Pope Benedict’s homework: “What I did for my summer vacation.”


Spokesman: Pope Working on Vol. 3 of Jesus of Nazareth

ROME, JULY 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The director of the Vatican press office says that Benedict XVI is working on the third and final volume of Jesus of Nazareth during his time at Castel Gandolfo.

This last portion of the work will be about Our Lord’s infancy and childhood. It is expected to be shorter than the first two volumes.

Volume 1 of Jesus of Nazareth was published in 2007 and Volume 2 in 2011.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi also told journalists the Holy Father is preparing speeches for his trip to Lebanon in September.

The first volume is HERE.

I found, in the first volume, the Holy Father’s exposition of the problems with an unbalanced “historical-critical” approach to Scriptures masterful and invaluable.  Also, he has a succinct explanation of how we are to understand “inspiration” and Scripture.  His reflections on the temptations of the Lord was rich.

The second volume of the Holy Father’s work Jesus of Nazareth focuses on the period the Lord’s life from the entrance into Jerusalem to His resurrection.

Click HERE.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Whee! I was hoping that’s what he’d be working on.

  2. Mike says:

    I agree with that assessment, Father. The second volume, it seems to me, was written in a simpler, more accessible style. As well, the second volume’s reflections on the Passion of Our Lord, especially the Agony in the Garden, is essential reading during Lent, I would say. The Holy Father’s thoughts on what exactly was in the chalice (not cup!) that the Lord drank completely are unforgettable.

  3. FloridaJoan says:

    Co-incidence … ? I’ve just finished Vol I ( for the 2nd time ) and have started re-reading Vol II. What a wise shepherd we have been given ; and oh how well he feeds His sheep.

    pax et bonum

  4. I do appreciate Pope Benedict’s deep meditations, and to be fair I haven’t read any of the Jesus of Nazareth volumes, but I heard some criticism one time that in the first volume he discounts a passage of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew as a “later addition.” I’m not sure of the veracity of that claim, but it’s always disturbed me. I think it was Matthew 27:25, Clementine Vulgate. I’ve always wondered whether that is a sound way to interpret the Gospels… usually, when you read the Gospels and there is account or a detail that is in only one, I thought you were to read it in harmony with the other accounts.

  5. HighMass says:

    Viva il Papa, Hope you have a restful vacation Holy Father, much deserved!

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Jonathan Catholic:

    If you aren’t going to read the book, why are you letting yourself get disturbed by hearsay? And if you are going to read the book, why don’t you read it before having an opinion?

    Look, the whole point of the Pope’s book is having respect for Scripture. He’s writing three whole volumes about this. Do you really think the man is going to steer you wrong? Read the book, pay attention to the comments, then come back and discuss the passage if you find that it actually exists and that it worries you. (And giving a volume and page number would be helpful.)

  7. Suburbanbanshee:

    I don’t have any opinion locked in stone, nor am I just not going to read the book; it’s actually on my massive, five-page Catholic-books-to-buy list :P You have to understand where I’m coming from. I’m converting to Catholicism and I hadn’t read a Catholic book in my life prior to January 2011 (other than the Holy Bible, but, ya know, Protestants kinda refuse to follow the logic on that one). As a consequence of that, I’ve only had the time and the opportunities to read a few of the many excellent Catholic books out there, which along with many articles and online research have been enough to get very familiar with the Faith. There are still many books I haven’t read but have only heard or read about, such as the Jesus of Nazareth books.

    I will definitely end up reading all three volumes since this is one of the signature works of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate :) And I know that the point is having respect for Scripture, and for the most part, I do trust the Pope. I also know though that not everyone’s concept of respect for Scripture is the same in the Catholic world, ranging among scholars from way on the secular, critical examining (and editing) of the text side, to the stoutly traditional and conservative side. It’s how you get such varying Bibles in the Catholic world as the RSV-CE on the one hand, and the Knox, Confraternity, or Douay Bibles on the other. The RSV omits large chunks of Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, Ephesians just to name a few Books, and is actually seems to be on the conservative side of how in love scholars can fall with the critical method of Biblical scholarship.

    So yes, you’ll have to forgive me, I haven’t had the time yet to read every book I want to, and I’m certainly not pronouncing or declaring that something is wrong or skewed. I’m just saying that from what research I’ve been able to do in the process of my conversion and studying the Catholic Faith and worldview, 1) There is a wide range of understandings of what constitutes ‘respect for the Scriptures,’ and 2) No scholar is immune from the scholarly opinions of the more critical side, not even the Pope when he’s writing as a private theologian. I don’t honestly know whether that sort of attitude is in the book or not, but I intend to find out as soon as I can :) and as I come into the Church I just wish to be faithful to the Sacred Scriptures as they are are listed in the Latin Vulgate at the General Council of Trent, together with all their parts.

  8. jflare says:

    I’m in the process of reading the first volume myself. I don’t remember if I’ve read the part you’ve referred to about Matthew, but it’s tough to tell what might be appropriate and what might not. Consider that the Bible as we know it wasn’t compiled and defined AS the Bible until near the end of the 4th century. If Benedict writes that something may have been added to the Gospel of Matthew after the original was written down, he’d be in a much better position to know than I. His comments thus far reflect a VERY thorough understanding of what’s written.

  9. Clinton says:

    JonathanCatholic, congratulations on your conversion and welcome!

    If you’re looking to purchase the Holy Father’s books, or just generally peruse a bookstore with
    an excellent selection of orthodox works, Ignatius Press is a good place to start. As a bonus,
    they periodically hold sales and discount various categories. In time, you may find yourself
    in Fr. Z’s position, with an embarrassment of riches (at least in books).

  10. Phil_NL says:

    Indeed, welcome ‘onboard’ JonathanCatholic!

    And don’t forget, there are more good ooks out there than one can realistically hope to persue in a lifetime. Nothing wrong with trying, of course, not at all, but a faith and tradition as rich as ours can take more than a lifetime to absorb through the brain. Luckily, much of the remainder can be absorbed through the heart, in a way.

  11. Sissy says:

    Hi JonathonCatholic! I enjoy your posts here, and I am so happy for you. As a convert myself, I know how it feels to be simultaneously exhilarated to finally be a Catholic and yet a little daunted by how much catching up there is to do. Take your time; you have the rest of your life to explore this wonderful banquet of riches.

    I have the Holy Father’s Jesus of Nazareth on my Kindle, waiting for an opportune time to begin. But I started out with smaller bites. I started with The Apostles and also his book on The Fathers. I was very surprised by how accessible his writing is. I think you’ll really enjoy those as a warm-up (they’re both quick reads). After looking at all the choices, I selected the Douhy-Rheims Bible for just the reasons you cite. I wanted to feel I was reading the translation closest in time to the Vulgate. One book I highly recommend to all new converts is the one Brant Petrie wrote about the origins of the Mass: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.

  12. robtbrown says:

    For new converts I recommend reading CS Lewis, then Chesterton. Also the books by Dom Hubert van Zeller.

  13. Sissy says:

    robtbrown: I completely agree with your suggestion on C. S. Lewis….he has been called the evangelist to the converts. His writings definitely led me a long, long way in the right direction. I remember reading somewhere in one of his books that there was nothing in Catholicism with which he did not agree. Although I’ve seen no evidence for it, I’ve always suspected he was received into the Church on his deathbed.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Sissy & robtbrown,
    C.S. Lewis had a huge obstacle to conversion to Catholicism — his Northern Irish upbringing. It’s hard to get over that early influence, and in his day it was strongly anti-Catholic not only there, but in the English church as well (Charles Kingsley, whose stories I love dearly, had a most unpleasant streak of it that did not sit well with his kindly character and great talent).
    But I think you’re correct, if we could borrow that familiar term “Catholic in Name Only” and turn it around, he was “Catholic in All But Name”. How could he be anything else, as steeped in medieval thought as he was? He read it, learned it, taught it, breathed it . . . . he just could never walk straight up to it and call it by its name.

  15. Sissy says:

    AnAmericanMother: You’re right, of course, about Lewis’s background. He came close to saying as much once, remarking that only childhood nostalgia (or something like it) kept him in the CoE. And then there was the fact that his good Catholic friend, J.R.R. Tolkien played such a large role in his conversion to Christianity. I like your phrase: “Catholic in All But Name”. I think he would agree with that! I’m very grateful to him for many reasons.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMom and Sissy, I think there is one reason why C.S. Lewis did not become a Catholic and that was because he married a divorced woman. I know this upsets people, but he and Tolkien had a falling out over this, which is public knowledge. The prejudices of the Northern Irish can be overcome by reason, but rarely is love overcome by reason.

    I feel for him, because I think marriage was good for him, but I am afraid the fact of it stopped him from pursuing Catholicism.

    In addition, although he is a great writer, he is not infallible and although I read everything he wrote and commentaries as a very young person, I know he is limited and must be examined by Catholics as such.

  17. AnAmericanMother says:

    I hope you didn’t get the impression that I think Lewis is infallible!
    He had the occasional odd kick in his gallop, one of which was to kind of drift into things . . . a pattern that repeated itself throughout his life. And the hardest thing in the world, no matter how clear your thinking is, is to think clearly while you’re looking in the mirror. Greater men than Lewis have had problems with that.
    With all that said, if he could have been reasoned out of his upbringing I think it would have happened much sooner than ’56.

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