As a blend of comprehensiveness and high scholarship, this work on the Gospels may well be considered among the very best obtainable in English." -- Orate Fratres magazine Father Giuseppe Riccioti, chaplain of his regiment, lay in a World War I field hospital, hovering between life and death. If he lived, he promised, he would use his expertise in Biblical languages and history to write a life of Christ. Yet it would be decades before he kept that promise. Only after he had laid the groundwork with a succession of books on related subjects -- and when he saw the thunderheads of another war gathering over humanity -- did the time seem ripe. When A Life of Christ finally appeared in 1941, it was instantly hailed throughout Europe as a "masterpiece," and widely translated. Now, at long last, the acclaimed English version is back in print. What sets this Life of Christ above all the other efforts? In a word: truth. This is not a work of biographical fiction, where the author attributes words, deeds and even thoughts to Our Lord not found in the Gospels. Father Ricciotti's approach is different: "It has been my wish to write an exclusively historical and documentary work." Sticking strictly to what we know or what the Church has generally inferred from Scripture, tradition, non-Biblical sources, archaeology, linguistics and other disciplines, he produces a portrait of Jesus and his times that is nothing less than astonishing in its richness of detail. A lengthy Introduction provides a concise background summary of Jewish thought and customs, explains the challenges of New Testament interpretation and sources, and delivers a devastating critique of "rationalist" Bible criticism -- the sort that now dominates Catholic institutions of higher learning, alas. Every Gospel event brought to life, vividly but above all faithfully The Tidings Brought to Zachary
About the author
Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, C.R.L., (Rome, 1890 1964) was an Italian canon regular, Biblical scholar and archeologist. He is mainly famous for his book The Life of Christ edited in 1941 and reedited and reprinted several times.
Ricciotti's first important work is Storia d'Israele (English: History of Israel), published in 1932. Also in 1932 he published Bibbia e non Bibbia (English: Bible and not Bible) where he supported the need to apply the Higher criticism to the study of the Bible, to be based on the original texts and not on the Latin Vulgate. In 1934 Ricciotti took a stand against the increasing antisemitism publishing the translations in Italian of sermons of Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber in favour of the Hebrews.
The period in which he worked was one of deep suspicion of Biblical Studies in Italy. As a result, Ricciotti was partially involved in the late stages of the Modernist crisis. He was attacked, along with his friend Ernesto Buonaiuti, by the most conservative Catholic wing. Differently from Buonaiuti, his positions were finally judged not to be modernist, and he accepted criticism by the Pontifical Biblical Commission to some of his works.
His masterpiece is Vita di Gesù Cristo (English: Life of Jesus Christ), edited in 1941 and published many times. The scholar Nicolotti writes: "His works on biblical texts, of a rather conservative character, show a solid historical and philological training, not at all alien to the contemporary acquisitions of the critic." Giuseppe Ricciotti also wrote: La Bibbia e le scoperte moderne (English: The Bible and Modern Discoveries), 1957, and L'imperatore Giuliano l'Apostata secondo i documenti (English: Julian the Apostate), 1958. Additionally, he edited a new translation into Italian of the Bible from the original texts.
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