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220BOOK REVIEWS highly recommended to retreat masters and directors of nuns. The Newman Bookshop is to be congratulated for making this fine volume available. Bede A. Dauphinee, O.F.M. Siena College, Loudonville, N. Y. The Life of Christ. By Ricciotti Giuseppe. Translated by Alba I. Zizzamia. (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1947), pp. xvi, 703. To acquaint his readers with his purpose in putting forth this new life of Christ, Ricciotti remarks in his preface: "It has been my wish to write an exclusively historical and documentary work. I have studied the ancient fact and not the modern theory, the solidity of the documents and not the flimsiness of any interpretation presendy the fashion. I have even dared to imitate the famous 'dispassionateness' of the canonical Evangelists, who have neither an exclamation of joy when Jesus is born nor a word of lament when He dies. It has been my intention, then, to write a critical work." In setting about to accomplish his stated purpose, Ricciotti first submits a critical introduction of 200 odd pages, which furnishes an accurate word picture of the geographical, historical, political, and religious background. He discusses the sources of the life of Christ, both Christian and non-Christian, assaying them thoroughly, particularly with reference to modern theories of the origin of the canonical gospels. The chronology of Christ's life is also fully treated; it may be mentioned here that the author prefers the two year theory for the duration of Christ's public life. The critical introduction comes to a close with a rather lengthy exposition of Rationalist interpretations of the life of Christ (or should we perhaps say of the mysterious, or even mythical, Christ?). Thereupon the author passes to the recorded life of Christ, drawing on the canonical account from the angel's announcement of the birth of the Precursor to the Ascension of the Lord. The incidents are usually described in some detail. This cannot, however, be said of the discourses of Christ; quite often Ricciotti is content to let the sacred text speak for itself, although he does submit footnotes or other annotations to clear up outstanding difficulties. Throughout the work he is careful to point out Rationalist interpretations and is equally solicitous in refuting them. In previous writings the author has proved himself a most competent historian; the reader will find confirmation of this in Ricciotti's BOOK REVIEWS221 Life of Christ. The historical background he furnishes is accurate to the minutest detail, as far as modern science can reconstruct. His introductory words regarding the canonical sources are so clear and excellent that the reviewer feels this section can be lifted bodily and incorporated into a New Testament introduction for theological students . A similar judgment must be passed on his remarks concerning Rationalist interpretations of the life and figure of Jesus, which the reviewer considers the finest he has read. Ricciotti's exegesis is fresh and stimulating, and he is at all times logical. More, he is very careful to indicate to his readers the exact degree of certainty there is in the explanation he submits. The reviewer feels that Ricciotti is at his very best when he assails with unusually acute remarks ultra-liberal interpretations of individual scenes or discourses from the life of Christ. It is evident that he possesses the superior weapons, as well as the ability to use them to greatest advantage. He trains them on the flimsy breastworks thrown up by Rationalists and reduces them to just what they are—a heap of mumble-jumble words. It has been pointed out that Ricciotti's treatment of Jesus' discourses quite often consists merely in quoting the words of the Master as they are recorded in the sacred text. On this score he has been criticized; if the criticism is founded, it is just about the only defect of any consequence in this work. True, there is no systematic treatment of Jesus' doctrine; yet the author's purpose was primarily to describe critically the life of Christ. That is why to some extent one might overlook this lack, as well as the author's sketchy treatment of Jesus' discourses. It should be quite clear that...


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