Russell Shaw, on the OSV.com site, writes:
Heinrich Denzinger had a good idea. So good, in fact, that his idea is still going strong after 160 years.
Father Denzinger, a German theologian of the 19th century, saw a need for a collection of creeds, ecumenical council decrees and teaching documents of popes to help theologians, homilists and serious readers concerned to know what the Catholic Church really teaches, as the teaching is set forth in official documents of the magisterium — the Church’s teaching authority.
German Catholic theology
The first edition of the volume users would come to call simply “Denzinger” rolled off the press in 1854 — by coincidence, the year Pope Pius IX infallibly defined the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.
It featured texts from 100 documents of the pope of that day, Pius IX. By contrast, the contents of the recently published 43rd edition extend from an Ethiopian “Letter of the Apostles” dating between A.D. 160 and 170 to an instruction on bioethics published by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2008 (“Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals,” (Ignatius Press, $69.95)).
The English translation of this new edition is the first in that language since the 30th edition in 1957. It joins editions in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Croatian — as well as German, of course. Korean and Chinese translations also are planned.
For people accustomed to using Denzinger in their work, the English version’s publication is a notable event as well as a formidable specimen of book publishing.
Along with the texts in their original languages (usually Latin, occasionally Greek) accompanied by versions in the vernacular, its 1,437 pages include a “systematic index” grouping the documents under 12 headings (“God Reveals Himself,” “God Saves Man through Jesus Christ,” “God Calls Man to a Moral Life in Community,” etc.), several specialized indexes and a historical introduction by the volume’s current editor, Peter Hünermann.
The texts are organized chronologically, with documents grouped according to the pontificates during which they were published.
By far the largest set is the one from the long pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, which began with his election on Oct. 16, 1978 and ended with his death on April 2, 2005. Texts in Denzinger from the Johannine era number 49.
Read the entire piece: "'Denzinger' still filling the void" (Aug. 27, 2014).
To learn more or to order: Enchiridion Symbolorum: A Compendium of Creeds, Definitions and Declarations of the Catholic Church.