by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear
Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 2008. ISBN 0765315467.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 01/12/2009
"Christianity, as we have created it, may be the most powerful imperial tool in the history of the empire," Constantine stated, "There will always be those who oppose us. But when we are finished, only our version of the Truth will remain." Kathleen and W. Michael Gear's novel The Betrayal is the fictional story of the life of Jesus and Rome's attempt to alter the story of Christianity forever. Rome decreed which of the scriptures were acceptable and ordered the immediate destruction of the Books that didn't agree with its own teachings. The lives of those who read the books were in imminent danger. The Betrayal alternated between the quest of three monks and a washerwoman to save the forbidden scriptures and the story of Jesus' life as based on detailed research of actual documents from archeological sites in the Middle East as well as ancient literature. The Betrayal is sure to shock you and leave you yearning for more. Has the truth about Jesus' life truly been hidden for centuries?
I was interested in this book from the first page of the introduction. "There is an alternate story of the life of Jesus," The Gears write, "It is a very human story, one that has been suppressed for nineteen centuries. Those of you who are not familiar with this story may find it disturbing. If so, you are not alone. The early Church fathers found the books that chronicled this story so menacing that they outlawed them, ordered them burned, and threatened with death anyone found copying them." Disturbing and once cause to be put to death? I was hooked. I have to admit that I was upset by some of the revelations in this book and that my idea of Jesus and his life were turned on their head, but the historical information only added to my knowledge of Christianity. This is in no way an anti-Christian work.
I was intellectually fascinated by this book and enjoyed how the authors used footnotes in their fiction to explain how their story was based on historical documents. The Betrayal was full of history and facts but written in a very readable manner than made it enjoyable as well as educational. This is one book I would read again just to pick up details I may have missed the first time through. I think I will also research these lost books and read them myself for a comparison. Anyone interested in religion should add this book to their library.
Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear are a husband and wife archeologist team and the authors of the North America's Forgotten Past novels. Kathleen O'Neal Gear is a Biblical archeologist and historian who has twice been selected as an American Bible Society Scholar and worked on excavations at the Sea of Galilee. W. Michael Gear has been a professional archeologist since 1978 and is currently the principle investigator for Wind River Archeological Consultants. They live together in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Visit their website.
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