Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
Jehoshua: Signs and Wonders
By Garrett Glass
"Glass' first novel in a planned trilogy retells the early days of Christianity, with the followers of Jesus as the main characters.
The prologue is a well-researched, highly informative survey of historical Jesus studies. Glass walks the reader through theories about the writing and spread of the Gospels and how that knowledge informs current ideas about the early church. The novel starts with Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate and keeps some distance from the actual crucifixion, which ducks the most common problem with these types of books —depicting Jesus in the flesh. Many authors make himtoo human, like Nikos Kazantazakis and Norman Mailer, or too divine, like Anne Rice. By dramatizing Christianity's birth through the followers of Jesus, Glass shows a vibrant community, sometimes at odds with itself, sometimes coming together in the face of oppression. Peter, Mary Magdalene, Paul and James the Just are the leads here, performing miracles and traveling to talk with people about Jehoshua.
Like other fictional Gospel books, Glass describes a sexual and emotional relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene and presents Peter as a healer relying on divine intervention, as well as some medical knowledge. Each chapter portrays a different follower. For instance, the chapter "Gamaliel" jumps ahead 20 years to investigate Gamaliel's relationship with Paul and the gathering of the first council of early church leaders in Jerusalem as they discuss the different sects that have sprung up within the new religion. Glass skillfully fleshes out the characters and illustrates the theological issues without confusing the reader, bringing to life the early Christian community. The introduction and appendix outline the historical facts behind the characters in a simple, accurate way.
Creatively portrays a classic story that both believers and nonbelievers may enjoy."
What People Are Saying about Signs and Wonders
"I was fortunate enough to receive this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As soon as it arrived I started reading. The first chapter left me somewhat uncomfortable and questioning where exactly Mr. Glass was going with this story. I was confused as to how to comprehend the factual/fictional aspects of what I was reading and had a different idea of what the last days of Christ were like compared to what was portrayed in this novel. As the story progressed I began to think about the Gospels and ponder the ideas and characters that the author had depicted. I can say that my eyes were opened to the political and social aspects of the time, something that I failed to contemplate in the past because I was so absorbed with Him and not so much with the people, places or the era. It was fascinating to look at the people, the way He touched their lives, and the way He changed their lives, and how their interpretation of Jesus and his teachings could be debated. Garrett Glass has taken a story that has been very spiritual to me and added depth to the personalities of the characters and the times in which they lived. I am looking forward to his next novel."
"Intriguing look at the seminal formation of Christianity —a riveting opening chapter concerning the crucifixion followed by plausible suppositions of what could have happened to spark the formation of one of the great religions.
"The author's great skill is his ability to plunge us into the world and work of early Christians as if we were simply walking into our own living room where they're having an impromptu community meeting. We're treated in an immediate, modern way to the sights, sounds, smells and texture of ancient times and especially to the thoughts of ancient people. Even the way they speak, a bit formally as their language of the time dictated, settles quickly into normalcy as the story progresses. This is a novel for imaginative intellectuals who are not put off by challenges to religious convention. The author's devotion to his subject is obvious in the reverent manner he displays - without a single ponderous note - the depth of research he must have put into this seeming work of a lifetime."
"Reading this entertaining novel, you will absorb much of the current scholarship on the historical Jesus and the first 25 years of Christianity, while following well-drawn characters and a compelling plot. Believers and skeptics alike will find much to enjoy in this book. The author fills in the gaps in the biblical accounts of Jesus's life and Paul's teachings with imagination and some humor, while respecting sensitivities of all faiths."