Book Review: Day of Atonement

13 Jul

51m79wGj1wL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In the blank pages between Malachi and Matthew, the course of an entire nation was changed . . .

His brother, the high priest Honiah, enjoyed the authority of the high priesthood, and all important decisions needed his approval. But it was Jason who was shaping the future of Jerusalem and, with it, all Judea. He breathed in again, imagining that he could feel the wave of destiny impelling him forward toward his vision as he exhaled . . .

The Greeks have taken over the world, but Jerusalem is still the same backwater city Jason has always known. He wants to help his hometown rise to a new age of prosperity and influence. If that means stretching the terms of the city s divine covenant, so be it. But how far is he willing to go to achieve Greek greatness for this Jewish city? It will take the willingness of a handful of Jews to die rather than violate the covenant in order to turn the tide back to God.


92618David A. deSilva (PhD, Emory University) is Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. His numerous books include Introducing the Apocrypha and An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation.


My Impressions:

Daniel deSilva’s debut novel, Day of Atonement, takes place in the time between the Testaments. A seminary professor, deSilva’s subject matter, the Maccabean uprising, is not well known to many Christians particularly, Protestants. He drew upon the Apocrypha for his inspiration and produced a novel that those interested in Biblical history will find interesting. It also is a book that will make you think, causing the reader to draw a parallel between the Hellenized Jewish faith of the the last centuries before the birth of Christ and the modern day Christian church.

DeSilva uses both historical and fictional characters to explore the political and religious culture of Judea in the time of Seleucid domination of the region. Greek culture is seen by many intellectuals and society elites in Jerusalem as the means to advance the nation of Israel. Backward religious rites, adherence to outmoded laws and religious texts relegated to mythical stories are sneered at by those who know what is best for the nation set aside by God. Compromise and assimilation lead to a watered down and polluted version of true faith.

While the historical context of the novel is interesting, I found myself thinking more and more about the Christian church in western society. There is much to think about as the church begins to look more and more like the culture surrounding it. The narrative is a bit slow, but the research is solid, and I believe fans of strict history will like this book. Interesting and little known events combine with eternal truths to create a novel for those who like to be challenged by their fiction.

Audience: adults.

To purchase a copy of this book, click HERE. 

(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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