Jesus De Nazareth, Christ et Seigneur: Une Lecture De l'Evangile

Article excerpt

Jesus de Nazareth, Christ et Seigneur: Une lecture de l'Evangile, vol. 2, by Pierre Grelot. LD 170. Paris: Cerf; Montreal: Novalis, 1998. Pp. 553. F280 (paper).

This is the second volume of a two-volume work, the first volume having been published in 1997 as number 167 in the Lectio Divina series. Together the two volumes constitute an impressive study totaling more than a thousand pages. Significantly, Grelot ends his extensive project with a five-page "Postface" (vol. 2, pp. 523-28), which he composed only after having reread the entire work. His reflections in these brief pages best characterize the study.

In the first paragraph of the Postface, Grelot wonders whether it is possible to determine the genre of his most recent product. Indeed, it is easier to describe this study on Jesus than to slot it in a specific category. The work is divided into three parts of varying lengths. The Prologue, containing two chapters and covering just under one hundred pages (vol. 1, pp. 17-103), sets the stage by presenting and evaluating the sources for a study of Jesus, and then sketching the geographical, political, and religious milieu in which he lived. Part 1 is entitled "Jesus of Nazareth." Comprising seventeen chapters extended over nearly seven hundred pages (vol. 1, pp. 105-441; vol. 2, pp. 11-344), it represents the bulk of the study in which Grelot undertakes an interpretative reading of all the passages in the four Gospels dealing with Jesus' public ministry from his baptism to his death and burial. The passages are gathered according to themes and are organized on a plausible Synoptic-inspired chronology, with interspersed chapters discussing John's version of Jesus' public life. Part 2, containing six chapters stretching over the remaining two hundred pages (vol. 2, pp. 345-522), bears the title "Jesus, Christ and Lord." Here Grelot presents and interprets the stories of the discovery of the empty tomb, the several appearances of the risen Christ, the birth of the church according to Acts, the infancy stories in Matthew and Luke, and a selection of NT hymns reflecting Christ in glory. The short Postface concludes the study.

If the genre of the work is difficult to establish, its fundamental aim is clear: to evoke as concretely as possible the person of Jesus of Nazareth, as understood by the first proclaimers of the good news and as expressed in the four canonical Gospels, without dissimulating their differing viewpoints (Postface, vol. 2, p. 523). To achieve this portrait, Grelot engages in a mainly historical-critical reading of the Gospels and of selected passages from the apostolic writings, ever careful to explain and show how these texts filter their presentation of Jesus and the events of his life (hence, the Jesus of Nazareth in the title) through the revelation of post-Easter faith (hence, the Christ and Lord of the title). …