THE MAGDALENE SCROLLS by Barbara Wood

THE MAGDALENE SCROLLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A nicely suspenseful little possession tale that goes rather awry in its final religious twists. Ben Messer, a specialist in ancient languages of the Holy Land, is translating some new scrolls just discovered by his elderly friend Weatherby in Israel. The scrolls seem to promise a success more smashing than even the Dead Sea parchments. They tell the first-person story of wandering David ben Jonah--who turned to Christianity after carrying the Curse of Moses because of a vile mass murder he committed in Jerusalem during the fall of the city in the First Century. Ben's three-week period of concentrated translation--darkened by the loss of his ritzy, simpleminded fiancee and his growing love for student assistant Judy Golden--leads to a gradual psychic deterioration. He is thus ready to be taken over by the ghost of David ben Jonah--who wants to disavow his belief in Jesus (he was a friend of Simon Peter) and reassert his faith in a still-to-come Jewish Messiah. Wood's historical reconstruction is textured and strong--strong enough so one rather wishes it hadn't been wasted on this competent hut ultimately unsatisfying slice of supernaturalism.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday