Publishing Pope Benedict-Jesus of Nazareth II
Pope Benedict has finished the sequel to his Jesus of Nazareth book. We know because he told Rabbi Jacob Neusner (aka the Pope’s Rabbi) during an audience last week that the book was finished, was coming out soon and would probably be his last book.
The publishing phenomenon Benedict (to be Germanic about it) is a fascinating one. Jesus of Nazareth was an international best-seller. In a move that was unusual at the time Pope Benedict XVI went away from his normal English-language publishers Ignatius in favour of Doubleday in the United States and Bloomsbury in Britain. Last year Libreria Editrice Vaticana hosted a discussion about the relationship between secular publishers and the Pope and what they brought to the table. Apparently secular publishers found it difficult to accept that Magisterial material had to be open and available to everyone, rather than under copyright.
It’s exciting news that the sequel to Jesus of Nazareth is coming out. The first book, which was very much in answer to Rabbi Neusner’s A Rabbi talks with Jesus, is wonderfully readable (once you get past the somewhat dry introduction), insightful and points to the limitations of the historico-critical method.
The question is, who will publish it in English? Bloomsbury have said that they are not planning to publish the Pope’s sequel…