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Jesus of Nazareth

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Jesus of Nazareth

From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
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"This book is . . . my personal search 'for the face of the Lord.'" --Benedict XVIIn this bold, momentous work, the Pope--in his first book written as Benedict XVI--seeks to salvage the person of Jesus...
"This book is . . . my personal search 'for the face of the Lord.'" --Benedict XVIIn this bold, momentous work, the Pope--in his first book written as Benedict XVI--seeks to salvage the person of Jesus...
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Description-
  • "This book is . . . my personal search 'for the face of the Lord.'" --Benedict XVI

    In this bold, momentous work, the Pope--in his first book written as Benedict XVI--seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent "popular" depictions and to restore Jesus' true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and incites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.

    From Jesus of Nazareth: ". . . the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: But what has Jesus really brought, then, if he has not brought world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought? The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who once gradually unveiled his countenance first to Abraham, then to Moses and the prophets, and then in the wisdom literature--the God who showed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth. He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: faith, hope, and love."

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    "Where Are You From?" ( John 19:9)

    The question about Jesus' origin as a question about being and mission

    While he was interrogating Jesus, Pilate unexpectedly put this question to the accused: "Where are you from?" Jesus' accusers had called for him to receive the death penalty by dramatically declaring that this Jesus had made himself the Son of God-a capital offense under the law. The "enlight­ened" Roman judge, who had already expressed skepticism regarding the question of truth (cf. Jn 18:38), could easily have found this claim by the accused laughable. And yet he was frightened. The accused had indicated that he was a king, but that his kingdom was "not of this world" ( Jn 18:36). And then he had alluded to a mysterious origin and purpose, say­ing: "For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth" ( Jn 18:37).

    All this must have seemed like madness to the Roman judge. And yet he could not shake off the mysterious impres­sion left by this man, so different from those he had met before who resisted Roman domination and fought for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. The Roman judge asks where Jesus is from in order to understand who he really is and what he wants.

    The question about Jesus' provenance, as an inquiry after his deeper origin and hence his true being, is also found in other key passages of Saint John's Gospel, and it plays an equally important role in the Synoptic Gospels. For John, as for the Synoptics, it raises a singular paradox. On the one hand, counting against Jesus and his claim to a divine mission, is the fact that people knew exactly where he was from: he does not come from heaven, from "the Father," from "above," as he purports to ( Jn 8:23). No: "Is not this Jesus, whose fa­ther and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" ( Jn 6:42).

    The Synoptics tell of a similar dispute that arose in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus' hometown. Jesus had ex­pounded the words of sacred Scripture not in the customary manner, but by relating them to himself and his mission with an authority that went beyond the bounds of all exege­sis (cf. Lk 4:21). The listeners were understandably shocked by this treatment of Scripture, by the claim that he himself was the inner point of reference and the key to exegesis of the sacred text. Shock led to denial: " 'Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?' And they took offense at him" (Mk 6:3).

    They know perfectly well who Jesus is and where he comes from-he is one among others. He is one like us. His claim can only be presumption. Moreover, Nazareth was not associated with any such promise. John recounts that Philip said to Nathanael: "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote: Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael's response is well known: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" ( Jn 1:45f.). The or­dinariness of Jesus, the provincial carpenter, seems not to conceal a mystery of any kind. His origin marks him out as one like any other.

    Yet the reverse argument is also adduced against Jesus' au­thority, as in the dispute with the man born blind, after he received his sight: "We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man [Jesus], we do not know where he comes from" ( Jn 9:29).

    When Jesus preached in their synagogue, the people of Nazareth had said something rather similar, before dismiss­ing him as someone well-known to them and...

About the Author-
  • JOSEPH RATZINGER, Pope Benedict XVI, born in 1927 in Germany, has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian, and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was appointed in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.

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    The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration
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