The Book of Jonah, although a work of only two pages long, has made an extraordinary impact on the history of Jewish, Christian and Islamic spirituality. Jonah himself is a prophet of only one short sentence. But his story has attracted the attention of exegetes and theologians in every generation.
It is a story that has appealed as much to the minds of small children as to adults. And, over the centuries it has marvellously quickened the imagination of innumerable artists, poets, playwrights and sculptors, most notably in the case of Herman Melvilles Moby Dick.
In A Journey with Jonah: The Spirituality of Bewilderment, the Book of Jonah emerges as perhaps the most profoundly Christian of all the books in the Hebrew Bible, and the book that speaks with the most telling resonance for our own age. The message of the Book of Jonah is a serious and compelling one. But what surprises us again and again, is its humour, a humour which forms part of the books core revelation. Jonahs author makes it possible for us to perceive Gods loving laughter over narrow-minded piety.
Paul Murray OP is an Irish Dominican, a poet, and a professor in Rome at the University of St. Thomas. He is the author of several books that have been published in Ireland, England and the United States including A Journey with Jonah: The Spirituality of Bewilderment, T.S. Eliot and Mysticism, and four collections of poetry. He lives in Rome, and frequently lectures throughout the United States.