• Orthodox Artists News Team

The Harrowing of Hell - Jonathan Jackson exclusive

Updated: Sep 10

Jonathan Jackson (of Tuck Everlasting, Nashville and ENation fame) has written a modern-day classic, a contemporary Paradise Lost.



The book will be illustrated with original work from a fine artist. If you are a fan of Jonathan and his art, you'll love this work! If you are a classic literature buff, this book is right up your alley! If you like language and its creative, expressive use, you will be captivated by this story. See the excerpt below for a taste!

C.S. Lewis said, “The heart of Christianity is a myth, which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history.”

This book is ten years in the making. I first began writing it when my oldest son was six years old. He’s now sixteen and a writer himself. I wanted to write a heroic epic my children could grow up with and pass on to their children. Now, the time has come to share it with the world. My son’s imagination was captured at an early age by the epic stories of Beowulf and Hercules. In these stories the longing for a hero emerges naturally and profoundly. As a father, I longed for this enthusiasm and exhilaration to eventually transcend mythology and ultimately be directed towards Christ, the Hero of Heroes. This poem explores the epic question: What happened between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection? In the ancient Christian Tradition, it is said that Christ not only suffered and died on the Cross physically, but that He also descended into Hell (Hades to be more precise) to destroy the power of death and rescue imprisoned souls, breaking the iron bars of Death and Hades.

In this story, the foreshadowing of pagan myths finds their fulfillment in the epic of Christ. The Harrowing of Hell is a glimpse into the untold chapter of the Greatest Story ever told.

This is a work of historical fiction, I prefer to call it a poem because poetry brings us into the “sense of things”; it conveys truth through paradox, mystery, imagination and allegory, where concrete empirical knowledge runs out. Although there is a great deal of imagination and poetry in this work of historical fiction, the author seeks to render a faithful depiction of Christ as revealed in the New Testament and the ancient Christian Faith. It is a painting, more than an icon. As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I have encountered a different understanding of Hell, man’s free will and the mercy of God, then is often articulated in Western traditions. It is a vision that is not widely known in Europe or North America. It can be summed up by this phrase, “Even the flames of Hell are love.”

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