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Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives Hardcover – November 21, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 322 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Highly recommended. Without ignoring the findings of New Testament scholarship, the author is more interested in the spiritual meaning of the infancy narratives. This is the fruit of a lifetime's scholarship, prayer and reflection. Church of England Newspaper --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

JOSEPH RATZINGER, Pope Benedict XVI, born in 1927 in Germany, has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Image (November 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385346409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385346405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on November 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In his previous two volumes of his "Jesus of Nazareth," Pope Benedict XVI showed his academic background and writing abilities as he was able to craft books that would appeal to scholars and general readers alike. In his third volume, a look at the infancy narratives, Benedict continues to make books that are accessible to readers of various backgrounds and, more importantly, offer them new insights into the Gospels.

In tackling the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke, Benedict is treading over familiar ground. But Benedict is able to offer a refreshing look at the subject while still defending traditional Christian teachings and holding his ground against the likes of the Jesus Seminar. Benedict is also able to call upon a wealth of material--other Gospels, theologians both ancient and modern, the Old Testament, Jewish and Roman chronicles and other sources. Flipping through the bibliography reminds readers that Benedict is a master of several languages. While the book will probably not convert readers who do not accept the divinity of Jesus Christ to Christianity, this book will reinforce Christians in their beliefs.

Benedict is solid on looking at the main story of course. But he also offers thoughtful portraits on Joseph and Mary; an interesting breakdown on the differences between the genealogies offered by Matthew and Luke; a contrast between Gabriel's messages to Zechariah and Mary; a look at the finding of Jesus in the Temple; a glance at the slaughter of the innocents and flight into Egypt; a fine sketch of King Herod; and a solid overview of the magi and the star they followed. It's these moments where Benedict truly shines some new light on the familiar accounts. Benedict shows some hints about the Passion that readers may have never picked up on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though the shortest and final volume of the Jesus trilogy, once again the Holy Father has found a way to challenge unbelief and strengthen the faithful both intellectually and spiritually. This volume is an exposition and discourse on the infancy narratives of the gospels. Through Old Testament parallels and historical background these seemingly mythic stories are affirmed as historically reliable and spiritually encouraging. Once again Pope Benedict does not shy from acknowledging the questions raised by those who have challenged the historical reliability of the gospels. But with that acknowledgement he once again brings their methods into question and demonstrates the shaky foundations on which the criticisms have been built.

But, it is not just critics and apologists who will find intellectual food in this volume. Those everyday mystics who pray the rosary will find new food for meditation on the joyful mysteries in particular and for Marian devotion in general. Evangelists will find fresh insight into sharing the joy Pope Benedict finds necessarily linked to grace.

This work has been one we have anticipated for some time and though it is short it is no less profound and fulfilling than the preceding volumes. I will be re-reading this one often. And, I suspect it will become a favorite advent devotional for many readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had no idea that the pope was such a good communicator. His style is conversational, and easy to follow. Although his positions are based on scholarly research, the text is not tedious or overly academic. A very good read. I was able to read this book in two evenings.
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I expected something more complex, and was surprised to see a very accessible book, well written and easily read. A trademark of his style, the author is thoroughly rational and clear in his discussion of the different topics covered in the book.
My only caveat is that this book is more useful for those readers who have already enjoyed the first two volumes of Jesus of Nazareth: it should not be considered a stand-alone book.
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Format: Hardcover
(excerpted from my review published on Dec. 4, 2012, on Zenit.org) In completing his literary series on Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict XVI seals one of his finest and perhaps most enduring gifts to the Church.

Because of the timeless newness to these inimitable reflections, our coheirs to the kingdom will doubtless be reading these volumes long after we are in our tombs. With the second installment of the Jesus of Nazareth series, Pope Benedict gave Catholics plenty of food for thought for the Lenten season. His third installment similarly gives much for meditation for Advent. ...

Some in the media seemed flummoxed that the Pope would affirm Catholic belief in the virgin birth. Ironically, they prove a point he makes in that section of the book: "There are two moments in the story of Jesus when God intervenes directly in the material world: the virgin birth and the resurrection from the tomb ... These two moments are a scandal to the modern spirit" (p. 56). The virgin birth is a great mystery that not only reveals the identities of Jesus and Mary, but God himself. It gets to the heart of the question of Jesus' divine origin and of the power of God over the material world. Christ's origins are inextricably tied with his mother. And the miraculous virgin birth is an important testament to his divine origin. His reflections on this topic counteract the modernist reductionism that removes the miraculous from the narrative of salvation history.

The book starts off with a beautiful Christological reflection on the known and unknown origin of Jesus. Pope Benedict compares the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, bringing out their theological value, in Matthew's case, and eschatological value, in Luke's.
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