BOOK REVIEW: THE PASSION OF MARYAM
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BY LOREN WOODSON
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I was very anxious to read this book, knowing that it presented a different view of early biblical times. Even though we may be solid Christians or Jews, we can always read another view on Jesus' years on earth. Believe a new version or not, the reading is very thought provoking and no doubt, will be quite a topic of discussion when this book is released.
While reading Loren Woodson's book, one must keep in mind that those in the book often had visions while dreaming or while awake, some possibly caused by spirits that could have been inside or outside the body. Maryam was in one of these spiritual realms when she thought she was being raped. She was quite sure she had actually been raped but was it a real thing or a dream? She felt that Malkeinu (God) was watching over her so how could this have happened to her? Maryam's family had an avda (slave) who watched over them, making Maryam feel as safe as possible. When the avda was killed, she had to try to stay with other family members for safety. In those times there was much danger everywhere so to be alone was asking for trouble. Maryam kept her shameful secret, afraid to tell her family.
The area of the world where the entire story takes place is very familiar to those of us that know the bible and those areas mentioned therein. In this book some areas are given the Hebrew names but there is a Glossary for easy reference. As Maryam and her family traveled to various cities; BetLechem (Bethlehem), Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), Natzret (Nazareth), BetHananya (Bethany), Kafer-nahum (Capernaum), and other areas, she was not sure if she was actually raped and still would not tell her mother, Chana or her father, Yoachim what she had gone through.
As the days passed, Maryam's body told her that she was with child, leaving no doubt in her mind that she had been raped and the resulting turmoil her stomach was continually in gave her much worry. Yosef (Joseph) came into her life at first being a protector. It took many months before their true feelings of each other became a reality to each of them and that god must have planned this.
During the course of the book there was much traveling from city to city and from one relative to another, at times with groups and some without much in their company. But, in all of this, Maryam knew that God was with her and had to have planned all of this. The trances came and went leaving her not knowing what was actually true in or out of her visions.
Wedding plans were made between Maryam and Yosef with Maryam eventually telling Yosef of the rape. She also told him that she had many doubts of her actual mother and father since Chana was barren. She finally was told that she was found and was taken in by her present parents. Several months after the wedding, Yeshua (Jesus) was the first-born to Maryam and Yosef. Maryam had problems accepting the baby for sometime still wondering why this particular baby at this time.
The book follows the growing up of Yeshua, helping his father on carpenter jobs, as he got old enough. As Yeshua got older, he started leaving the countryside, roaming away from his brothers and sisters and acting "different" than others. His family saw less and less of him but still heard from other travelers that Yeshua was gathering others to teach and express his thoughts of God. The disciples would go with him, as they were able. He started healing those that needed sight or mended limbs, or healed from sickness. Many of the disciples are included in the book. As Yeshua got into his 30's, he got more separated from what most thought was reality. To Yeshua, it was as though he was fighting the battle between God and Satan (ha-satan) through teaching his people and leading them in what he considered good.
When the book began, Herod the Great was the ruler of the area. As the book progressed, Herod died and his son, Herod Antipas took over. As the son saw what was going on in the country, he started rounding up those that were preaching against him. Yeshua, of course, was one that had to try very hard to escape Herod Antipas and continue to spread his word, the word that somehow he knew he had to do. As Yeshua roamed the countryside, He indeed spread good to his disciples and followers.
The Passion of Maryam explains in the author's thoughts what did occur before, during, and shortly after the birth of Jesus. Some areas go into great detail but the story never gets boring or dull. Who is to say that Loren Woodson's story might not be in full or in part factual? It is up to the scholars and biblical experts to ascertain if any of the story is true. In my mind, it COULD have happened as the book tells it but I am sure there are more that will just enjoy this book as a novel and not the facts. The author researched every area possible in telling his version of Jesus and His family. You read it and make your thoughts known.
REVIEWED BY CY HILTERMAN
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WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CY HILTERMAN
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