9 Things You Need to Know About Pope Benedict’s New Book About Baby Jesus

by jimmyakin

in Apologetics, Benedict XVI, Bible, Bible History, History

Pope Benedict has a new book about the Baby Jesus. What should you know about it?

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.


3. Does Pope Benedict think that these parts of the gospels are historical?


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{ 1 comment }

noprem December 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I’m happy to hear the Pope is in tune with modern scholarship and Bible study. (Many don’t know there is such a person as the Vatican Astronomer, BTW. You should be giving him more publicity. Believe he’s S.J.)
Anyway I enjoyed the post, and have some comments:
On #2, for handy reference, Matthew has the magi and Luke has the lambs.
On #3, “they may involve a certain amount of literary artistry”. Can you quote B XVI’s examples? Luke 2:1-3 e.g. sounds like excellent historicity, to me. Many others, better qualified, have said that his Gospel and Acts are first-rate.
#6, on the “singing”. Those are warm and fuzzy thoughts, but they distract from the important point of the incident. The shepherds, ordinary Jewish workingmen, were visited by a group of messengers (Gk aggelos) with a specific, accurate, timely message from God. They were able to act on this message immediately and were given the high privilege of “first look” at the future savior of their people. And at no time was the family put in danger. BTW, does the Pope say just when the magi visited the ‘child Jesus in his house’, or what collateral damage was done when Herod acted on their information? Hark- herald angels SPEAK what they’ve been given to herald; no mistakes that way. Side note: Often they’re represented at Xmastime as young women, but there are no female angels in scripture AFAIK, and Hebrew and Greek are gendered languages. Cf. 2 Kings 19:35.
On #7, I find this interesting: The “manger” was indeed part of a stall or outbuilding for animals. (‘no room [in] the inn.’) It seems this innkeeper, having overflow business, cleared out the animals, cleaned the stalls (we hope!), and rented the spaces as rooms. History and archaeology confirm that the stone barns often had niches cut in the walls while wooden ones had shelves attached. These would hold fodder for the animals in ordinary circumstances. Thus it’s likely that Joseph slept on the floor while Mary and the baby slept ‘on the shelf’ as it were.
On #9, ‘buy the book’.Or, one can get the full – true – story for free from careful reading of the Bible and such history as I have suggested above. Or, one can answer one’s door some Saturday morning … :-
Did the Pope notice the amazing prophecy at Micah 5:1? What a “called shot!

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