Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication Date: 2011-03-10
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In this bold, momentous work, Joseph Ratzinger--in his first book written since he became Pope--seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent "popular" depictions and to restore Jesus' true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and invites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.
From Jesus of Nazareth: "the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?
The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in the Wisdom Literature--the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth.
He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: faith, hope, and love."
Originally a liberal theologian, he adopted conservative views after 1968. His prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position. He strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics". He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s.
Pope Benedict provides the ultimate dissection of the bible with this 3 book series, as he makes brilliant connections between the old and the new testaments. As he states, the focus of his entire work is to vividly answer the question “Who is Jesus of Nazareth?” The answer is much more involved than you might think!
Probably the only frustrating part of the book occurs whenever Benedict gives time to the theories of other exegetes, of a liberal persuasion. But there is a payoff--- he does this to inevitably to explain how their theories are misguided and wrong. This leads to my favorite line in the book: “Here, theory predominated over listening to the text [Scripture].” In other words, Benedict is saying in a heroically humble and gentle way that these crazy liberals don’t even bother referencing the Bible to support their theories.
My favorite section of the book was definitely the area on Jesus’s temptations in the desert, and how each of them teaches a valuable lesson to us – how each temptation is emblematic of very broad, very pervasive temptations that we all experience.
These books are an absolute treasure!