Fourth Witness is a novel that retells St John's Gospel from the point of view of Jesus' best friend, who knew him as a man, not as the Church's plastic god. It tells of the Jesus who dared to wash Martha's feet in dirty water, who toured pagan temples, who nicked a girl's picnic and fled the freedom-fighters. It follows Jesus as he fights the Religious Right, affirms women over men, takes on the Establishment and laughs at the pretentious. It breathes the air of first-century Palestine, and helps the reader live again the heady days of walking with a man who told the truth whatever ... except when trying to avoid his family!

"Fourth Witness stands in a long and honourable tradition ... the gospel must live and speak with new life and power each time it is read. Kit's book provides a valuable resource ..."
- Sea of Faith review by Stephen Mitchell.

"Fourth Witness helps the reader fresh to the Gospel stories orientate themselves to the world in which Jesus lived and preached, as well as to the mindset of the secular and religious leaders who found his teaching so subversive."
- The Rt Revd David Hope, Archbishop of York

"Reading this book you find yourself engaging with the real people who move through John's gospel. You hear their debates and discussions, travel with them through the dust and heat, feel their confusion, fear, excitement and joy. Whether you know the story well or it is new to you, this book will put you right there in the thick of it."
- Dr Pauline Pearson, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Medical Education Development, Newcastle University

"I have been captivated again and again by the way so many rich ideas are brought into play, full of surprise and delight. Above all it brings into focus a very believable Jesus and an attractive and likeable John."
- The Very Rev Nicholas Coulton, Sub-Dean of Oxford Cathedral

"At last I have got to know the true characters of the New Testament, and I have found that I am not dissimilar! If only modern-day Christianity were able to take on the truths revealed in this story"
- Jane Freeman, Community Health Development Worker

"This way of communicating the story is entirely appropriate to the text of the Gospel. It's a good way of doing it"
- The Revd Professor Chris Rowland, Dean Ireland Professor of Exegesis of Holy Scripture, Oxford University.

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From the author ...

I have tried to tell the story of Jesus as told in St John's Gospel, but for 21st-century English readers. Modern scholars have written vast amounts about this short gospel, much of it important and stimulating, and I have taken account of their insights, as many of them as I have encountered, as well as trying to be faithful to the original. John's Jesus is usually seen against the background of the Jesus of Mark, Matthew and Luke, and this has meant that his strange originality can be concealed. I have tried to tell the story strictly in John's terms, forgetting, as far as one can, the stories of Jesus told by the other three. Hence, for example, the virtual ignoring of an exclusive group called 'the Twelve', an idea that John is aware of, but goes to some lengths to play down. Like my hero, the hidden writer of the fourth Gospel, I have trusted to imagination and intuition, but also like him, I have not introduced anything that does not seem to be hinted at by the tradition. A case in point would be the restoration of his understanding of disciples to be both women and men, and an honouring of the central part played by women in the fourth Gospel. I said that my hero was the writer of John, but in truth, the hero is Jesus. I want him to escape the quaint strait jacket that has been placed on him by much Christian worship and pious Bible reading, and for us to see him again as his friends and opponents saw him. If this Jesus offends you, then I am sorry for it, but then again, it won't be the first time he has done that.
- Kit Widdows, June 2004

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