Ben Witherington has read and reviewed Joseph Ratzinger’s (AKA Pope Benedict XVI) latest scholarly work Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week. It is quite an honour for BW3 as he was the only protestant to be included on an Ash Wednesday tele-conference with the Pope about the book. As Ben says, “Somebody out there must trust me as an exegete and a theologian.”

You can read the whole review HERE but I thought this might of interest to Near Emmaus readers:

In this book the Pope explores the whole of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday and beyond, stopping to discourse on all the significant events that took place, and the major things Jesus said and did along the way.   If I had one desideratum it is that I wish the Pope had had time to read more of the best of Biblical scholarship that has emerged in the last 30 years.  The scholars he cites range from two of my Protestant teachers and influences,   C.K. Barrett and Martin Hengel,  to  Rudolph Bultmann and Rudolph Schnackenburg and a variety of other scholars of the previous generation who have not written anything in the last couple of decades really.   To be fair, doubtless the Pope was more than a little busy in the last few years while he was completing this book.   Nevertheless, there is some very incisive exegesis and theologizing in this book, and Bultmann and others come in for some pretty serious criticism.   As you might expect, the Pope is not a liberal Protestant exegete, to state the obvious…and furthermore, he is fully conversant with historical criticism of various forms (form, source, narrative criticism etc.)  but he is concerned to get beyond such ways of analyzing the text and focus on its theological and also historical substance.  This is to be commended.

I will be sure to order a copy of the book next week. I have already been blessed by a variety of good solid Catholic scholars in my studies of Matthew’s gospel and this will make a fine edition to my historical Jesus collection. No doubt Jeremy Thompson is excited and will post a review anon!