Behold the Man

N. Richard Nash, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (376p) ISBN 978-0-385-14296-0
Playwright (The Rainmaker and novelist (East Wind, Rain Nash has attempted to bring to life two of the most ambiguous and mysterious characters in biblical history: Mary Magdalene, the woman Christ defended from stoning, and Judas Iscariot, Christ's betrayer. Few historical facts exist for either character, so Nash has constructed elaborate histories of each, told in alternating chapters, that bring them to join Jesus's entourage and culminate in the events prior to the crucifixion and resurrection. In this revisionist tale, Judas is asympathetic character, a loner seeking faith who first meets Christ among a small sect of Essenes and later becomes a devoted follower. Nash's Mary is a liberated woman in the wrong century. A young woman of intellect, she is embittered when raped by Roman soldiers and turns to the Zealots, underground Jewish rebels, in a quest for vengeance. Later, she goes to Alexandria and becomes a courtesan before returning, diseased and dying, to meet Jesus. Nash has included enough ancient history, action and debauchery to keep the book lively and unpious, but he ultimately fails to make these two enigmas flesh, and the burning question of Judas's betrayal is not satisfactorily answered. (October 17
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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