Given the strong sales of the book (#20 on Amazon after just three days or so), my advice to those reading Pope Benedict's new Jesus of Nazareth is to read quickly, if only for the crass reason that there's going to be a run on the out-of-print books he mentions as having influenced him. Fortunately with the book I'm about to mention there appear to be a lot of copies.
The parables of Christ have always been of particular interest to me and the slim chapter in Jesus of Nazareth on three of them (oh he doth tease!) was riveting, such that I now am very tempted to buy Rediscovering the Parables by Joachim Jeremias. Check out these reviews:
SCHOLARLY BUT READABLE, May 24, 2002Anyway, reading Jesus of Nazareth feels a bit like running ahead and climbing a tree for a better view of Him - ala Zacchaeus.
I read this book when I was a seminary student in the late 70's. Sad to say, it wasn't required reading. I read it on my own, and it's one of the few books from that era in my life that I remember having read. I know Koine Greek, so Jeremias' quoting the original language of the New Testament was wonderful to me. However, for those who don't know Greek, there is a condensed Greek-free version of this book titled, "Rediscovering the Parables." It's probably available somewhere used. If you're reading this review, then you're interested enough in this topic to get your hands on either version. "The Parables of Jesus" is a book you will read and revisit through the years. Get it.
The best of the historical Jesus scholars, December 28, 2001
Forget about those silly ... over at the Jesus Seminar. Jeremias is the real deal. He dedicated his life to building a bridge from the primitive church back to the actual words of Jesus and I think he was remarkably successful. The heart of Jesus' message is the parables and this book takes us into the company of Jesus. It's as if we're hearing him for the first time.