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Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration Paperback – September 15, 2008
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;Joseph Ratzinger was a world-class theologian long before he became the Roman Curia's official defender of Catholic doctrine, and then the pope. In Jesus of Nazareth, Ratzinger reveals the core of his personality as he invites his readers into the classroom of a master teacher-one who has absorbed the best that modern biblical scholarship has to offer and has yet emerged from that encounter with his faith intact and enriched.
, Author,Witness to Hope.
About the Author
On April 19, 2005, CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER was elected POPE BENEDICT XVI and became the 264th successor to Peter as the "Vicar of Jesus Christ." He may well be the most accomplished theologian to be elected Pope in modern times. Beginning in 1981 he spent over 20 years as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a role often depicted as the defender of the faith. Cardinal Ratzinger was also President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the Preparatory Commission that codified the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1994.
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We read this book for our Catholic parish book club and I think the overwhelming opinion was surprise and pleasure at what we found here. What truth is released when the focus is Trinitarian and Christ-centered. When reading this book, I sensed that Benedict uses the biblical text to share the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. In that, he invites us to encounter Christ. It was a pleasure to experience the freedom that comes from centering on Christ and the Trinitarian God. The Truth truly does set you free (John 8:32).
I sensed Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict the XVI) would deliver.
And the Pope does.
The Pope elucidates his personal endeavor to find the 'essence' of a Man many believe encapsulates the fulfillment of divinity.
A Man whose life perpetually inspires and illuminates many through the ages.
This book presents a 'Gospel-dissection' of Jesus' words and actions.
What He was thinking, and most of all, what drove 'God' to pour Himself into the restrictive, suffocating mortal body
of a human being.
I am not sure the Pope makes his case for Jesus' divinity.
But to deny that the Jesus of the Gospels was not a spectacularly unique man would be to
deny the heights to which a man can attain, when God is made the focus and locus of one's life.
This particular volume follows Jesus from his baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. It is filled with historical information, views from his wide reading, and his own theological insight. There is some wonderful stuff here. His recounting of the baptism as a mirror of the Passion and crucifixion is something that I’d never considered before. I was intrigued by his discussion of Jacob Neuser’s book A Rabbi Talks with Jesus as a counterpoint to his look at the Sermon on the Mount. So much so that I’m now about halfway through Neuser’s book as well. He delivers an excellent explication of the Lord’s Prayer. He looks closely at three of Jesus’ parables and, in particular, gives us insight into the second brother, the “son who remained at home”, in his discussion of the Prodigal Son, which I found very valuable.
Not that I found everything Benedict explained convincing. I found his chapter on the Gospel of John, while excellent in describing its symbols and themes, a bit hard to trust when he tries to convince us of an earlier composition date and a lower Christology that seems apparent in the text. And yet, he is very convincing when he describes why he thinks that the gospel (and the letters of John) comes from a tradition that has links to an actual apostle.
In fact, this is an excellent book. Though it shows Benedict’s intellectual bent, it remains readable to any reasonable educated Christian. Whatever one feels about Benedict as a pope, this book is an engaging account of his thinking about Christ. As such, it is a valuable resource for anyone on their own search for truth. I’m looking forward to reading the second volume.