Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jesus: A Pilgrimage

Jesus: A Pilgrimage

4.7 27
by James Martin

See All Formats & Editions

James Martin, SJ, gifted storyteller, editor at large of America magazine, popular media commentator, and New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, brings the Gospels to life in Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer and


James Martin, SJ, gifted storyteller, editor at large of America magazine, popular media commentator, and New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, brings the Gospels to life in Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer and travel.

Combining the fascinating insights of historical Jesus studies with profound spiritual insights about the Christ of faith, Father Martin recreates the world of first-century Galilee and Judea to usher you into Jesus's life and times and show readers how Jesus speaks to us today. Martin also brings together the most up-to-date Scripture scholarship, wise spiritual reflections, and lighthearted stories about traveling through the Holy Land with a fellow (and funny) Jesuit, visiting important sites in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

The person at the heart of the Gospels can seem impossibly distant. Stories about his astonishing life and ministry—clever parables that upended everyone's expectations, incredible healings that convinced even skeptics, nature miracles that dazzled the dumbstruck disciples—can seem far removed from our own daily lives, hard to understand, and at times irrelevant. But in Jesus you will come to know him as Father Martin knows him: Messiah and Savior, as well as friend and brother.

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.”
The Leaven
“My highest recommendation...Just read this book and you will understand more about the times in which Jesus lived-and more about what the Gospel stories mean-than you could ever imagine.”
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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)


Meet the Author

REV. JAMES MARTIN, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, and bestselling author of The Abbey, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and Between Heaven and Mirth. Father Martin has written for many publications, including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he is a regular commentator in the national and international media. He has appeared on all the major radio and television networks and in venues as diverse as National Public Radio, FOX TV, Comedy Central, the BBC, the History channel, and Vatican Radio. Follow the author on Facebook (FrJamesMartin) and Twitter (@JamesMartinSJ).

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Jesus: A Pilgrimage 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! It is a very easy read and gives depth, background, and life to the biblical stories we are so used to hearing. It makes you connect or reconnect with Jesus. I also love the personal stories that Father James seemlessly integrates into the text. It makes the book interesting without taking away from the main focus of the text - Jesus.
mkbrsm More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to everyone. Father James Martin is one of my favorite spiritual writers. He is very easy to read, very down to earth.
GeorgiMA More than 1 year ago
A wonderful read. Martin integrates research, travel, gospel and personal observations beautifully. I read it first on iBooks then bought a hard copy just to have it to hold in my hands, to reread it and to lend it to others.
CMBLA More than 1 year ago
For younger, older, well educated or beginners in scripture study, this is a great book for all. Can be read straight through or by selection of a given chapter for the time of year. Complete with thoughtful questions, helps for prayer, examples of pilgrimaging even from your chair.
Croz More than 1 year ago
Very readable with some lovely insights that give you something to think about as you ponder the life and times of Jesus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would you like to take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a personal guide who has significant insights on Jesus and about the places involving Him? You can do so by reading James Miller’s Jesus, A Pilgrimage published in 2014. He vividly describes such locations as Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Gethsemane and Golgotha. Seeing the physical locations created profound moments of Miller reflecting that Jesus had seen them. They also allowed the writer to better understand the Gospel. The book's 422 pages address the sometimes inconsistent parts of the four Gospels dealing with what happened at each location. He compares Gospel coverage, such as Bartimaeus being the only recipient of a miracle whose name is given in the three Synoptic Gospels. He uses information from archeological digs and other sources to supply details not provided by the Gospels. Nazareth excavations have not yet revealed a building that could have been a synagogue where early in his ministry Jesus upset the people he had known all his earthly life. The town was then small and poor, and an outdoor courtyard could have served as the place of worship. Miller also poses questions beyond what is now available from the above sources. One area is the eighteen or so years after Jesus at age twelve in Jerusalem amazed religious leaders with his wisdom. Those hidden years are a fertile ground in which to ponder possibilities of what happened to Jesus to further prepare him for his public ministry of about three years. Another question is where he lived after his hometown drove him away when he claimed to be the Messiah. A goal is to see things from the perspective of those interacting with Jesus. It is like you are traveling with the author as he frames settings and shares his ideas about Jesus. This book sets forth Miller’s views and is thus different than other commentaries on Jesus. While this results in some sermons, most are good ones in my opinion. Miller presents Jesus as both human and Devine, which considers to be a mystery to be pondered rather than solved. It is important to use one's faith and reason when reading Scripture to fully understand it. Jesus' resurrection received special analysis by the author. It is interesting that women were the first to see that Jesus had risen and to believe it. The men had scattered after the arrest. Mary of Magdalene did not recognize His risen state until He stated her name. Peter did not believe even when looking at the empty tomb, and he went home. On Jesus' instructions, Mary follows Peter to tell him of what Jesus told her. She is thus an Apostle to the Apostles. Yet Peter is exalted with a dominant tower at the Vatican and in other ways while Mary is barely recognized over the centuries by the churches. Miller argues that a form of resurrection can come from dying to despair and various other aspects of ourselves that need to change and then finding our better selves. The change can come at unexpected times and in ways that are very personal. We are dealing with a living God who confounds expectations. Such findings usually increase joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EXCELLENT Virtual Travelogue If you are planning on going to the Holy Land, and want to get a flavor.... If you have gone to want to relive the memories.... or if you are just interested in the lands where Jesus lived and traveled, this is an excellent book. I highly recommend it. Fr. James Martin SJ recounts his travel, including the geographic experience and ties it to the Gospel accounts. A GREAT book for preparing, reliving, or just enjoying a virtual experience of traveling in the Holy Land. I read the segment on the Crucifixion/Resurrection narratives over Holy Week/Easter Week, and it made the Gospel passages come alive. Read this book for an experience of bringing the Gospels alive!
iaijohn More than 1 year ago
Jesus asked, "Who do people say I am?" In his book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Father Martin explores the Holy Land and who Jesus was through the question, how was Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. He points out that looking at Jesus as a man is a stumbling block for many. Yet we need to see Jesus within the context of his time to fully understand all that Jesus was and what he said. The author went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with George a close friend and fellow Jesuit. Together they drove to the various places Jesus went during his life and eventual death. Father Martin points out that ideally the trip would follow the sequence of events of Jesus life from Bethlehem, to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and Jerusalem. But to save time the more direct geographical route was chosen and Nazareth was in the middle of their pilgrimage. The author gives a detailed personal description of the Holy Land, its people and history. They visited and a number of religious communities. Those they stayed with told stories about Jesus and help to put the life of Jesus into historical perspective. In particular, the family of Jesus is discussed and how they all fit into history. At various points in the narrative Father Martin discusses the way the Gospels are written with different audiences in mind. From this he paints a picture of the people of that land, at that time. Thus a historical perspective is achieved. The book proceeds from place to place and event to event in the life of Jesus. A rich tapestry of detail about the people, places and situation is revealed. The author combines history with theology to show how they are related and flow from each other. If you like history and theology this detailed book will be of interest to you.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
A great book that takes you right along with James Martin SJ to the Holy Land and the places any pilgrim would want to visit---great tie-in with the Gospel stories and great insight into the life of Jesus and his disciples. Well done!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reading was very enjoyable. Loved this book. Excited to make the journey my self.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written and interesting book about a trip to the Holy Land and interesting information about the life of Jesus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly a great read. It is full of insight but grounded by humor. Even if you are not a Christian, you should enjoy this book. It is a travel book with a message!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have ever wanted to go to the holy land, then read this book! Fr. Martin is his usual captivating guide and you will see this in a whole new view. Thank you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book just described the way Christians should approach the Holy Land.