Shadow of the Galilean Book Review

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The life of Jesus is one that is often discussed and debated among scholars and authors since the time Jesus walked this earth. Gerd Theissen’ s work, Shadow of the Galilean, takes the unique perspective of a grain merchant who has been enlisted by Pilate to find out information on various religious sects and report back to him. After Andreas, the grain merchant’s, first report he is given the task of finding out more about this Jesus who is gaining quite a following. Pilate and the Romans want to know if he is a threat to them. This book follows Andreas as he goes on a journey to find out more about Jesus from various sources for his report to the Romans.
Theissen starts this narrative with Andreas at a demonstration again Pilate and Andreas being forced into providing information of religious people groups. Andreas was arrested for being at the protest even though he himself was taking part of it. He and his slave were put in prison until Andreas finally agreed to be an informant (Theissen 14-15). Pilate had really given Andreas no choice since his only other option was being imprisoned for the rest of his life. While Andreas didn’t want to do it, he figured he could work it to his advantage so that he could provide information but not cause any harm to anyone. Throughout the entire novel, Andreas is always worried about other people whether it be his longtime friend, Barabbas, or his slave, Timon. He doesn’t want to cause any trouble for the people he is looking into and he always wants to do his task in order to protect his family as well. The first group he is supposed to provide information on is the Essenes- a group within the desert that is very private and self-sustaining with strict rules their members have to follow. A...

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...lly from his increase in knowledge as well as the discussions he had with various people along the way whether it was a Roman soldier or a couple selling olives. The Shadow of the Galilean provides readers with a way to learn about what people at the time might have thought of Jesus and how he affected everyone around him in an interesting narrative form. Gerd Theissen doesn’t just focus on one aspect of Jesus’ ministry but instead he touches on all them while providing example of them in the book so the readers can fully understand what the characters are talking about. The author choose to focus more on those who were skeptical of Jesus or didn’t agree with him which allowed the audience to understand the thought process of why people didn’t like Jesus specifically as opposed to general reasons the reader may know from private study or may have otherwise assumed.
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