Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jesus of Nazareth in Newsweek

Excerpts from B16's latest book 'Jesus of Nazareth' are printed in this weeks edition of Newsweek.

I've got to get me a copy...and I hope it comes out on CD. I'd like to listen to it on the ride home from work.

By Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI
Updated: 4:10 p.m. ET May 12, 2007

May 13, 2007 - Conflicting movements, hopes, and expectations shaped the religious and political climate around the time of Jesus’ birth. Judas the Galilean had called for an uprising, which was put down by the Romans with a great deal of bloodshed. Judas left behind a party, the Zealots, who were prepared to resort to terror and violence in order to restore Israel’s freedom. It is even possible that one or two of Jesus’ twelve Apostles—Simon the Zealot and perhaps Judas Iscariot as well—had been partisans of this movement. The Pharisees, whom we are constantly meeting in the Gospels, endeavored to live with the greatest possible exactness according to the instructions of the Torah. They also refused conformity to the hegemony of Hellenistic-Roman culture, which naturally imposed itself throughout the Roman Empire, and was now threatening to force Israel’s assimilation to the pagan peoples’ way of life. The Sadducees, most of whom belonged to the aristocracy and the priestly class, attempted to practice an enlightened Judaism, intellectually suited to the times, and so also to come to terms with Roman domination. The Sadducees disappeared after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), whereas the pattern of life practiced by the Pharisees found an enduring form in the sort of Judaism shaped by the Mishnah and the Talmud. Although we observe sharp antagonism between Jesus and the Pharisees in the Gospels, and although his death on the Cross was the very antithesis of the Zealot program, we must not forget that people came to Christ from every kind of background and that the early Christian community included more than a few priests and former Pharisees.

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