Finished: May 15, 2012
First Published: 1939, Sheed & Ward (2004, this edition)
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Genre: christian, bible, catholic, history
Imprimatur & Nihil obstat
First sentence: "Luke ended his Gospel with our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, and he begins this new book by telling about it again, as though he wanted to give us just one more glimpse of our Lord before going on to the story of how the Apostles spread His Kingdom over the world."
Publisher's Summary: "Marigold Hunt, author of A Life of Our Lord for Children, here continues the tale of Jesus and His Church by retelling for children the events reported in The Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke’s account of the dangerous early days of the Church.
Focusing on the deeds and experiences of Sts. Peter, Paul, Luke, and Barnabas, author Hunt shows children that the Catholic Church which today seems so ancient and established was born in turbulent times, when merely professing belief in Christ could get you killed — and not by rowdies and brigands, but by public officials carrying out their sworn duty.
Time and again, the apostles wind up in jail (some for years), and time and again God frees them by miracles of one sort or another. With Christian hope and great good cheer, they take up again the task with which Christ charged them just before He ascended into Heaven: “Go forth and teach all nations.”
By foot, on horseback, and on frail craft tossed in stormy seas, they do just that, preaching and teaching their way across much of the known world, winning converts and establishing churches in Palestine, Crete, Cyprus, Malta, Phoenicia, the lands that are now Turkey, and even in Rome itself, the pagan capital of the anti-Christian Empire.
Along the way, the apostles heal the sick, cast out devils, and work other miracles. They face down mobs, evade murder plots, and defend themselves in courts in city after city. In the midst of it all, Peter — whose authority as the first Pope was accepted by all of the apostles — settles disputes that arise among the Christians and between the new Churches.
All this and more is told in The First Christians, the thrilling — and true — saga of the lives and works of the first apostles of Jesus."
Acquired: Purchased a new copy from an online retailer.
Reason for Reading: Acts is always a little confusing for children to grasp, so I thought a storybook retelling would offer a greater understanding of the book of The Acts of the Apostles before I next begin reading ds the actual New Testament. We begin each homeschool day with time for God, mostly with me reading aloud from books such as this.
This book is fantastic! First of all, changes to the original 1939 edition are minimal. Illustrations have been added which match the tone of the text wonderfully. The text itself was only altered with "minor editorial revisions". From prior experience with this publisher and having read the text, I'm quite confident that "revision" would have consisted of removing colloquialisms, and other such language a 1939 audience would have appreciated but a 21st century one not so much. The book feels as if it was written some time ago and yet doesn't feel outdated or juvenile at all. The book can be read by or to children of all ages but the material can be rather deep and I think 10-13 are probably the most targeted audience. That is not to say teens and adults won't enjoy the book, just remember it is being written to a child.
While Marigold Hunt retells the stories of the Acts of the Apostles she also adds her own narration explaining the hows and whys of what was going on. The big deal here is that the Apostles were trying to spread the Good News to the world as they knew it, while at the same time trying to get Jews (and often themselves) to understand that Jesus, and thus Christianity, was not reserved only for Jews who followed the Old Laws but for Jew & Gentile alike, that the Old Laws didn't matter to a new non-Jewish Christian, the New Way (which included many of the old laws but really only a fraction) was all that was required of a Christian, Jew or Gentile. This was an awkward period of history and a difficult time to preach in. Ms. Hunt keeps this social commentary in our minds as she relates the 28 chapters of the Acts of Apostles.
My son has grown richly in his faith. I credit this book with a part in that. He has started retelling these events to me as examples in life and for myself I will say that the Introduction alone gave me greater insight into the social world the Apostles lived in and I read The Acts with new eyes now with a deeper understanding. Highly recommended!