VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI’s much anticipated book “Jesus of Nazareth” is a work of “a pastoral nature,” according to the publisher.
In a press statement, the Italian publishing house Rizolli said that the book is a “personal search for the ‘face of the Lord,’ and is not intended to be a document forming part of the magisterium.”
The publisher added that “the main purpose of the work is to help foster in the reader a living relationship with Jesus Christ, making it primarily a pastoral book.”
Benedict XVI wrote in the book’s foreword: “Everyone is free, then, to contradict me.”
The Italian, German and Polish editions of “Jesus of Nazareth” will be in bookstores Monday, the Pope’s 80th birthday.
The English-language editions will be published May 15 by Doubleday in North America, and by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom.
The book, which the publisher said is anticipated to be the first part of a two-volume work, examines the public life of Christ from his baptism in the River Jordan to the transfiguration.
Rizzoli explained that “the Pope’s pastoral concerns joined with the depth of his theological perspective combine to create the work’s core assertion, that is, the firm conviction that, in order to understand the figure of Jesus, it is necessary to start from his union with the Father as the Beloved Son.”
A preview synopsis of the book made available by Rizzoli describes the Pope as “grounding his core premise on the fact of the intimate unity between the Old and the New Testament, and drawing on the Christological hermeneutics that see in Jesus Christ the key to the entire Bible.”
The synopsis continued: “Benedict XVI presents the Jesus of the Gospels as the ‘new Moses’ who fulfills Israel’s ancient expectations.
“This new Moses must lead the people of God to true and definitive freedom. He does so in a sequence of actions that, however, always allow God’s plan to be anticipated in its entirety.”
According to the publisher, the Holy Father plans to include in the anticipated second volume a chapter on the infancy narratives concerning the birth of Jesus, and to consider the mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.