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The Tin Merchant- A Novel


Harold Lorin
New York

On Sunday, May 21, 2006, an article in the Week in Review section of the
‘New York Times’ noted that 11% of Christians believe the Bible to be an
absolute source of moral truth. The article (‘It’s Not Just a Movie…) also states
there is diminishing belief in the authority of the Bible, and a growing variety of
ideas about the divinity and nature of Jesus. Interest in the recently discovered
‘Gospel of Judas’ supports the idea that American Christians are seeking a
consistent narrative, an image of Jesus, based on his background, relations with
his intimate, and psychology. ‘The Tin Merchant’ provides this narrative.

Insurrection, terrorism; religious conflict; colonial oppression; political

intrigue; sedition; corruption? Familiar words for our own time, and as well as
for the time of Jesus.

The Tin Merchant (115,000 words) is the story of the Mission and Passion of
Jesus as it happened to a family in a troubled place at a dangerous time. The
violence of revolution and terrorism; the political and religious oppression of
occupying Roman forces; the attitudes of Diaspora Jews toward Israel, combine
to paint a picture of tension that led many to believe it was the Time of Wrath and
a Messiah would come to save Israel

The narrative is based on the pretence of the discovery of the Memoirs of

Joseph of Aramithea. By tradition Jesus’ cousin, Joseph, present at the
Crucifixion, arranged for Jesus to be buried in his tomb. In the long standing
Glastonbury Legends, Joseph escaped to Britain with the Holy Grail and built the
first above ground Christian Church in the Western World.

The theme of the book is that the mission of Jesus was deeply influenced by
Mary, in turn influenced by Hebrew prophecy and Greek philosophy. The critical
event in the life of Jesus was the discovery that Saint Joseph was not his blood

Joseph tells his story and the story of Jesus to a Druid Priest in Avalon
(modern Glastonbury). The Druid listens with a Celtic ear, understanding whom
Jesus might be in the context of Celtic myth and faith.

The narrative begins with the storm-plagued voyage of Joseph’s escape to

Britain, part of the journey with Mary and Magdalene (who leave in the south of

The Tin Merchant- A Novel

France). Joseph meets the Druid and describes the details of the final days of
Jesus. His arrest is shrouded in mystery; His pain on the cross described in
medical detail, His resurrection reported by Magdalene. During his narrative
Joseph explores the character and psychology of Mary, Magdalene, Pilate, St,
Anna, and John the Baptist as a close observer.

However, it is Jesus the book seeks. Joseph explores the influence of Mary
on her son. He examines, sympathetically, the relation between Jesus and Saint
Joseph and the shock of discovery the Joseph is not his birth father. The
narrative explores Jesus’ own image of his role and mission and his relation to
the Law and the Temple

Tin Merchant is a novel. It is written to entertain, raise questions, create

character. However, it is deeply researched with a significant bibliography and
extensive footnotes. The book was written to find the Historical Jesus and to
create a reasonable narrative of His life and work that resolves divergences
between the Gospels and tries to recapture the Gospels as they might have
looked at the end of the first century. The author, has searched the Historical
Jesus for ten years, using the techniques and mind set that made him a
successful computer scientist, widely published and respected for his deep
understanding and innovative solutions of issues in his discipline.