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The immense success of The Day Lincoln Was Shot proved to be a springboard for similar success of other minute recapturing of a single incident in time,- Night to Remember is a significant example. Now Jim Bishop has chosen to take the span of time covered by the Gospel record of Jesus, from the Last Supper to the placing of his tortured body in the tomb. But the book is vastly more than this. He has set his narrative against a three panelled background:- the Jewish world, the Roman world, and a fairly comprehensive treatment of the facts of Jesus' life. For his Biblical sources, he has used the synoptic gospels primarily; he has quite evidently tapped the uncanonical writings (similar to the gospels) and contemporary records of those written shortly afterwards for enrichment of the more familiar material. Occasionally his desire to clarify obscure passages seems to this reader to go a bit beyond necessity (as in explaining the sweat turned to blood in medical terms as ""haematidrosis"". But the overall effect of the book is immensely dramatic; the sustained suspense would almost make one feel that the ""greatest story ever told"" was here told for the first time. Palestine of that period comes to life as one reads. The mores of the people, the intricate organization of the various levels of rule, secular and religious, take on new meaning; the personalities that surrounded Jesus, the influences brought to bear on the men and the events, the mood and tempo and passions of the times -- all this is implicit throughout. Here is a book to deepen and strengthen faith, to inform our minds and our emotions.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1957
Publisher: Harper