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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly fantastic., 20 April 2011
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This review is from: Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Pt. 2 (Hardcover)
This is the Pope's second book on Jesus of Nazareth. It is perhaps a fitting book for Easter given that it focuses on the passion narratives.

A brief summary of each chapter is as follows:

1. Considers Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the `temple' incident. Most noticeably it considers how this narrative fits the Davidic prophetic narratives.
2. Jesus' eschatology - i.e. the destruction of the temple, and the new temple in his body.
3. The washing of the feet - i.e. how Jesus becomes the servant of everyone. This is considered in the light of the parable of the suffering servant.
4. Chapter 17 of John's Gospel, i.e. the prayer of forgiveness. This is the moment when Jesus finally says, `my time has come'. This chapter considers what this meant and what Jesus saw his mission as being.
5. Considers the last supper and the Eucharist rite which was given through it. It then considers how this rite has been passed on and has evolved throughout the church's history.
6. Considers the garden of Gethsemane narratives - i.e. that in the garden suffering, God becomes one with man's suffering. This chapter really focuses on the suffering of Jesus, knowing that he was approaching his final hours. In this way he comes to share in everyone's `fear' of dying.
7. The trial of Jesus - i.e. that the crime was not political and therefore Jesus was not just a failed political leader, but rather that the crime was religious, i.e. one of blasphemy. The blasphemy was that Jesus alluded to himself being God and his anti-temple talk.
8. Crucifixion and burial - i.e. the prayers which Jesus offers during his crucifixion. For example, `my God, my god, why have you forsaken me', is psalm 22, which is the prayer for Israel's forgiveness. Even in his final hours he still offers himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
9. Considers resurrection - i.e. if it's just bodily resuscitation then it's not that impressive. This chapter argues that the resurrection was an `evolutionary leap' in which something wholly new occurred.
10. The second coming - is this in the future, or does has it already happened, daily... this chapter is actually truly and wholly heart warmly inspiring. Its focus is on how Jesus indwells in the individual and lights their heart with his presence. In this way he becomes the bridge between God and man.

In the intro the Pope specifically says that his book is intended to offer a new historico-theological, rather than strictly historical, look at the passion narratives. The outcome is frankly amazing. I have read a lot of books on theology and actually this book ranks up there in the top brackets. Rarely do I sit back and think: this book makes me think completely different about Jesus, this book has really deepened my understanding - well, this book did it, and more than once. Usually I would offer a word of criticism on a book but in this books case it's positively difficult to do this - it really is that good a book.

I terms of the book itself; it's possibly one of the Pope's better written books. The language style is easy to read and the print is nicely spaced not being too small or close together. The cover is a nice white cover with the papal crescent imprinted on the front - obviously it has a dust jacket which goes over this also.

In total I couldn't recommend this book enough. It made me think in a new way and deepened my understanding of the last days of Jesus. I can only thank the Pope for actually taking the time to write this book because it truly was a great pleasure and experience to read. Overall, I couldn't recommend it enough.

At the time of writing, Easter fast approaches and I would highly recommend this book to deepen your understanding of Easter and what it's deeper meaning is.
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