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Life Of Christ

Item Number: 18264

Catalog Code: LIFE-DIS

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Life Of Christ

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Father Giuseppe Riccioti, chaplain of his regiment, lay in a World War I field hospital, hovering between life and death. If he lived, he promised, he would use his expertise in Biblical languages and history to write a life of Christ.


Yet it would be decades before he kept that promise. Only after he had laid the groundwork with a succession of books on related subjects -- and when he saw the thunderheads of another war gathering over humanity -- did the time seem ripe. When A Life of Christ finally appeared in 1941, it was instantly hailed throughout Europe as a "masterpiece," and widely translated. Now, at long last, the acclaimed English version is back in print.

What sets this Life of Christ above all the other efforts?

In a word: truth. This is not a work of biographical fiction, where the author attributes words, deeds and even thoughts to Our Lord not found in the Gospels. Father Ricciotti's approach is different: "It has been my wish to write an exclusively historical and documentary work." Sticking strictly to what we know or what the Church has generally inferred from Scripture, tradition, non-Biblical sources, archaeology, linguistics and other disciplines, he produces a portrait of Jesus and his times that is nothing less than astonishing in its richness of detail. A lengthy Introduction provides a concise background summary of Jewish thought and customs, explains the challenges of New Testament interpretation and sources, and delivers a devastating critique of “rationalist” Bible criticism -- the sort that now dominates Catholic institutions of higher learning, alas.

Every Gospel event brought to life, vividly but above all faithfully

The Tidings Brought to Zachary * The Annunciation * Birth of John the Baptist * Joseph, the Spouse of Mary * The Birth of Jesus * The Purification * The Magi * The Slaughter of the Innocents * The Sojourn in Egypt * Nazareth * John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus * The Desert and the Temptation * The Decline of John and the Rise of Jesus * Galilee * The Wedding Feast at Cana * The Traders in the Temple * Nicodemus * The Twilight of John's Ministry * The Samaritan Woman * Return to Galilee and First Part of the Ministry There * Capharnaum and Elsewhere * Choosing of the First Four Apostles * Other Miracles and First Difficulties * The Twelve Apostles * The Sermon on the Mount * The Centurion of Capharnaum and the Widow of Naim * The Message of John the Baptist * The Penitent Woman * The Ministry Day by Day * The Calming of the Tempest and the Gerasene Demoniac * The Daughter of Jairus * The Woman With a Hemorrhage * The Two Blind Men * The Mission of the Twelve Apostles * The Death of John the Baptist * Jesus Driven Out of Nazareth * The Day of the Parables * The Parables of the Kingdom * The First Multiplication of the Loaves * Jesus Walks on the Waters * The Discourse on the Bread of Life * The Paralytic of Bezatha * The "Tradition of the Ancients" * Jesus in Phoenicia and the Decapolis * Second Multiplication of the Loaves * The Sign From Heaven * The Leaven of the Pharisees * The Blind Man of Bethsaida * At Caesarea of Philip * The Messianic Idea Corrected * The Transfiguration * A Possessed Boy * Last Days in Galilee * The Feast of Tabernacles * The Adulteress * The Man Born Blind * The Good Shepherd * Expansion of the Kingdom of God in Judea * The Good Samaritan * Martha and Mary * The Parable of Prayer * The Cure of the Demoniac * Blasphemy of the Pharisees * The Praise of Mary * The Sign of Jonas * Jesus at Dinner at the Home of a Pharisee * Denunciations and Warnings * A Warning Against Avarice * The Ultimate Expectation * The Sign of Contradiction * The Necessity of Repentance * The Stooped Woman * The Man With Dropsy * The Parables of the Banquets * The Feast of Dedication * Jesus in Transjordan * The Following of Christ * The Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin * The Prodigal Son * The Unjust Steward * Dives * The Ten Lepers * The Coming of the Kingdom of God * The Godless Judge * The Pharisee and the Publican * The Question of Divorce * Jesus Blesses the Little Children * The Rich Young Man * The Danger of Riches * The Laborers in the Vineyard * The Resurrection of Lazarus * Jesus in Ephrem and Jericho * The Parable of the Gold Pieces and of the Talents * The Banquet at Bethany * The Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem * The Greeks Ask to Be Presented to Jesus * The Cursed Fig Tree * The Authority of Jesus * The Parable of the Two Sons * The Parable of the Vine-Dressers * Tribute to Caesar * The Sadducees and the Resurrection * The Great Commandment * The Messias, Son of David * The Elenchos Against the Scribes and Pharisees * The Widow's Mite * The Eschatological Discourse * The Parable of the Ten Virgins * The Last Judgment * The Preparations for the Last Supper * The Betrayer * Institution of the Eucharist * Peter's Denial Predicted * Jesus' Last Discourses * Gethsemani * The Arrest * The Religious Trial Before the Sanhedrin * The Insults Offered Jesus Peter's Denials * The End of Judas Iscariot * Jesus' Civil Trial Before Pilate and Herod * The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus * The Apparitions in Judea * The Apparitions in Galilee * The Ascension

"Jesus fell on his face, and prayed"

On that night of the Pasch [Passover] the whole region was deserted, since almost everyone stayed at home with his family. And the solitude matched the mood of the little company, for Jesus seemed sad along the way, and so the Apostles were silent and thoughtful. When they reached the garden, Jesus bade his disciples make themselves as comfortable as they could for the night. For Orientals this was an easy matter, accustomed as they were to sleep outdoors wrapped in their cloaks, especially since this time there were shelter and dry leaves to be had in the cabin or the grotto. And as he left them, Jesus said: Stay here, while I go yonder and pray. Pray that you may not enter into temptation! Then he took with him the three who had witnessed his transfiguration, his favorite Apostles, Peter, James, and John.

As they drew away from the rest, these witnesses of his former glory immediately understood that they were now to watch a far different manifestation, for all of a sudden Jesus "began to be saddened and exceedingly troubled." And turning to the three, who perhaps tried in vain to comfort him, he exclaimed: "My soul is sad, even unto death! Wait here and watch with me!"

Even their company, however, gave him no solace. In the immeasurable anguish which overwhelmed him, he yet sought to stay alone to pray. His face livid, his knees trembling, and his arms stretched out for some support, he made a supreme effort and "withdrew from them about a stone's throw," and at length exhausted he "fell on his face, and prayed." This was not the usual position for prayer, because the Jews prayed standing; this was the crumpling to earth of one who no longer has the strength to stand and prays prostrate in the dust. ...

Reviewers in 1947 found themselves gasping for superlatives:


"A dignity and a grandeur that leaves one breathless. Woven into the fabric of this story is an amazing amount of pertinent information. ... My conclusion from his book was that the only satisfying, realistic and sensible picture of Christ is that of the Catholic Church." -- Books on Trial (a secular publication)

"Recognized as a masterpiece in Europe. ... It serves, perhaps better than any other individual book in the English language, to give the proper background for profitable reading of Our Lord's life. ... The fortunate reader of this work will find an accurate and well expressed teaching a

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9"  (22.8 cm) x 5 3/4"  (14.6 cm) x 1 1/8"  (2.85 cm)
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