Vatican City

Pope's third Jesus book to be presented next week

Final installment explores Christ before age 30

Pope's third Jesus book to be presented next week

Vatican City, November 14 - Pope Benedict XVI's new book The Childhood of Jesus will be presented at the Vatican on November 20, publishers announced Wednesday. An estimated 300,000 Italian editions are in store for the third book in the pope's Jesus trilogy. The Italian edition of the book - penned in the pope's native German - is published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV). The heads of both publishing houses, Vatican officials and theologians will attend the presentation next Tuesday. The pontiff himself is not scheduled to appear. Rizzoli is reportedly in negotiations with publishers in 32 countries for the translation of the volume into 20 languages, compared to the nine for the previous installment. Benedict finished the book in August. The book on Jesus took a few months longer to complete than expected, according to Vatican sources, and printing was delayed after the Vatican refused to price copies at 0.77 euros per copy, which was thought to be too cheap, ANSA sources said. Given the lack of Biblical sources on Jesus's life before the age of 30, Benedict has recognized his book should not be regarded as the last word on the subject, he says. "Anyone is free to contradict me," he said early this year. The pope's second installment of the trilogy came out last March to acclaim from the Catholic and Jewish worlds. More than one million copies were reserved before its publication on March 11 and the volume went on to set a record for the German pontiff and theologian. The book gripped Catholics with its insights into Jesus's life, death and resurrection. Jewish groups hailed the pope's emphatic denial that the Jews were to blame for Jesus's death. From The Entry Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Benedict's remarks focused on the events leading up to Christ's crucifixion and the meaning of his death and rebirth. The book was a follow-up to the pope's bestselling Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration in 2007.

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