Pope Benedict XVI once again delivers a powerful tome in his third and final volume of the Jesus of Nazareth series. I must admit at first glance I was slightly disappointed when seeing that the book was not even half the size of the previous two volumes. Like they say never judge a book by its cover!
Pope Benedict spends part of his time in Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives setting the birth of Christ into the time line of the world. He substantiates the gospel accounts of the birth narratives by showing where the birth falls in history. At one point in the book he makes a point to establish that the Gospels are not just storytelling but actual accounts of events that occurred. One such event is the Roman census which required Joseph to take Mary to Bethlehem to be counted. Benedict uses this event to contradict the current calendar and justify what other theologians have said, that Christ was actually born a few years earlier than our calendar states due to an error by a Monk.
The book outlines the entire birth narratives from the Annunciation, to the birth in Bethlehem, to the flight into Egypt. Benedict even goes into some detail on the finding of 12 year old Jesus in the Temple in the books epilogue.
Within this book are many, many nuggets of eye opening wisdom. This book will certainly be one I return to time after time as with the other two books in the Jesus of Nazareth “trilogy”.