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Pope's new book unveiled

Catholic World News - November 20, 2012

The Vatican today unveiled the 3rd and final book in the Jesus of Nazareth trilogy by Pope Benedict XVI. The new work, The Infancy Narratives, will be on sale November 21.

The new book, which is published in Italy jointly by Rizzoli and the Vatican’s own publishing house, will be released simultaneously in 50 countries, with editions in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Croatian as well. The combined print run for the first edition will exceed 1 million. The publishers anticipate producing translations in 20 other languages.

At a press conference announcing the new book’s launch—chaired by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture—reporters received a brief summary of the book’s contents. The 176-page volume is organized in four chapters, with a short Foreword and an Epilogue.

Chapter One examines the genealogies provided in the Gospels of Sts. Matthew and Luke, showing their differences, and explaining their goal of placing Jesus in the framework of world history.

Chapter Two focuses on the Annunciation. The Pope analyzes the conversation between the Virgin Mary and the angel Gabriel, noting that the work of salvation required Mary’s assent.

Chapter Three turns to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, again setting the historical context but also showing the universality of Christ’s appearance “in the fullness of time.” Pope Benedict dwells on the details of the Nativity story, including the poverty in which Jesus is born and the homage offered first by lowly shepherds, in a sign of God’s special care for the poor.

Chapter Four looks into the visit of the Magi, with the Pope seeing them as symbols not only of earthly potentates but also of the search for knowledge and the age-old quest for truths about the human condition.

The Epilogue discusses the final story about the childhood of Jesus, relayed in the Gospel of St. Luke, showing Jesus in the Temple speaking with learned rabbis. That episode, the Pope notes, demonstrates that the young Jesus, while He was divine, “thought and learned in human fashion.”

Pope Benedict met on November 20 with the staff of Rizzoli, the Italian publishing house for the book, to thank them for their work.

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