“I’m deeply moved that my own historical Quest and the poetic Quest of James Whitehead were so closely intertwined, even though they never intersected in time. . . . I hope that, through this beautiful book, the vision we shared can spread further. For as Whitehead’s Gabriel puts it to Panthera, ‘Your son in Galilee is magical!’ Surely he remains so to this day.”
—James Tabor, From the Introduction
Through a series of dramatic monologues (spoken by Mary, the Angel Gabriel, Paul of Tarsus, and the “Sidonian archer,” Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera), the fourteen poems gathered here give life to the Jewish-apocryphal legend of “Jesus, son of Pantera”—the story that Jesus was sired by a Roman soldier. Having learned of a tomb (unearthed in Germany) bearing the soldier’s name, Whitehead spent the last years of his life researching and writing about this fascinating, controversial tradition. In his introduction to the collection, renowned Biblical scholar James Tabor recounts the Scriptural, apocryphal, and archaeological evidence upon which the story is based.