I first bought the Jesus of Nazareth books by Pope Benedict XVI a few years ago. At the time, I started reading the first volume but was unable to finish it. Earlier this year, I finally decided to finish reading it (finishing a half read book is a lot faster than beginning one of an equivalent size).
I started the second one and will likely return to that in the future. But last Sunday I felt that, with the lead up to Christmas, it might be time to read the shortest and final book in the series, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.
In his third book in his trilogy, Pope Benedict XVI reviews the infancy narratives of Christ. He looks at the aspects of the accounts in the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke, noting aspects for consideration and differences. Similar to his first book in the series, it holds a fine balance between not going into too much depth for the lay reader, yet not providing the detail that a details-oriented person such as myself would like.
Some of the topics covered in the book include, but are not limited to:
– When was Jesus born
– Was the virgin birth a fact or a myth
– The star and whether this is mythical or historical
– The old testament allusions in the accounts of Luke and Matthew
– The source material for Luke and Matthew
– When Jesus was born
– The differences in the genealogies of Jesus.
The way Pope Benedict unpacks these topics is good for people interested in learning about these topics for the first time. Overall, I would recommend this book for someone who is coming into the Christmas season and is looking for a book on the Christmas accounts that goes beyond the ‘touchy-feely’ aspects of the season into the history of the season itself, whilst not providing too much detail as to bog someone down that is new the theological aspects of these accounts.