Dr. Jerry Camery-Hoggatt will read aloud from his new novel on Mark on alternating Tuesdays, beginning this Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room. Come and hear this master storyteller bring the Gospel of mark alive and gain a better understanding of the context of the times in which it was written.

The background is nearly apocalyptic: It’s first century Rome, year 66. Messianic figures in the Galilee are agitating for war. Rome itself has been devastated by fire, Nero has blamed the Christians, who are being hunted down and fed to the lions in the arena. Peter and Paul have been martyred.

In a catacomb beneath the city Mark is hard at work on a document that will preserve the oral gospel from loss, at the same time tailoring the gospel as a pastoral document to address the needs of a Church caught up in circumstances that threaten to swallow them whole.

As a precaution, Mark asks a young Christian named Æolus to keep a copy of each story as it’s completed, and thus to build up a parallel manuscript in a safe place. Æolus takes the stories home as they’re completed, a few at a time, and his family argues about what they mean.

They’re not all Christians. They include a Mithraic stonemason, a Stoic senator, an aristocratic woman and her son, a classically educated Jewish-Christian slave, and the son of the city’s chief religious figure, the Pontifex Rex. Each character has his or her own dramatic storyline. They argue about what this book might mean for them, right there, right then.

On alternating Tuesday evenings from 6:00-7:30 we meet in the Fireside Room to listen in on their argument.

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