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on 22 May 2016
This is the ‘prequel’ to the Popes two volumes on the life of Jesus. It is really an extended meditation on the early life of Jesus rather than a full scale study. A number of interesting insights are offered and there is some consideration of the historicity of the traditional accounts but it will not satisfy the sceptic or even the believer who remains unsure about things like the arrival of the wise men and the appearance of angels. Similarly with the problem of the dating of the nativity – but there the traditionalist has a stronger case given the limits of our knowledge of the events of that era, You don’t have to be a Catholic to enjoy this book – the RC influence is obviously there but it is not excessive and Protestants need not worry about the treatment given to Mary, which is respectful and certainly not idolatrous. This is a gentle book from which each reader can take what they find useful.
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on 2 March 2013
Benedict XVI is a great theologian. After the first two books in this series he said that he would write a shorter work on the Infancy narratives of Jesus' life in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Like the two previous volumes this work is a real eye-opener in that it gives insights into the gospels that had never struck me before. Benedict not only carefully explains the texts and their historical contexts in order to reveal their meaning but never loses sight of the fact that he has to be a meticulous historian; he is also ready to criticise the strengths and weaknesses of his findings and theses. Neither is he reticent upon drawing upon the work of theologians of other religious traditions, chiefly German Protestants. In this he either agrees and expands their work or draws attention to possible weaknesses. Nor does he avoid criticising Catholic theologians. All quotations and references to other works are completely and fully indexed. The three books are not only enlightening but also pleasurable and easy to read; this being in no way a diminishment of their scholarship. Finally one gets the impression that this is a labour of love and not just of scholarship and although the work is authoritative there is never a feeling of reading a Pope who feels he is automatically infallible.
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on 30 August 2014
Pope Benedict XVI's book 'Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives' is a great encouragement to faith and an education into Jesus' Birth and early years.

I found the discussion of The Virgin Birth, explanations around the Roman Census, the reasons for the differing portrayals of Joseph and Mary in Matthew's and Luke's Gospel respectively all very convincing.

For me this book really gave satisfying answers for the majority of the outstanding questions.

It would be wonderful indeed if the book was also printed in a larger font and further enhanced by a selection of paintings depicting the Nativity narratives chosen by the author and then we would all give it to our friends!
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on 30 January 2013
This is the third and last of the series written by Pope Benedict XVI., under the general title JESUS OF NAZARETH.
It provides the background to Jesus' birth and early life. The subject is treated with exegetical rigour, but the style is simple, direct, and leads to "lectio divina" for those who want to experience a deeper commitment to the Scriptural text.
The story of Christmas is moving in its simplicity. The book will appeal to the student of Scriptures and to those who wish to deepen their spiritual life.
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2013
I am sure that Pope Benedict, who is now acknowledged to be the greatest theologian to hold the office since Pope St Gregory 1, just sits down and writes these profound works from his mind. I don't believe he needs even to look up references. Unfortunately you would think from them that there were only German theologians in the world!! Anyway the book is his usual incisive and interesting scholarship, I would say it is accessible to the educated layman. I would also say to anyone that wants answers to very serious questions..is it myth or reality, or in these profound events of the Incarnation is it both, or is it more that these amazing works of God are where the distinction between the material and the supernatural gets blurred and meet...read this book.It is a gem.
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on 20 December 2014
As a historical work, this is a fine work though it is limited to being a Biblical study rather than a broad based historical review. Ratzinger does successfully attempt to give an in depth study on the birth of Christ and the book should appeal to Protestant Evangelicals as well as Roman Catholics. The book itself is beautifully crafted. It is one of the finest made books I have come across for years. It should be read as a good foundation theological work.
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on 1 January 2013
This account of the infancy narratives is remarkably clear and accessible to people who are not experts in Biblical scholarship. The book is small in compass, but contains all that the reader could wish to know, with references given to other scholars who might dissent from some of the conclusions that the Holy Father draws. I would emphasise that one does not have to be a Roman Catholic (like myself) to benefit from, and enjoy, this book. Dr Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) is, of course, a Biblical scholar of the first rank, and this little work is German scholarship at its best.
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on 8 March 2013
This is the first book I have ever bought by that was written by a Pope, as I am a Protestant. I bought it because I liked what I read by using the "look inside " ability. Which I think is a great tool tool to help you know if the book you are looking at is of the type you would like.
I found the book very interesting and will read it again. It was great to see that it was almost free of Catholic dogma, had it been I would not have bought it. There were parts where I was puzzelled about what was being said or meant, but that was no problem as I did have to remember it was a tranlation from German. I found it interesting and enjoyed it.
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on 4 May 2014
Pope Benedict confirms his brilliance as a theologian with his much awaited account of the infancy narratives. Although much shorter than the previous volumes in the series, the text contains a treasure trove of theological reflection & historical insights. Some critics may regard this as a purely theological approach to the birth narratives rather than a truly objective historical study, but Benedict's approach is the most fruitful way of understanding the historical figure of Jesus that I have read. He makes it clear that the distinction made by many other biblical historians between the historical figure of Jesus and Christ of faith is an artificial one that greatly impoverishes our understanding of Jesus. The figure of Christ that emerges from this series of books is firmly rooted in actual historical events & makes much more sense than other studies that approach Jesus from a purely secular perspective. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in Jesus, it is beautifully written & will appeal to believers & non-believers alike.
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on 15 March 2014
The final part of Benedict XVI's series on the life of Our Lord tackles the theological meaning of Jesus' infancy by mainly focusing on Luke's Gospel. Although not as compelling as Part Two, the book is another clear demonstration of Ratzinger's intelligent and insightful reading of the New Testament. His work allows us to draw closer to Jesus by gaining a multi-layered understanding of even the simplest of events in Our Lord's extraordinary life. I reccommend the book to everyone who wants to gain a deeper theological understanding of what Jesus' life means for us.
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