New book provides context to understand the climate in which Jesus lived
Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” has garnered worldwide acclaim with its depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. Now, a South Knoxville author has written a book that provides a look at Jesus’ early years – those prior to his earthly ministry and crucifixion.
Jesus’ Silent Years: Facts the Gospels Do Not Tell Us (AuthorHouse, March 2004) is a study of the historical, political, cultural, and religious climate in which Jesus lived that set Him on a course toward crucifixion.
Wm. G. (Bill) Justice, a long-time South Knoxville resident and retired chaplain from Baptist Hospital, says his incentive for writing the book came from the questions people posed to him down through the years of his teaching and preaching ministry.
After Jesus’ birth, and His family’s sojourn in Egypt, from the Bible we know of one experience when Jesus was age twelve. Then, all is silent again until He was approximately age thirty.
So, what went on in Jesus’ life during those “silent years?”
According to Justice – who has three earned doctorates and has authored five previous books and more than 200 articles – although the Bible does not inform us of events that happened during all those “silent years,” reliable books, ancient documents, and archeological discoveries “speak” as harmonizing “voices” to answer many of our questions relating to the days of Jesus’ time on earth.
Drawing reasonable conclusions from hundreds of bits of information, the author cautiously applies them to enlighten the reader’s understanding of Jesus’ teachings.
“It’s one of the most fascinating subjects I’ve ever dug into,” said Justice in an interview from his home on Tuesday, April 27. “People were always asking me questions about the life of Jesus that aren’t dealt with in the Four Gospels.
“I realized that I know a lot about that,” Justice continued. “And, over a three-year period of research and writing, I discovered some of the most fascinating things.
‘We certainly weren’t taught these things in seminary,” the author said. “It’s amazing to me that somebody didn’t write this book a hundred years ago.”
The book, soon to be distributed in local book stores, is available at authorhouse.com. Justice said local book store managers are “very excited” about the book, and he is scheduling book signings locally for the next few weeks.