Dec 7, 2016

Discovering the Gospels

William Reiser, November 21, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

Just Jesus (three volumes)
by José Ignacio López Vigil and María López Vigil

(Crossroad, 2000)

During my second year of college, one of our religion assignments was to read a life of Christ and then write a review. I looked through the shelves and found a number that looked interesting. On the shelves were Giuseppe Ricciotti’s The Life of Christ (1947), Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ (1958), the three volumes of L. C. Fillion’s The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition (1928-29), and Ferdinand Prat’s two volumes Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Work (1950). To be honest, I cannot recall whether I chose Fillion or Prat to read and review. I may have done both.

I also discovered Romano Guardini’s The Lord (1954), with its stunning Rouault painting on the dust jacket. I read it, slowly, over the course of a year. The butcher at our local grocery store had already read it several times and urged me to give it a try (a memory I cherish). Fillion and Prat struck me as more academic and scholarly, while Guardini was more reflective and existential.

The book that eventually caught my imagination, however, was Alban Goodier’s two-volume The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: An Interpretation (1936). I was a first-year novice and had just finished making the Spiritual Exercises. Each evening we had a half-hour devoted to reading the life of a saint or a life of Christ. That’s when I discovered Goodier. I loved it. I must have read it three or four times before moving on to his volume on the Passion.

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