Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pope Benedict's new book

When I read the first volume of Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, I was stunned by how good it was. I had read a couple things by the former Cardinal Ratzinger, and they were excellent, but I was still not expecting his book on Jesus to be as great as it was. I have read a lot of Bible commentaries in my time, but I was stunned by how many observations were contained in the book that I had never run across before. Part of that is due, I am sure, to the fact that his education is in the continental European tradition: he simply has read people we in the Anglo world have never read. We Anglos are, unfortunately, a little inbred when it comes to our theological (and any other kind of) intellectual knowledge.

Here is a part of Anthony Esolen's review of the new volume in today's Wall Street Journal:

Imagine touring the Sistine Chapel with someone who has done more than merely read some learned commentary on the paintings of Michelangelo. He has looked at them, pondered them, loved them, even waited upon them to reveal their inner harmony, and now he seeks to hand on to you what he has found. Imagine listening to a master organist, not playing the whole St. Matthew Passion but showing you, as he touches a chord here and makes a progression there, some hint of the grandeur of Bach's composition that you might miss in the overwhelming storm of its performance. Then you have an idea of what Pope Benedict XVI has attempted in his three-volume work on the life of Jesus, but most humbly and sweetly in the "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives."

Read more here.

No comments: