Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI.
This book is aimed at the educated masses, with enough academic credibility to be respected in that world, while maintaining a nice level of readability. Certainly not a light read, or an easy read, but an interesting read.
This first volume of the Pope’s study on the life of Christ covers the period from the baptism to the transfiguration. This is nice symmetry, as these are two times where the Father speaks audibly to and about His Son. This slice of Jesus’ life covers much familiar territory, including the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer, two events that are covered phrase by phrase. Very interesting coverage of familiar passages. There is also a nice section of the Prodigal Son, which the Pope prefers to title the Parable of the Two Sons.
If you are a non-Catholic who can look past the couple places where the analysis is specifically Catholic (it’s the Pope, after all), I recommend this.
As a matter of fact, if you are a non-Catholic who can’t look past the specifically Catholic passages, you should probably be the first to read it.