Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: The Man Clothed in Linen

Title of Book:  The Man Clothed in Linen
Author:  Robert Earle
Publisher:  MC Writing (October 7, 2011)
Available:  Amazon

“The Man Clothed in Linen” is a compelling look, not only into the story of Jesus, but into the complex political climate of the times. Being well acquainted with both Old and New Testaments, as well as living in Israel these past 30 plus years, I can appreciate the amount of research that went into the writing of this novel. The end result feels quite authentic, although - of course - there is quite a bit of speculation.

The narrative is seen through the eyes of Nicolas, a Greek who served the key figures of the time: tutoring the children of Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt, serving as advisor to King Herod and later Herod’s sons in Israel, as well as advisor to the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife  Livia in Rome. By basing the narrative on someone who is neither Roman nor Jew, we are seemingly presented with a much more objective and comprehensive look at a very complex situation. And understanding the complex political situation is vital in attempting to understand who Jesus was and the role he was to play.

The description of the life of Jesus in the New Testament is based on a small number of carefully selected texts. At times these texts appear to be carefully constructed to glorify the man, rather that present the reality of the human condition, and attempt to simplify a very complex situation. “The Man Clothed in Linen” not only helps us understand better the realities of the time, but also allows us to see better how Jesus would be viewed during his own lifetime.

While challenging many of our pre-conceived concepts, the book does not necessarily present an alternate reality. In fact, it leaves much of this open for us to decide. For example, we are led to believe that Herod was the father of Jesus, however there are conflicting accounts in the book as to whether Herod was capable of conceiving a child at this time of his life, and the later mention of Jesus being the son of a King often holds possible double meaning.  

I found the descriptions, the running dialogue, the development of characters and the manner in which the various story elements are tied together - extremely effective and warmly recommend this book.


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