Media Reviews

Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations

Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations (4 Volumes)
Arranged and edited by the Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.SS.R.
Tan Books, 2004 (first printed in 1914).
2,623 pages
$60.00 + S&H






Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was born to poor parents in Westphalia, Germany on September 8, 1774.  She became a nun of the Augustinian Order on November 13, 1803, but her religious community and others were suppressed in 1811 by order of Jerome Bonaparte, youngest brother of Napoleon.  Before taking her vows she received the stigmata of the crown of thorns on her head, and shortly before being forced out of the convent, a cross appeared on her breast as well as the wounds of Our Lord on her hands, feet, and side.

Sr. Emmerich was given shelter by charitable persons of the town and was unable to leave her bed for the rest of her life.  She became a victim soul and lost the ability to eat or drink.  Towards the end of her life she did not even sleep.

Sr. Emmerich became well-known and was visited by a leading poet of the day, Clemens Brentano.  After meeting Sr. Emmerich, he resolved to record her life and visions for posterity, which he did for the next five years until the day of her death on February 9, 1824.  These records became the basis for the 1881 German edition of books compiled by the Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.SS.R.  These works were later translated into English by an American nun, and were then published in 1914.  TAN books reprinted the books in 1979 and republished them in 1986.  The current edition was printed in 2004 with enlarged type.  Sr. Emmerich was beatified on October 4, 2004.

Although this set of books is primarily about the life of Jesus Christ, other revelations are included.  Those who adhere to the traditional, patristic understanding of Genesis will be especially interested in the first two sections of volume one which deals with the creation of the world and events leading up to the construction of the Ark of the Covenant.  On page 64, Sr. Emmerich relates how Jesus explained to the Pharisees that the world had then been in existence 4028 years.  At the time he was 31 years old which puts the creation of the world at 3997 years before his birth.

In the section on Creation, the book explains how the angels were created before the earth.  Adam was drawn out of the earth from a spot near Jerusalem, and then transported into Paradise, where Eve was then taken from his side.  The fall of Adam and Eve is portrayed, along with their exile from Paradise to a place near Jerusalem.

The construction of the ark by Noah is described in detail.  It was made of four kinds of wood: palm, olive, cedar, and cypress.  The three decks were supported by hollow posts.  It took a long time to build the ark, for Noah discontinued building it for years at a time.  Finally, when it was finished, Noah called the animals with a reed pipe from the four corners of the globe.  Besides Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, some of Noah's extended family was also on the ark; more than 100 people in all!  Noah took with him into the ark the bones of Adam and a chalice which was later used by Our Lord at the Last Supper (the Holy Grail).  The ark rested upon a high rocky peak of a mountain chain far to the east of Syria.

The building of the Tower of Babel is also depicted.  The chapter starts out: "The building of the Tower of Babel was the work of pride."  It is also reported that: "I was told that it would have been finished and would now be standing as a magnificent monument of human skill, had it been erected to the honor of God."  One of the chief builders was Nemrod, who later built Babylon out of the stones of the Tower.

There are various other details given concerning Biblical events and persons, many of which are quite fascinating.  For example, Sr. Emmerich says that Melchisedech was an angel from the choir of angels that are set over countries and nations.  He blessed Abraham and at the same time ordained him a priest.  He gave to Abraham the very chalice used at the Last Supper.

Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations is a fascinating set of books in many respects.  The details described give you a greater appreciation of the Bible.  It was in large part the inspiration for the movie The Passion.  Readers who adhere to the traditional, patristic understanding of Genesis will especially appreciate the depictions of the Creation, Flood, and Tower of Babel.

Although the Church does not guarantee the accuracy of all of Blessed Anne Catherine's visions, there is undoubtedly much in them that is true and inspiring.  Where her visions appear to contradict the Word of God it is possible that her words were misunderstood or incorrectly transcribed, as Blessed Anne's words were written down and redacted by at least two different editors before they were published.  She also admits being confused at times about her own visions, whether they were literal or spiritual or both.  So although we cannot claim that her words are inerrant, they can lead us to a deeper love of the truth.

Eric Bermingham
January, 2009

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button