Monday, February 28, 2011

A personal search 'for the face of the Lord'

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI completed his first volume on Christ’s life – Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. It was his first published work after elevation to the Papacy, and it became a worldwide best-seller.

In his foreword to the 2007 work, Benedict makes no mistake about his perspective:

“I believe that this Jesus – the Jesus of the Gospels – is a historically plausible and convincing figure. Unless there had been something extraordinary in what happened, unless the person and the words of Jesus radically surpassed the hopes and expectations of the time, there is no way to explain why he was crucified or why he made such an impact.

“It goes without saying that this book is in no way an exercise in the magisterium,” he adds later in the foreword, “but is solely an expression of my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.’” (cf. Ps 27:8)

Benedict’s combination of personal faith and what only can be described as theological brilliance enables him to explore – and in many ways restore – Jesus’ true identity as revealed in the Gospels. As he does in Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, the Pontiff challenged readers of the first book to encounter Jesus face-to-face through those portions of the Scriptures that cover most of Christ’s public ministry.

In reviewing the first volume, noted author and theologian George Weigel said, in part, “Ratzinger reveals the core of his personality as he invites readers into the classroom of a master teacher….”

Ignatius Press Founder and Publisher Fr. Joseph Fessio studied for his doctorate in Theology under then-Professor Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He recently said that the Holy Father’s interest is “helping people to know and love someone he knows and loves” … Jesus of Nazareth.

You can learn more about and order Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration here:

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