Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography By: John Dominic Crossan 

Jesus Freaks By: dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs  *  The Joshua Series By: Fr. Joseph F. Girzone

The Chronicles of Narnia By: C.S. Lewis  *  Hugs from Heaven, Embraced by the Savior By: Caron Loveless

And the Angels Were Silent: The Final Weeks of Jesus By: Max Lucado  *  The Singer By: Calvin Miller

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal By: Christopher Moore   

Eli By: Bill Myers    The Master: A Life of Jesus By: John Pollock

The Jesus I Never Knew By: Philip Yancey


By: Bill Myers

I picked this up because the plot line intrigued me. Conrad is a reporter doing a story on alternate timelines. On his way to meet with a scientist he gets in a horrible car crash and finds himself back in the 1960s. A group of hippies take him in and tell him about strange visitors they received who told them to go to a hotel laundry room. When they get there Conrad finds a young woman who has just given birth to a son, Eli Shepherd. The story then bounces back and forth between this timeline where Conrad fights for his life to this alternate world where the name Jesus brings no recollection but where Eli multiplies hamburgers and French-fries to feed thousands and bridges the gap between justice and mercy one horrific and wonderful night. The modern setting gives you an idea of what Jesus must have seemed like to the people of his time. Every shock, every horror, every amazement. While both the author and I agree it's no replacement for the Real Story it made me see things from a whole new light.


By: John Pollock

This book is basically the Gospels in a modern novel form. The story is told through the eyes of the disciple John. I really enjoyed this book. The author recounts the healings and teachings as if he were actually there, describing Jesus' facial expressions, the scenery, and the crowds. It is truly moving to follow John's journey with Jesus from the day he first met him to Good Friday and beyond. A warning though, the author describes the crucifixion and preceding torture vividly, contrasting the softened images other books and movies often give us. Very inspiring and well researched.



By: Max Lucado

This is not, like the previous book, so much of a retelling of that famous week. It is more the author's interpretation of what was going on behind-the-scenes and in people's minds. Like did you ever wonder what in the world the man whose donkey Jesus rode on Palm Sunday thought when told the Master needed it? Or what exactly Jesus was doing on those days the Bible overlooked? Well, there are chapters on both those questions in this book! What I really liked about it was Lucado uses everyday metaphorical stories to get points across. It is really a very interesting read not only for the obvious Jesus-themed material but also the Chicken Soup type stories included. This is the first book by this author I've read and look forward to reading more!


By: dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs

This book is both inspiring and heart breaking. On the pages of this book are the stories of over a hundred martyred members of the Christian Church. These are not only the disciples who knew Jesus or people who lived long ago. Many of these people lived with in my own lifetime. In fact, the book opens with this frightening statistic; "There are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 AD- in the days of the Roman Empire. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there were close to 156,000 Christians martyred around the world in 1998." The book is concerned mostly with those who gave their lives for their beliefs but also included are those who continue to hold onto their beliefs despite hardships. Ways to help the situation are also given. For more information visit:


By: John Dominic Crossan

I need to preface this by explaining that for the most part when it comes to the Bible, especially the Gospels, I am a literalist. This means if it says Jesus had twelve apostles following him around well then I believe he did! And the author doesn't, necessarily... But, actually, for a literalist reading a contextualist's book it was interesting and even educational. First, some examples of what I mean. Crossan believes rather than Jesus naming the 12, later Christian groups came up with the idea and added it to the story to represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. My thought is if a few leaders can come up with such an appropriate idea then the Creator of the universe probably can, too. :-) There's also the talk of whether Jesus' healings were truly physical or more societal and whether the appearances on Easter Sunday actually happened in a day or perhaps years, instead. It was all very interesting and new but sometimes confusing. It does have a very good amount of research from other historical documents regarding the "supporting players" of the story, like Pilate and Barabbas. Crossan also makes some very good points about faith. I'd suggest reading this if for no other reason than to get people to think about what *they* believe.


By: Philip Yancey

I think this, along with Eli is my favorite among these books. This is much like Crossan's book in that it examines the historical Jesus but from a much more literalist point of view. I'm not saying that makes it better, I'm not a professional critic obviously, that just made it more understandable for me. Plus, Yancey talks a lot about how the movies depict Jesus, which is one of my favorite things to discuss. Anyway, he's got a lot of really good examples of incidents from his own life that gave him insights into Jesus' teachings. He really explains what possible other levels Jesus might have been trying to express in his parables and actions. I plan on rereading this because there is more I want to say but I want to check and make sure I get it right!


By: Caron Loveless

This is a book of short stories inspired by Biblical accounts from the life of Jesus. This time the stories are told from the perspective of those He healed. The leper tells of his recovery and the mother tells of watching her beloved Son be crucified. A great book to read when you need a little cheering up or if you just like thinking about things from a different point of view.


By: C.S. Lewis

Okay, I'm of the opinion the less you know about these going in the better so I'm not saying much. Most people I know have read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" but you have to read the entire series! Most people know about the Christian level of this story because of LWW but it gets even better later in the series. This is my current favorite book on this list and the last "favorite" I'm naming since I've now named 3 different books my "favorite". :-) Enjoy!


By: Fr. Joseph F. Girzone

Okay, I told myself I'd stop saying everything was my favorite. But this series was really good! As of the time of this writing, there are seven books in the series. All are about a mysterious man who shows up in towns all over the world, from NYC to Jerusalem to Vatican City, changing the lives of everyone he comes in contact with. Wherever he goes he is both shunned and adored, persecuted and protected. While some marvel at his miracles, others are amazed at his ability to remember events spanning thousands of years. It was extremely enjoyable reading these books and trying to figure out the mystery of Joshua, the healer, the carpenter, and the friend.

Note: In a truly remarkable turn of events, "Joshua" has been turned into a movie!! If all goes well it may become a franchise!! Visit Joshua to learn more about the movie!


By: Calvin Miller

I have another book that's an anthology of poems, book excerpts, song lyrics, and the like about Jesus.  It has some excerpts from this book so when I ran into this as part of a boxed set in an used book store, I got it.  And I really loved this one.  It's something akin to Narnia in that it's Jesus' story but in a fairy tale-ish atmosphere.  However, The Singer is more of a translation of the gospel stories whereas Narnia is more original in its plot.  The story goes, the Singer leaves his mother to bring his song of love to the world.  He gains many followers but also the ire of the leaders and as a result is put to death.  Of course, that's not the end of the story.  I keep a database of my books and had to give this book two pages because of all I wanted to put in the quote section.  I especially loved Miller's take on the Beatitudes, carrying his music metaphor into them.  I especially liked "Blessed are all those who yet can sing when all the theater is empty and the orchestra is gone," (70).  Another favorite quote is this:  "You will find, my child, that love rarely ever reaches out to save except it does it with a broken hand," (143).  (3-1-05)


By: Christopher Moore

Okay, if you can keep a sense of humor about Jesus this is a great book.  If it were a movie it'd be R-rated for language and sexual content.  And I would see it opening night.  :-)  This book begins with an angel named Raziel descending upon Earth to call forth and bring back to life Biff.  Biff is to write a new gospel to clear up some things.  This book is that "gospel".  According to Lamb, Biff was the best friend of Joshua (Jesus) from their meeting at age 7 until that fateful Friday twentysome years later.  When Joshua sets out to discover who he is, Biff goes along.  They encounter creepy wisemen, a horrifying demon, cappuccinos, a yeti, and an assortment of friends both familiar and new to the reader.  The anachronism of it is hilarious.  That being said, this book isn't just a barrel of laughs.  Moore sensitively describes Joshua's growing realization about what his identity as Son of God means.  I also loved what he brought to Biff and Joshua's other childhood friend Maggie's (Mary Magdalene) character.  I really felt sorry for her but she was never a pathetic character.  She was incredibly strong, only stuck in a world that was not always kind to women.  Moore writes of Maggie: "Exquisite torture.  I wonder now if Joshua didn't make her whole life like that.  Maggie, she was the strongest of us all," (25).  As for Joshua... Look out for his interaction with the yeti.  Beautiful.  And there's an exchange he has with Thomas about Thomas Two (a sort of imaginary friend) that is incredibly sweet.  If you can handle him being a bit rough around the edges, I think this Joshua is highly readable.  (3-1-05)

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