Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Countdown to "Jesus"

A week from today, the English translation of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth hits store shelves in the US and UK.

The book has received an exceptional welcome in Italy, where it was released last month to coincide with the author's 80th birthday. First-day sales clocked in at over 50,000 copies of the initial run of 350,000. With well over 100,000 now sold, a second Italian printing of 70,000 has already been ordered.

To commemorate the book's US debut, a formal presentation will be held at Washington's John Paul II Center on Release Night, to be co-hosted by Nazareth's US publisher, Doubleday, and the nuncio to Washington Archbishop Pietro Sambi. A scheduled panel discussion will include contributions from Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, the columnist and author George Weigel, and John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter. (In a sign of the times, both Lori and Allen now have blogs of their own.)

The 7pm event will be open to the public. An English translation of the book's preface is already available, but whether Harry Potter-esque "midnight sales" will be keeping any Barnes & Nobles open late remains unclear as of press time.

As an added treat, here's the cover jacket (click to expand)....

The rest, however, will have to wait.

PHOTOS: Doubleday