Roman biographies,” he told CNA on Oct. 25.
Burridge is the first non-Roman Catholic to receive the Joseph Ratzinger award. …
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