Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: On Heaven and Earth by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka

ISBN: 0770435068
Published: April 19th, 2013 (originally published November 17th, 2010)
Publisher: Image
Read from June 10th to July 2nd, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
New York Times Bestseller!
From the man who became Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio shares his thoughts on religion, reason, and the challenges the world faces in the 21st century with Abraham Skorka, a rabbi and biophysicist.
For years Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Argentina, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka were tenacious promoters of interreligious dialogues on faith and reason. They both sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism, and the world at large. On Heaven and Earth, originally published in Argentina in 2010, brings together a series of these conversations where both men talked about various theological and worldly issues, including God, fundamentalism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization. From these personal and accessible talks comes a first-hand view of the man who would become pope to 1.2 billion Catholics around the world in March 2013.

Review:

This book is basically a transcript of conversations that Bergoglio (now Pope Francis; then Archbishop of Buenos Aires) and Skorka (a Jewish rabbi).  They talk about a wide variety of topics and what their views are on them.

I absolutely loved this book.  I loved getting both of their perspectives on every topic, and although they occasionally disagreed, they were always respectful of each other.  I always enjoy learning more about various religions, and I loved seeing a Catholic perspective and Jewish perspective in the same book.  They talk about relations among various religions in the book even.  It was done very well.  I love the entire concept of this book.  It was a great idea.

It's in a script kind of form.  For instance, when it's something Skorka said, the book says "Skorka:" and then it's followed by what he said.  I really liked that format and found it easy to follow, but at the same time I could see some people disliking it.  It really is just them going back and forth on the different topics.

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Catholic or Jewish literature.  It isn't a thorough book on theology, but I do think it is a pretty good conversation starter and all around interesting book.  I found quite a few quotes from both men that I absolutely love.

Two quotes that stood out to me:

"Even though I personally believe that G-d exists, it is arrogant to say that He exists as if it were just another certainty in life." - Abraham Skorka

"Beyond this, I want to point out that the Devil is one thing. It is quite another matter to demonize things or people. Man is tempted, but there is no need to demonize him." - Jorge Mario Bergoglio

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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