Jesus the troublemaker

Novel, textbook, journal and devotional – Andy Roland’s ‘exercise in historical imagination’ is hard to categorise.

The main section of the book is a narrative account of Jesus’ last eight days, written as fiction but still faithful to the Gospel accounts. Roland has made use of Hebrew or Aramaic names for characters and places but opts for modern-day words and phrases elsewhere, which can be jarring. 

The author’s imaginings of parts of the story not explicitly told in the Gospels work hard to respect what is known, but the style is sometimes unconvincing. 

The author spends a great many pages explaining things to the reader: this detracts from the novel, which should speak for itself. But if Roland’s desire is to bring the story of Jesus alive to a new audience and answer questions about the cultural context then the book succeeds.