Apostle, Or, Bones That Shine Like Fire

Apostle, Or, Bones That Shine Like Fire

Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve

Book - 2016
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A profound and moving journey into the heart of Christianity that explores the mysterious and often paradoxical lives and legacies of the Twelve Apostles--a book both for those of the faith and for others who seek to understand Christianity from the outside in.

"Expertly researched and fascinating... Bissell is a wonderfully sure guide to these mysterious men.... This is a serious book about the origins of Christianity that is also very funny. How often can you say that?" -- The Independent

Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John: Who were these men? What was their relationship to Jesus? Tom Bissell provides rich and surprising answers to these ancient, elusive questions. He examines not just who these men were (and weren't), but also how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia.

Ultimately, Bissell finds that the story of the apostles is the story of early Christianity: its competing versions of Jesus's ministry, its countless schisms, and its ultimate evolution from an obscure Jewish sect to the global faith we know today in all its forms and permutations. In his quest to understand the underpinnings of the world's largest religion, Bissell embarks on a years-long pilgrimage to the supposed tombs of the Twelve Apostles. He travels from Jerusalem and Rome to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, India, and Kyrgyzstan, vividly capturing the rich diversity of Christianity's worldwide reach. Along the way, he engages with a host of characters--priests, paupers, a Vatican archaeologist, a Palestinian taxi driver, a Russian monk--posing sharp questions that range from the religious to the philosophical to the political.

Written with warmth, empathy, and rare acumen, Apostle is a brilliant synthesis of travel writing, biblical history, and a deep, lifelong relationship with Christianity. The result is an unusual, erudite, and at times hilarious book--a religious, intellectual, and personal adventure fit for believers, scholars, and wanderers alike.
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780375424663
Branch Call Number: 225.922 Bis
Characteristics: xxi, 407 pages : illustrations
Alternative Title: Apostle
Bones that shine like fire


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Jun 24, 2019

Bissell had an interesting premise to explore (some of) the purported last resting places of the apostles. His writing is engaging, showing more of a journalistic style than that of a fiction writer. The biggest mystery is who were his traveling companions because he never describes or names them!

I wish someone would remove the lengthy New York Times review on this page because it does nothing to elucidate why one should or should not read this book. Think "blowhard".

Apr 29, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which dissects the legends that have grown up around each of the twelve biblical apostles, along with Paul, the self-proclaimed "13th Apostle." Since very little is factually known about any of them, the author travels to a location associated with each of them through legend, and along the way gives a free-wheeling tour of early Christian history, art, and mythology. Other readers have found his off-handed, somewhat skeptical tone annoying; I found it refreshing.

Mar 24, 2017

Once, on the Georgia Strait, just south of Desolation Sound, I saw an eagle tackle a huge salmon. The bird, talons in the fish’s back, flapped in frenzy, trying to fly off with its prize. After about five minutes the bird went under, never to reappear. The eagle ‘bit off more than it could chew’.
By the end of the first chapter of Apostle I was convinced that Tom Bisssell did the same thing. In my opinion, the topic he chose is well beyond his depth. His understanding of Christianity is narrow and badly skewed; so much so that reading further, for me at least, would, I know, prove to be a colossal waste of time. A chat with a half-competent Bible believer would clear up what, for the author, are conundrums.
Like Mr. Bissell, I ‘grew up Catholic’. I too was an ‘enthusiastic altar boy’. He came to the conclusion that the Bible is bunk, ‘stopped attending mass’ and ‘abandoned Christian belief altogether’ while I concluded that the Bible is the very word of God, abandoned the Catholic Church and embraced Biblical Christianity. He decided to follow the 'cleverly devised fables' of academia. I decided to follow Jesus. Enough said!

May 21, 2016

just opened the cover and I know it is going to change the way I view the christian world for good or bad ... stay tuned

Apr 01, 2016

He yaks a little too much about travels, but the insight into the
apostles is great.

Mar 30, 2016

A wonderful read! Part travelogue and part history of early Christianity. The author travels to globe to visit the tombs of the Apostles.

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