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Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration Paperback – September 15, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this rich, sophisticated introduction to the life of Jesus, the pope argues that Jesus brought to the world neither universal prosperity nor peace, but God. Indeed, Jesus cannot be understood outside of his relationship with God the Father, "which is the true center of his personality." Ratzinger explores the meaning of key moments in the Gospels, such as the temptations of Jesus, the Transfiguration, and the Sermon on the Mount, and points to passages in which Jesus adumbrates Pauline theology. He underscores Jesus being rooted in the Old Testament, showing, for example, that the Beatitudes participate in a long tradition of blessings, exemplified in Psalms and Jeremiah. Ratzinger draws on historical-critical scholarship of the New Testament, but cautions that the usefulness of strictly historical readings of Scripture is limited: one must also read Scripture theologically, and view each passage of the Bible as part of a larger canonical whole. This learned book cannot be read casuallyRatzinger draws on a vast array of scholarship, and he assumes familiarity with theological categories such as "Christology." But for those who are willing to work through Ratzingers text slowly, virtually every page will yield fruitful insights. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* Begun before his election to the papacy, this is the first volume of a work that Benedict intimates he may not live long enough to complete. Its 10 chapters—on, respectively, Jesus' baptism, his temptation in the desert, the nature of the kingdom of God, the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, the disciples, the parables, the principal images of John's Gospel, Peter's confession and Jesus' Transfiguration, and Jesus' two self-descriptions, "Son of Man" and "Son"—are masterfully cogent and accessible essays in orthodox Christian exegesis. Canonical exegesis, to be precise; that is, the passages discussed in each chapter are interpreted within the prophetic context of the continuous document that contains them, the Bible. The meanings of Jesus' words, deeds, and person are always educed with the aid and understanding of the religious thought and practice of the preceding Hebrew Scriptures. While he aims to respond to the twentieth-century torrent of historical Jesus literature that in general makes Jesus a man of his time and place in Roman Palestine, Benedict doesn't repudiate or even much criticize that literature. Indeed, he accepts and looks forward to more of what archaeological and historical anthropological and sociological research has discovered about Jesus' milieu. As tender as it is erudite and brilliant, this is a book for every religion collection. Olson, Ray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Pope Benedict XVI not only provided what constitutes the beatitudes of the superiority of the Christian Ethics, to the commandments but this New Torah gives added depth to the second tablet and not abolishes them. Thus from the chapter introduction he states how he intended to tackle the personhood of Jesus by relating the Old Testament and the New Testament verses as one continues fabric, first through the beatitudes, second through the giving of the new Torah and thirdly through culmination of the Our Father in prayer.
This is important and directs our understanding of the 8 beatitudes as not just “the be-attitudes” a Christian should strive for no matter how paradoxical it is to live according to its ethics. Jesus Christ spoke them in cathedra : for all not just to the chosen people like Moses, nor as Luke recounts it to Christ’s disciples, but to all those who hear and follow the words: discipleship is for all.
Hearing and following thus is not through lineage. Thus in the account of Matthew , Galilee is Galilee of the Gentiles . Jesus in fact came from Nazareth a half pagan region. But then comes another challenge, if discipleship is for all and following in the beatitudes, means to follow the teaching of Christ, the beatitudes is a kind of veiled biography of Christ , a kind of portrait of His figure.
The beatitudes then is not just a direction or road map to discipleship but rather , since Christ revealed it, those who hear are actually called to be Christ-like, not just be Christians but live out the beatitude. The saints have followed in this path, St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Mother Teresa, from Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. They have shown us the correct image of man and his happiness.
The typology continues with us, we have live out of the Old and New Testament, to be the person who is in Christ, transformed in values and fit for the Kingdom only in relation to Him. The Beatitudes is for all people in all status in life.
Some memorable quotes from Jesus of Nazareth:
“To ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ – that is the path that lies open to everyone; that is the way that finds its destination in Jesus Christ.”
“When man begins to see and to live from God’s perspective, when he is a companion on Jesus’ way, then he lives by new standards…Jesus brings joy into the midst of affliction.”
“Only by touching Jesus’ wounds and encountering his Resurrection are we able to grasp them, and then they become our mission.”
Original publication year: 2007
Pages: approx. 374
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.
I've actually read a great deal about Christ, and am an avid Bible reader. Never have I seen such insight as this! Jesus of Nazareth is an exploration of the real Jesus and His part in the Trinity as Son of God as revealed in Scripture. Benedict made the complete humanity of Jesus shine through as never before. His discussion of how the people viewed Jesus at different points in His ministry, vs how Christ portrayed himself, answered long-standing questions I've had, such as exactly what He meant when he so often called Himself the Son of Man. This really filled me with awe.
Benedict's discussion of the parables was superb. Again, I was amazed at his insight as he pointed out meanings I've never heard before and historical relationships of which I was unaware. His explanations are always rational: no jumping to unlikely conclusions or unsupported theories. At the same time, they are explanations that presuppose the faith of the reader. I'm not sure how a nonbeliever might approach this book. He'd probably not be able to dispute any of the scholarship but would miss the deep satisfaction experienced by the Christian reader.
For me, this book was a delightful, uplifting journey of Christ in the Gospels. It made me feel much closer to Jesus, and I know that will stay with me. I am so eager for the second installment of Jesus of Nazareth!