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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2012
Beyond being an extremely well-written piece of literature that is more than worth the read, what is amazing is how Douglas manages to accomplish his objectives so effortlessly without becoming heavy-handed in the attempt.

Written in the early 1940s, 'The Robe' is a clear attempt to combat the notion of the 'quest for the historical Jesus', as well as defending the Gospel accounts against the attacks on the historicity of the Bible by 'historical criticism'. Douglas manages to weave a compelling tale of the Roman nobleman Marcellus and his Greek slave Demetrius and their related-yet-different searches for authentic faith, while at the same time affirming the fact that the 'Jesus of history' was in fact the same Jesus one reads about in the Gospels.

Another value of Douglas's shines through the reading also: the deconstruction of the traditional church of his day and its conspicuous wealth, all contrasted by the distinct lack of social involvement. This parallel is drawn by his characterization of the rich priests and temple officials, dressed in the finest robes, who literally are stepping over the poor in the streets as they make their way to the ostentatious temple building. The parallels even today in the West are obvious: the church in America is so wealthy yet shares so little of that wealth with its own poor and needy, let alone the starving millions around the globe.

Douglas also paints a realistic picture of the early church: despite its synergy, excitement and 'grass-roots' feel, the first believing community was almost immediately beset by squabbles amongst its members. We should realize that wherever there are people gathered, there will be problems: there is no such thing as a perfect church.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 April 2007
What a great find, I remember loving the movie when I was a young girl. This was a wonderful way to tell the story of Jesus, after the crucifiction and through the eyes of the people he had lived with and taught and healed, and a good reminder of what the Christian religion is truly about.

Marcellus and Demetrius were wonderful heros, I adored Diana, hated the evil Roman Emporers and thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself into the life and times of that era. I noticed some other reviewers claimed there were historical inaccuracies in the book which distracted them from enjoying it as much as I did. Not knowing enough about the various rulers of those times I can't comment on that, except that since the book was written in 1945 perhaps the known history was different than what is available now.

The book is quickest in pace at the beginning and the end, with a large slower period in the middle while Marcellus travels through Israel learning about the life of Jesus. However, I enjoyed the slower pace and reminder of the many wonderful things that happened at this time.

All in all a great read and highly recommended, with the caveat that if you are an agnostic or of non-christian faiths you might not appreciate it as well. Also a good choice for a younger teen reader, as you won't find the abundant gratuitous sex that you find in more current novels.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2000
I am slightly cynical about church and related subjects, but even i was affected by this wonderful book after a friend urged me to read it. It has remained one of my favourite books, and one of the best books i have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is a masterful display of story telling, it's written with a powerful descriptive pen, taking you along on this amazing journey. This book is up there as one of my favourite books of all time. It takes you right back to a period of history that is authentic and really interesting. The characters are so well developed and you feel like you know them personally, your heart goes out to their struggles and victories. It's not a religious book; it's just a wonderful crafted novel that is a touching and wonderful story.
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The quality of The Robe stays with the reader. Lloyd C Douglas was able to paint the ancient world like an eyewitness and the different constitutions of the characters, from fascist senator to the mild villager, the to Rock himself, comes through is the writing.

The Robe is set at the beginning, before the structure that has been built upon the figure of Jesus. These strange structures have been built by human longing, acuteness, shortsightedness, confusion, stupidity, by zionist malice and piety, superstition, egoistic communion, convention, philosophic speculation and devotion to mysticism -- amid the never-ceasing clatter of tongues and swords and the crackling of flames. The whole superstructure of the Christian Church was actually built outside of the personality of Jesus. The Robe is set before all that!

I've noticed that the Paulus character in this book is very similar to the Titus Pullo character in HBO Rome. Also, Marcellus in this book is very similar to Lucius Vorenus in HBO' Rome. I wonder if this was on purpose?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2009
I read Lloyd Douglas's book "The Robe" when it was first published many years ago. I was so moved by it that I have never forgotten it or the feelings it aroused in me. I have my own ancient copy but ordered a new copy from Amazon for a friend who was in need of comfort.I cannot analyse why this book affected me so deeply. Despite having read many books over the years "The Robe" lies like a submerged rock in my memory with all the peaks and troughs of mountainous uupheavals or raging seas of other books read since.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2011
This was a thick book for me to read and it was a little confusing at first with all the different names but once into the story it was a joy to pick up the book again. Very clever linking of fiction to the actual facts of the crucifixion of Christ and very moving in places. Very pleased it was recommended to me to read.
Howard Allen
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I first read this book in my mid Teens and thought it marvellous. The mixing of a Fictional Roman family with the events of the new Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles is very cleverly done. I read the book again recently, some forty plus years later. I found it even better than I remembered, if possible more moving. Following Macellus,the man with more reason than any other to believe that Jesus died on the Cross, on his journey to be coming a Christian, proved to be just as wonderful as before. Anyone who enjoys a good story will like this book, but for those with an interest in the Early Days of Christianity it is a must read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 1999
Other than the Bible itself, there is no other book that has moved me so. I truly believe this book to be inspired by God. It is wonderful in the way it makes Biblical figures such as Peter, and Steven come alive, allowing the reader to really get to know them personally. I recommend this book to everyone. Even if you're not a Christian, you will be deeply moved by the way that the death and resurrection of Jesus influenced a Roman soldier.
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on 9 April 2015
Superb story telling that transports you to the time, place and emotions of its events. The author is a master of his craft and should have written many more books on this deeply meaningful subject. I wish all the books I read were of this high quality, and I highly recommend it for life-affirming inspirational pleasure.
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