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The Silence of Gethsemane
by Michel Benoît
Publisher:Alma Books from Gardners Books
A challenging novel. Firstly, how do you approach the story of the ministry of Jesus written in the first person when traditionally you have accepted the knowledge that Jesus never wrote anything? Then as you read, this is a story akin to the ‘historical Jesus’ not the Son of God. There is no acknowledgement of ‘I am the Son of God’, just a man identifying his relationship with the God of Israel, and what he has to do to express that knowledge to others in his role as a rabbi. I felt that this particular development of understanding gave pointers to anyone's development of a relationship with God because of its starting point of human rather than incarnate Christ. I also liked the explanations of Jewish society and religious laws which gave a greater understanding of the way Jesus changed the way of thinking from the strict Jewish laws to the new way of Christianity. The writing style is interesting as it somehow forces the reader into a slower pace of reading which assists both understanding, and the possibility of developing one's own thoughts on the matter described. Michel Benoît, originally a scientist, then a member of a Benedictine order until he left because of his ‘ideological non-conformity’, has not written a cosy ‘biography’ of Jesus. Only you, the reader, can decide whether you accept the challenge to look afresh at the man named Jesus.
Reviewer: Carole Burrows (27/03/12)