The Life of Christ

Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI has given us a gift of a second volume illuminating the events of the life of Christ. The first volume,Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration was reviewed here. Like the first volume, it is a book written for adults, but may be appropriate for group study among teenagers, provided that expectations regarding understanding are kept reasonable.

The Fourth Magi

The Fourth Magi is the story of Artaban, a Persian magi, whose family has recently died tragically. Artaban, while studying the stars, discovers a new star, the one foretold in the Old Testament. He resolves to follow the star and find Jesus, despite the ridicule of his friends. Taking his ever-complaining slave, Orantes, he embarks on his perilous journey of faith.

The Story of the Other Wise Man

Book cover: 'The Story of the Other Wise Man'
Henry Van Dyke

This is the intriguing and classic story of Artaban, the "other" wise man who searches for Jesus his whole life while "foolishly" spending his treasures - which had been intended as a gift for the newborn king - on the poor and needy. A beautiful and touching story, it is quite short, but the vocabulary is challenging enough to be appropriate for upper grade school or high school

The Spear

Louis de Wohl

A fast-paced fictionalized account of the centurion who thrust the spear into the side of Christ. The book was clearly written for adults, but might be suitable for older teens. There is a great deal of violence (as might be expected), an attempted suicide, and other content appropriate for those with some degree of maturity. The story is very Catholic and the author weaves many Catholic ideas and thought into the conversations of the characters as well as showing how much people of that time (particularly the Romans) were in need of the message of Christ.

The Face of the Nazarene

Book cover: 'The Face of the Nazarene'
Noel Trimming

The Face of the Nazarene is a work of historical fiction relating the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of His friends at the home of Lazarus in Bethany. Although Mr. Trimming's earlier book, Abigail and the Widow Mary, was aimed at younger children, this story contains greater character development and more plot intensity, and thus would be more enjoyable for older children and teens.

The Bronze Bow

Book cover: 'The Bronze Bow'
Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare, brings to life the era when Jesus walked on the earth. The book is written through the eyes of Daniel bar Jamin, a poor village boy, who is desperately seeking to revenge the crucifixion of his father at the hands of Roman soldiers. Daniel lives in the hills above Ketzah with a band of thieves, who ruthlessly attack Romans at every opportunity. The stark hatred that drives Daniel contrasts sharply with the love that he receives from his friend, Joel, and his own gentle sister.

Life of Jesus

Book cover: 'Life of Jesus'

We put this poster up in our upstairs hallway thinking that the colorful pictures would be attractive to the little ones and help them develop a better understanding of the Life of Jesus. The full color drawings are attractive but dignified. It's been a big hit so far. I find my six year old reading words here and there, my four year old asking about what happens in different pictures and my two year old pointing to her favorite scenes. The pictures include simple descriptions and dialogue along with Biblical references.

Silent Witness

This documentary video presents rather compelling evidence, from diverse fields of science, that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Christ. Scientists and doctors also explain the sufferings of Jesus based on the evidence present on the cloth in conjunction with other historical data. Because some scenes from Christ's Passion are dramatized, the movie may prove too intense for very young, innocent children. It would be more suitable for older grade school and high school ages.

Holy Names of Jesus: Devotions, Litanies, and Meditations

Ann Ball

Did you know that Jesus is also known as "Divine Mercy" and "The Incarnate Word"? OK, those were easy ones. Do you know the story of the "Infant Jesus of Prague" or "The Black Christ of Esquipulas"? Mrs. Ball has written an interesting book describing the numerous names by which Our Lord has been known throughout time and throughout the world. The earliest names, of course, come from the Bible, but many of the others have been made known through the writings of the saints, visions, and documented miracles. Others are simply devotional.


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