Coming back to you for another year, the Salzmann Selection Monthly Book Review! (better title coming soon) To start off the New Year right, I decided to review a short, 150-page book I recently read by Pope Benedict XVI. It is entitled “Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church,” published by Ignatius Press in 2007 and available through Amazon in both Kindle and hardcover editions.
The book is based on Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly teaching on the relationship between Christ and the church throughout the year of 2006 and early 2007. Pope Benedict begins by describing overarching themes that Jesus left the early Church, and then delves into the lives of some of Jesus’ early followers, both Apostles and their associates, individually. “Far from distorting the truth about Jesus of Nazareth, insists Pope Benedict, the early disciples remained faithful to it, even at the cost of their lives.” – excerpt from the inside flap.
I thought the book was interesting, and an excellent read for some information on the early church. As Pope Benedict mentions several times, it is not meant to be an exegetical work, or full history, of any of the people mentioned. As these are taken from weekly addresses, none are especially long; the average chapter is five to six pages. He spends several chapters on the different aspects of Peter and Paul, which I liked. Pope Benedict XVI does a good job of parsing what the Bible tells us, and what tradition tells us about the early followers of Jesus. He uses the Apostles and early followers to bring the themes of Christianity back to us, and regularly exhorts us to follow their examples. He does not bog down anywhere in minutiae, and the book is easy to read and follow.
I think one of the reviews on Amazon has a great description of the book: “The purpose was to pick out an aspect or two of each figure from Scripture, and develop it into a short meditation on aspects of Christian life in particular, and the infant church in general.” I recommend this book, and encourage you to come in, check it out, and read it; it will not take you that long.
As always, if you have any ideas and comments for things I could change, please let me know. If you have any books that you have read or have read the books I mention, please leave a comment. We here at Salzmann also want to know what people are reading. Comments are always appreciated – anything I can do to make this better I will strive my best to accomplish.
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