Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration

by Pope Benedict XVI

Other authorsJoseph Ratzinger (Author)
Hardcover, 2007



Call number

232.901 BEN



Call number

232.901 BEN




In his first book written as pope, Benedict XVI offers a portrait of Jesus based on the Gospels and encourages Christians to better understand the central figure of their faith.


Doubleday (2007), Edition: 1st, 374 pages

Original publication date



0385523416 / 9780385523417



(185 ratings; 4.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member YvonnevonInnes
Jesus of Nazareth is very scholarly work. Knowing a little of Ratzinger’s background and passion I expected nothing less. It is not the easiest read or organized in a smorgasbord fashion where you can pick, choose and skip. And I have to admit that I would not have been able to tackle it without having read a couple of other theology books first. Despite its academic structure, I couldn’t put it down and will read it again.

Ratzinger is concerned that many people have lost sight of Jesus’s true nature. That Jesus and his purpose have often been misconstrued or over simplified. Jesus’s image has been stripped down to that of a liberal rabbi or “moralist” who preaches “individualistic morality.” I have personally witnessed how this type of “impoverished” vision in family and friends has regrettably devolved into a form of secular relativism.

The purpose of Ratzinger’s book it is to help reveal Jesus’s true purpose and therein our own. His progression is both insightful and logical. He accomplishes this not only by drawing attention to the various foretellings and prefigures in the Old Testament but, more importantly, also through Jesus’s own words. He shows us Jesus’s personal prophetic recollections of the Old Testament and his foreshadowings.

I really valued his compassionate analysis of the “Our Father”. It is my favorite prayer and it means even more to me now that I understand it better.

Although it is a challenging read, I would recommend this powerful resource, just not as a first read. Familiarity with the bible and some theological background is necessary to comprehend the progression of logic. You don’t, however, have to be an expert. While I did have to look up a couple of terms, I didn’t have to read all the mentioned theologians’ theories to benefit from its underlying message.
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LibraryThing member dvulcano
As a Roman Catholic, the content of this book is perfect. It was written to seemingly "set the record straight" due to so many interpretations of Jesus's life and his teachings in modern literature. The book studies the authenticity of the Gospels and analyzes major parables and events (Sermon on the Mount, the meaning of the "Our Father" etc).

While not disputing any of the content of the book, I offer a warning to those who may wish to read it. This is not a book for beginners. It's not even a book for "mid-levels". The book mostly offers an advanced look at the life and teachings of Jesus taking for granted that the reader understands many movements with and against the Roman Catholic understanding. Many proper names and movements over the past 2000 years are referenced by name without any further elaboration on their background, assuming the reader already knows or will pursue knowledge. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, he was dubbed "the thinking man's pope" to contrast his sytle to that of John Paul II who was able to appreciate the vernacular. Pope John Paul II was right for his time as he could work with the television media and understood the importance of sound bites. Pope Benedict XIV is perfect for his time as the prevalence of the internet facilitates the ease of communication, reading and research. This book reflects that style by offering a very complex look at the life and teachings of Jesus and his critics over the past 2000 years.

I will read this again as I'm sure I will get something out of it every time I read it.
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LibraryThing member laudemgloriae
Marvelous! The insights of the Holy Father about who Jesus Christ is, against what the world says He is or should be are so sincere, and timeless. He has an amazing way of making difficult theological concepts understandable... and just making you think.
LibraryThing member mramos
Pope Benedict pens a biography of the flesh-and-blood Jesus as revealed in the Gospels. The pope shares his understanding of Jesus of Nazareth as the central figure of Christianity, who brough God to Earth along with faith, hope and love.
LibraryThing member the_awesome_opossum
I'm very impressed with the Pope right now. Jesus of Nazareth is a very thoughtful and elegant exegesis of the Gospels, in search of the reconciliation of the historical Jesus with the Christ Jesus. Benedict works chronologically through Jesus' life, beginning with his baptism and working through the Transfiguration.

While he refers to a variety of scholars for historical contexts and interpretations, often he prefers to keep the exegesis insulated - he refers back to other parts of the Bible, the Torah or the prophets for example, to interpret the Gospel. It's a very sophisticated and often innovative look at who exactly Jesus was… (more)
LibraryThing member johnredmond
Ratzinger (since he emphasizes that the work is not magisterial) respects biblical scholarship but is not imprisoned by it.
LibraryThing member Wilhelm_Weber
Very readable and highly recommendable, incorporating scholarly precision with down-to-earth Christian faith. A pleasure and a blessing to read! Thank God for biblical scholars and Churchmen like Benedikt XVI. It reminds me a lot of the Roman Catholic, who in Worms judged: "Then the Lutherans are in the Bible and we are outside." Well, I think Pope Benedikt XVI is doing his fair share of getting RC right back into the Holy Bible and the Holy Bible into RC. If you are looking for a good present for Thanksgiving or Christmas - here is a good choice!… (more)
LibraryThing member tony_sturges
When Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, he became the most accomplished theologian to ascend to the Papacy in several hundred years. Over the previous fifty years of his life he had written scores of theological works; even his critics have acknowledged his erudition and intellect. Accessible and illuminating, "Jesus of Nazareth" is an antidote to the academic search for the 'historical' Jesus. Written by an author who is not only the head of the Catholic Church but also a respected theologian in his own right, this book is full of insight, humility and honesty. The Pope has called Jesus of Nazareth, 'solely an expression of my personal search 'for the face of the Lord'. Everyone is free, then, to contradict me. I would only ask my readers for that initial willingness to sympathise, without which there can be no understanding'. The author's fundamental purpose in this book is to restore and renew 'the interior friendship with Jesus a figure that makes sense and feels right in historical terms'. An informative and insightful portrait of the figure that emerges in the Gospels, it is a deeply spiritual work that contends with the dramatic and provocative questions of faith. Important and valuable to those disillusioned by troubled times and in the wake of recent scepticism, "Jesus of Nazareth" will engage and provoke thought in anyone who seeks a relationship with God.

“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.”
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LibraryThing member davidpwithun
An excellent answer by the most prominent figure in Christendom to the proponents of the historical-critical method and their false assumptions. Powerful.


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