The Pope’s ‘Passion of the Christ’
That’s what CNS’s eminence grise (well, sort of gray) John Thavis aptly calls Benedict’s take on the narrative of the trial and death of Jesus, according to excerpts released today from the second volume of the pope’s “Jesus of Nazareth” series. (He may need another volume to cover the rest of the Gospels, I think.) The book itself will be released March 10.
My report at Politics Daily is here, which includes a link to the entirety of one excerpted passage that Austen Ivereigh posted at America. The sections dealing with Benedict’s “exoneration” of the Jewish people for culpability in the death of Jesus is garnering most of the attention, which is understandable and was likely the Vatican’s aim, given the contents of the sections they released and, perhaps, given the pontiff’s problematic track record with the Jewish community during his reign.
Benedict is convincing and eloquent and very accessible, as he was in the first Jesus book (I thought), and while he seems to me to be expanding on Nostra Aetate, that’s always a good thing. And he does it using the latest scholarship, especially as regards (I believe) the growing acceptance of the historical reliability of John.
Check it out for yourselves. Mel Gibson it ain’t.
I’d add that the passages near the end of the main excerpt, on Pilate and his role, and Benedict’s observations on what they say about the relationship of truth and justice and peace, are fascinating to me — if a bit recondite to my initial reading. But I think they reflect Benedict’s “takeaway” in terms of the passage’s applicability to the modern world, and reflect consistent tropes in his thinking, and may have a “longer tail” than the passages regarding Judaism.