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Gospel: A Novel Paperback – February 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (February 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312119240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312119249
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An intellectual detective story with the grand entertainment of a nineteenth-century novel, Gospel concerns the search for a lost first-century gospel of the Bible, a document that could shake the foundations of Christianity. Theological student Lucy Dantan and disillusioned ex-Jesuit Patrick O'Hanrahan pursue clues to the gospel's whereabouts across three continents through dozens of colorful locales. This book is a literary delight in the vein of Possession and The Name of the Rose.

From Publishers Weekly

Barnhardt's massive, erudite novel turns on a transcontinental search for a lost, biblical Gospel.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

This book may, indeed should, be used, as a corrective to a superficial faith.
G. Stucco
What is even of greater interest is "Gospel: A Novel" was written ten years before "Da Vinci Code" and is as a good as a book now as it was then.
T. Scott
Barnhardt's epistle deals more with the change in his characters than the actual plot--I think I would have liked more plot and less character.
Diana Faillace Von Behren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence E. Wilson on July 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Come along on a wild, intellectual ride, careening from Chicago to Ireland to Italy to Greece to Israel to the Sudan to Ethiopia, following the reprobate religious scholar, Dr. Patrick O'Hanrahan, and the semi-hapless perpetual grad student, Lucy Dantan, as they try to track down a lost 1st-Century Gospel, written by one of the Twelve Disciples...and enjoy fine living, abject poverty, attempted murder, theft, intellectual rivalry, religious theorizing, and spiritual agonizing along the way, plus the periodical, parenthetical Voice of God commenting on the action...Wilton Barnhardt (author of Emma, Who Saved My Life, also a grand book) has written a meaty and challenging mystery, whose characters are unafraid of the Big Questions, a book far more accessible than The Name of the Rose but with that same attractive flavor of the mysteries of scholarship and ancient manuscripts. Conspiracies and counter-conspiracies are revealed, characters grow in self-knowledge, and the reader gets to follow along in amazed pleasure (or pleasurable amazement?) as the plot twists and turns to its unexpected, emotionally-gratifying conclusion. I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good academic mystery---it's really well-written, the intrigue nevers stops.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By T. Scott on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is rare to have a compelling story with such great research backing it up.

The story line is two academics, one eccentric ex-Jesuit, "has been" and a young stereotypical Catholic woman, in search for a missing gospel. The book is interspersed with passages from the missing gospel, asides from God, and the quest itself; which is funny and entertaining. With that entertainment, comes references of church and bible lore which for their irreverence would surely offend some, so if you are dogmatic, better not read it (no put down intended; you would find it offensive).

However, if you have an interest in historical aspects of how the gospels in the bible were accepted, the politics of the church and the region, and day to day issues of early and mid millennium Christianity, this is a great book without plowing through scholarly texts.

One can compare it to the "Da Vinci Code" but the "Da Vinci Code" does not come near the scholarly references "Gospel: A Novel" uses. What is even of greater interest is "Gospel: A Novel" was written ten years before "Da Vinci Code" and is as a good as a book now as it was then. Do not be concerned by its length, it should hold your interest like a long, slow smoking cigar.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Stucco on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bravo Wilton! This guy knows his theology and his history! In this tour de force, the author takes us on a journey in search of a mysterious Gospel (according to Matthias, the thirteenth apostle) written in ancient Meroitic, a mysterious language which at the end of the book turns out to be Greek written in special characters. What does this Gospel say? What will be the consequences of its translation and publication on Christianity and on the world? The main characters of the book are Lucy Dantan, a theology doctoral candidate; Patrick O' Hanrahan, an ex-Jesuit (whom I imagined to look like the mentor of my dissertation); Rabbi Morey Hersh; and God, yes God!I greatly enjoyed the way in which God speaks (sentences in parenthesis), thus becoming a real character in the unfolding story!

Barnhardt does a fantastic life in breathing life into his characters. At one point, we read a fantastic characterization of Dr. O'Hanrahan through a soliloquy he engages in, as he is stranded on Mt. Athos. We could entitle it "The Married Life of An Alcoholic Professor".

What can I say theologically about the book? It is certainly written from a liberal, if not skeptical perspective. The Church as an institution is badly mauled, and yet without a polemical spirit. All the popular superstitions and cults are allowed to speak for themselves, and yet there is no sense of superiority or condescendence toward them. The characters we encounter are either scholarly geniuses or fundamentalist simpletons; men and women of great piety or opportunists and scoundrels. We occasionally encounter intellectuals in search of a stronger faith (Lucy). What ever happened to conservative, intellectually honest minds?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Justin Lee on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know if this book made much of an impact when it was first published, but it would be a real loss if it never did. Ever since The Da Vinci Code, many books have tried to follow in its success but this book blows them all away.

Gospel is about the search for the loss first-century gospel, and the impact that such a find will have on our understanding of Christianity. The central characters are Patrick O'Hanrahan, a professor emeritus from the University of Chicago, a drunk and disillusioned academic in search of the glory he once had; and Lucy Dantam, a young doctoral student at the same school of Theology, also disillusioned and yet still looking for her own path in life. The two of them take a journey through Europe and Africa in search for this loss gospel, while battling endless intrigue that involves a mad monk, a rabbi, the CIA, a TV evangelist, a multimillionaire, the Iranian government, spies, and much more!

I really enjoyed the characters in this novel, who are laugh-out-loud funny at times. They all battle their own demons, so to speak, and you soon see how their own personal quest to make sense of their lives is interwoven with their larger quest for the lost gospel. There is also the quest of the gospel writer as well, who too is looking for the Truth. Some people seem to dislike the characters for one reason or another. That is fair, but it is surely a good break from the stereotype of the handsome professor and his beautiful sidekick.

Understandably, the length of this novel may be an obstacle to some, but if you enjoy books like The Da Vinci Code or other historical books, this is it. This book was tremendously well-researched, but as with all books like this, I highly encourage you to do your own research to verify what you believe.
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