Risen by Angela Hunt was a big disappointment, in my opinion! I am typically a bit critical when Hollywood tries to portray anything from the Bible, but I didn’t realize this book was connected to the movie until after I received it for review.
Angela Hunt has done an excellent job in the past of portraying characters, events, and stories from the Bible, so I felt secure in reviewing another one of her books. But this time, I feel that Hunt sold out to Hollywood.
The idea is an intriguing one – tell the story of the Resurrection from the viewpoint of one of the soldiers who could have played a part. Clavius is just that soldier – a man moving up quickly in the ranks to become a man of status in Rome. But Clavius’ downfall, according to the book, is that he has fallen in love with a Jewish woman, Rachel, and pursues a physical relationship with her.
Rachel is a Jewish widow, whose husband was not someone she truly ever loved. But when her husband died, Rachel took up business for herself and has truly enjoyed being an “independent woman.” When Clavius begins coming by her bread stand, Rachel feels what it’s like to be loved for the first time and quickly gives in to his advances.
I feel that Hunt took this relationship too far. A Jewish woman would never have entertained a Roman soldier. And the way that Hunt portrays Rachel’s life makes it seem as though she is putting down the customs of the Jewish people in biblical times. In fact, the whole affair seems contradictory to how Hunt usually portrays historical facts and situations (fictional or nonfictional) and has a taste of pleasing the Hollywood crowd about it.
I was also uncomfortable with the way Hunt portrayed Jesus and the disciples after the Resurrection. She seemed to get a little lazy in her writing at this point, simply presenting events and conversations that were admittedly very similar to events and conversations had before the Resurrection. I felt like Hunt was just trying to wrap things up and didn’t really know where to go as there aren’t a whole lot of details about what happened between the Resurrection and the Ascension.
I have seen that a lot of Christians want to see this movie in theaters, and I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider that before you go. Unfortunately, Hollywood has found a niche market and knows that it will sell a movie that seems Christian in theme. But I believe that Satan can also be a part of this process and can twist the Bible to appeal to the masses while intertwining it with lies and deceit.
I am all for Christian movies, but I think we need to prayerfully consider putting things before our eyes that sensationalize or add to Scripture. I fear that this may be one of those instances, but I confess that I have not seen the movie and cannot honestly review it.
However, I CAN review the book, and I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone. Read the story of the Resurrection in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and see the true accounts of the miraculous return of our Lord and Savior.
*This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.