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Theophilos: A Novel

Author(s): Michael OBrien

ISBN13: 9781586173685

ISBN10: 1586173685

Publisher: IGNATIUS PRESS ($)

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  • St. Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to a man named Theophilos.

    Who was Theophilos? Scripture scholars do not know, making him a fit subject for Michael OBriens vivid imagination. In this fictional narrative, Theophilos is the skeptical but beloved adoptive father of St. Luke. Challenged by the startling account of the "Christos" received in the chronicle from his beloved son Luke and concerned for the newly zealous young mans fate, Theophilos, a Greek physician and an agnostic, embarks on a search for Luke to bring him home. He is gravely concerned about the deadly illusions Luke has succumbed to regarding the incredible stories surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, a man of contradictions who has caused so much controversy throughout the Roman Empire.

    Thus begins a long journey that will take Theophilos deep into the war between nations and empires, truth and myth, good and evil, and into unexpected dimensions of his very self. His quest takes the reader into four ancient civilizations - the Greek, Roman, Jewish, and that of Christianity at its birth, where he meets those who knew this man that some believe is the Messiah.

    Though Theophilos is a man of the past ages, he is as familiar to us as the men of our own times. Schooled in the empiricism of both medicine and philosophy, Theophilos is well suited to speak to our age in which seeing cannot be the basis for faith, but rather hearing the witness of those who have been touched by God and opening ourselves to the possibility of an encounter with the living Christ. This is a story about the mysterious interaction of faith and reason, the psychology of perception, and the power of love over death.

  • Michael OBrien

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    An arresting work. Totally credible both historically and psychologically. Theres not a single false note in this music. Do you want to get into a time machine and actually live in the first century world? Then read this book!

    - Peter Kreeft Professor of Philosophy Boston College

    OBrien again takes up the theme of the truth of revelation before an unbelieving generation. This novel searches the soul of our time through the eyes of St. Luke and Theophilos and those they encountered, including the Lord Himself. OBrien brings to life the wonder that filled the soul of Luke.

    - James V. Schall, SJ, Professor of Political Philosophy, Georgetown University

    "All of Michael OBriens novels are in a sense historical, even those often regarded as prophetic. Theophilos, set long ago in the first century and meticulously researched, is finely textured, lush and convincing in its depiction of the rich embroglio of Mediterranean culture in the time of the apostles. The epistolary prose is hauntingly provocative, often lyrical, compelling in its characterization of the events reported in Luke and Acts as they might be considered from a learned gentiles point of view. This is a beautiful book."

    - David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University

    In this lugubrious novel, painter and novelist OBrien (Father Elijah) turns the addressee of Lukes Gospels, Theophilos, into a weary protagonist seeking to reclaim his adoptive son. Relating his affection for and concern over his adopted son Luke, who has recently become enamored of the teachings of Jesus, Theophilos travels to see his physician son after a 10-year absence and tries persuading him to return home. Luke, however, wants Theophilos to understand his growing attachment to the young community of Christians, and directs Theophilos to visit a number of people who were personally involved with Jesus; the quest also exposes Theophilos to illness, symbolic dreams and numbing internal discourses before his ultimate conversion. OBrien displays a firm grasp of Greek, Roman, Jewish and Christian cultures of the first century, creating a strong sense of place and time, but the plot makes a ponderous vehicle for OBriens conservative views and doomsday visions, with a leisurely pace that will deter all but the most dedicated.

    - Publishers Weekly


Theophilos: A Novel