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The name "Denzinger" is synonymous with a Catholic "handbook of creeds, definitions and declarations on matters of faith and morals" (Enchiridion Symbolorum Definitionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum ) which has appeared in 37 editions from 1854 to 1991. The current Denzinger collection contains two main parts: first, a collection of "symbols" or professions of faith from early apostolic times up through the fifth century; and second, a chronological compilation of "Documents of the Church's Magisterium" beginning with Pope Clement of Rome (c. 92101 a.d.) and continuing up through the pontificate of John Paul II.

The original 1854 edition of the Enchiridion was the idea of Heinrich Denzinger (181983), a priest and professor of dogmatic theology in Wurzburg, Germany. Denzinger was distressed by what he perceived as a neglect of the positive documents on faith and morals promulgated by the authority of the Church. Thus, in his first edition, he compiled some 100 ecclesiastical documents in Latin translation that included symbols or professions of the faith, decrees and declarations of councils (both provincial and ecumenical) and papal decrees up to the pontificate of Pius IX. Denzinger oversaw a total of five editions during his lifetime, and he expanded the selections to include excerpts from Pius IX's 1865 encyclical, Quanta cura (along with his "Syllabus") as well as passages from Vatican I. Curiously, he did not include any of the texts of the Council of Trent.

The sixth through the ninth editions (18881900) of Denzinger were overseen by Ignaz Stahl, a privatdozent and honorary professor at the University of Wurzburg. Under Stahl, the number of documents increased to 155 with the inclusion of documents from Trent, the constitutions of Vatican I and more papal encyclicals. After Stahl's death in 1905, the Herder Publishing Company took over the production of all subsequent editions. The first nine editions had been produced by Oskar Stahel of Wurzburg.

The tenth through thirteenth editions (190821) were overseen by Clemens Bannwart, S.J. and his assistant, Johannes B. Umberg, S.J. Making use of the best research of his day, Bannwart completely revised the first part of Denzinger on the creeds. In addition, he reworked the systematic index according to ten main categories, an arrangement that figured largely in the handbooks of dogmatic theology up until Vatican II. A special concern with the dangers of Modernism is evidenced by Bannwart's inclusion of 34 pages of documentation from Pius X's 1907 encyclical, Pascendi dominici gregis.

Johannes B. Umberg, S.J. is listed as the editor for the fourteenth through the twenty-seventh editions of Denzinger (19221951). Umberg was a specialist in sacramental theology, and he included more documents in that area as well as references to the 1917 Code of Canon Law. He also reintroduced a section on moral theology into the Index, arranging it according to the decalogue.

The twenty-eighth through the thirty-first editions (195257) were overseen by Karl Rahner, S.J. In the twenty-eight edition, Rahner asked for suggestions for a revised edition of "Denzinger." In anticipation of the revision project, only minor changes were made in the editions of this period.

The revisions foreseen by Rahner were undertaken by Adolf Schonmetzer, S.J., who is listed as the editor for the thirty-second through the thirty-sixth editions (196376). In thirty-second edition of 1963, Schonmetzer included close to 150 more documents and expanded about 100 others. He revised the section on the creeds as well as the introductions, the numbering system and the Index. In the thirty-third and thirty-fourth editions, Schonmetzer included excerpts from the encyclicals of John XXIII and documents of Paul VI. However, he did not include any of the documents of Vatican II since he planned to publish these in a separate volume that also would include other recent magisterial documents. Schonmetzer did not see this project to completion.

In 1981, Professor Peter Hunermann of the University of Tubingen began work on a new bilingual edition of Denzinger. The idea was to completely update the Enchiridion with the addition of key texts of Vatican II and postconciliar documents. Among those who provided suggestions for the new documents was Bishop Walter Kaspar of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, now the Cardinal-Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Hunermann and his assistants likewise revised the original texts according to the most recent critical editions and provided changes and additions to the introductions and Index as needed.

Hunermann decided to provide German translations on pages opposite to the original texts in Greek, Latin and other languages. The numbering system of Schonmetzer was retained but expanded. In the 37th edition which appeared in 1991, the creeds of the ancient Church comprised *1 to 76 (as in Schonmetzer), but the documents of the Church's Magisterium now went from 101 to 4858 with the last entry being John Paul II's 1988 apostolic exhortation, Christifideles laici. The numbering of the texts up to 3997 corresponds to that of Schonmetzer's thirty-sixth edition, but a new system from 4001 onwards was devised to include the texts from Vatican II through the pontificate of John Paul II. In 1997, a CD-ROM version of the thirty-seventh edition was produced that extended the texts up to 5041, ending with the Dec. 11, 1995. Response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the doctrinal authority of John Paul II's 1994 Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio sacerdotalis.

An Italian bilingual version of the 1991 edition appeared in 1995, and a second Italian version was produced in 1996. An English bilingual edition by Ignatius Press of San Francisco will include the supplemental texts provided by the 1997 CD-ROM version. This will be the first English translation of Denzinger to appear since that of the thirtieth edition produced by Roy J. Deferrari in 1957.

Neuner & Dupuis. A handbook in English that serves the same purpose as Denzinger in many respects is the volume edited by J. Neuner and J. Dupuis entitled The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church which appeared in its sixth edition in 1996. Whereas the documents in Denzinger are arranged chronologically, those in Neuner and Dupuis are arranged topically according to headings such as "Revelation and Faith," "Tradition and Scripture," etc. The documentation in Neuner and Dupuis is not as extensive as that of Denzinger, but it does have the advantage of topical arrangement for those who are interested in documents pertaining to a certain subject.

While prominent theologians such as Karl Rahner and Yves Congar have warned about the dangers of "Denzinger theology," there is no doubt that the Enchiridion is an important resource for students, theologians, teachers and pastors. The citing of creeds and Magisterial statements by references to Denzinger continues in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the writings of Pope John Paul II.

Bibliography: h. denzinger and p. hunermann, Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum 37th ed. (Freiburg, Basel, Rome and Vienna 1991) Einleitung [Introduction] 313. y. congar, "Du bon usage de 'Denzinger,"' Situations et taches presentes de la theologie (Paris 1967) 11113. j. schuhmacher, Der "Denzinger" : Geschichte und Bedeutung eines Buches in der Praxis der neueren Theologie (Freiburg 1974). j. neuner, s.j. and j. dupuis, s.j., eds., The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, 6th edition (New York 1996).

[r. fastiggi]