I reviewed this novel on 15/02/20 in another blog, now defunct.
Perspective by Peter:
As Bethlehem Boys is narrated by a Jewish man living in a Jewish village more than thirty years before Christianity began, transliterated Hebrew is used for names and places and religious ideas and concepts to create a more authentic feel for its time and setting. To aid in comprehension, English translations for many of these Hebrew words-and a few locales in Latin named by the Romans who occupied Judea at the time-appear in footnotes.
“…..events in the story (in hindsight, naturally) affirm the divinity of the baby Jesus and the fate that awaits Him, the Jewish people, and those who later accepted Jesus as their Savior.”
For a long time, I had two ideas for novels competing for my attention. I wanted to write a humorous mystery novel set in ancient times with a Greco/Roman-era equivalent of a grizzled Inspector Columbo/Spenser type as its hard-boiled crime-solving protagonist. And, as a Jew who has always greatly admired the teachings of Jesus, I’ve always thought about writing a novel that offered a view of his early life from a Jewish perspective. Bethlehem Boys offered me the opportunity to combine both ideas in one book.While the story begins with the theft of the Gifts of the Magi, and Jesus, Joseph and Mary are important supporting characters, the story itself is not strictly about Jesus. However, the narrative does incorporate various narrative elements of the Nativity story, although some are conveyed in ways that are different than their depictions in the Gospels. Without giving too much away, events in the story (in hindsight, naturally) affirm the divinity of the baby Jesus and the fate that awaits Him, the Jewish people, and those who later accepted Jesus as their Savior.