Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Offer and Book Giveaway

Christmas Offer

A few people have expressed interest in purchasing multiple copies of The Five Books of Jesus to give as Christmas gifts. The book is $12.95 plus shipping on Amazon, but if you'd like five or more copies for $10 each (and free shipping to most countries), feel free to send me an email (to james dot goldberg at gmail dot com). I'd be happy to send you a holiday package of copies I order at my lower author rate.

The book makes a good Christmas present for a wide range of people because it:
-pays off both intellectually and emotionally
-respects faith without expecting it from every reader
-finds beauty in human moments that are both simple and surprising


Book Giveaway


Another reason the book makes a good Christmas present is that it's about Jesus--and about the culture of giving and service he taught, and which his disciples preserved and passed on.

Many people are mentioned in the gospels as followers of Jesus during his lifetime. If you could have any two of them come to visit you, who would you choose and why?

Answer in the comments to be entered into a drawing for two copies of The Five Books of Jesus. Share your answer and a link to this post on Facebook, through Twitter, or in an email to friends and comment to say you've done so to have your name entered a second time.

On December 1st, I'll randomly select and announce a winner and write a little bit about the disciples people seem most interested in meeting. 

31 comments:

  1. First, I'd love to receive the leper of Matthew 8:1-4. I consider his request for healing the most succinct example of powerful prayer. In few words, he expresses perfect faith, acknowledges Jesus' power, makes his request, and submits to Jesus' will. I'd love to learn more from this man.

    The second visitor I'd welcome is Simon Peter bar Jonah. From his first meeting with the Savior (complete with a name change, and according to the JST, a revelation from Jesus as to his gifts), to his walking on water, to his infamous denial of Jesus, and his experiences with the resurrected Christ, his knowledge of Christ is rich and varied. I'd love to draw upon that knowledge.

    I've posted this response with a link on Facebook. Cheers!

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    1. The leper is a great choice. And I agree that Peter is fascinating.

      You're entered twice.

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  2. Nicodemus: a smart and avid guy, but limited by his prejudice. But that's what I love about the scriptures; they show me that even the greatest had weaknesses

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    1. I don't have Nicodemus as a named character, but plenty of sharp and sympathetic scholars appear in The Five Books of Jesus.

      I do think we can learn from the weaknesses of the great, and the greatness of the weak.

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  3. Paul would be my second choice. Dude, his logic chains are as awesome as the ones in the BoM, but I also like how he's like Alma the Younger as well. He also was a brave and bold traveler. I wonder how he would tell his stories if he was alive today. I will email that I entered.

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    1. So far as we know, Paul never met Jesus during Jesus' lifetime. It would be pretty interesting to know which people who had met Jesus Paul first talked to, though. And it would be interesting to know how many of their mutual acquaintances were for or against Jesus. Did Paul associate with people who had met Jesus and disliked him?

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  4. Mary and Martha.
    Reasons:
    1. They knew Jesus not just as a public figure but in a more intimate way. They saw him in a domestic setting among family and friends. I'd like to know more about how Jesus interacted with people in personal relationships.
    2. They are known to have both worshiped him but in different ways, and I think getting two personality-contrasting perspectives on Jesus would be interesting/useful.
    3. Stories about women in the Bible don't tend to be very long or in-depth, and I'd like to get a better picture of how women of faith, especially those who knew Jesus personally (after he had begun his ministry), engaged in discipleship.

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    1. Perspectives on Jesus from everyday life are things I wonder about, too. So I made some up!

      If you're interested in women of the gospels, I think you'll find a lot to connect to in The Five Books of Jesus.

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  5. I would love to meet John (as in Gospel of John, 1,2,3 John, and Revelations) because his writings are those that are generally the clearest to me in the New Testament in general and the Gospels specifically. He seems to have such a purity about his writings that I would just love to hear him orate.

    I would also love to speak to the woman who had been taken in adultery and forgiven by Jesus. That is an issue that is still so difficult for church members to deal with now, and I think it's such an important story for us to keep in mind that I would love to be able to hear it from her.

    I've also posted this response with a link on Facebook. :)

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    1. John may be clearer for many today because it was written later (with less need to hint at controversial Christian beliefs) and with a broader audience of Gentiles (who didn't necessarily know Jewish scripture and culture well) in mind. As the earliest gospel, Mark seems to do the most covert communicating and to rely the most on the reader's knowledge of Judaism. Matthew and Luke are far closer to Mark in that respect, though, than to John.

      While The Five Books of Jesus follows Mark, Matthew, and Luke much more than John, I hope it does enough to put you in Jewish characters' heads to make those books as clear as John is. Because they have a very different beauty that's worth the extra effort.

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  6. The centurion who thought himself unworthy that Jesus should come into his house, but who said that he could just speak the word, and it (the healing of his servant) would be done.

    The woman in the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, who begged for a blessing for her daughter and taught us that dogs eat the crumbs from the children's table.

    They believed enough to approach and to ask, but they had real and meaningful exchanges with the Savior. Somehow, I really believe Jesus was approachable as a man.

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    1. Great choices.

      The centurion comes at a key moment in The Five Books of Jesus. And there's a whole chapter that builds up to the Syrophoenician woman. I hope you enjoy that one!

      Delete
    2. I did -- I enjoyed all your treatments of the characters as real people!

      Delete
  7. Really, I can think of good reasons to want to meet just about everyone who came in contact with Jesus during the 33 years of his mortal life.

    Thanks to The Five Books of Jesus, I'd like to learn more from Joanna and her husband Chuza, who supported Jesus despite being members of Herod's household.

    I would also pick Nicodemus, because I noticed as I was reading my scriptures yesterday that he donated myrrh and aloes for Jesus' burial.

    I realize that my interest in these two are similar... they fit into the power structures of the day, but were still captivated by Jesus and supported him even though it meant risks for their position.

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    1. A lot of scholars have noted the presence of prominent Romans in the Christian community within the movement's first hundred years or so. But it is kind of interesting to think about how prominent Galileans and Judeans might have responded to a ministry that was almost entirely rural. Joanna is pretty interesting in that regard--too bad we don't know more about her!

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  8. Nathanael, because I wonder what someone in whom is no guile is like and whether the guileless are the awful storytellers I expect they are.

    John the Beloved, because he could probably correct a few misapprehensions about history.

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    1. My interpretation of guileless in The Five Books of Jesus is larger that Nathanael says what's on his mind when others would be less up front. It made him a very useful character to write--it's good when someone will speak up with any self-consciousness or worry about self-embarrassment!

      And old John would probably have such a wealth of stories to tell not only of Jesus, but of the growth of the early church. I would love to have his version of the acts of the apostles up to the moment when he's the last one of them.

      (I want that book so badly, actually, that I once outlined a screenplay of it.)

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  9. I mostly just want to know Mary Magdalene. Really, anything extra about her. But if I had to pick an apostle, I think Thomas would be a fascinating mind to explore.

    P.S. My husband wants your book for Christmas. If I don't win, I'll still be purchasing either way.

    Laurie Stradling

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    1. Mary and Thomas ended up being an interesting pair in The Five Books of Jesus--because they are so similar in some ways and so different in others.

      According to tradition, Mary went far west later in her life. There's a site in southern France, I think, which claims to be her death place. Thomas went east--India's oldest Christian church claims an ancestry back to Thomas.

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  10. The woman at the well, because I'd like to hear how her life went after that meeting, how her community decided to hear or reject the Savior, what she decided about her place in the plan, society, and her family. I love stories of ordinary, even downtrodden people. There are many of the quiet and forgotten who are quite interesting and have much to teach us.

    And, John the apostle. He fascinates me with his humility, simplicity of learning, and longevity. What made him worthy with his backward Greek to receive and write the grand vision of the plan? Or if he was quite learned, and chose a path of humility instead, why? And what is it like to live on and on here, continually doing?

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    1. I should find my old John script outline. I have him serving in Samaria in the early apostolic period before he moves on to Greece.

      Since only the Gospel of John has multiple trips to and from Jerusalem, though, the woman at the well doesn't appear in The Five Books of Jesus.

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  11. I would love to meet Nicodemus. We see very little of him. What we do see is at the beginning and end of Christ's ministry. His experience is one I would love to hear more about.

    Mary, Christ's mother. I have a fascination with motherhood and I would love to hear about her experiences firsthand.

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    1. I wish we could hear straight from Mary, too. And I think motherhood is both an important topic in and of itself and a great gateway into understanding principles of the gospel. There's a good reason why so many Biblical metaphors involve pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

      I come back to Mary's perspective again and again in The Five Books of Jesus. I'd be very interested to see what you think of her in the book.

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  12. This was harder than I originally thought. Not to be odd for the sake of odd, but I would really like to meet the "lad" from the loaves and fishes, and his parents(that doesn't count as my two), and the woman who came and washed Jesus' feet and dried them with her hair but was castigated for doing so. Both individuals' enormous level of faith (one from presumed innocence) and one (from presumed not-so-innocence) would serve to give me needed perspective in my personal life, my parenting and my movement through a society that needs so much less judgement and a greater abundance of mercy to bring them to the Good News.

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    1. On a total tangent:

      The woman washing Jesus' feet was at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Yeah...Simon. Like Simon Peter, Simon the Zealot (or Canaanite or Canaite, depending who you ask), Simon the brother of Jesus, Simon of Cyrene...and I'm probably missing at least one other Simon.

      There are also at least three gospel characters named Judas, an indeterminate number of Marys (depending which names refer to the same woman), two very prominent Johns, and a handful of Jameses.

      As a writer, this starts to present a major challenge. How do you track characters in a country where half the population seems to share the same five names?

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  13. I'd like to talk with Lazarus--his relationship with the Savior was apparently already a close one even before he was raised from the dead. But afterward? I can barely comprehend what it must have been like to receive such a blessing. One of the greatest blessings of my life is only a few weeks away (I'm finally getting married at a few months shy of age 32) and I've had difficulty this whole time attempting to express my gratitude to the Lord for something that I see as such an overwhelming expression of His knowledge and love of me as an individual. I'd like to think that maybe Lazarus would have some insight into living in the aftermath of such a miraculous event.
    Put me down also as one who is intrigued by Mary Magadalene. Glad to hear that there are women and their perspectives prominently featured in the book.

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    1. I heard once of a short story in which Lazarus, having been raised from the dead, stays raised. And watches generations go by.

      I'll have to ask around and see if I can find it, so I can tell you whether it's any good.

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  14. Martha and Mary of Bethany. I'd invite them to dinner and neither of them would have to do a bit of cooking or cleaning. I would want them to tell me all about their various modes and methods of discipleship, and hear anything that Jesus taught to and about the women in his community. And then I'd ask them to introduce me to Salome, Anna, Joanna, Simon's mother-in-law, and Mary of Clopas.

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  15. I would love to meet Joseph, simply because of the great man that he was. He is one of the ultimate examples of what it means to be not only a man, but a husband and father. I can only imagine what he must have thought when he learned that not only was Mary pregnant, but that her child was/is the Son of God, yet he still accepted the responsibility to be Christ's earthly father. Second I would like to meet John the Beloved. This choice is just because I would love to hear first hand from one of the men that knew Christ the best while he lived.

    Tyrel

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    1. The Five Books of Jesus starts at Jesus' baptism, years after Joseph is dead.

      But Joseph shows up in the book anyway.

      Delete

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