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

(Jesus of Nazareth #1)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  5,342 ratings  ·  371 reviews
Pope Benedict XVI's iconic life of Jesus, a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of the central figure of the Christian faith.

"This book is . . . my personal search 'for the face of the Lord.'"--Benedict XVI

In this bold, momentous work, the Pope seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from today's "popular" depictions and to restore his true identity as discovered in t
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Image (first published 2007)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  5,342 ratings  ·  371 reviews

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May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
I read this trilogy not in order (doesn't make it confusing), so this is my last one of the three, and I think it's not a bad way to end. Whatever I may think of the author now, it's true that he can write, calmly, clearly and bringing new things up for us to realise. He also brings up other writer's points of view about certain subjects.

This book focuses on Jesus' active preaching part of life, from the Baptism to the Transfiguration, with the Passion left for another book, and the childhood ti
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone serious about the spiritual life
Recommended to booklady by: my good friend, Laine
Undoubtedly the most profound book I’ve read in 2008 and the best book on Jesus – outside of the Gospels – I’ve ever encountered. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI claims, “this book is . . . my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.’” It can be yours too. It is alternately poetical, mystical, scholarly, exegetical and meditative. It is always erudite, challenging, thoughtful and catholic, i.e., universal. It is never preachy or pedantic.

Jesus of Nazareth is not for the faint-
Fred Warren
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I stumbled across Joseph Ratzinger’s first volume of Jesus of Nazareth in a local public library a couple of years ago, and thumbed through it, at first, in idle curiosity. Hmm, I wonder what the Pope has to say about Jesus?

I read a few paragraphs. Hey, this is good. This is really good…

What struck me immediately was the book’s tone. This didn’t read like some ponderous declaration of ancient dogma from the Papal Throne. It was like reading something my late father-in-law might have written, gen
Jeff Miller
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I received Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth I had previously written that in reviewing such a book "I am not worthy." Exactly how do you go about reviewing a book by a scripture scholar and theologian of the magnitude of the Holy Father? Well the task is easier than I thought it would be. For one this isn't a book addressed to a limited audience of scripture scholars and exegetes, but one that everybody can benefit from. I have read several of his books and I found this one the easiest ...more
Jun 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Matt by: Intellectual Christians, Catholics
This book is a facinating deeply personal insight into the mind of this Pope. The Pope writes with both fitting erudition and the deep earnest conviction one would hope to find in an office so many people look to for spiritual leadership.

The book is however quite dry and is of no use to anyone but an already committed believer. His exploration of the personhood of Jesus and his mission is very well grounded, but so deeply grounded that it bores with its repetition and constant preemptive strike
Jeff Miller
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review from 2007:

"Jesus of Nazareth" is not a life of Jesus in the style of Romano Guardini’s "The Lord", Frank Sheed’s "To know Christ Jesus", or Archbishop Sheen’s "Life of Christ." The Pope does not set to piece together the Gospels and present the story of Christ in specific chronological order. After the foreword and introduction the first of ten chapters deals with the Baptism of the Lord and ends with the Transfiguration and discussion of Son of Man, Son of God and Jesus’ I Am statemen
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2013-list
I read this book during Lent this year. Though it has many scholarly components to it, this book felt, to me, like curling up with my professor grandfather. Pope Benedict uses imagery that’s accessible and even, in places, unexpected. I’ll be digesting and referring back to this book for quite some time to come.
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Theologians and intellectual Christians
Shelves: at-home
You may hear about Jesus every Sunday and think you already know all there is to know about Him. But when you love someone, you can never spend too much time getting to know him better.

Benedict discusses familiar Gospel stories in a new light, and makes them relevant to modern theological discussions that are going on both within Christianity and with other world religions. It is deep material, so it takes a while to read, but it is worth it.
Julie Davis
Julie and Scott take a quick swim to the deep end of the pool (where all the cool kids hang out) to talk theology: our discussion is Good Story #59. ...more
Bob Price
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This Pope seriously knows his Bible.

That may be a 'no-duh' statement for many people, but I have been raised with a stereotype that has haunted my adult life. Fortunately, this book has shattered that illusion.

Jesus of Nazareth is nothing short of amazing. Sure, I don't agree with all of Pope Benedict's conclusions or his exegesis, but no one can deny the breadth of his scholarship or the level of his devotion.

Pope Benedict gives an overview of the majority of the life of Jesus (Part 2 deals
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second reading of this book. Pope Benedict writes very clearly and explains the context of the words of Jesus from the Old Testament. I particularly liked the chapters on his Baptism, the Sermon of the Mountain (and the explanation of how a Jewish rabbi understands the words of Jesus), the Transfiguration, and the titles of Jesus.
Ben De Bono
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Thought provoking and wonderfully written, this is a great book for Catholics and non Catholics (me) alike
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This is probably a 4 or 5 star book, but I have a 3 star brain. The Pope is a much smarter man than I.
Friar Stebin John Capuchin
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic, 2017-read
The first book of the trilogy written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made a speculative study on the life of Jesus Christ. This book is an answer to the skepticism of the recent scholars who deviated from the real person of Jesus. In the recent decades the scholarship of the study of Jesus Christ had gone away from the real meaning of Jesus. All those books came after 1950s had separated the historical Jesus from the Christ of faith. At this juncture the book Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI bec ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Catholics having an axe to Grind with Lutheranism
Recommended to Czarny by: The Jesuit next door.
Shelves: religion
"Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration" first volume on Benedict XVI's trilogy on our redeemer, the Son of Man. It is highly Christological and in no way Marian There is no mention of any of the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (i.e. The Annunciation, The Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation and the Finding in the Temple.) There is similarly no mention of the Magi, the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Massacre of the Innocents or the Flight into Egypt. ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Have a pen and highlighter with you when you read this book - the professor is in and class has started!

Thoroughly readable, but also deep. Highly recommended reading for the time between Epiphany and the Easter Triduum (that begins with Holy Thursday). At times, it reads like a textbook (so have a dictionary nearby), but it's because he is doing a critical study of all the other studies about Christ - before he presents his personal understanding of his King.

All throughout, though, there are so
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is searching scripture for answers
Recommended to Frank by: Frankie
This book surprised me. It touches on biblical commentary with thoughts I have never heard before. I have been impressed with Ratsinger's writings but this one is really good. It explains things that I have never heard explained before and in a very easy to understand style. This is truly a good read and not just a text book approach. ...more
Rick Dugan
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Pope Benedict described his book “Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration” as his “personal search for the face of the Lord.” The face that he found was Jesus of Nazareth. He writes, “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!” Benedict’s book shows us how to read the Bible Christologically (“seeing Christ as the key ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jesus
I'm working on creating a maxim that goes something like this: the more hyperbole on the back cover, the less likely any of it is to be true. A simpler way of expressing this same sentiment is: Laud? Have mercy!

Let me share with you the blurb appearing on the back cover so you can better understand where I'm coming from when I finally get to the review of the book. "In this bold, momentous work, the Pope seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent "popular" depictions and to restore Jesus'
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ratzinger
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. Even though it took me almost a month to read, this is one of the best books I've ever read. This book was written by a man who is clearly a disciple of Jesus and has spent his life traveling along side the Lord.

It is at once academic enough that it should be included in any course on Christology and at the same time spiritual enough that you should read it in front of the Monstrance during Eucharistic adoration.

Jesus is depicted as a figure deeply r
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a really deep book and takes a while to get through, but it is worth the effort. My knowledge of Jesus was deepened, especially as Benedict wove together themes from the Gospels and the Old Testament. The uniqueness of Jesus and what he brings (more specifically who he brings--God)is brilliantly expounded.

I have read the Pope before in a much shorter work, "Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures" and knew he is a good writer. A lot of Protestants wouldn't consider reading a book from t
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic, theology
Joseph Ratzinger knows what he's talking about!

They didn't make him Pope for nothing!

This book reads like a collection of sermons and expositions about what Jesus is all about. Lots of insights about the Kingdom of God, Jesus' fulfillment of the law and Old Testament prophecies, the meaning of the Beatitudes, Parables, and Jesus' symbolic actions. Such a rich book.

I'd heard a lot of negative press about Ratzinger as Pope. He's a top-class theologian and a great leader of the Church. Christians
TJ Jakubowski
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course this is amazing. The text is very insightful, drawing from or engaging numerous scholarly sources. At one or two points, the explication becomes quite academic but he is sure to return to his thesis.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
great productive/'synthetic' use of the his-crit toolbox, showing in a scholarly manner what Tradition has always taught, namely that the humanity of Christ cannot be made sense of apart from his Divinity. ...more
I'd be lying if I said that this book didn't bring me closer to the Christian faith, but at the end it got pretty boring. ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest books ever written on the life of Christ, outside of the Bible. It's two companion volumes, "Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection" and "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives," are equally magnificent. This trilogy combines Biblical accuracy, a keen knowledge of the writings of the Church Fathers, profound Christian faith, theological probity, and deeply person reflections on the Son of God by one of the greatest, most noble an ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm docking a star simply because it wasn't quite as readable as the Infancy Narratives - the IN can be enjoyed by someone with no theological expertise and only a rudimentary familiarity with the Bible. This one was dense in parts, assumed fairly intimate knowledge of Scripture, and also a knowledge of some major schools of theology and philosophy. I skipped a couple of sub chapters that were a slog.

However, Ratzinger is phenomenal, as always. An excellent writer, an original and highly intelli
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Seminary students and armchair thelogians
I'm not Catholic but it does take a little nerve to critique a book by the Pope. Here goes, however. Some of this book I really liked. It is part of a planned multi-volume work on the life of Jesus. Benedict takes several episodes from Christ's life (the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, several parables, etc.) and uses those to discuss the nature of Jesus and his mission. There are no particularly novel interpretations here. He focuses on Christ as both fully God and fully man. This is, ...more
Mar 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This is another book I listened to during the drive to and from work. I think because every sentence was so jam packed with meaning, I would have better absorbed its spiritual nuggets via traditional reading. There were times where I was wowed by the Pope's insights, but there were other times where I just drifted in and out of attentiveness... I think it warrants another listen at some point. Ha! I just noticed the option to warn readers that "this review contains spoilers"... I thought about c ...more
Adam Shields
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Short Review: This is the first of a trilogy of book on Jesus that Benedict XVI published after he became pope. This is a theological (not historical) exploration of Jesus. It is a highly readable book; surprisingly so considering it is a translation from German and from a renown scholar. It is clear from the book that Benedict is a real scholar. But he is not writing a scholarly book, but a theological book. There is not a lot that is really new here. But there are some sections of brilliance. ...more
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Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) was the 265th Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the head of the Catholic Church. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and too ...more

Other books in the series

Jesus of Nazareth (3 books)
  • Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection
  • Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

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23 likes · 4 comments
“Purity of heart is what enables us to see.” 55 likes
“The great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God.... 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 our origin and destiny: faith, hope and love. It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little. Yes indeed, God's power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and the lasting power. Again and again, God's cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves.”
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