Review of Yeshua
A.K.A. Jesus the Nazarene
by Trevor A. Marshall
In this brave new work of fiction by a Caribbean writer of African descent, the author Alvin Cummins has literally "gone where no one else has dared to go before" in attempting to delineate the life and message of the historical Jesus, the Christ of Nazareth, a Middle Eastern iconic figure.
Firstly, the author has established that the historical Yeshua was not a blonde blue-eyed Caucasian with an anemic look, slight muscles and tall, emaciated frame. His depiction of the hero as a typical Middle Eastern physical type with the look of one exposed to the scorching desert sun. This fact provides the novel with a great deal of authenticity, or at least credibility in terms of the basics of the biblical story of the Redeemer.
And what a story is told! Alvin Cummins has crafted a literary masterpiece-a docu-drama of the lives of Yeshua and his disciples through the lens of Philip, the self-contained and cerebral leader of men, women and animals.
We see Yeshua in all of his life phases and character-testing experiences-from his earliest years in a Nazarene home, following the well-known flight to Egypt, through his bar-mitzvah stage, teenage-hood and early manhood. Yeshua's journeys and voyages to the East are all discussed, though not fully documented because this book is structured almost as a play for stage or television, with just enough references to keep us the audience easily anticipating the next scene or phase.
In Part 2, we are taken through the return of Yeshua to Israel and his early sacred ministry of bringing the 'New Gospel' in a live and vibrant form which loses nothing in its narration.
Part 3 is the critical and heart wrenching drama of Yeshua's supreme altruism ("greater love hath no man than this, that he laid down his life for his friends") and the story loses nothing by re-telling a tale of Godly self-abasement and humiliation that is well known to us.
Finally, there is the climax of the Crucifixion, the resurrection and the unusual rendition of Yeshua's final period on this earth. The reader will feel as though he/she is a voyeur watching a very private life coming to an end. The author offers his own evaluation of the meaning of the multifaceted life of his individual who, by the time we reach the close of the book, is less enigmatic than before we took up this work, which reads more like reality than fiction.