A NOVEL ABOUT JESUS’ RELATIVES
AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THEM
“What if your brother was the most controversial figure in the history of the world and your job was to protect him?
“That’s the challenge faced by the Rabbi James of Jerusalem — whom the Bible identifies as ‘the brother of the Lord’ — in MY BROTHER’S KEEPER, an inspired retelling of the Christian story by author Bill Kassel.
“What can James do to fulfill a deathbed promise to his father, Joseph, and save Jesus, the Nazarene prophet who is stirring debate and contention among the Jewish religious leadership and the Roman occupiers?”
I hope so, because this is the lead copy on promotional materials for my new novel that is finally — finally — out.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER has been in active development for nearly seven years (though it was rolling around my brain for much longer than that). In the current topsy-turvy world of publishing, it’s appearing first as an eBook. Hopefully, a print edition will follow before too long.
This novel takes an unconventional approach to the Christian saga, exploring how fear and anxiety surrounding the ministry of Jesus affected the people closest to him. It focuses primarily on his brother, James, a key (though often overlooked) figure in the early Church.
James is perhaps the most enigmatic figure in Christian history. He was a bridge between Judaism and the Jesus Movement, leader of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, and one of the earliest martyrs.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER was inspired by what are called the “non-canonical” writings. These are the “gospels” and “testaments” that didn’t make it into the Bible. Yet they reflect beliefs and traditions maintained by communities of people who were among the earliest followers of Christ.
More information was recorded about Jesus’ relatives than you might think — details that paint a picture of the Holy Family very different from the popular Christmas card portrait. For instance, they describe Jesus’ foster father, Joseph, as a widower with older children at the time he took a much younger Mary as his wife.
Borrowing from this rich trove of anecdotal material, MY BROTHER’S KEEPER mixes many fascinating period tidbits in with the major facts presented in the Bible.
It deals with the impact of Jesus on his kinfolk. (How do you think you’d feel living with somebody you suspected was sent from God? Ponder that one for awhile.)
It emphasizes the Jewish religious culture in which Jesus was thoroughly steeped (and Christianity rooted).
It also lays out the political conditions in First-Century Palestine that made Jesus’ conflict with the authorities inevitable.
But the main focus is James’ desperate effort to keep his brother from a horrible death.
All these elements are blended into a fictional stew that adds an imaginative dimension to the scriptural narrative — without contradicting Gospel accounts. The result is a tale which I hope will…
- be engaging to book readers of any religious inclination, and…
- help people reexamine the Christian story in a fresh and compelling way.
Hey! That would be a bargain at twice the price, right?
eBooks are very economical. And you can read them on a variety of devices: Kindle, iPad, smart phones, and more — even on your computer.
Writing this book has been an adventure for me and, in a very real way, something of a faith journey. I hope it will touch your heart. And I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
For further information about MY BROTHER’S KEEPER, click here…