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November 18, 2016

Book: Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Author: James Martin, S.J.
Harper One. New York. 2014. Pp. 526

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

This book is designed to be accessible to anyone --- from those just starting to think about Jesus to those who feel that they may know the topic well. It is designed for people of deep faith or no faith who want to know about Jesus . . . . I would like to introduce you to the Jesus I know, and love, the person at the center of my life. Getting to know Jesus, like getting to know anyone, has been a pilgrimage.

A gifted storyteller and spiritual director, Father James Martin, S.J. invites readers to experience the stories of the Gospels in a completely new, vivid, and exciting way to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus. Moving sequentially through the Gospels, considering not only familiar passages but also the "hidden life" of Jesus, the book offers a bold retelling of the life of Christ, faithful to the Christian tradition, while meditating on parts of the narrative that have often escaped notice.

Martin provides personal stories from his own life, the most up-to-date biblical scholarship, as well as powerful anecdotes from beloved spiritual teachers, and brings the reader along on his own real-life travels through the Holy Land.

Combining the fascinating insights of historical Jesus studies with profound spiritual reflections about the Christ of faith, Martin re-creates the world of first-century Galilee and Judea to usher us into Jesus's life and times and reveal how Jesus speaks to us today. Jesus: A Pilgrimage is an invitation to know Jesus as Father Martin knows him: Messiah and Savior, as well as friend and brother.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Some of Jesus's work would have been carpentry in the narrow sense of the word, i.e., woodwork in constructing parts of houses. But in Nazareth the ordinary house would have had walls of stone or mud brick. Wood would be used mostly for the beams in the roof, the space between beams being filled in with branches along with clay, mud and compacted earth. The people of Nazareth could not have afforded the use of wood to build whole houses, or even the floors in them. However, doors, door frames, and locks or bolts were often made of wood, as at times were the lattices in the (few and small) windows. Beyond carpentry in this sense Jesus would have made various pieces of furniture such as beds, tables, stools, and lampstands (cf. 2 Kgs 4:10) as well as boxes, cabinets, and chests for storage. Justin Martyr claimed that Jesus also made "plows and yokes." While this is probably an inference by Justin rather than a relic of oral tradition, it does tell us what work a person from Palestine --- which Justin was --- would attribute to a tekton [carpenter] . . . .Thus while Jesus was in one sense a common Palestinian workman, he plied a trade that involved, for the ancient world, a fair level of technical skill. It also involved no little sweat and muscle power. The airy, weakling often presented to us in pious paintings and Hollywood movies would hardly have survived the rigors of being Nazareth's tekon from his youth.

Table of Contents:

Who is Jesus?