On The Trail of Jesus – Wendy Lewis


Cary News 6/5/03

ON THE TRAIL OF JESUS Author Writes About His Search For History

by Wendy Lewis

At age 33, author and journalist James Campion had never traveled outside the United States. But he always knew that his first journey would be to the Holy Land.

Years of planning led him on a month-long trip to Israel in 1996. His experiences there, combined with years of scholarly research, became the basis for his newest book, Trailing Jesus.


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Also available at Amazon
Also available at Amazon
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Also available at Amazon
Also available at Amazon

Campion – whose parents, Phyllis and James Campion, live in Cary – will be at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 760 S.E. Maynard Road in Cary, on June 10 at 7:30 PM. He will sign copies of his book and discuss his experiences in the Middle East and the current conflicts in that region.

While touring the Upper Galilee and Jerusalem, the author said he “literally tried to map the historical Jesus trail,” following his movements of 2,000 years ago to understand the man whose life and teachings inspired a world-wide religion.

He describes his book as not the work of a scholar or a theologian, but the writings of an inquisitive journalist: part travelogue, personal journey and historical discussion, and part spiritual journey.

“I’ve always been fascinated by Biblical history, or any history and by things unproved,” Campion said during a phone interview from his home in New Jersey.

Raised in a Catholic home, Campion says he began to question certain aspects of the church and could not readily accept some Biblical teachings. He was also fascinated by the idea that a peasant from a nondescript town could still be considered a religious icon some two millennia later.

Trailing Jesus has been described by some reviewers as controversial, but Campion compares his work to that of any writer or artist who takes a well-known figure and “spins a more engaging view.”

“If nothing else, I think the book has opened up several key debates for me across lines of creed and tradition, and that has enriched my experience with the subject,” he said.

His research has led him to believe that the four gospels in the New Testament, which recount Jesus’s life, are largely accurate. “These is little debate that these events actually transpired,” he said. But he adds that many people miss the “instructional nuggets in the Jesus teachings that I cover extensively in the book. Nuggets, I believe, that give humanity a glimpse into the meaning of existence.”

“…From what I’ve come to understand in the critical research of the dozens of gospels attributed to the Jesus story is that every aspect of its message can be utilized here and now with the limitations of our mind and spirits. And I see little to none of that reflected in modern religious thought, particularly Christianity.”

To understand how his research and travels have affected his personal beliefs, Campion says, “It’s an ethereal experience when you go (to Israel) because these places are so ripe with philosophical, religious and traditional meanings…There was definitely a monumental change for me.”

Campion is a freelance journalist and writes a weekly pop-culture column. He is the author of two other books, “Deep Tank JerseyOne Man’s Journey Into The Soul of a New Jersey Club Band and Fear No ArtObservations on the Death of the American Century.

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