Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, from the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Written by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) 384 pp., Ignatius Press, 2011 REVIEWED BY FATHER GREGORY P. HOUCK, O.CARM. Before beginning this second volume of “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict, I could only marvel that the Pope would have the time to write a book, let alone a second volume in a series. As I was reading it I was marveling at how good this book is; good in many ways. As I was reading I thought at first that this book is simply a book of sermons from Holy Week, but as the book develops, Benedict keeps building upon what was said earlier, and so I thought maybe the book is a compilation of his lecture notes when he was a professor of dogmatic theology. But the book is much more than in-depth exegeses of the Holy Week narratives from the Gospels, because he brings in his (Benedict’s) own faith understanding of the Christ. I finally concluded that this book is simply, yet thoroughly, Benedict’s answer to the question Jesus raises in the synoptic Gospels; namely, “Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15, Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20). As Benedict moves through the Holy Week texts—the entrance into Jerusalem, the eschatological discourses, the washing of feet, the high priestly prayer, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the Trial, Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection—he brings together Old Testament antecedents, passages galore from the Patristic authors, lots and lots of passages from Saint Paul, and an in-depth understanding of First Century Israel and First Century Rome—all supported by exhaustive exegesis and scholarly footnoting. What is especially insightful time and time again, is his constant examination of the Greek texts and why the various Evangelists deliberately chose certain words or passages. Despite all that, though, this is not a book of class lectures; rather, and In many ways, this is a book about Pope Benedict. As I was reading, I was impressed at how thought-out the book is. Yes, there is an in-depth exposition about each Holy Week event, but they are not free-standing sections. They build together as previous references are brought forward and then everything moves to the next section. It becomes obvious that Benedict has been thinking about this book for a long time. Everything is so masterfully crafted that I started to wonder if Benedict is Pope because he was elected Pope, but his heart is really in the classroom as professor and scholar. And while reading, you will understand how Benedict understands the Christ. For example, for Benedict, there is little or no discontinuity between the historical Jesus, and the Jesus as given to us in the Gospels and the Christ of faith. Is the book for the average person-offaith? Yes! Is the book for the well-read scholar of theology? Yes! There is a lot here for anyone at any level of faith formation. So much so that the book will bear a rereading or two. Between the Savior and the Sea Written by Bob Rice 338 pp., CreateSpace Press, 2011 REVIEWED BY FATHER GREGORY P. HOUCK, O.CARM. There are two meanings to the word “Concordance.” The more common meaning of “Concordance” is a book which lists alphabetically all the words that occur in the Bible. The other meaning, though, refers to a book that fuses the four Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) into one work. “Concordance” means “agreement” and that is what this type of Concordance does—it forces the Gospels into agreement. This type of Concordance has always been a popular writing style throughout the history of Christianity and every generation has produced many Concordances. A recent example of a Concordance (in this sense of the word) is the “Christ the Lord” series of books by Anne Rice. In my opinion, Concordances are “a dime a dozen” because there are so many of them, and because the Gospels have to be forced into agreement, they are not that useful. So when I began reading “Between the Savior and the Sea” by Bob Rice, I thought, “yet another Concordance.” Yes, it is a Concordance, but much more masterfully and cleverly written than any I have read. The author, Bob Rice, teaches Sacred Scripture at Franciscan University Steubenville, so he knows better than to violate the Gospels. Yes, like all concordances, he jumps between the Gospels to give one narrative of Jesus’ life from the call of the disciples through the Crucifixion and Resurrection. What makes this a better read, though, than most Concordances (e.g., Anne Rice’s) is that the author tries not to violate Jesus too blatantly. Yes, the author of any novel about Jesus cannot help but give a modern interpretation of Jesus, but Bob Rice tries to minimize this by using the Apostles, especially Simon Peter, instead of Jesus, as the center of the novel. Clever. And then Bob Rice makes this a modern narrative by psychologizing the Apostles—why they answer the call, why they leave everything, why they stick with Jesus, and why they abandon Jesus at the arrest. Psychological rationales gives this concordance a really modern feel. Besides telling the Jesus story from the perspective of the Apostles, Bob Rice uses the Ignatian spiritual technique of filling out the Gospel scenes with lots of sensory content—the smell of the Sea of Galilee, the heat of the sun, the sound of a roomful of sleeping disciples, etc., etc. Yes, besides being a good psychological writer, Bob Rice is a good descriptive writer. I categorize this book as mainly a pious work—but piety in a good sense. It provides some food for thought, it uplifts the heart and mind, and it can lead us to prayer. These are good things.