I've begun to receive a number of very favorable reviews for The Murdered Messiah and I'm very grateful for them. It will take many more to lift the book in the Amazon ratings and I will do my best to earn them. There is one review I may not receive--a review that recognizes the unique connections I have made between elements which are known to those who are interested in Jesus and Second Temple Judaism, but not usually (if ever) considered to be related. Thus, scholars and even non-scholars who are familiar with this era are obviously aware of Johannon the Immerser, the Essenes, Qumran, Judas the Zealot, Judas the disciple, Herod Antipas, and of course, Jesus of Nazareth. Some historians have written that the Immerser may have been in contact with the Essenes in Qumran, based on proximity. No-one that I am aware of other than I, has put Jesus, Johannon, Judas (the disciple) and the Essenes together at the same time.
There are many other connections I have made, some direct, some more subtle. There are clues to these relationships in the "Notes and Citations," but even then, simply indicating sources is not enough. Actually, to fully understand my intentions requires a scholar who is totally knowledgeable about Jewish and Christian scripture and the relevant history of the era. Not that I consider myself such a scholar, but I have the advantage of having written the material and knowing what sources I used and the connections I was trying to make. The irony is that the people who can most readily decipher the text and understand these relationships are not likely to read The Murdered Messiah. Some have contempt for fiction, others claim that they haven't the time.; they must limit themselves to verifiable "facts."
Fortunately for me, my audience is not limited to "experts." I wrote The Murdered Messiah" for general audiences, and my novel will succeed or fail based on their responses.