The Vatican Information Service provides further details about the third Jesus of Nazareth book by Pope Benedict XVI,
The Infancy Narratives, which will be available for purchase on November 21st:
Vatican City, 20 November 2012 (VIS) - "L'infanzia di Gesu" ("The
Infancy Narratives"), the third volume of Benedict XVI's trilogy
dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth, will be available in Italian bookshops
tomorrow, 21 November. The book, published in Italy by Rizzoli and the
Vatican Publishing House, will be released simultaneously in several
languages (Italian, German, Croatian, French, English, Polish,
Portuguese and Spanish) and in fifty countries; the worldwide print run
of the first edition will be more than a million copies. In the coming
months, the book will be translated into twenty languages for
publication in seventy-two countries.
This morning, in the Vatican's Sala Pio X, the book was presented to
the press. The speakers were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of
the Pontifical Council for Culture; Maria Clara Bingemer, professor of
theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro; Fr.
Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House; Paolo Mieli,
president of Rizzoli (RCS) Publications, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.,
director of the Holy See Press Office.
The book, defined by its author as a "small antechamber" to the
trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth, is 176 pages long and comprises four
chapters, an Epilogue and a brief Foreword. A summary of the book is
"The first chapter is dedicated to the genealogies of the Saviour in
the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which are very different, although both
have the same theological and symbolic meaning: the placing of Jesus in
history and his true origin as a new beginning of world history.
"The theme of chapter two is the annunciation of the birth of John
the Baptist and that of Jesus. Rereading the dialogue between Mary and
the Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph Ratzinger explains
that, through a woman, God 'seeks to enter the world anew'. In order to
liberate man from sin, he writes, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux, God
needs 'free obedience' to his will. 'In creating freedom, he made
himself in a certain sense dependent upon man. His power is tied to the
unenforceable yes of a human being'. Thus, only thanks to Mary's assent
can the history of salvation begin.
"Chapter three is centred on the event in Bethlehem and the
historical context of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Empire under
Augustus, which extends from East to West and whose universal dimension
allows for the entry into the world of 'a universal Saviour'; 'it is
indeed the fullness of time'. The single elements of the story of the
birth are dense with meaning: the poverty in which 'he who is truly the
first-born of all that is' chooses to reveal himself, and therefore 'the
cosmic glory' that envelopes the manger; God's special love for the
poor, which manifests itself in the annunciation to the shepherds; and
the words of the Gloria, whose translation is controversial.
"The fourth chapter is dedicated to the three Magi, who saw the star
of the 'King of the Jews' and who had come to adore the child, and to
the flight into Egypt. Here the figures of the 'magoi', reconstructed
through a rich range of historical, linguistic and scientific
information, are outlined as a fascinating emblem of the inner unrest
and search for truth of the human spirit.
More about the book, from the Ignatius Press site:
The momentous third and final volume in the Pope's international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series details the stories of Jesus' infancy and boyhood, and how they are relevant today in the modern world.
As the Pope wrote in volume two of this series, he attempts to "develop a
way of observing and listening to the Jesus of the Gospels that can
indeed lead to the personal encounter and that, through collective
listening with Jesus' disciples across the ages, can indeed attain sure
knowledge of the real historical figure of Jesus."
Now, the Pope focuses exclusively on the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life
as a child. The root of these stories is the experience of hope found
in the birth of Jesus and the affirmations of surrender and service
embodied in his parents, Joseph and Mary. This is a story of longing and
seeking, as demonstrated by the Magi searching for the redemption
offered by the birth of a new king. Ultimately, Jesus' life and message
is a story for today, one that speaks to the restlessness of the human
heart searching for the sole truth which alone leads to profound joy.
"I can at last consign to the reader the long promised little book on
the narratives of Jesus' childhood . . . Here I have sought to
interpret, in dialogue with exegetes of the past and of the present,
what Matthew and Luke recount at the beginning of their Gospels about
the infancy of Jesus." Pope Benedict XVI