I was asked to review C.D. Baker’s fictional account of Jesus entitled Becoming the Son.
You can read the interview I did with Baker here.
Some people read the book and loved it. For instance . . .
“A first-person encounter with the Jesus who could have been is carefully researched and challenges tradition without disrespecting the biblical accounts.”
Publishers Weekly Select, December 2012
“C.D. Baker has accomplished what few novelists have ever achieved. From his pen flows an engaging story about Jesus that resists literary, theological, or historical compromise. It is truly a rare gem.”
Dr. Bruce Longenecker, W.W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University.
I’m not a fiction reader, so I cannot tell who writes good fiction and who doesn’t. But the writing style seemed good to me.
Note that this is a fictional book. It doesn’t overturn the Gospel accounts, but it adds an enormous amount of imagination to them.
Baker is essentially trying to underscore Jesus’ human side without subverting what we find in the Bible.
If you are someone who loves fiction and you are strongly grounded in the Gospels (so you can discern what’s based on Scripture and what’s based on Baker’s imagination), then you might enjoy this book.
For those who aren’t sure, I’d recommend you do two things first:
1. Read Jesus: A Theography. This will ground you in the best theology and New Testament scholarship concerning the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. The book tells the Jesus story from Genesis to Revelation.
2. Read New Testament scholar Bill Mounce’s work, Jesus: In His Own Words. In that book, which I’ve already reviewed and highly recommend, one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars harmonizes the Gospels, puts the events in chronological order, and makes one small change. Jesus tells the story of the Gospels Himself.
This work doesn’t tamper with the text at all, it just changes the perspective. So where the text says, “And Jesus entered into her home . . .” Mounce’s work says, “And I entered into her home . . .”
Once you’ve read those two books, you’ll be solidly grounded in the entire story of Jesus from a historical and biblical perspective. Then you will be able to better enjoy and access Baker’s work of historical fiction.
So it seems to me, anyway.