JESUS AND THE LAMB
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Despite lingering notions of "gospel truth" many scholars and students of Christianity now recognize that the four gospels of the New Testament tell an incomplete, partly fictional story. With this recognition, writer Earl Arnett has constructed a "fifth gospel" that presents another, plausible version of Jesus' life that includes a twin brother. There are no miracles or transcendental events in his story--just Jesus, his friends and family interacting in a highly volatile Palestine ruled by Romans and royal oligarchs. There are surprises in the narrative that contradict traditional Christian theology, but the reader will find a more human Jesus and twists on "history" that remove some of the puzzles in the traditional gospels. He tells Jesus' story from the perspectives of a wide variety of historical characters: Salome, sister of Herod the Great; John the Baptizer, his mother Miriam, brother James, Mary Magdalen, disciples John, Peter and Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas. Fictional characters, including a cynic and priest of Pan, add new perspectives to Jesus' message. Established church figures in both the Catholic and Protestant worlds will probably not like this gospel, since there are no virgin births or resurrections. Instead, Jesus struggles to prepare for a divine Kingdom in the passionate belief that the Jewish God will intervene in history and establish justice for humankind. Arnett believes that "Jesus and The Lamb" stays true to a Christian message but modifies it for relevance in a secular age. Readers may even find a source of comfort and inspiration.