Today St. Luke is known as the author of the third Gospel of the New Testament, but nearly two thousand years ago he was Lucanus, a Greek, and a man of science. Taylor Caldwell portrays him as a man who loved, knew the emptiness of bereavement, and later traveled through the hills and wastes of Judea asking, "What manner of man was my Lord?" It is this Lucanus that Caldwell brings to life in her stirring novel. Lucanus grew up in the household of his stepfather, the Roman governor of Antioch. He studied medicine in Alexandria and became one of the greatest physicians of the ancient world, traveling far and wide through the Mediterranean region healing the sick. When Lucanus heard of the life and death of Jesus, he saw in Him the God he was seeking. To learn all he could about Jesus, whom he had never seen, Lucanus visited all the places where Jesus had been, questioning everyone who had known Him or heard Him preach, including His mother, Mary. When he had gathered all the information possible, he wrote what we now know as the Gospel according to St. Luke. Caldwell's own travels through the Holy Land and years of meticulous research make Dear and Glorious Physician a fully developed portrait of a complex and brilliant man and a colorful re-creation of ancient Roman life as it contrasted in its decadence with the new world that Christianity was bringing into being. Here is a story to warm, to inspire, and to call forth a renewal of faith and love.
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I have read this novel many times and felt a need to read it once again this Advent season. Each time I read this extraordinary novel, I am moved and find some new message.