New book covers the gap between Good Friday and Easter Sunday
Set between the crucifixion and the resurrection, Christ in the Belly of the Wale is a recently-released historical fiction novel that seeks to flesh out the days Jesus spent in his tomb between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
S. L. Glover is an historian of religion who writes under the penname Susanna Lynley.
Dr Glover is a graduate of the University of London and a postgraduate of the University of Sydney.
She told Insights that the book’s genre arose out of a lack of sources regarding some of its subject matter.
“Although I have utilised under-resourced literary sources and drawn on contemporary archaeological research, given the dearth of information, how else could I write it except as historical fiction?” Dr Glover said.
According to the author’s statement at the book’s end, “only two major characters have been invented: Amos and Tycho. The rest have left their footprints in history and tradition, some more solidly than others.”
“I have been interested in Jesus the man, not the icon of Christian devotion ever since I was an undergraduate studying religion and theology,” the statement read.
“I followed with interest the writings and the debates of scholars involved in the sarch for the historical Jesus, beginning with Albert Schweitzer’s book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus.”
The book covers a lot of details regarding Jesus’ family, which Dr Glover said was dismissed in the New Testament.
“Jesus’ siblings have always presented a challenge to Christians of mainstream traditions,” writes Dr Glover in the Author Statement.
“In Protestant Christianity the attitude of St Paul predominated, that is, the family was inconsequential. For some Western Catholic traditions and the Eastern Orthodox, the thought that Mary might have given birth to other children did not sit well with belief in her perpetual virginity”
“The Gospels are first and foremost faith documents but that doesn’t mean they are devoid of historical fact. Or that they are infallible. But they reflect a different political milieu to the one in which Jesus operated. They emerged in a post-apocalyptic world. The Temple had been destroyed and most of Jerusalem had been rendered uninhabitable. Both Christians and Jews had to adapt to new political realities at this time, including their separation into two distinct faiths. Some of the bitterness of this period underlies many of the anti-Jewish sentiments in the Gospels.”
“Christ In the Belly of the Whale has been a family story. But the extended family of Jesus has largely remained a mystery to the general public. Mary and Joseph of course are known. But few would have heard of their sons and daughters. The earliest references to the family of Jesus are to be found in the seven letters of St Paul who wrote within twenty years of the crucifixion, between 49-64 C.E. 9 And the only person of interest to Paul, was James (Yaacov/Jacob) Jesus’ brother. Not Mary or Joseph.”
Dr Glover said she was happy with the response the book had received so far. “One comment made by a reader was that I had made the characters, “real,” which I greatly appreciated,” she said.
Christ in the Belly of the Whale is available now from Amazon.