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The Servant's Satchel

Bennington, Spencer Todd (2014) The Servant's Satchel. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

The Servant’s Satchel is a creative thesis in the form of a novella which begs the question “how would the New Testament be affected by a completely humanized Jesus character?” This work of fiction aims to depict the protagonist, Jesus of Nazareth, in a historically accurate first century Palestine, devoid of any contemporary theological slant or embellishment. The purpose here is to speculate what the early Christian Church could have grown into if the outspoken political bishops (like Irenaeus of the second century) had not quashed the philosophies, treatises, and sacred texts of the Gnostics. How would the contemporary Christian church be different, for instance, if parishioners had a common knowledge of The Gospel of Thomas, wherein Jesus explains that all men and women have the ability to achieve a spiritual state of the divine? How might the socio-political climate of 21st century America have benefited if Paul had never penned the words that through “faith alone” believers are saved, not by good works? In short, my depiction of Jesus serves to spur the reader to aspire to ascend to a new level of consciousness and compassion instead of simply putting faith into a hierarchical, apocalyptic, and violent mythos. The narrative is set between the baptism of Jesus and the start of his ministry in Galilee. This period is generally referred to as the “forty days” when Jesus wandered the desert and was tempted by Satan. In this novella, Jesus is wandering in search of some sort of spiritual truth or fulfillment. After adopting many radical and ascetic lifestyles, circumstance finds Jesus badly wounded and lost in the outskirts of the Persian Empire. He is taken in by a nameless guru who agrees to teach him the science of first century medicine as preserved in historical texts like the Sushruta Samhita (circa 600 BCE). After formal lessons in herbalism, Ayurvedic treatments, conjuring, and energy manipulation, a fully fallible and mortal Jesus develops the skills necessary to begin his own monumental healing mission in Palestine, and he matures to the point where he can begin to face his own emotional demons. Ultimately, Jesus must decide what role he will play upon the return to his native land: that of the empirical doctor which he has learned to be, that of the erratic charismatic to which Galilee is accustomed, or that of a third, more hybridized, persona—a healer more deserving of the title medicine man.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Laura Francis
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 14:00
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2014 14:00
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/159

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