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Did Jesus Really Exist? And 51 other questions

Nikolaas Sintobin

Messenger Publications, 2020, £11.99. ISBN 978-1788121217

Review by Liz Shercliff, Director of Studies for Readers in the Diocese of Chester, Reviews Editor

<strong>Did Jesus Really Exist? And 51 other questions</strong>

Nikolaas Sintobin became a Jesuit in 1989 after a brief career as a lawyer. He is involved in podcasting and video-webcasting, activities that serve to show that he is concerned with contemporary culture and seeks to understand it. This broad-brush background serves to explain something about the book. It seeks to ask questions posed by those with little or no church background. Whether the book would fall into their hands or whether it provides answers for Christians to offer when asked such questions is a moot point. The questions are informative if they genuinely do reflect what people beyond the church walls want to know about our faith.

In the introduction, Gareth Byrne (Director of the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education) identifies the questions as those ‘you always wanted to ask about the Christian faith, about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church,’ a comprehensive remit, then for so small a book.

The fifty-one questions are somewhat idiosyncratic, and the answers simple, most barely stretching beyond one page in length. We move from ‘Is believing exceptional?’ question one, to ‘What do humans do in heaven?’ (question 37) and ‘Does hell exist?’ (41). Some questions are more searching than others, such as ‘Prayer, what is that?’ (45) and ‘Can Christians learn from other religions?’ (51), each of which warrants just over a page in response.

For those involved in teaching small groups, or leading young people this book may be of interest.

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