21 November 2012

Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

I just received the Pope's latest book on my Kindle:  Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives - Pope Benedict XVI : Ignatius Press.

The Holy Father's previous books on Jesus were impressive.  I think they were accessible to most readers, but they certainly not Reader's Digest versions.  The books attempt to discuss the person of Jesus Christ, as presented by the Scriptures.  What the Pope does better than most is to make the case for the orthodox understanding of Jesus, while at the same time using the tools of modern historical and text criticism.

The Catholic understanding of Christ is not simply the most literal application of the biblical texts.  From the time of St. Augustine, the Church has understood that the various books are read differently.  Some are more symbolic than others.  Even the Gospels, which each attempt to portray the ministry of Jesus, can be very different.  One cannot simply read the Gospel of John in exactly the same way one reads the Gospel of Mark.  The two are doing different things.

The Pope shows that one can used the tools of modern criticism in a way to deepen one's understanding of the Gospel message.  This current book plans to do the same with the Infancy narratives.  (Just in time for Advent & Christmas!)