Sunday, December 17, 2006

Why Benedict Chose Doubleday

The news has come out that Pope Benedict will publish the English translation of his new book, Jesus of Nazareth, with Doubleday. I won't re-post the roundup on the book news with this new detail... I just wanted to say something about this.

This is a little surprising. Ignatius Press has been the Pope's publisher for years. Why is he now switching over to Doubleday?

To be honest, I don't really know. But I have a few thoughts.

First, Doubleday clearly has better circulation. They are better equipped for a major release.

Second, The Davinci Code is published by Doubleday. This means that the Pope's book will get the same distribution Dan Brown did--in fact, it will get on many of the same shelves.

This just reaffirms what I said here--the Pope is going after the pseudo-scholarship of Dan Brown, the Jesus Seminar, etc.

Don't forget the importance of this research--recall this, for example.

Oh, and by the way, Doubleday is also the publisher of many of Scott Hahn's fine works.

I might point out that Scott, of course, wrote the foreward to the English translations of Ratzinger's works The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood (1993) and Many Religions One Covenant (1999).

Scott also holds the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation, at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

By the way, in addition to writing the foreward to the future Pope's books, Scott has also been kind enough to write the introduction to one of my own books: Singing in the Reign: The Psalms and the Liturgy of God's Kingdom (2001). (Thanks again, Scott!). So the Pope and I share the same "forewarder"!

No word yet on who will write the foreward to the Pope's new book... for the record, I'm available.


::aaron g:: said...

Is it fair to equate the "pseudo-scholarship of Dan Brown" with work of the Jesus Seminar? Even if one disagrees with the Seminar's conclusions, their writing is nothing like Dan Brown's.

Michael Barber said...


Perhaps you are correct. The Jesus Seminar does do far more work to justify its claims.

I suppose I just don't take it very seriously. One might say that is because of my bias. I think, however, that even if you just look at their methodology, their work seems fatally flawed.

I guess the question I would ask is, is it fair to scholars like Hengel and Allison that we call the Jesus Seminar's work "scholarship".

But, nonetheless, your point is well taken. Thanks for dropping by.