JESUS IN EGYPT: Discovering the Secrets of Christ's Childhood Years

Paul Perry, Author . Ballantine $24.95 (288p) ISBN 0-345-45145-7

The Bible indicates that shortly after Jesus' birth, King Herod, threatened by the adulation the baby was receiving, ordered the slaughter of male children under the age of two in and around Bethlehem. Warned of this in advance, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with Jesus, returning to Palestine only after Herod's death. That's all most Westerners know about Jesus' early childhood, mainly because many Christians tend to reject extra-biblical stories about Jesus, and Westerners in general often deny stories of ancient events that cannot be verified by archeology or science. Ever conscious of that, Arizona author Perry, a self-described "doubting Thomas" who grew up in a faith-rich environment, set out to discover more about Jesus' childhood by following a loosely structured itinerary based on the route the family is believed to have taken. Perry's experiences along the way would by themselves be entertaining enough, but more importantly, they offer significant insight into non-Western thinking about faith—particularly within the Coptic Church in Egypt, where the faithful have no problem believing, for instance, that a baby's footprint found on a stone slab in a sewer in 1984 is that of Jesus. Perry's portrayals of his traveling companions and others he meets on his journey, his retelling of stories about miracles attributed to the baby and his amusing style combine to make a delightful read, even for skeptical Westerners. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
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