Controversial Novel Questions Virgin Mother Story -- Was it Divine Conception or an Evil Violation?

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Loren Woodson's new novel "The Passion of Maryam" offers a deeply researched, alternate version of the classic Mary and Jesus story that challenges readers with a thought-provoking meditation on good, evil and the divine.

Far from facile sensationalism, nor an attempt to rewrite the Gospels, Loren Woodson's compelling novel "The Passion of Maryam" (ISBN 978-1891386749, Plain View Press, 2007) is a heartfelt quest to bring a fresh perspective on both the struggle and the repose of the Divine experience.

The product of seven years of research including consultation with numerous Biblical scholars, the study of Hebrew and Greek, and site visits in the Holy Land, Woodson's reconsideration delves deeply into the life of the Virgin Mother and her relationship with her charismatic son. Historically accurate and entirely plausible, "The Passion of Maryam" asks: While Mary and Jesus -- Maryam and Yeshua -- are usually pictured as embodying unsullied good, what if, from the beginning, they had been forced to seek the holy from an abyss of evil?

The pious first-century Galilean young Mary in Woodson's novel suffers a profound violation that shatters her trust in her God, the God of Israel. Living in the shadow of rape, she struggles to become a wife, as well as mother to her difficult, spirit-driven firstborn. Witnessing Yeshua's crucifixion finds her re-experiencing the many layers of their complicated relationship, as each struggled with the closeness of evil.

Woodson, a psychoanalyst who has long observed parent-child interactions, sheds new light on the most compelling mother/son relationship in history. "As the quintessential mother, Maryam's legacy shows that meaning can be found amidst the direst of life events," says Woodson. By confronting evil, fear, and self-doubt, Maryam reveals that even God's chosen ones are not immune from worldly struggles; she epitomizes the imperishability of a mother's love, while exposing the cost to her and her son despite being divinely chosen.

"What if it is true that God is most conspicuously present in situations where bad things are happening?" asks Woodson. "I found myself drawn into the heart of the Christian narrative to explore this point, and I hope it acts as a catalyst for people of all faiths to consider and reconsider what a search for the divine truly means."

About the Author:
Loren Woodson is a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, long fascinated with the intersection of the psychological, the religious, and the spiritual. Over many years, he has re-apprenticed himself to the fiction-writing craft, yielding two screenplays and another novel. Woodson resides in Southern California where he is at work on a novel about Jesus and his key disciples. For additional information, visit http://www.lorenwoodson.com.

"The Passion of Maryam" (ISBN 978-1891386749, Plain View Press, 2007) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. Publicity contact: http://www.readerviews.com (Editor - Irene Watson). Review copies available upon request.

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