Thursday, August 2, 2012

Salome's Conversion by Rohn Federbrush

Salome's Conversion by Rohn Federbrush is a unique  fictional account of the gospel from the perspective of Salome.  This work of fiction is reminiscent of an apocrypha text.  Salome is mentioned briefly in the gospels of the new testament of the bible in her close connection with Herod and the be-heading of John the Baptist.  At the prodding of Herodias, Herod's second wife, John the Baptist was beheaded because she was angered and held a grudge when he denounced their marriage as against God's law.  For Herod's birthday, an extravagent party took place- and the main attraction was a suggestive dance performed by Herodias' daughter Solome.  In appreciation for her performance, Herod promised to her, any wish- even up to half of his kingdom.  Herodias urged Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist.  Even though he was troubled by the request, he didn't want to break his oath before the guests.  Immediatlely he granted the request and "brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother". Mark 6:28

Federbush paints a picture of Salome as an innocent young girl of integrity and wisdom, who simply was a victim of her parents' contol.  Nevertheless in the brief accounts that mention Salome,  biblical evidence doesn't portray her as an innocent girl of faith and strength.  In fact even Federbrush portrays the young princess as an argumentative and self centered, entitled girl, who is used to having every one cater to her whims and wishes. From the first page, the willful, 14 year old Salome is depicted in a viscious fight with her servant Ide.  In fact, she comes close to ordering her immediate death. Later in this story, this same callous girl- Salome is portrayed as simply a helpless victim that was manipulated inorder to cause John the Baptist's death.   It is difficult to believe that a 14 year old girl would so blindlessly and without question follow such a callous order to ask for the execution of another living soul.  Pehaps the author claims that she was simply a young girl under duress or fear for her life.  Regardless, that still would be insufficient as an excuse for the girl's willing participation with her mother's evil and premeditated plan. 

Nevertheless during the course of the story, there is an attitude change of Salome during her years on the run from Herod's palace as she follows along the sidelines of Jesus' three year ministry.  Salome developes an attitude of faith and kindness with her newfound freedom and security while on the run.  The course of a story takes a turn as it centers on the budding relationship between Salome and the palace guard, Decius. In modern American culture, a relationship between a grown man and a young 14 year old girl would be frowned upon- although the actual marriage and birth of children is depicted as taking place 3 years after Jesus' monistry begins- when she turns 17.  I suspect the target reader for this novel may include other cultures perhaps where such a practice of courtship involving a child is more accepted. 
This work is thorough and well researched in that it relys heavily upon the Gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry.  In fact there are quite a few biblical quotes  from the King James text inserted into the story.  Federbush's work is reminiscent of an apocrypha work- which is normally associated with false biblical texts which bear resemblance to ancient biblical accounts of Jesus' life with critical distortions.  Often such false texts were even attributed to apostles such as the epistle of Thomas.  Apocrypha in general was rejected as  being esoteric, spurious,  or of of questionable authenticity.  Yet many are foolish enough to accept such distorted works  as they usually involve  legendary accounts that are plausible enough to be commonly considered true.  In fact this account of Salome is almost plausible and seemingly authentic  enough to decieve readers who are not familiar with the bible or gospel accounts.  For example, a fictitious conversation is included between Decius and Jesus, while Jesus is on his way to the wilderness for 40 days.  Jesus is portrayed as telling Decius "I'll meet you in Capernaum after 40 days sojourn to the wilderness".  In fact, Jesus' mother, Mary, is depicted as helping to conspire in the plans to safely hide Salome.  It is very unlikely this could ever have occured, but it is recorded in this fictional account nonetheless.  There are many additional fictitious interactions between Mary and the apostles and Jesus himself, with the the main characters Decius and Salome.  Many readers may actually believe this is in fact true due to the heavy use of scripture which is actually quoted in the book.  Basically, this story is interesting as a fictitious scenario of what would actually happen if Salome did actually become a follower of Jesus. I am unclear if the author's intent is to portray this as a plausible, unrecorded account of its she is just telling what she sees as a pure fictional account.  In light of the claim on the back cover of the book:" The King James New Testament enlightened with recent archeological findings..." I am under the impression that the author does indeed see this story as a plausible unrecorded account of Salome.

As a blogger I receieved this book for the purpose of writing this review.  This work would make the perfect addition to the library of any theology or religious  student.  My concern is that those readers unfamiliar with the bible or the gospel accounts of Jesus may actually be naive enough to believe this is an authentic biblical account. 

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