Jesus: A Pilgrimage

Jesus: A Pilgrimage

4.7 27
by James Martin

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A gifted storyteller and spiritual director, Father James Martin, SJ, invites readers to experience the stories of the Gospels in a completely new, vivid, and exciting way to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus. Moving sequentially through the Gospels, considering not only familiar passages but also the "hidden life" of Jesus, the book offers a bold retelling of

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A gifted storyteller and spiritual director, Father James Martin, SJ, invites readers to experience the stories of the Gospels in a completely new, vivid, and exciting way to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus. Moving sequentially through the Gospels, considering not only familiar passages but also the "hidden life" of Jesus, the book offers a bold retelling of the life of Christ, faithful to the Christian tradition, while meditating on parts of the narrative that have often escaped notice.

Martin provides personal stories from his own life, the most up-to-date biblical scholarship, and powerful anecdotes from beloved spiritual teachers, and brings the reader along on his own real-life travels through the Holy Land.

Combining the fascinating insights of historical Jesus studies with profound spiritual reflections about the Christ of faith, Martin re-creates the world of first-century Galilee and Judea to usher us into Jesus's life and times and reveal how Jesus speaks to us today. Jesus: A Pilgrimage is an invitation to know Jesus as Father Martin knows him: Messiah and Savior, as well as friend and brother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 02/24/2014
Inviting readers of "deep faith or no faith" to meet the Jesus he loves, Martin weaves stories of his Holy Land pilgrimage, undertaken to explore the Gospels, with scholarship, analysis, and personal reflections. The noted Jesuit, media commentator, and author (The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything) balances faith and reason in the classic Catholic tradition as he ponders the meaning of significant events in Jesus's life. Martin's broad knowledge of current academic work informs his imaginative exploration of possible answers. Dismissing the common "rationalizing tendency" toward the Gospels, he emphasizes that Jesus, at once both human and divine, is "not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived." His commitment to a traditional Christian understanding provides a bracing counterpoint to recent studies of the historical Jesus and non-canonical gospels. Martin communicates a joyful faith in God's healing and the ultimate hope offered by the Resurrection. Throughout, vivid details of his search in blistering heat for holy sites both authentic and dubious anchor this complex, compelling spiritual testimony. "You've met my Jesus," he concludes. "Now meet your own." (Mar.)
Paul Raushenbush
Jesus: A Pilgrimage is the Jesus book for smart people who are seeking to understand the singular person of Jesus of Nazareth through the illuminated lens of Father Martin’s intelligent, funny, prayerful and profound faith.”
Rev. Daniel J. Harrington
“One of the best religion writers today, Fr. Martin has produced a remarkable combination of modern scholarship on the Gospels, his experiences on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, his own creative imagination and sense of humor, and wise advice pertaining to Christian life.”
Timothy Radcliffe
“James Martin’s witty account of his pilgrimage in the Holy Land gives one an acute sense of how wonderful it is that God has walked in our land and shared our lives. It touches our imagination and ignites it anew.”
Joan Chittister
“Highly accessible, inviting-even magnetic-and meant to be read by those who have always wanted a companion, a mentor, and an understanding friend to accompany them. A profound book.”
Washington Post
“Part travelogue, part memoir and part very Martinesque - that is, funny, conversational and deep.”
Huffington Post
“About halfway through the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks... ‘Who do you think I am?’ In his new book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Jesuit priest, Jim Martin, searches for an answer and his answer just might surprise you.”
Happy Catholic Blog
“I’m beginning to feel that [Jesus: A Pilgrimage] might be a ‘must have’ for Christians who want a more rounded, personal experience of Christ. Or for those who don’t understand the “Christian thing” and would like some general context of their own.”
Stuart's Study Blog
“Mixed with theology, history, tradition, and Fr. Martin’s wisdom and wit, we put ourselves in the exact moment and location of Jesus and try and picture what it must have been like for both Jesus and those around Him.”
Peter Milward
“The more personal and the more subjective and even the more chatty the account of this pilgrimage becomes, the closer we draw, even without realizing it, to its divine-human subject.”
The Tablet
“The blend of distilled scholarship and narrative is infectious. Travelogue, spirituality and theological reflection combine with wit and human insight.”
Busted Halo
“[Jesus] blends Bible study, spiritual reflection, personal memoir and travel writing in a way that (mercifully) differs from the classically dull, dry volumes on the life of Christ.”
Chicago Tribune
A treasure...a wise and entertaining book that should appeal to the spiritual pilgrim in all of us, no matter what the faith and no matter whether believer or nonbeliever.
An inspirational memoir that stands as a fresh perspective on Jesus with Martin’s own travel narrative and a Bible study that is scholarly and inspirational, this book is perfectly pitched for general readers with his fluid, magazine-style prose- definitely a “mash-up” of styles, but Martin makes it work!
The Bible Today
“Martin draws on solid scholarship and also on his own experience, along with an accessible and attractive style, all of which makes this book an attractive and substantial spiritual reading.”
Our Sunday Visitor
“Outstanding...[Martin is] a masterful teacher and story teller.”
Catholic News Service
“Remarkable...fascinating... Martin interweaves scholarship into a popular-level narrative which will at once introduce many readers to their work and at the same time challenge readers to understand the Gospel narratives in new ways.”
First for Women
“Combining memoir, theology and history, Father Martin recounts how his sense of place in the churches and holy sites he visits illuminates his Sense of Place as a follower of Jesus. His honest, sensitive reading of Scripture through the lens of intelligence and faithfulness left me feeling joyful.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“Fr. James Martin, S.J. is refreshingly innovative in his Jesus: A Pilgrimage. He has a knack for giving a new perspective to the familiar, making the reader exclaim, ‘Ah, yes!’ A superb gift.”
Mary Karr
“James Martin’s riveting new meditation on Jesus is one of the best books I’ve read in years—on any subject. Jesus is a love letter to the first-century Jewish radical Martin has devoted his life to following. Bravo, Father Martin, for writing a must-read.”
Richard Rohr
“It takes a ‘human one’ to write well about the consummate ‘Human One,’ Jesus. And James Martin does that very well! Come to see, and be seen by, the one who has loved so many of us into life.”
Daniel J. Harrington
“One of the best religion writers today, Fr. Martin has produced a remarkable combination of modern scholarship on the Gospels, his experiences on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, his own creative imagination and sense of humor, and wise advice pertaining to Christian life.”
Ronald Rolheiser
“What can be said about Jesus that’s never been said before? Martin helps answer that question through an insightful, balanced, intelligent, widely-embracing, and faith-filled account of his own journey in search of Jesus. A book for everyone, regardless of creed or background. James Martin at his best!”
Harvey Cox
“Do we really need yet another book about Jesus? If the book is this one, the answer is yes, we do. Jim Martin’s approach to a well picked–over subject is unique and original, and it will net the reader a glimpse into the Nazarene not available elsewhere.”
Scott Hahn
“Father Martin calls archeologists and exegetes to witness in his narrative. He bares his own life experiences. It’s all at the service of the greater story—the greatest ever told. If I have the privilege of visiting the Holy Land again, I will see it differently because I’ve read this book.”
Margaret Silf
“It isn’t often that a book invites you to make a journey through the Holy Land in the company of an inspiring, well–informed and entertaining guide like James Martin. Enjoy the journey, but don’t be surprised if it changes you.”
Rev. Gerhard Lohfink
“This is a sensitive, hearfelt inquiry into the person of Jesus. James Martin encounters Jesus again and again on a pilgrimage through Israel. In his book the great texts of the Gospels come to live and are transformed for the reader into an encounter with Jesus as he really was.”
Harold W. Attridge
“Martin offers a very personal meditative memoir, but one informed by critical biblical and archaeological scholarship and graced with his accustomed narrative skill. His entertaining, thoughtful, and inspiring account will delight both seasoned pilgrims and those who want to be.”
John W. Martens
“James Martin does something remarkable in this book. He invites you to accompany him on a pilgrimage through the Holy Land. New Testament scholarship opens up the life of Jesus so that the Gospels can speak to each of us personally and transform us as they did their first hearers.”
Thomas D. Stegman
“Jim Martin’s book on Jesus is a gem. Learned yet highly accessible, he weaves together a number of insights gleaned from the Gospels, a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Ignatian spirituality, and his personal and pastoral experience. This is a Jesus book I highly recommend.”
Robert Ellsberg
“Whether encountering Jesus for the first time, or wanting to know him better, you’ll find a wonderful guide in Fr. Martin. He takes us on his tour of the Holy Land, treading in the footsteps of Jesus. More than a travelogue or commentary on scripture—it’s a life-transforming pilgrimage.”
Professor John P. Meier
“Fr. James Martin, chaplain to the Colbert nation, uses the geography of the Holy Land to map out the separate plots of earth called historical Jesus, christology, and personal (as well as ecclesial) spirituality. Every reader will enjoy the journey through this triple territory with such an insightful companion.”
Candida Moss
“In this inspiring medley of travelogue, academically informed Bible study, and pilgrimage, Martin resurrects an ancient Christian form of spirituality and serves as a trustworthy guide through the life of Jesus. Jesus is a must-read for those who want their Bible brought to life with accuracy, sincerity, and sparkle.”
Sister Helen Prejean
“Want a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a reliable guide? Open these pages and travel with Fr. Jim Martin. He’s at his best here, opening the Gospel mysteries, but with a light touch. Serious scholar, yes—but mostly a pilgrim believer trying to make his way, just like us.”
Barbara E. Reid
“This delightful book combines personal reflections, spiritual nuggets, insights from top biblical scholars, theologians, and archaeologists, in a folksy and engaging style. As Martin shares his pilgrimage, he makes Jesus and his land and times come alive, inviting others to meet Jesus and embark on their own pilgrimage.”
Elizabeth A. Johnson
“Written in clear, accessible prose and laced with the author’s trademark good cheer, this is a deeply personal narrative. Read this book and be inspired to encounter Jesus in your own way, in the company of a spiritually insightful guide.”
Charles J. Chaput
Jesus is a delight to read and a work of substance for the committed Christian. Vividly written, and rich in historical detail and analysis, it’s also a movingly personal journey of faith. This is a book that will linger in the reader’s heart.”
Joyce Rupp
“James Martin has a gift for captivating both the reader’s head and heart. What a joy to take this personal and fascinating pilgrimage with Fr. Martin, one that leads to a refreshing awareness and understanding of the beloved Carpenter from Nazareth. This book not only informs, it inspires.”
Kathleen Norris
“This is an invaluable book for anyone desiring to know more about Jesus, and how his life can illumine our own spiritual pilgrimage. James Martin makes familiar Gospel stories fresh, and helps us see how in our ordinary lives we might better answer God’s call to conversation and conversion.”
Cardinal Sean O'Malley
“Fr. Martin provides those who have stepped away from their faith, or who are not believers, the opportunity to better know who Jesus was. Whether you are one of Jesus’ most fervent disciples or a questioning observer, this book will help you understand Jesus is our brother and friend forever.”
Sandra M. Schneiders
“The book is solidly based in contemporary Jesus studies but its charm lies in the insight a fellow Christian has gleaned into the God-man of the Gospels through his own personal and deepening relationship with Jesus.”
Library Journal
In this work—part travelog, part biblical commentary, part memoir, part meditation—prolific Jesuit author Martin (culture editor, America magazine; My Life with the Saints) devotes a chapter to each of the towns he visited while on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land, villages in which particular incidents in the life of Jesus took place. He explains and reflects on the relevant Gospel stories as he proceeds. For example, in the chapter "Tabgha," he considers the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and reflects on an incident in his experience when Jesus made small things great, and suggests how this event can help those who feel their efforts are inadequate. The chapters are ordered according to the life of Jesus, and do not correspond to the order of Martin's visit, so the account isn't so much about places as it is about coming to understand Jesus better and fostering a deeper relationship with him. Martin often refers accessibly to the scholarship about a particular biblical passage, with the relevant text provided in full at the end of each section. VERDICT This will appeal to readers (not just Catholics) seeking an introduction to the Gospels that is personal but rooted in serious scholarship.—Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A consideration of Christ, human and divine, from an on-native-ground perspective. Many people have difficulty wrapping their heads around Jesus' humanity, writes Jesuit priest and scholar Martin (Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, 2011, etc.). "Beyond academic studies," he writes, "I have come to know Jesus in three other ways: prayer, experience, and pilgrimage." All those forms of knowing came into play when the author left New York and headed for the Middle East. "Traveling through the Holy Land," he writes cheerfully, "is like visiting the family home of a good friend. No matter how well you know the person, you'll understand your friend better afterward." Martin guides readers on a tour of the geographical places from Jesus' life, sometimes threatening to be overcome by sentimentality as he realizes that Jesus ate here and walked there ("Jesus was here, I kept thinking. Jesus was here"). The theological and ethical lessons that Martin draws from the biblical landscape are illuminating and unobjectionable even though he allows that some of that geography is suspect—e.g., the Via Dolorosa has become commodified and overly touristy. Still, the author's enthusiasm at realizing that he may have arrived at the very spots where Jesus had his last supper makes for meaningful reading. Better still are his gentle commentaries on scenes in Christ's life: the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, to which he supplies a close reading of the Greek to determine the root meaning of too easily misread terms such as "meek," "poor," "merciful" and "peacemaker"—terms that, properly understood, might make the 1 percent among us a bit uneasy. An intelligent, lively travelogue, well-timed to arrive for the Easter season, and a welcome complement to a direct reading of the Gospels.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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