Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth was released in Rome on 16 April 2007. It is the first part of a two-volume work. This first volume examines the public life of Christ from his Baptism in the River Jordan to the Transfiguration.
The book’s a powerful pastoral account that — by means of a fresh illumination of the Gospels — provides an introduction to the bedrock principles of Christianity, inviting the reader to be touched and animated by the message of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the text is a theological masterwork exhibiting the rigorous application that is the hallmark of the writings and speeches of Cardinal Ratzinger the theologian.
The Pope’s pastoral concerns joined with the depth of his theological perspective combine to create the work’s core assertion – the firm conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus, it’s necessary to start from his union with the Father as the Beloved Son.
The Holy Father acknowledges that the historical-critical method is indispensable for serious analysis, and recognises it has unearthed a large body of materials and knowledge that enable us to reconstruct the figure of Jesus with a depth that, only a few decades ago, would have been unthinkable. But it is only through faith, he maintains, that one can come to understand that Jesus is God. And if, in the light of this conviction, we read the Scriptures with the advantages provided by the historical-critical method, then those texts reveal to us — in all their complexity but also in their clarity — a path and a figure that are indeed worthy of faith. For Ratzinger, faith and critical research are complementary, not antagonistic, and the historical Jesus is the Jesus of the Gospels.
Available from the Catholic Truth Society