- Paperback: 153 pages
- Publisher: Christian Alternative (July 16, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1782790675
- ISBN-13: 978-1782790679
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#5,143,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #5296 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > New Testament
- #5894 in Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Movements & Periods > Ancient & Classical
- #25157 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Bible Study & Reference > New Testament
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Son of Yahweh: The Gospels As Novels Paperback – July 16, 2013
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About the Author
Clarke W. Owens writes fiction, criticism, assorted prose, and poetry. He lives in rural Ohio with his wife and several cats.
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Top Customer Reviews
I can't think of another book about the Bible that combines such modesty with such audacity.
Using new historicist techniques and assumptions, Clarke Owens offers us a series of close readings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts denuded of doctrinal overlays. The result is a unexpected new look at Biblical texts previously rendered opaque by centuries of theologically motivated readings.
I was surprised and enlightened at every turn. Owens' approach reveals hitherto disguised fictional and rhetorical techniques. And as a result, old lines suddenly become fresh again--freed from their presumed trite and clichéd meanings.
At first I tried to defend myself against the originality of this book by questioning its approach, but its calm, patient method and critical exactitude was too convincing and productive. There are no axes grinding here. This is not a new theory or doctrine being applied. Rather Clarke Owens has attempted something so rare as to be utterly astonishing: he has tried to read the Gospels free from religious presumption as texts in their own right.
This is "close reading" at its contemporary finest applied to the foundational texts of Western Civilization.
The essay format provides more hermeneutical bang for the buck and saves the book from being too long.
Son of Yahweh has made me rethink and reconsider many of the things I thought I already knew about the New Testament.
This doesn’t mean that I follow Owens’ main thesis that the Gospels are fictional accounts that only intend to describe the catastrophe of 70 CE. While reading I couldn’t free myself of the impression that Owens doesn’t take his own thesis all too serious, that he sees it more like an intellectual game. A game he plays very well.
In his conclusion Owens asks the reader to unblock his/her imagination, to abandon an orthodox or doctrinal reading of the Gospels, and to question the incomprehensible gap between the events related in the Gospels and their writing down. Here and elsewhere in his book he suggests that the Gospels are an allegory of the destruction of the Jewish nation. This may be so in part, but I think we should consider – using our unblocked imagination – that a real life Jesus was active during the war, that he preached and organized the revolution in Galilee, fled to Jerusalem, participated in the capture (‘cleansing’) of the Temple, helped his depressed friend Eleazar son of Ananias, talked with Nakdimon bar Gourion, was hungry during the siege and therefore cursed a fig tree without fruits, was crucified and rose again. Then also the “abomination of desolation” or “summit of humiliation” becomes concrete as the erection of the divinized standards of the Roman legions in front of the burning Temple, Titus’s entrance into the Holy of Holies and his acclamation as imperator by his troops.
However, he then says "so let's read them as novels instead!" And my first reaction is "wait a moment, there's no evidence that anyone read the gospels as novels!" As far as my own research goes, the only known use of the gospels was for reading in church, for teaching and liturgical purposes, along with (maybe) public readings for evangelical purposes.
So after a few weak chapters where not a lot is added (for me) his conclusion includes a line that pretty much admits they were never written as novels, nor were read as novels.
In the end about half this book is worth reading, but I expect different people will enjoy different parts of it. Check out a more extensive review in a series of blog posts at vridar: [...]