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Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration Paperback – 7 Apr 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (7 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747593787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747593782
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Will make many jaws drop ... a very remarkable book. Jesus was the genius. That is Ratzinger's message, and the luminous intelligence of the exegesis will prompt many to respond with an Alleluia' A.N. Wilson, Sunday Times 'A great deal to reread, to question and reflect upon. This is a theologian on top form. Indeed, this is the best of Professor Ratzinger's many fine books - so far!' Tablet 'Pope Ratzinger is remarkably successful. Jesus of Nazareth really is inspiring in places and will affect all but the most hardened cynics. It is all the better for being written in the usual, crystal-clear Ratzinger style' Irish Independent 'Lingers in the mind ... the Pope is a traditionalist, and his book is especially welcome because of it ... this study is lucidly and simply written, and with no sacrifice of intellectual gravitas or accessibility' Spectator

About the Author

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is a world-renowned scholar, theologian and pastor who was leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics from 2005 to 2013.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A friend recommended I read this book. Although I was initially sceptical, as I had not always been keen on Josef Ratzinger's actions before he became Pope, I thought I'd suspend my prejudice and take my friend's advice. I am so grateful I did. Basically, this book takes the fruits of several decades of scientifically-rigorous 'historical-critical' exegesis and asks "What does all this scholarship mean for the understanding a person of faith might have of Jesus of Nazareth?". The answer is at once clearly presented and utterly radical. There are sections in this book - for instance the treatment of the temptation narratives - which cannot be read without bringing you face to face with the very challenges Jesus posed his contemporaries. I found myself forced to a critical self-examination many times, and absolutely 'wowed' at others. I've already recommended this book to other close friends. If you really want to be exposed to Jesus as he meant to present himself, this book is a great place to start. I do hope that the Pope delivers on his stated desire in the introduction to produce a second volume, extending the present coverage (on the public ministry of Jesus) to the infancy, passion and resurrection narratives. If this present work is anything to judge by, that future volume will be an immensely valuable contribution.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With me being a Jew, and Ratzinger being a Pope as well as a German, you can imagine I was slightly reluctant to acquire this book but... curiosity killed the cat!

My reluctance and bias were in fact killed by the sheer brilliance and luminous style of this work: if the Pope is Christ's representative on Earth, then the Pope has created a masterpiece "autobiography". His message is clear and goes straight to the heart, presenting the reader with a Jesus who is incredibly real and divinely human, the whole text compelling and inspirational.

No complicate theology is offered (for this you should read Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI), nor any sophisticate exegesis of biblical texts . His Holiness is lucid and crystal-clear in his exposition of facts and ideas, not at all homiletic or speaking ex-cathedra with the authority of his position. Actually, he states, in his foreword, "this book is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search 'for the face of the Lord'"

I believe the author has excellently succeeded. You have a Jew's word!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book to be read and re-read so that the reader can imbibe the fruits of Pope Benedict's extraordinary intelligence and palpable holiness. I will list just four reasons, although there are many more.

1. The Pope enabled me to see again the decisive radicality of Jesus of Nazareth, the new Moses, whose authority caused many in Israel to react with alarm. I was particularly taken by his use of the work of Jacob Neusner, an american Rabbi, who has written a notable work on Jesus. What is remarkable is that Jacob Neusner sees clearly the "problem" with Jesus, a man who claims to have divine authority and who proclaims himself as the new "Torah" in the sermon on the mount. The Pope himself acknowledges his indebtedness to Jacon Neusner for enabling him to see Jesus afresh through the lense of judaism.

2. The Pope's dialogue with modern exegetes is particularly illuminating in that he draws from their work those golden nuggets which enable one to see Jesus in his historic reality. He also dialogues with those exegetes who have lost sight of Jesus by erroneously seeing Jesus in the gospels as some sort of modern liberal rabbi and underlines how such views do not sit squarely with the gospel accounts.

3. Critically, the Pope announces that he personally trusts the gospels and rejects Bultmann's rejection of the historicity of John's gospel. He shows how John sits squarely within the ambit of the faith and feasts of Israel.

4. Above all, amidst the scholarly analysis, the Pope shows himself as a man of immense faith. At certain parts of the book, I felt myself movingly humbled by being, so to speak, at the feet of a man, who is himself a great teacher. Long may he live so that we can enjoy the fruits of his labours.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read book, well written and gives good explanations of quite complex and deep points of Catholicism, in a plain speaking and easy to understand manner for someone like myself, who has not been trained in Theology. Really enjoyed reading about aspects of my faith that I have not really understood even after 60 years of being a cradle Catholic. Worth buying, you will enjoy it and will understand it, I am sure....a good informative and thought provoking read.
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Format: Paperback
Most books that have been written about Jesus recently seem to have been written with the intention of shocking the religious community. This is the Popes book and so it stands to reason that he's obviously going to follow the Catholic line. However even in the early chapters he makes those other authors seem self indulgent and exposes Jeremy Bowen's dreadful BBC documentary Son of God for the lazy hatchet job that it was.

Ratzinger argues with ease that you cannot separate the historical Jesus from the religious figure because Jesus preached about God above all else. He includes enough historical detail to make the reader understand the context of Jesus said and what it meant to the Jews when he said it.

Ratzinger also clears up any misconceptions people have about Jesus' teaching. For example I never really properly understand his teaching about doing good on a Sunday until I read this book. The language Ratzinger uses isn't lofty or overly dramatic. He communicates his meaning clearly and you don't have to be a member of the clergy to get it. You really get the sense that Ratzinger is on his home turf here, he's not trying to argue his case, he doesn't need to, he's just explaining what he knows.

And so you a get clearer portrait of the Jesus that lived 2000 years ago. A figure that is more radical, life changing and shocking than perhaps any of those other authors can come up with.
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