A historical novel about Publius Lentulus, a Roman Senator who was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth. A timeless story of the human condition punctuated by redemption and love. With their daughter facing death from a painful illness and their son kidnapped by a father seeking revenge, Publius wife Livia finds comfort in the stories her slave Anna tells about Jesus. To Roman patricians who believe in their own superiority, his teachings -- love for one s enemies and brotherhood among people -- seem strange. But on Livia s urging, Publius seeks out the Healer and his moving encounter alters the family s destiny. Why would one child be stricken with a disease and a beloved son taken away? In his old age, physically blind and regretting his former arrogance, Publius is still seeking answers, while Livia long ago found hers. This sweeping saga, told from the deep emotions of a Roman family whose lives crossed paths with Jesus of Nazareth, provides lessons that echo from Two Thousand Years Ago.
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Francisco Xavier (1910-2002), renowned inspirational writer, was as prolific as he was charitable. Throughout his life, he donated all profits from his more than 400 books to charity. His literary production and devotion to Christian ideals place this saintly Brazilian among the greatest mystics of modern history, along with St. Theresa d Avila, Jacob Boehme, and William Blake. Xavier was Brazil's most respected medium, a position of great moral authority in a country where an estimated 20 million people believe in spiritism - a Christian philosophy based on soul survival, communication with the spirits, and reincarnation. Brazil has the world's largest spiritist population, and, in a career spanning 75 years, Xavier became its most important figure. The information he communicated from beyond the grave was often regarded as fact. Once, in 1979, a man accused of murdering his best friend was set free because the judge accepted a witness statement from the dead friend which he had communicated telepathically via Xavier. The victim, said his friend, was innocent; he went on to reveal the identity of the real murderer. Xavier was born into a poor family of nine brothers and sisters, in the suburbs of Belo Horizonte. By the age of four, he was hearing voices and having visions. His family thought he was possessed by the devil, and the local priest ordered him to say a thousand Ave-Marias, and to pay an additional penance of walking with a 15kg stone on his head. But the voices continued and, as a teenager, Xavier began to study the teachings of Allan Kardec, a Frenchman whose spiritist ideas had already taken hold in Brazil. Xavier dedicated his life to using his aptitude as a medium to bring comfort to as many people as possible. Even though barely educated, he published more than 400 books - the spirits of dead people dictated the texts to him telepathically. Poetry From Beyond The Grave (1932), for example, contained 259 poems revealed to Xavier by 56 dead Brazilian poets, including some famous ones. Several people tried to prove he was a fraud, but no one succeeded. The widow of one of the poets even tried to sue him for royalties, but the court ruled in Xavier's favour, judging that "the [poet] is dead, and the dead have no rights." The final word on the matter was given by the highbrow newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo. It observed that if the poems were not actually written by the dead poets, then, at the very least, Xavier should be sitting in the Brazilian academy of letters. Even though the content of most of his other books was religious, Xavier also transcribed from the spirit world novels and works of philosophy and science. His books sold an estimated 25 million copies, the profits of which were all channelled into charity work. As a fingerprint expert with the Brazilian agriculture ministry, Xavier lived on meagre wages before drawing his state pension. Xavier's spiritual guide - his link with the spirit world - was called Emmanuel. Two Thousand Years Ago is an account of Emmanuel s life in the early days of Christianity. (Freely adapated from article published by the Guardian of London on July 11, 2002)Review:
This sweeping story recreates the time of Jesus, seen through the eyes of a Roman Senator, Publius Lentulus, who lived in Palestine and whose life was touched by the Master. A proud, powerful and wealthy man, Publius faces a series of tragedies that begin with the birth of his daughter Flavia, born with a disfiguring condition that Roman doctors cannot heal. Seeking a better climate for her, Publius arranges a move to Palestine to serve under Pontius Pilate. A cascade of tragic events begins with the family s arrival in Palestine, when Publius reacts with vengeance to a simple rock-throwing incident by condemning the young man involved to the galleys as a slave, then rejecting a heartfelt plea from the boy s father for mercy. The story transports us back to daily life in the Roman world, as we follow Saul, victim of Publius s vengeance, to the slave market of Rome, and we go with Livia and Publius to an elaborate banquet at Pilate s exquisite palace. When the family moves back to Rome, we experience a Roman Triumph parade as Publius is honored by the emperor with a procession through the city that ends at the Circus Maximus; as the crowd roars, we feel the horror of the spectacle of hungry lions released on hapless victims at the colossal arena. Living in Palestine, Publius and Livia both hear stories about Jesus. Livia hears from her slave Anna that the Master heals the sick and Anna is certain He could heal little Flavia. Livia yearns to seek Him out, but Publius resists, giving in only when his dying daughter asks for the Prophet. In an unforgettable scene, Publius encounters the enigmatic Master who can read his thoughts and see into his heart...and heal his daughter. Livia, shocked to hear of the arrest of Jesus, risks much to plead with Pilate for his release. But her actions are misinterpreted and lead only to further isolation and sadness for her. From her balcony at home she watches as three crosses are raised at Golgatha and experiences an uplifting vision of its meaning. The Jesus she knew was a compassionate spiritual teacher and prophet who goes willingly to his agonizing death, rejecting vengeance, hatred, and violence. His followers are stunned by His death on the cross, but continue to cling to His teachings of love and peace. Incredibly, the sorrows of one generation are repeated in the next. Flavia, free of her disease, grows to womanhood and marries the son of her father s best friend Flaminius, but the marriage is not a happy one. Wealthy Patrician women have little to do but scheme against each other. Publius, now an old man filled with regrets, faces the results of a life of arrogance, neglect of his wife, and failure to make use of opportunities to practice love and compassion. Only at the end of his life does he reach toward elusive redemption. This is an ambitious work, following the fate of two generations through an incredible time in history. The clash between the teachings of Jesus and the Roman culture of cruelty and oppression create the conflict we see in these characters. The story takes us to a time and place different from our own, but with important lessons for our own time. The Endnotes provide sources verifying many of the historical details in the story, giving this new English translation from Portuguese a great deal of credibility; all the more astounding that it was written in 1938 by an uneducated Brazilian medium who could hardly have known or had access to this historical background. Yet many of the people, places, and details are accurate. Could this be an actual eyewitness account of real events? Could the emotional power of this story, with its portrait of a gentle and loving Jesus, come from the fact that it all really happened Two Thousand Years Ago? --Theresa Welsh
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Book Description Allan Kardec Educational Society, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Mozart Couto (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0964990784