Since Lent is coming upon us so quickly this year, thought I'd make a recommendation for seasonal spiritual reading. Many far more qualified than I have reviewed Pope Benedict's new book Jesus of Nazareth so I will not attempt such commentary. However, I do want to encourage its consideration. This is not a book one breezes through. The author states over and over in his lengthy introduction that the work is the product of a great deal of study, intellectual reflection and prayerful contemplation. I would suggest that it is the result of his own personal response to Jesus' question, "Who do you say I am." This highly personal element is one of the features that makes this book a very interesting one.
Of course, the subject is the very first draw. But knowing Pope Benedict's reputation as a intellectual, a scholar and a teacher might be a bit intimidating. Prior to opening the cover I thought, "Can I really read this book and enjoy it." I have been very pleasantly surprised. The presentation is lucid, clear and inviting. This reflects the gifts of the author but also, I think, a great deal of credit must go to Adrian J. Walker who produced the English translation. It was no small task to present these deep thoughts in flowing, easily read and understood, everyday English. Walker's skill is to be admired.
So take a look at the book. It is not the type that can be quickly read from cover to cover. It is however, a great possibility as the focus for daily reflection in our Lenten practice. It might be helpful to keep your Bible nearby.