In this second volume, which I read in the Italian translation, Pope Ratzinger discusses in nine chapters, the decisive episodes in the life of Jesus, those at the core of the Christian faith: the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.
A pivotal work, therefore, especially with regard to Jesus' resurrection -- because: no resurrection, no Christianity.
The author being one of the foremost theologians of the twentieth century, he set out to write JESUS OF NAZARETH as a final act of intellectual and scientific fulfillment, attempting an answer to the above question - a question St Paul clearly understood when he said: "If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain."
Written in his scarce spare time (possibly during his summer vacation at Castel Gandolfo), this second volume is a passionate analysis of important gospel events: the Entry into Jerusalem, the Washing of the Feet, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and more. The whole is crossed by a fundamental note in a constantly recurring background: the crucial quandary for student and believer alike -- is the Jesus in whom we trust also the Jesus that really existed? Is the picture the Gospels paint a historically sensible and convincing picture?
Because, in fact, it's the only one we have.
The rest is wishful thinking.
Thus it becomes evident that in this book the author not only intends to engage in theological debate, but also to fulfill his priestly and episcopal task: with a compelling and immediately accessible language (skillfully translated from the original German, I must say) he accompanies the reader in an encounter with a man of flesh and blood who is more than a man - because his tomb was found empty.