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Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week Enters Top Ten of The New York Times
Best-Sellers List | March 18, 2011 | Ignatius Insight
Pope Benedict XVI's new book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the
Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, released worldwide on March 10th, has broken the Top Ten on The New
York Times best-sellers list. The book, which has received very positive reviews from Catholic,
Protestant, and Jewish leaders and scholars, will be #10 on the March 27th nonfiction
million copies of the book have been published in eight languages, including
German, Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish.
Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, founder and editor of the
publishing house, says that 300,000 copies were
published in Italy, 200,000 in Germany, and 120,000 in France. The book has
been published in English by Ignatius Press, The Catholic Truth Society (United
Kingdom/Ireland), Paulines Publication (Africa), Freedom Publishing
(Australia), and Asia Trading Corporation (Asia). Ignatius Press has now printed
140,000 copies of the book and sold or distributed some 90,000 copies in a
of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration was the first book written by Pope
Benedict XVI after his election in April 2005. It focuses
on Jesus' Baptism, temptation, and teachings,
especially the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, the parables, and Jesus'
declarations about his identity. The second volume, as its title indicates,
examines and reflects upon the final days of Jesus' earthly life: his arrival
in Jerusalem, his cleansing of the Temple, his eschatological discourse, the
washing of the disciples' feet, the Last Supper, his prayer and arrest in the
Garden of Gethsemane, his trial, the crucifixion and burial, and the
Resurrection. The book's epilogue considers the nature and meaning of Jesus'
Ascension into heaven.
way, Benedict ponders deeply the meaning of Jesus' life and death, and responds
to a number of challenging questions. These include:
responsible for killing Jesus?
Jesus a political revolutionary?
really the Messiah, the Son of God?
did Jesus teach about the end of the world?
Jesus establish a community of disciples—the Church—to continue his
Jesus interpret his death?
does the evidence tell us about Jesus' ultimate fate? Did he really rise from
early Christians believe Jesus would return immediately?
clear that what interests the Holy Father is helping people to know and love
someone whom he knows and loves," says Father
Fessio. "But he does this as a scholar. This book is a bright star in the
constellation of books about Jesus." And many scholars have responded with
praise for the book, noting its unique combination of complexity, clarity,
breadth of learning, and depth of theological insight.
Evangelical Scripture scholar Dr. Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at
Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University, Nova Scotia, and editor of The
Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus, calls it "a remarkable achievement", adding,
"It's the best book I've read on Jesus in years." He says, "I
was impressed by the exegetical insight, the historical critical insight, and
yet at the same time the attempt to always keep in line the big picture, what
Christian faith is all about, the history of the church and how some of Jesus'
teachings and things that He did, and things that happened to Him contributed
to major Christian teachings and some of the great creeds."
Evangelical scholar, Dr. Ben Witherington III, author of several works on Jesus
and the New Testament, expressed admiration for the "knowledge and vital
piety in this book". Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week is "a book I would very
happily assign to my students to read as a book about both the Jesus history
and the Christ of faith", he said, "I was impressed with his
Neusner, prolific Jewish scholar and author of countless books on Jewish
history and belief, A Rabbi Talks with Jesus, notes
that Benedict has "accomplished something that no one else has achieved in
the modern study of Scripture", which is to provide an answer to the
question, "How are we to transcend the outcome of critical history with its
paralyzing obstacles, theological affirmation?"
Pitre, who teaches at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, agrees, saying that
Benedict, in the book, "really is combining history, historical reason as
he puts it, and hermeneutical faith in approaching the gospel from the light of
the canon of Scripture, especially Old Testament background..." The Pope's
book, Pitre believes, is a successful implementation of "the renewal of
biblical studies that the Second Vatican council called for more than forty
years ago, but which in his opinion has not yet taken root."
Catholic Scripture scholar, Dr. Mary Healy, who teaches at Sacred Heart Major
Seminary in Detroit, states, "It seems to me that Benedict's deepest goal is to
provide a model of what biblical theology can look like when the tools of
modern scholarship are integrated with faith in Scripture as a living word from
God. The pope is seeking to reunite what has long been split
apart—Scripture and theology, biblical exegesis and Christian faith."
Brumley, President of Ignatius Press, believes that Jesus of Nazareth: Holy
Week will be
instrumental in further shaping an authentic, vibrant ecumenism rooted in a
love for Christ and Scripture. "As a former Evangelical," he remarks, "I can say
that I would have been deeply moved as a Protestant to read a book like this
from the Pope. And as a Catholic, I can say I'm thrilled so many Protestants
are being moved by it. Pope Benedict reveals the Christ-centeredness of the Catholic Church, a reality that is
sometimes missed by Protestants and even a few Catholics!"
the book reflects the Pope's scholarly background and skills, it is ultimately
intended to bring readers into "a personal encounter with Jesus", as
Benedict states in the Foreword. His approach, he adds, comes from his attempt
"to develop a way of observing and listening to the Jesus of the Gospels
that can indeed lead to personal encounter and that, through collective
listening with Jesus' disciples across the ages, can indeed attain sure
knowledge of the real historical figure of Jesus."
guide for Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week will be available
from Ignatius Press on March 30th.
The foreword is written by Tim Gray, Ph.D., the chapter summarizes and outlines
are by Mark Brumley and Curtis Mitch, and study questions are by Brumley and
Laura Dittus. It also includes a list of key terms, a glossary, and a section
for readers to write down their personal reflections as they read the book.
for excerpts, biographical information, reviews, ordering information, and much
more about Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the
"The Mystery of the Betrayer" (from Chapter 3)
"The Dating of the Last Supper" (from Chapter 5)
"Jesus Before Pilate" (from Chapter 7)
Biography of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI
Jesus of Nazareth (Part 2) available March 10, 2011
Other Recent Books by Pope Benedict XVI
All books by or about Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI
Excerpts from books by Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI
Articles about Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI
the Insight Scoop Blog and read the latest posts and comments by
IgnatiusInsight.com staff and readers about current events, controversies,
and news in the Church!
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