Pope Benedict has just released a new book about Jesus Christ.
It’s appropriate that he released it now–just before Christmas–because it deals with the birth of Jesus.
It’s called Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.
Here are 9 things you should know about it . . .
1. Why did Pope Benedict write this book?
Originally, before he was elected pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wanted to retire and write a book about his own personal views on Jesus Christ, as he is presented in the gospels. He read many books like this when he was younger, and now he wanted to write his own to help people grow closer to Jesus.
He had even begun working on it in the summer holidays he had in 2003 and 2004, before John Paul II passed on in 2005.
But then he was elected pope and all his free time vanished. He still cared enough about the project, though, to make time for it.
Because he was elected pope at an elderly age, he wasn’t sure how long he would live and if he would have the time and energy to complete the project, so instead of writing one book covering all of the gospels, he wrote three, covering different parts.
Volume 1 of the series covered the first part of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Volume 2 covered Jesus’ passion and resurrection. And now in Volume 3 he is going back to finish the series by covering the “infancy narratives.”
2. What are the “infancy narratives”?
The infancy narratives are the parts of the gospels that deal with Jesus’ life before his adult ministry–that is, the parts when he was an “infant.”
That’s an approximate term, though, because they actually cover the period before he was born (in fact, before he was even conceived) and also an incident later in his childhood, when he was about twelve years old.
Only two of the four gospels–Matthew and Luke–cover this period, and they each devote the first two chapters of their gospels to it.
Properly speaking, the infancy narratives are Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.