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The Five Books of Jesus Paperback – September 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479271306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479271306
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In The Five Books of Jesus, James Goldberg has faithfully and artfully puts the stories of the gospels squarely in their Jewish setting, making vivid connections to the scriptural world in which Jesus's message emerged. Meticulously researched and beautifully written."
-Carli Anderson, Instructor of Hebrew Bible, BYU

"...made me feel like I was there in the press of the crowd."
-Lee Ann Setzer, Author of Gathered: A Novel of Ruth

"Its intimate simplicity [...] gives presence to Jesus in a way that lingers with you long after you read its final words."
-Scott Hales, Review Editor at Irreantum

About the Author

James Goldberg’s family is Jewish on one side, Sikh on the other, and Mormon in the middle. His plays, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Shofar, Drash, The Best of Mormonism: 2009, and Jattan Da Pracheen Ithas. Goldberg teaches composition and creative writing courses at Brigham Young University.

More About the Author

James Goldberg's family is Jewish on one side, Sikh on the other, and Mormon in the middle. His plays, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Shofar, Drash, The Best of Mormonism: 2009, and Jattan Da Pracheen Ithas. Goldberg has taught persuasive and creative writing at Brigham Young University and now writes web content for the LDS Church History Department.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 37 customer reviews
His writing style is beautiful, poetic, and moving.
M. Rice
Rather, the book invites the reader to consider that all the old stories happened to real people, in real situations--just like the rest of us.
Lee Ann S.
In addition, Goldberg's depictions of the disciples and their feelings and motivations makes the characters feel very human.
sstankie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Pennsylvania Joy on July 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I hesitated in buying this book because I am a Bible-believing Christian and the author is Mormon but the positive comments persuaded me to give it a try. It is an interesting story which I ended up reading more slowly than I usually do. Overall, the story is mostly accurate to the Bible although I did look up several verses to verify what I remembered from the gospels versus what the author wrote.

My biggest complaint is that the book implies that Jesus wasn't sure of "who" He was when baptized by John the Baptist. (John asks Jesus, "Are you him? Are you the one?" and Jesus responds, "I think so." John asks, "And it's time?" Jesus nods.) I think Jesus knew who He was and what He was to do at least from the age of 12 when He had stayed behind in Jerusalem after Passsover. After his parents had searched for 3 days He was found in the Temple with the teachers, listening and asking questions. His response to questions from His mother asking why He had stayed behind was "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Didn't you know that I had to be in My Father's house?" Luke 2:41-49.

Also, according to John 18:10 it was Peter who used the sword to cut off the ear of Malchus, slave of the High Priest, when they were arresting Jesus in the garden. The book states that it was James.

Mary of Bethany (sister of Martha and Lazarus) is called Mary of Magdala (or Mary Magdalene. While I believe these were two separate people based on the Bible, this isn't the first author to merge the two in their fictional works.

If you can look over these discrepancies the story is actually good. It gives insight into the thoughts and motivations of those who were around Jesus, whether friend or foe. Judas was especially interesting.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Rice on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
You would think that such a well-known story as the ministry of Jesus Christ would make this book predictable and boring. But even while faithfully recounting familiar events, the author surprises with new insights which evoke new thoughts and emotions in the reader. His writing style is beautiful, poetic, and moving.

Sometimes fiction about Jesus leaves me feeling uncomfortable, especially if I think the author is being unnecessarily provocative. This book, however, is gentle and inoffensive. Even the parts I didn't agree with were interesting and challenged me to reassess my thinking. Be aware, the book doesn't cover everything in the four Gospels, plus it includes some imaginary events to move the story along. But the author does a masterful job of weaving together the teachings of the Savior, his miracles, and the lives of those he touched into a wonderfully engaging narrative.

I only give a book five stars if it does two things: (1) makes me want to keep turning pages to the very end and (2) uplifts my heart and soul. This book easily achieves both. I highly recommend it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lee Ann S. on October 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
I loved this book on so many levels.

The prose has a lyrical tone, informed by Indian poetry. The author deftly weaves in Old Testament prophecies to point up the depth and meaning of Jesus' teachings and stories. It's an excellent read on either of those levels, but for me, its real genius was the way the stories grabbed me and made me feel like I was there in the press of the crowd; or walking all night, listening to Jesus tell stories with layers of meaning; or inside the head of a new, confused, sometimes terrified disciple. The point of view flits from character to character, lingering lovingly on the women's experiences. The only head we don't enter is Jesus' own: like the people in the Bible, we are left with the example, the lessons, and the tremendous sacrifice, to draw our own conclusions.

Where the Bible doesn't give details, Goldberg occasionally freewheels his own, generally choosing a generous interpretation. We're clearly not meant to take his re-telling as "gospel." Rather, the book invites the reader to consider that all the old stories happened to real people, in real situations--just like the rest of us.

The betrayer Judas receives an especially careful characterization. Again, Goldberg's interpretation may or may not be the one that actually happened--but it shows that, whatever his story, Judas was a real person, with a story and a past and a set of compelling motivations. Just like the rest of us.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eowyn77 on January 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The prose itself is beautiful, but the thing that was most striking to me was the insightful way the author approached both the text of the Bible and people in it. Connections are made between events that, after reading this, seem blindingly obvious but that I'd never seen pieced together elsewhere (example: that the woman healed of an issue of blood had been ill for the same length of time Jairus daughter had been alive -- the older woman had literally suffered a lifetime -- and both were healed on the same day). I loved it so much that I gave it as family Christmas gifts to both sides of my family. Highly recommend it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Giles on April 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A novelization of Christ's ministry cannot be taken lightly. The poetry if this volume alone makes it worth devouring. However its dual power is in placing Christ firmly in his Jewish cultural surroundings (clearly showing he was neither a rock star nor subject for paintings with butterflies) and fully fleshing out the leading figure surround the Master. I was particularly captivated by Judas's backstory and inner struggle. Worshipful and fresh without being apologetic or heavy handed I would recommend this to any Christian looking for a more human examination of the Saviour's ministry and passion.
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