Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve

Apostle Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve A profound and moving journey into the heart of Christianity that explores the mysterious and often paradoxical lives and legacies of the Twelve Apostles a book both for those of the faith and for oth

  • Title: Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve
  • Author: Tom Bissell
  • ISBN: 9781101870976
  • Page: 425
  • Format: ebook
  • A profound and moving journey into the heart of Christianity that explores the mysterious and often paradoxical lives and legacies of the Twelve Apostles a book both for those of the faith and for others who seek to understand Christianity from the outside in Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John Who were these men What was their relationship to Jesus Tom Bissell provides ricA profound and moving journey into the heart of Christianity that explores the mysterious and often paradoxical lives and legacies of the Twelve Apostles a book both for those of the faith and for others who seek to understand Christianity from the outside in Peter, Matthew, Thomas, John Who were these men What was their relationship to Jesus Tom Bissell provides rich and surprising answers to these ancient, elusive questions He examines not just who these men were and weren t , but also how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia Ultimately, Bissell finds that the story of the apostles is the story of early Christianity its competing versions of Jesus s ministry, its countless schisms, and its ultimate evolution from an obscure Jewish sect to the global faith we know today in all its forms and permutations In his quest to understand the underpinnings of the world s largest religion, Bissell embarks on a years long pilgrimage to the supposed tombs of the Twelve Apostles He travels from Jerusalem and Rome to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, India, and Kyrgyzstan, vividly capturing the rich diversity of Christianity s worldwide reach Along the way, he engages with a host of characters priests, paupers, a Vatican archaeologist, a Palestinian taxi driver, a Russian monk posing sharp questions that range from the religious to the philosophical to the political Written with warmth, empathy, and rare acumen, Apostle is a brilliant synthesis of travel writing, biblical history, and a deep, lifelong relationship with Christianity The result is an unusual, erudite, and at times hilarious book a religious, intellectual, and personal adventure fit for believers, scholars, and wanderers alike.From the Hardcover edition.

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    About "Tom Bissell"

    1. Tom Bissell

      Tom Bissell born 1974 is a journalist, critic, and fiction writer.Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information.

    327 thoughts on “Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve”

    1. This books wears its topics like a man wears three hats. It is a travelogue about the author's visits to the tombs and reliquaries of the twelve Apostles, an overview of the history of early Christianity, and an explanation of the disputes and controversies in early Christian theology. The author is a lapsed Catholic since adolescence, and he only alludes to why he set out upon this journey and why he covered this topic. He meets with defenders of the faith, monks, and other pilgrims, and delves [...]

    2. What a strange, impressive, infuriating book this is. As I see it, Tom Bissell's Apostle has three audiences, and those parts of the book that gratify one may well aggravate the other two. There's the Bissell fans, the people who enjoy Bissell's voice and sensibility and will follow his writing wherever it leads. (Put me in that camp.) There's the travel literature readers, who want to experience all the textures of an unseen landscape. And there's biblical scholars, seeking a rigorous analysis [...]

    3. The author spent three years visiting the supposed and disputed resting sites of each apostle. While the author is a journalist and not a scholar, he is well versed in exegetical issues, theology, and early church history. His scholarly commentary is punctuated by highly entertaining travel writing. For each apostle, the academic issues are given along with the author’s trips from Israel (Judas) to Italy (Bartholomew, Philip, James, Peter) to Greece (Andrew), Turkey (John), India (Thomas), Fra [...]

    4. So Tom Bissell has been doing more than playing video games these last few years (he wrote a book on 'why video games matter,' which I can't see myself ever wanting to read). I was impressed with the staggering amount of research he has absorbed on the apostles and early Christianity. He's a former Catholic altar boy and now a non-believer, but is interested in history, myth, relics and tombs, and, obviously, narrow doctrinal and theological disputes. These are all things that I, too, want to re [...]

    5. 2.5 stars rounded up. This book was awkward to read because it was trying to be 3 different genres at once: travel diary, a history of Christianity, and commentary on religion. But, I powered through because the parts about the author's travels were charming. It was a noble adventure, but spoiled by his chip on his shoulder about his religious beliefsor lack there of

    6. Like Tom Bissell, I am an nonbeliever, who finds the study of early Christianity fascinating. This book is for believers and nonbelievers alike though, because it is not religious criticism, but a highly enjoyable historical travelogue. Each of the twelve apostles gets his own chapter, plus there is a chapter on Paul, the apostle "not of the twelve," and one on the historical Jesus. Bissell spent over fours years, traveling to the resting places of all twelve apostles and their relics. He also e [...]

    7. In this provocative "tour" of the burial sites of the Twelve Apostles (plus Paul and Jesus), Bissell does not (quite) recover the faith he lost as a teenager. In fact, many of his (negative) views about Christianity are strengthened. While I might have wished otherwise--and while I disagree with many of his interpretations of texts and traditions--I found this a valuable and interesting book.A point I'd make (which Bissell does not) is that it seems that many ancient non-Roman Catholic Christian [...]

    8. The best book on faith I've read. The story of each supposed resting place of the twelve is as fascinating and puzzling as religion itself. Many genuinely funny and heartbreaking moments happen throughout the book. As someone who only vaguely remembers the parts of the bible I had to read the few times I went to church, I wasn't as lost as I feared I'd be while reading Apostle. A great read no matter if you don't believe in a thing or are the type of person who whips themselves with a belt to pu [...]

    9. Having soldiered through 370 pages of text, I have to wonder how a lapsed Catholic received the funds to go jaunting around the world looking for the tombs of the apostles. The reader receives a clue in his chapter on Andrew. He won an award to live in a mansion in Rome and write. After some months of living in Rome, he grabs his roomie and they decide to visit Corinth to see the tomb of St. Andrew. The book reads like one part history, one part religion, and one part philosophy all seen through [...]

    10. This is an absolutely fabulous book! Organized like many great travel books, it is personal travel based on a historical quest. In this case, the author’s travels to visit the tombs of the twelve apostles. I could read hundreds of “in the footsteps of” travel books and never grow tired—and this one is no exception. It is great! First of all, he is a very good writer. Second of all, in the book he takes up the challenge of explaining some of the fairly mind-bendingly complicated theology [...]

    11. Bissell is a former Catholic. He left the church in his late teens. However, he definitely has a passion for the early days of Christianity. He takes the reader on an historic ride through the years immediately after the death of Christ and beyond. All in all Bissell gives us insight to the lives of the apostles by looking not only at the Bible but historic texts, apocrypha texts,oral tradition etc. The end product is a very readable book about how Christianity was spread throughout the Roman Em [...]

    12. "Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve" is a book that is extremely engrossing, exceptionally literary, frequently witty, and ultimately disappointing.The author, Tom Bissell, is a writer who has published articles in numerous literary magazines and who has authored several books, many of which relate to travel. In "Apostle," Bissell sets out to visit a tomb linked to each of the 12 Apostles (actually 13, when St. Paul is included), a multi-year project that took the author to sites f [...]

    13. The story of early Christianity melds two of my great loves, history and the Church and “Apostle” nurtures them both. This book is author Tom Bissell’s quest for the tombs of the Twelve Apostles, the locations of some well-grounded in tradition, but others as insubstantial as the passing breeze. He settles venue on one for each Apostle, researches the legends, visits the site and describes the scene for the reader.Bissell has done his homework. He analyses the references, both Scriptural a [...]

    14. According to the New Testament, the 12 apostles were the closest men to Jesus during his ministry and were key witnesses to his resurrection. Yet few of them have any spoken lines in the Gospels and Acts and all of them disappear into the shadows of history halfway through Acts. Into this void there have been a number of legends and local traditions across Europe, Asia and Africa about the Apostles' post-resurrection deeds. Many countries even claim to hold the bones of these saints. How to sort [...]

    15. For three years author Tom Bissell travelled the world, seeking the putative final resting places of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. The journey took him from Jerusalem to Spain, Kyrgyzstan to Greece, seeking tombs, shrines, reliquaries and archaeological sites, all claiming to hold the bodies (or parts of the bodies, relic distribution being what it was back in the day) of Jesus' closest disciples.This book is a curious hybrid of genres - part travelogue, part learned disquisition on theology, part his [...]

    16. I've enjoyed Tom Bissell's pieces in the New Yorker, but this book just grated me the wrong way. Bissell's snarky comments about religion in general and Christianity and Christians in particular distract from what is, in general, pretty great historical analysis about the early Church and the apostles. The travelogue is lacking - Bissell tells us what he thinks of Christians and contemporary Christianity (not much), but hardly reflects on how his travels and encounters change him and, possibly, [...]

    17. Much of the content deserves more than two stars, but Bissell's "American Karl Pilkington" act in the travelogue portions got old quickly and unbearable by the end of the book.

    18. Anyone who has been to the Philippines and lived here for more than a year knows that an enormous majority of the schools are run by Catholic, Catholic-affiliated, or Christian institutions. I myself studied at Catholic schools my entire life - yes, even when I went to university. As a result, I am entirely familiar with the notion of catechism, or, as we called it in grade school and high school, “Religion” classes. In these classes we were taught such things as scripture, doctrine, dogma - [...]

    19. Tom read this book during his "six months of religion books" period. This is the only one I snagged after he finished it, and I am very pleased with that decision.Apostle combines religion writing with traveling writing, and sees author Tom Bissell visiting each of the traditional locations of tombs of the twelve apostles and investigating what historical information exists about them.So how much is know about the apostles? Not a hell of a lot. Almost nothing, in fact. Right before I cracked ope [...]

    20. So this is the book I ended up picking for the "travel memoir" task. Only parts of it ended up reading like a travel memoir and those were the parts I liked best. If the entire book had just been Bissell writing about his experiences in far-flung locales searching for what tradition holds are the resting sites of the apostles, with maybe a bit of historical context as to why that tradition exists, I think it would have been a much better book.At the outset, Bissell states that he is no longer re [...]

    21. Apparently Bissell mostly thinks of himself as a travel writer, and so the gimmick of this book is that he's going to go to one site associated -- apocryphally or otherwise -- with each of the apostles. That, in turn, is a launching pad for discussing the early history of Christianity, some of the relevant theology, and how people's beliefs about these things have changed over time. But the travel-book part and the history-of-Christianity parts don't really have much to do with each other, and I [...]

    22. Bissell has been on quite an amazing journey, traveling to the supposed burial sites of each of the 12 apostles. I was amazed at how dispersed the apostles were--Europe, India, Kyrgyzstan. This book is a tremendous work including not just Bissell's travels, but much of the traditions and scholarship surrounding each of the apostles. I read this book in small chunks over several months because I found the information too dense to take in at once. The only minor criticism I have is that Bissell's [...]

    23. Tom Bissell, one of the best video game writers, bites off more than he can chew here, attempting to provide his usual self deprecating travelogue alongside a history of early Christianity and working through his issues as an ex-Catholic. The travel is great, bringing him from the center of the world to the edge, but ironically it's his holier than thou attitude that makes the book a slog. Everywhere he goes, he is not so much learning as checking to see whether those he meets are up on his pref [...]

    24. Liked this, mainly for its perspective on religious traditions and theology from an admittedly, "enthusiastic" alter boy, now "lapsed". Some humor in that, some sarcasm that isn't warranted, but mostly a calm, wondering, attitude that attempts to be non-judgmental. His ventures outside Europe lack descriptive material or sufficient pertinent scholarship, which leaves him with only gastrointestinal ailments to share, which weren't necessary or welcome. Let's see if he is as underwhelmed in 25-30 [...]

    25. Probably one of the more unusual travelogues you will come across, but an intellectually and theologically stimulating read, interspersed with cutting humour and dry observations on the influence of religion on modern day life. Some of Bissell's cynicism and dismissiveness for his subjects may be too strong for some, but I actually found a great deal of respect and admiration in his writing, and his passion and perseverance to understand a faith in which he no longer adheres to is impressive.

    26. After reading Apostle, I'm more confused than ever. Who were these guys? Were there really 12? What are their real names? Are their bones really contained in these sacred places? As Bissell writes, "The available evidence is confusing enough to baffle the most dogged New Testament detective." Even so, the author's work is brilliant and funny. I enjoyed this as travelogue.

    27. An interesting read by a talented writer. I'd enjoy his company, but the reach for rationalism at the expense of the possibility of belief is hard to understand unless , of course, you read the Bible. "There is none righteous, no, not one." Easy to argue the origins of Christianity, difficult to argue against its enduring truth.

    28. A very interesting concept for a book — the author traveled to the final resting places of Jesus' twelve apostles and describes his journeys amidst historical discussion of ancient Christianity and its surviving modern forms. Tends to drone on at times but very readable and very interesting. Dates read are inaccurate.

    29. Really lovely. It's about as easy a summary of early Christian history as is possible. Bissell has a skeptical view, but is also endearing - a real 'searcher'. Each chapter flips between travelogue and history (the history can be tedious).

    30. I really enjoyed reading this book. The author travels the Middle East, Asia and Europe, going to various sites that are said to have connection to each of the twelve apostles. He tells the legends of each one and comments on the state of Christianity as it is today.

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