I AM by Jonathan E. Ruopp


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A dramatic novelization of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Bible is a dense, challenging read written in a historically unfamiliar idiom and with a legion of characters. Debut author Ruopp set out to compose a more readable version that largely focuses on Jesus’ life and ministry, as chronicled in the New Testament Gospels. Using a novelistic style, the author begins with Old Testament stories, mostly from the books of Genesis and Exodus; even in these cases, he approaches the material with a view to prophecies that foretold the arrival of the Messiah. For the most part, Ruopp’s account closely hews to the substance of the original texts, only slightly departing to fill in some lacunae; for example, there’s a thoughtful imagining of Jesus’ childhood years and the early signs of his spiritual precociousness. Also, the author unobtrusively includes commentary throughout the narrative, as when he helpfully illuminates the anxiety that Joseph experienced at the prospect of a virgin birth, given strict societal rules regarding marriage and pregnancy. Ruopp maintains a tone of formality when it comes to dialogue, but he modernizes it just enough to make it more approachable, as in this slightly reworked quote from the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you, therefore, when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets, who were before you.” At the close of each chapter, the author furnishes a catalog of textual references for readers interested in the original King James Version language, but this book is more a work for beginners than it is a scholarly resource. The simplicity of the prose and the chronological rendering, which details Jesus’ life up until the Resurrection, should make it a particularly helpful guide for parents and teachers introducing younger readers to Scripture.

A literary rendering of Bible tales that skillfully balances accessibility and fidelity.

Pub Date: July 6th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5127-7421-4
Page count: 390pp
Publisher: Westbow Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2018


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