Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth" in Russian

20,000 Copies Made for 1st Printing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 4, 2008 ( «The reflection of a wise man on what’s most important in life» — that’s how the Azbuka publishing house has introduced Benedict XVI’s «Jesus of Nazareth» in its Russian translation.

The 20,000-copy first printing was presented Tuesday in Moscow. Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow presented the book, acknowledging that perhaps Christ is the theme on which most books have been written, and yet the Pope’s work has «an exceptional value, for various reasons.»

The first reason, the archbishop said, according to L’Osservatore Romano, is that «its author is not only one of the greatest theologians alive today, but also, as is well-known, he is the Pope of Rome.»

This gives rise to a «fascinating paradox,» Archbishop Pezzi suggested: «This book is written by a Pope but he doesn’t write it as Pope.

«The Pope wrote it, but he didn’t write it, so to speak, ‘from the heights’ of his ‘cathedra,’ but rather as a simple believer, as a passionate investigator who during his whole life has made the effort to go deeper in his personal knowledge of Jesus and the reasons for his faith in him.»

The Holy Father’s work, contended the archbishop, has a «double facet: a facet of humility and a facet of audacity. Humility because its author, without worrying too much about his own institutional role, agrees to expose himself to the sieve of reason and the criticism of his interlocutors. Audacity, because the author is convinced of the foundations of what he writes, and therefore, wants, desires to run the risk of this being exposed.»

Such a personal risk, Archbishop Pezzi said, is needed in a world that is ever more indifferent or even hostile to the Christian proclamation.

Another great message of the book, the prelate proposed, is the idea that faith is not afraid of science.

«Certainly, it’s possible to not believe in what the Gospels have told us,» he said. «Science can never produce faith on its own, and the Pope knows this very well.» But, «not only is science not in a position to cast doubt on the central nucleus of the image of Jesus that emerges from the Gospels, but rather, this image, precisely after two centuries of meticulously excavating in the texts from the scientific point of view, still holds up and, in the end, according to the Pope, seems the most ‘reasonable and convincing,’ the ‘most plausible.'»

In Benedict XVI’s book, Archbishop Pezzi continued, «one can see in every page the love that fills the writer, the excitement in his gaze, captivated by the beauty of the Face that is before him. Despite the difficulty of some more complex sections, the impression is never lost that Ratzinger is describing the face of One whom he knows as one knows a friend.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation