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Jesus the Son of Man (subtitled: His Words and His Deeds as Told and Recorded by those who Knew Him) was written by Kahlil Gibran, first published in 1928. It is as the title suggests, a portrait of Jesus through the mouths of seventy-seven of his contemporaries (actually less, because some people, such as Mary Magdalene, get more than one chapter). It is by far the most interesting historical fiction I have ever read about Jesus. Here, He is put into a social and historical perspective, which is unparalleled. Gibran does an excellent job of becoming the characters whose perspective is being represented. He is the subject of a song of a young girl to her lover, and the rant of a high priest and Pontius Pilate. His friends, and even his brother, James, speak of him with reverent and loving tones. Matthew speaks of His greatest sermon, which has become famous in his rendering of the Gospel. Philosophers, orators, and even carpenters praise His prowess at their arts, and even humorously mourn His dabbling in others. One glaring omission is any story from the perspective of Jesus' mother, Mary.

The inside cover has a great quote from Barbara Young (from This Man from Lebanon: A Study of Kahlil Gibran): “For the first time since the writings of the Gospels, a countryman of Jesus writes of His words and deeds.” I recommend already being somewhat familiar with Jesus the man before reading this book. Beyond that, the book is slightly more interesting and fast paced than Gibran’s The Prophet, but it also is over twice as long, and took me a “summer Saturday with nothing else to do” to read.

This book is already online at other sources, and can easily be searched for. It won’t hurt if you wish to pre-read a couple chapters (the order isn’t overly important, so you can pick any that sound interesting) to decide if you want to drive all the way to the library and check it out.

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