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Jesus: A Pilgrimage

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,676 ratings  ·  387 reviews
James Martin, SJ, gifted storyteller, editor at large of America magazine, popular media commentator, and New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, brings the Gospels to life in Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer and travel.

Combining the fascinating insights of
Paperback, 560 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by HarperOne (first published March 11th 2014)
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Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This book is partly about the author's travel of visiting sites of the Gospels in Israel, partly about certain parts of Jesus' life, and partly about how he relates to both. Each chapter has the relevant Gospel part at the end. After main text comes reading group questions, notes, and further reading. This is a book both for those who have been believers for a while, and for those who have vague or no thoughts about Jesus yet (you do get a feeling that the author works to include the minds of ...more
Julie Davis
Good Story #83. Scott watches in horror as Julie says, "um... excuse me, Lord, but he's been in there for three days, I don't think you want to go in there."

My full review is below.

I am a fan of Father James Martin's books, especially A Jesuit Off-Broadway. When Scott chose this book for our next religious book discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, I was excited, having been interested since I first saw it mentioned at Amazon.

This is a much thicker and more substantive
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Grumpus by: John
Shelves: spiritual, kindle
This was both educational and spiritually uplifting. The writing and insights into the scriptures was outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which the author laid out the book. In his words, “Each chapter, then, will include some travel narrative, some study of the text, and some spiritual reflection.” This is all done in a conversational manner. Not at all dry. He visits a location, describes it as it is today, explains the historical significance of what happened there, and then shares ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even since Mark Twain first raised the issue in INNOCENTS ABROAD a century and a half ago, there has been a concern among Americans traveling abroad about distinguishing between what is genuine and what are fake concoctions put together by hucksters. It's a pleasure to read this account of a two week visit to the Holy Land by an American Jesuit who is well-able to tell the difference.

His motives for visiting Palestine are religious ones. He writes, "It is to take a look at Jesus as he appears
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jesus: A Pilgrimage begins with an introduction that clearly lays out what the book is and more importantly, what the book is not. I point this out because, I generally go in with preconceived notions of what I expect or want from a book. Fr. Martin is quick to point out that this book is not a theological discussion on who Jesus is, nor is it a Bible commentary. This book, however, is a look at Jesus, as we see Him in the Gospels, through the viewpoint of Fr. Martin's education, experience, and ...more
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't believe it's been a whole month since I started this book, but it's easy to pick up again without losing the thread as he has specific points to make at each site. I learned a bit about biblical history - for one thing, I thought Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem; author says it was a colt. Being locked in Jesus's tomb overnight sounds like anything but a contemplative experience to me (author did not try it himself).

I was interested in the travel narrative aspect, which is secondary (as
Read again in anticipation of hearing Fr. Martin speak on this book Thursday night. It was as moving as the first time I read it. For the first time my heart has been stirred to visit the Holy Land. 03/16/18

This is a most wonderful book -- part theology, part travelogue, part personal reflection.

Fr. Martin tells of his first trip to the Holy Land and reflects on Gospel passages relevant to the sites he visits. Fr. Martin is one of the most down-to-earth religious writers I've ever read; he
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved, loved this book. Martin brings the gospels to life through his travels in the Holy Land. I feel I can better picture Jesus and his world, and better appreciate how miraculous and revolutionary his life and works were. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Harry Allagree
I'd describe this book on Jesus as "travelogue with commentary": very much in keeping with the title. For me it didn't explore particularly new territory, for the most part. (I've read a good number of books on Jesus in my 50 years as a priest!) But it did provide several things: 1) a good comprehensive, usable guide to the life of Jesus, using what I would consider pretty much the best of the theological writing available on the subject, & in a way that can be understood by the "ordinary" ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-list, favorites
I *was* just going to read the book one chapter at a time, but I found that it was just too good a book to put down.

Which makes my earlier hesitation to even crack it open all the more hilarious, doesn't it?

This book is one that (a) I know I'll be buying for my favorite bibliophiles, (b) I know I'll be raving about for at least the next 500 days or so, and (c) I know I'll be rereading. Maybe yet this summer.

Look up "awesome" in your thesaurus and go ahead and just apply all the synonyms here.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellently written book of wry humor and experiences in the Holy Land, by a grounded author who isn't bogged down by verbal plenary inspiration, is well versed in Greek in order to shed light on commonly held misconceptions, and offers a variety of novel ways to look at parables that are often held to he "well understood" (particularly the parable of the talents). His experience in the holy land, and the surprising cooperation of people of various faiths and creeds was truly fascinating, and ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I savored the time spent with this book. It reignited my best memories of being a student at a Jesuit college over 30 years ago. The writing is personal, generous, and vulnerable. Part travel guide (I really want to visit Israel now), part biblical history, part personal reflection on the author's spiritual journey. A perfect book to read in these days leading up to Christmas.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, christian
It’s refreshing to read the Gospel narratives through a different perspective. It’s also highly encouraging to read a serious Bible scholar who does not believe in the literal inerrancy of the Bible and yet shares an authentic faith in Jesus Christ. Martin is the perfect guide to walk us through the life of Jesus. Quite literally he takes us to the places where Jesus walked and performed his miracles, in travel-memoir form. But he also provides exposition and sometimes alternative ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Father James Martin demonstrates once again why he's my favorite Catholic spiritual author. In Jesus: A Pilgrimage, he weaves together a travel narrative of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in-depth (but not overly scholarly) Bible study, and personal meditations on the person of Jesus Christ. He looks not only at the divinity of the Son of God but also the humanity of Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth, and he does so in an inviting, accessible way that anyone, even non-Christians, can enjoy. ...more
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I'm a big fan of Fr. Martin's style and work, but this book suffers, I think, from trying to do too much. Historical information, text criticism, pilgrimage memoir, prayerful reflection. Things get lost.

In fairness, I must admit that Fr. Martin's skirting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict bothered me greatly. Much of this is because of my own time volunteering in Palestine and my own sensitivity to the plight of the Palestinians. Beyond that, Fr. Martin's celebration of Jesus' commitment to
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people have written books about Jesus, and about the Holy Land.
This book, written by a Jesuit Priest, while on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, as he sought out locations of the Churches, Shrines, and land marks where Jesus, lived, performed miracles, died, was buried, resurrected, and Ascended into Heaven.

By writing it in this manner. Father Martin is able to convey the story of Jesus as written in the Gospel as sort of a travelogue for the reader.

If you are tired of reading Theological
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I have ! What a lovely book! Interesting, moving and not at all phony. Would recommend to anyone interested in Jesus regardless of religious beliefs.
This was a wonderful read for me, and a very nice accompaniment to the season of Advent. I have had it on my shelves in hardcover since it's release and have often been jealous watching other friends and colleagues carrying it around while they read it, but I was not able to pick it up, until other required readings were complete. (That may seem a bizarre statement to some, but when teaching, studying, working, having children - who I always try to accompany on their assigned readings for ...more
Maria and I read this book together in preparation for our pilgrimage to the holy land. There are things about his perspective that annoyed us, but overall we found it to be a great overview to the geography of the places where Jesus lived, walked, and ministered, and once in a while a profound thought about the things Jesus did and how they touch our lives. How fitting that we finished reading it on our last night in the holy land. And we’re glad we didn’t delay in reading the last chapter, ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
I have listened to this book and was so glad to find that it was read by the author. The recounting of the pilgrimage by James Martin is interwoven with scriptural readings, historical context, language clarifications, and great descriptors wrapped with wisdom and a sense of humor. This book has furthered my understanding of the Bible and has been a good discussion starter between my husband and I who is listening to it also. I'm so glad I read it and already am looking forward to a reread as it ...more
Jim Bullington
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I very seldom give five stars but I did for this book. Mary Karr, the author of Liars Club said this is the best book she has read on any subject. I completely agree. I would recommend this as a must read no matter what stage your walk with God is right now. You will also probably put a trip to the Holy Land on your bucket list.
Arielle Elise
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nothing short of beautiful--Fr James Martin shares some very personal stories from the Holy Land, yet these stories resonated with me very much. His writings are very imaginative and insightful, and now, I'd like nothing more than a trip to Jerusalem myself.
Grant Otte
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting book, especially reading it during Holy Week. Piqued my interest for sure in visiting the Holy Land at some point in my life. Does a good job of explaining the geographical and historical factors that have both been proven correct and those that are a bit more ambiguous, without taking away from the divinity of Jesus. Exhaustive book covering most of Jesus’s miracles.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fr. Martin takes you along on his pilgrimage through the Holy Land. You are re-introduced to the Gospels as you travel along, visualizing each site. A very moving, spiritual and sometimes humorous journey.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book! I highly recommend the Audible version and then you can hear Fr Martin's own voice. It is filled with personal (and often amusing) anecdotes from Fr Martin's pilgrimage, history, context, interpretations, comparisons of the 4 Gospel writings and explanations. Words are often translated into Greek for better understanding. So enjoyable !
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I sincerely commend this lovely book to all who wish to “see” important parts of Jesus’ homeland (for Fr. Martin’s prose is often quite descriptive) but who also wish to gain greater insight into “what might have happened.” In manner, it combines travelogue about the Holy Land’s geography and significant places and personal reflection with his own spiritual journey.
James Martin is an accomplished speaker and writer, and is also editor-at-large for America, the Jesuit magazine published in the
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow going at first, but once I got into it I enjoyed it and found it gave me a lot to ponder. More serious in tone than many of Jim Martin's books, but a worthwhile read.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful way to begin 2020. Allowed me to refocus my thought for a new year.
Robert D. Cornwall
Who is Jesus? There are many who offer answers from Marcus Borg to Reza Aslan, Bart Ehrman to Bill O'Reilly. One could even turn to Dan Brown -- though I wouldn't. In the course of my studies and my ministry, I've read quite a few books about Jesus. Some I've enjoyed, others not so much. This I can say -- I thoroughly enjoyed Jesus: A Pilgrimage!

James Martin is a Jesuit priest, author, journalist, commentator on matters of church and culture. He even holds his own on Colbert! In this book
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confession, this book has stayed with me for months after finishing it. I know this because I’m writing the review months after finishing it. I read this book, loved this book, and got so busy I never reviewed this book. But I will now. Because it’s fabulous.

Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin is part travelogue and part spiritual journey. Father Martin is part of the Catholic church, and his trip to Israel wasn’t planned as a checklist travel trip. But instead, he longed to physically connect
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James Martin, SJ is a Jesuit priest, writer, editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America, and consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communication.

Fr. Martin grew up in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States, and attended Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982 and worked in corporate finance at General
“But Jesus accepts what we give, blesses it, breaks it open, and magnifies it. Often in ways that we don’t see or cannot see. Or will not be able to see in this lifetime. Who knows what a kind word does? Who knows what a single act of charity will do? Sometimes the smallest word or gesture can change a life.” 9 likes
“Newly confident, Mary says yes. Notice that she does so in absolute freedom. No one coerces her. And she was free to say no. Mary also makes her decision without appealing to a man. She doesn’t ask Joseph for permission. Nor does she tell the angel that she must consult with her father. The young woman living in a patriarchal time makes a decision about the coming king. Someone with little power agrees to bring the powerful one into the world: “Let it be with me according to your word.” 9 likes
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