Gary T. McDonald will be doing a series of readings from his book on five successive Sundays at 11 am.
The Gospel of Thomas (The Younger), while telling a captivating story, replaces a theology based on deity worship with a prescription for living a full and happy life. It offers a humanistic and secular view of Jesus and Christianity, if such a thing is possible. It shows how Christianity took a wrong turn early on and does its best to set it straight. That’s a brazenly audacious thing to attempt—trying to change a most basic element of Western civilization and culture—but the author has done so on these pages in an enthralling and compelling way.
It conjures up a vivid portrait of the First Century Greco-Roman world and its larger-than-life characters: from Jesus and his disciples, to Greek philosophers, to Roman emperors and their political confidantes. Not just a novel, it is itself a gospel—a new telling of the origins of Christianity and an explosive, visionary reinterpretation of Jesus’ teachings. Besides being an entertaining read, it is painstakingly researched using Biblical scriptures and hundreds of other historical sources.
The novel opens with a note from the “translator/editor” who introduces this newly found gospel as a genuine First Century document. Through the eyes of Thomas, a nephew of both Jesus and the disciple we now know as Doubting Thomas, we get a comprehensive and thoughtful first-hand account of the Mediterranean world at that time. Beginning with his recollections as a child, Thomas presents Jesus as a warm, charismatic, rustic philosopher schooled in the Pharisee tradition, who is regarded as a rabbi or teacher rather than a deity. However, immediately following Jesus’ death, his disciples are rife with political and personal turmoil and conflicting motives, spawning a splintering organizational and theological power struggle between Christians, Jews, Stoics, Emperors, and the Roman Legion. Through Thomas’ extensive travels we become witness to the blueprints of early Christianity, harrowing negotiations with Roman emperors, Hellenic shipwrecks, gruesome battles in the Holy Land, and, most importantly, relationships that transcend decades, empires, tribes, and bloodshed.