MY BOOK GOT A FIVE-STAR REVIEW FROM AN ATHEIST.
It might not sound like a good thing. But I smiled when I saw it. I know smiles are good.
I actually target non-Christians when I write. I figure if I can get them to read stuff about the Bible and Christianity, Christians will read it, too. Right?
I’ll get a bad book review for Eyewitness to Crucifixion someday. But not today. Reviewers on average are calling it a four-star read. I’ll take that for an easy-reading Bible background book—and some peanut butter cookies, to celebrate.
I know it won’t last. So, in this moment of grace, I’ll highlight some of the comments. And I’ll respond to each reviewer.
Let’s start with the atheist.
Get smart, like Mr. Miller ***** (5 stars)
“I can’t recommend this book enough. As an atheist I get very tired of having to explain Christian texts and texts from antiquity that refer to Christianity to Christians. Would that all Christians were as erudite and broad in their understanding as Miller. Now they can be. Thank you Mr. Miller.” —Willy, NetGalley
You’re welcome. And thank you. But I confess, I had to look up “erudite.” To my shame, it means “great knowledge or learning.” Bummer.
A Jewish soul says thanks **** (4 stars)
“Somewhere between the work of an intelligent lay-person and a scholar is where this author has nestled this book…I was pleasantly surprised by the fairness and impartiality he displayed when discussing the Jewish role in the death of Jesus, as I am also one of those ill-fated Jews destined to be blamed eternally for an event that I came two thousand years too late to have been involved in.” —Ionia, Goodreads
Sorry you get blamed. It could be worse. You could be an Italian Jew. I’d hate to get blamed for something some of my ancestors did. That seems like a good reason not to look for dead Millers in West Virginia history or on Ancestry dot who knows what.
Like feta-cheese and cranberry jelly **** (4 stars)
“I read virtually all of this book in one day…The book is an interesting hybrid of high-brow reference material—discussed in a mostly non-academic and chatty style. It takes a bit of getting used to—like feta-cheese and cranberry jelly—but once you get used to it, it’s quite endearing.” —Joshua C. The librarian, NetGalley
Thanks Joshua. You have good taste. In cheese, if nothing else. Peace to you.
Engaging, for the depth of content **** (4 stars)
“Miller skillfully uses historical accounts outside of the Bible to give the reader a better understanding of the context of crucifixion. It helps to make it feel more real when you read what scholars and poets of the time had to say about crucifixion. It also helps to move it beyond the cursory verse or two recited on the occasion and it gives you deeper appreciation of the sacrifice Jesus had made. Furthermore, Miller’s writing style is easy to follow and engaging. It was an easy read considering the depth of the content.”—Anne G., NetGalley
I’ve pretty much spent my career translating scholars into everyday English.
I went from journalism school and a newspaper reporter’s job to seminary. I remember turning in my first paper and getting it back for a redo. The prof said I wrote in active style and I need to change it to passive. As in changing “Moses carried the tablets down the mountain” to “The tablets were carried down the mountain by Moses.”
Yuck to that.
One reason I didn’t go for a doctorate is that I didn’t think my writing style could survive it. I kid you not. Thank you Anne.
Fascinating, well-researched **** (4 stars)
“Eyewitness to Crucifixion is a fascinating, well-researched read with a range of quotes, poetry, and historically documented facts about the practice of crucifixion from Roman figures before, during, and after the time of Christ. The book includes images of artifacts and works of art that support much of its text and adds to the author’s credibility.” Tammy L, NetGalley
Glad you liked the art. Words are good, but it’s hard to beat evidence you can see for yourself in photos, videos, or best of all, in person. Let’s hear it for museums. Thanks Tammy.