I’ve been having a conversation with an atheist friend who is discovering the work of Benedict XVI and digging the guy a lot. Happy to see it. There’s an awful lot to love. In the course of the conversation, I made a recommendation to her and then thought “Hey! Why not make to everybody!”
Ahem: I would like to heartily recommend B16’s magnificent three volume work Jesus of Nazareth. It is unique in Church history in that the Pope is writing, not as pope here, but as a scholar and, above all, as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is not a Church document like an encyclical, but is rather Benedict giving us his heart and stunningly lucid and well-read mind on the best scholarship to be had on the life and teaching of Jesus. I can’t praise it enough. If you want to understand the heart and soul of Catholic teaching (and Benedict’s heart and soul too) concerning the real core and center of the Faith, you can hardly do better. It’s often easy to forget in discussions of ecclesial politics and all the frim fram about sundry moral issues that none of that hold together, makes much sense, or means anything without the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth dead center. Christ crucified and risen is what the whole shooting works is all about.