Title: Logos: A Novel of Christianity’s Origin
Author: John Neeleman
Publisher: Homebound Publications
John Neeleman’s novel Logos: A Novel of Christianity’s Origin follows the life of a priest of the Pharisee sect of Judaism named Jacob ben Aaron. The story covers several years leading up to the Jewish Wars, including the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 and beyond. Several historical characters and events are present in the story to help the novel move along; however, it must be clear that this is a work of fiction and should not be considered the truth of what actually occurred except for those events that can be verified by historical evidence.
Although the novel appears to be well researched, the ending would be considered at worst blasphemous to devout Christian believers and at best extremely poor theology. The ending strongly indicates that the Gospel was written by the main character and that it was a mere myth made up in order to unite the early churches into a single body and provide a moral center that transcends humanity and the political world of the first century. In addition, the time period for this Gospel would be wrong as, according to the novel, is written by Jacob in A.D. 85 whereas the earliest Gospel (Mark) probably was written around A.D. 65-70 according to some biblical scholars.
I liked the historical perspective of the Jewish Wars with Rome and the cultural background that was shown. I also thought the characters were realistically written within their historical and cultural context based on what I studied of that period. Nevertheless, there were a few points that were disappointing in addition to the aforementioned heresy that the Gospel was fabricated. From a literary point of view, much of the beginning and several other places within the novel lacked balance between narrative and dialogue. The author had a lot of narrative, but narrative tells without showing what is happening. Narrative is important, but there was too much, at times, which made the reading somewhat cumbersome. It is understandable that the author would write more narrative because of his background as a trial lawyer, and narrative is what lawyers tend to relate in order to make a case go their way. Also, there were sexual scenes that were fairly descriptive. Sex is a part of the human experience, but intimacy should be a private matter and graphic descriptions of this personal act did not advance this story. An allusion to the act, without all the intimate details, would be more than sufficient if it is a vital part of a novel.
Overall, I would not recommend Logos: A Novel of Christianity’s Origin for Christians and those seeking to know the biblical Jesus. My rating is 2.
Guest review by Cleve Johnson
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457