“A unique and special kind of masterpiece.” —John Banville
Stephen Mitchell’s gift is to breathe new life into ancient classics. In Joseph and the Way of Forgiveness, he offers us his riveting novelistic version of the Biblical tale in which Jacob’s favorite son is sold into slavery and eventually becomes viceroy of Egypt. Tolstoy called it the most beautiful story in the world. What’s new here is the lyrical, witty, vivid prose, informed by a wisdom that brings fresh insight to this foundational legend of betrayal and all-embracing forgiveness. Mitchell’s retelling, which reads like a postmodern novel, interweaves the narrative with brief meditations that, with their Zen surprises, expand the narrative and illuminate its main themes.
By stepping inside the minds of Joseph and the other characters, Mitchell reanimates one of the central stories of Western culture. The engrossing tale that he has created will capture the hearts and minds of modern readers and show them that this ancient story can still challenge, delight, and astonish.
In this captivating contemporary retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, independent scholar Mitchell (The Gospel According to Jesus) delivers a strong message of forgiveness. In witty prose, he introduces the reader to Joseph, the beautiful, favored son of Jacob. Because of Jacob's favoritism and Joseph's tattling, Joseph's brothers' resentment of him intensifies to hatred when Jacob presents Joseph with the lavish gift of a multicolored coat. Meanwhile, Joseph has dreams of his brothers bowing down to him, and when he shares them with his brothers and Jacob, they are displeased. Jacob is convinced Joseph is destined for greatness, but he admonishes him to keep his dreams to himself, while the brothers contemplate how much better life would be without their spoiled younger brother. "No one, of course, wants to suffer. And yet the fortunate among us manage to learn from our suffering what can be learned nowhere else." Mitchell takes a novelistic approach as he shares Joseph's suffering through betrayal, slavery, and false accusations against him by his brothers. Also included are a helpful prologue and epilogue (as well as a section of "Notes and References") that provide context. Focusing on themes of humility, redemption, and forgiveness, Mitchell's retelling will be perfect for bible study groups and Christian readers looking for an easy point of entry into the Book of Genesis. \n