THE VIRGIN AND THE PRIEST by Mark Gibbs

THE VIRGIN AND THE PRIEST

: The Making of the Messiah
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A controversial take on the story of Christ’s immaculate birth by Gibbs, who claims that Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, was Jesus’ biological father.

Drawing from Hebrew texts and Jewish tradition, the Old and New Testament, heretical art and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gibbs traces the lineage of Christ and John the Baptist to upend the traditional Christmas story. Challenging what the author believes to be a controlling and pervasive conspiracy of silence by scholars and theologians, Gibbs initially traces scripture in the gospels to connect Zacharias with Mary, who gave birth to Jesus. Delving deeper into the complicated sexual liaisons, which Gibbs believes that Judeo-Christians gloss over and do not accept, he states that Joseph (Mary’s husband) found Mary pregnant and discovered a way to conceal her sin of carrying an illegitimate child–by glorifying the God of Israel with Christ’s child. Gibbs also delves into heretical art by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Andrea and Mategna–all of whom place Jesus, Mary and Zacharias together. Gibbs makes his most thorough points in this section, clearly identifying Mary and Zacharias in the artwork. Through these paintings their connection seems the most poignant, pointing to the fact that art often reveals truth. However, Gibbs’ theories often stretch too thin. In his writing on the “Mona Lisa,” whose origin is often a mystery even to art historians, Gibbs identifies her as Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist–the true Holy Mother. However, Gibbs never quite delves into this theory. The “Mona Lisa” is a famous work of art, and the author could probably write a chapter about this theory instead of mere paragraphs. Though he has seemingly done extensive research and has created a readable, informative study, Gibbs almost attempts to cover too much, and often makes grand leaps or inserts his own ideas into a scripture without fully explaining or validating his beliefs.

A controversial, well-researched and readable take on Jesus’ birth.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1438207063
Program: Kirkus Indie
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