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Crossing the Threshold of Hope Paperback – September 19, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (September 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679765611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679765615
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

A great international bestseller, the book in which, on the eve of the millennium, Pope John Paul II brings to an accessible level the profoundest theological concerns of our lives. He goes to the heart of his personal beliefs and speaks with passion about the existence of God; about the dignity of man; about pain, suffering, and evil; about eternal life and the meaning of salvation; about hope; about the relationship of Christianity to other faits and that of Catholicism to other branches of the Christian faith.With the humility and generosity of spirit for which he is known, John Paul II speaks directly and forthrightly to all people. His message: Be not afraid!

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Customer Reviews

Beautifully written by Pope St. John Paul II.
Brenda H. Quinn
God so loved the world ... In this way Jesus makes us understand that the world is not the source of man's ultimate happiness.
P. Coulton
Overall, this inspiring book is must reading for any person of faith.
Anthony G Pizza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 117 people found the following review helpful By David Haggith on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
First, I'm not Catholic, but I found this book to be beautifully written and articulate. In putting together a book I was working on for Putnam, I wanted to get the pope's understanding of end-time prophecies. This was the right book, but I got much more than that. One of the poignant parts of the book was the pope's explanation for all the divisions in the Church. First, he acknowledges that many of these divisions came about because of the sins of Christians against one another. (Though he doesn't say on which side, but presumeably on all sides.) The pope is surprisingly affirmative of the different denominations that have split off from Catholicism. He asks, "Could it not be that these divisions have also been a path continually leading the Church to discover the untold wealth contained in Christ's Gospel. . . ? Perhaps all this wealth would not have come to light otherwise. . . . It is necessary for humanity to achieve unity through plurality. . . ."
I recommend the book to any non-Catholic who wants to get a more accurate perspective of what the Roman Catholic Church believes at its heart.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By "kathrynlively" on December 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Crossing the Threshold is a very interesting treatise from the Holy See written in the form of an interview, where the Pope explains his views of various Christian beliefs - including his belief in God, his views of non-Christian and non-Catholic faiths, and Mariology. His views appear to negate the claims put forth by anti-Catholics and tend to look to the new millennium with hope instead of fear.
An important message in this book is reiterated strongly by JPII's pontificate: Be not afraid. Great advice from probably the greatest Pope we've had in a long time.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
His Holiness John Paul II has written a book that can (and should) be read more than once. His book is, at the same time, an apologia of the Faith, a primer on morals, a critique of 20th century nihilsim in all of its forms, a pitch for ecumenism, as well as an intro to Christian philosophy and summary of Catholic theology (it may not be a coincidence that the book's format, that of responses to an interviewer's questions, resembles that of St. Thomas' Summa Theologica). The book is also, in fact primarily, an exhortation to encouragement, hope, and faith. His Holiness' erudition is astounding, his sense of humour delightful and his insights thought-provoking and moving. He says all of the things that we would expect the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church to say, and alot of things that we wouldn't expect. The book produced its intended effect. When I put it down, I felt encouraged and hopeful. I also felt fortunate to have been a contemporary of such a great man. This book is a major work of spirituality by one of the most important figures of the century.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Mark Blackburn on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jake Hollenberg M.D. had just finished examining me in his office (two days before he died `in harness' at age 86) and he asked me about whether the kidney stones he'd diagnosed years ago had shown any signs of return. "No, thank God!" I replied. Jake, a devout Jew -- who was personal physician and also close friend to three Catholic Archbishops of Winnipeg -- said, with a twinkle in his eye, "And what God are you thanking?"

I thought of Jake today when I read again about the late Pope's best friend from childhood, a Jew named "Jerzy" who stands out in this book like a beacon to understanding between the three great religions who share the same Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets.

"A few years ago," John Paul II writes (on page 97) "Jerzy came to me to say that the place where the synagogue (in their home town of Wadowice) had been destroyed by the Germans, no longer exists." The pope says Jerzy informed him that "the place where the synagogue had stood `should be honored with a special commemorative plaque.' And . . . at that moment we both felt a deep emotion. We recalled faces of people we knew and cared for, and those Saturdays of our childhood and adolescence when the Jewish community gathered for prayer." The pope sent his friend back to their hometown with a letter supporting Jerzy's wish "as a sign of my solidarity and spiritual union" with Jerzy and his people.

"That trip wasn't easy for Jerzy as he brought that letter to my fellow citizens in Wadowice. All the members of his family who had remained in that small town had died at Auschwitz. His visit for the unveiling of the plaque in commemoration of the local synagogue was his first in 50 years. . . .
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Pope John Paul II will be remembered in history for many things: as a world traveler, as the champion of the West over and against the Communist regimes of Europe, and as a theologian of skill and insight. Some of this insight is captured in this book, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope', in which an Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori, quizzes the Pope on his theological, ecclesiological and biblical beliefs. Messori asks thoughtful, probing questions, and the Pope does not shrink from addressing hard questions.

One of the first questions in the book might well be summed up in a sense as 'who do you think you are?' Messori asks this with all its possible meanings; the Pope addresses the answers - does the Pope represent anything more than the remnant of powerful historical mythology, or is there something more? The Pope recasts the question, as he does occasionally in this text, seeking greater clarification. Rather than answering the question 'who do you think you are?', he changes it to 'why be afraid of who you are?' This is question that applies not simply to the Pope, but to all of us, as we stand before God as part of God's creation.

The portion of the text that deals with Mariology is particularly interesting, given Pope John Paul II's particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here one gets some of the deepest of emotions from the Pope, as he talks about his spiritual life in both mystical and practical terms.

This is not a systematic theology; it is more a series of reflective responses to questions posed by someone outside formal theological tradition (although it is obvious that Messori's questions have theological depth).
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