Action Alert!

Two beautiful books to give as Christmas gifts

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 03, 2014

Since Advent is now running along fairly briskly, I want to call your attention to two attractive Catholic books which will make perfect gifts for those you love when we celebrate Christ’s birth. One is a new Bible; the other is a coffee-table book about Mary. Both are from Ignatius Press.

Mary of Nazareth

You may already be familiar with the recent movie, Mary of Nazareth. Ignatius Press owns the distribution rights for North America, and has been selling the film since October. It is also available through a parish screening program. The film stars the German actors Alissa Jung as Mary and Andreas Pietschmann as Jesus.

Noted Catholic critic Stephen Graydanus has surveyed recent attempts to portray Mary in film, of which Mary of Nazareth is the latest. Graydanus does not think the movie is the last word, but the photos culled from the movie for the book I am reviewing are stunning.

Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures is a coffee-table hardback (8.5” x 11”). The book features beautiful images of the life of Mary as portrayed in the movie, accompanied by inspiring quotations about Mary from saints, blessed and venerables, as well as reflections by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. The incomparable Fulton Sheen is well-represented in the quotes.

The presentation is divided chronologically: The early life of Mary; the coming of the Savior; the public life of Christ; and His passion, death and Resurrection. There is a brief introduction by Alissa Jung and, at the end, two articles by Anthony Ryan covering Pope Benedict XVI’s insights into Mary, and the work of the film’s director, Giacomo Compiotti.

About 130 pages in all, Mary of Nazareth is a fitting tribute to Our Lady which offers over sixty inspiring reflections from those who have loved her most.

The Didache Bible

The second book that would make a great gift is The Didache Bible. This presents the usual Ignatius Bible text (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition), which is widely regarded as the best English translation. But it adds extensive commentary on all the books of the Bible based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In other words, it is an edition of the Bible which is uniquely suited not only to present the sacred text but also to provide direct instruction in the Catholic faith.

I cannot say a great deal about this right now, because The Didache Bible will unfortunately not be available until January. (It was originally announced for December 15th, and I only recently learned of the change.) Therefore, you won’t be able to get it in time for Christmas. But you can pre-order it now on the Ignatius Press website.

What I can report is that it includes 27 full-color maps, common questions about the Faith answered in more than a hundred topical presentations, a 44-page glossary and an extensive topic index. The size is 6” x 9”, with a sewn binding. It will be available in hardcover, or leatherbound with a ribbon.

Despite its January arrival, The Didache Bible may still be just the gift you want for a loved one, especially someone who can benefit from the additional Catholic teaching material it provides.

[Two pre-order The Didache Bible, visit the Ignatius Press website. See our Amazon Affiliate link, below, for Mary of Nazareth.]

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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