Jewish leaders praise pope's book

March 24, 2011 at 3:41 PM

VATICAN CITY, March 24 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI's new book on Jesus Christ, the second in a planned trilogy, has won praise from Jewish leaders for its analysis of the Crucifixion.

The book is also selling well, with the Vatican Publishing House saying 1.2 million copies were reserved by the time it was published March 11, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

"Jesus of Nazareth: From The Entry Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection" covers a period the pope said before publication includes "the decisive words and deeds of Jesus' life."

In the book, the pope says the Gospels do not say guilt for Jesus' execution lies with the Jewish people as a whole.

Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, called the book's publication "an important and historic moment for Catholic-Jewish relations."

''Pope Benedict has rejected the previous teachings and perversions that have helped to foster and reinforce anti-Semitism through the centuries," Foxman said. ''The fact that this pope is a theologian, and has served as a defender of the faith, makes this that much more significant for now and for future generations."

Benedict also received a letter of congratulations from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

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