Just now published, here is a novel about a New Testament scholar named Bart, at a major university in the South, who comes from a fundamentalist background and continues running up against it. But this Bart’s story ain’t mine. As a novel, this is a fictional narrative, which does, however, deal with issues that I and many of you have confronted and dealt with at length: how to come to grips with a historical understanding of the New Testament when coming from an evangelical world, a world still inhabited by those we love.
Gary McCarragher is a blog member, a physician, and award-winning author. He contacted me a couple of years ago to see if I’d be willing to consult with him on his novel. As some of you know, I run a writing consultation service off my website (unconnected with the blog) for authors of fiction and nonfiction, screenwriters, and playwrights. Gary and I had a number of sessions about his work, and it has resulted now in this novel, Revelation . I found it intriguing and hitting obviously close to home — even though my own father was anything but a fundamentalist preacher!
Anyway, I’ve asked Gary to provide an announcement of the novel for blog members, and here it is:
Just released!!! Revelation — A Novel.
A novel by award winning author Gary McCarragher
Emotionally charged conflict, catastrophe, and a long-buried secret thrust a family into turmoil, threatening life and legacy.
Pastor Theodosius Trask, the beloved religious leader of the town founded by his grandfather, is shaken when his agnostic son Bart, a New Testament historian, delivers a lecture in Traskville on Jesus. As Bart and Theodosius struggle with their emotions, disaster involving a young woman strikes, a stunning Trask family secret is revealed, and Theodosius begins to question the very thing he values most.
Revelation – A Novel is an intensely compelling story, shining a bright light on the simple, yet essential truth that what we think is powerfully influenced by how we think. This gripping saga serves as both a dire warning and a vital prescription for moving forward together in a challenging world.
Bart Ehrman, his Wholly Human Living Trinity, and the birth of a novel.
When I first discovered Bart through his The Great Courses lecture series The Historical Jesus, my head blew off.
As a recovering Catholic, my discovery of early Christianity as a field of scholarship and the evident disconnect between the historical and devotional approaches to the New Testament intrigued me. Working through this fascinating mix of history and religion, I made a startling discovery. Bart seemed to be shining a bright light on something more than just history and religion. The question was — what?
One fine day, it hit me. By providing an evidence-based framework for drawing conclusions about the past, Bart was also offering us a systematic approach on how to think, not what to think. As an evidence-based thinker this resonated with me, of course, but it’s what he did with this approach through his discussion of the historical Jesus that especially hit home. By the time I’d completed the lecture series one thing, above all, emerged, loud and clear.
This stuff —the history, the religion, and the way we should be thinking about it all — really matters.
Through his review of the historical Jesus, Bart showed me three things. First, that history, based on solid scholarship, matters, not just to satisfy our curiosity about the past, but to help us understand the present. Second, that the way in which we interpret information, whether it be from two thousand years ago or twenty minutes ago, directly determines what we think. And third, that what we think is not inconsequential; it ultimately determines how we view and treat each other in a high-stakes world. Three distinct yet intimately connected points, delivered with wit, humor, grace and style. I present to you Bart’s Wholly Human Living Trinity — his prescription for the human race.
Clearly, Bart is not just helping us to understand a part of the ancient past. He’s pointing us toward an approach to understanding ourselves that may be as old as the hills but unfortunately seems for so many of us to be either hidden in plain sight or conveniently ignored. The moment I realized this, Revelation — A Novel sprang into life. Finding myself standing on the shoulders of a giant, as the saying goes, I could suddenly see farther than I could’ve ever expected. What did I see?
I saw an opportunity to show, in my own way, that history does matter, and that the way we think and how those thoughts inform our heart do matter, a great deal, for our very survival. And so, with a heart and a mind yearning to share this vital message, a novel was born.
Revelation — A Novel could not have been possible without Bart’s significant contribution to the manuscript in the areas of history and religion. Our intense collaboration has been a joyful experience and the highlight of my career as a writer. With deep appreciation for giving me both inspiration and guidance, I dedicate Revelation — A Novel to Bart.
Inspired by Bart’s tireless altruism through this blog, I’m also pleased to donate half of all royalties from the book to two of the marvelous charities supported by his hard work, CARE and Doctors Without Borders.
Enjoy Revelation — A Novel.
Dr. Gary McCarragher.