There are many ways to experience the biblical Heartland. One of them is to hike the Jesus Trail. Unlike the turnpike of millions, the Jesus Trail is the road less traveled. Here the groups are small, the pace is slow, and the priorities are different. Read more about out 2019 hike.
Last night I finished F. A. Worsley’s 1931 publication of Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure (Norton, 2000). It was terrific! The author, Frank Worsley, was a New Zealand sea captain who saw action in WW1, did merchant work around Iceland, but most famously, skippered the Endurance. The Endurance was the ill-fated ship used by Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1916. It is also a fitting theme for this book.
We are busy here at the Bible Land Explorers’ headquarters chewing the magoi. So far we’ve noted how Jesus was born in a Cold War (see here) and how the magoi were savvy politicians with a reputation for king-making and king-breaking (see here). As Christmas morning approaches, however, we lean toward something more festive: wisemen wafers!
Enter the idea of the eulogia.
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matt 2:3).
The response of Herod and Jerusalem (and potentially Rome itself) may be best appreciated in a wider geopolitical context. This is all the more significant given the reputation of the magoi as royal puppeteers in texts outside the Bible.
The descent into Spain is rugged. The bright pastures of the sommets des pyrénées slip downslope, gradually at first, then furiously, precipitously, until they tumble into dense beech forests. Bob and I do the same. Spattered by mud, decorated with leaves, and swathed in shadow, we appreciate the epic Song of Roland.
The grape farmer asked if we were pilgrims bound for Nájera. We affirmed the obvious.
"Do you know the story of the Camino?" His English was stained but it was clear enough.
Bob and I had notions, but we welcomed his company. We also welcomed the conversation that his question set in motion.
“No. Tell us.”
The story of the end of James the Great is described in the New Testament. Outside the New Testament, however, his story lives on. Part of that story is dedicated to a epic journey that the Bible is mum about, and part of that story is dedicated to a post-death appearance. Both of these accounts teeter wildly into the area of myth, but never say that to a Spaniard. It may cost you an eye.