Book Of Daniel New Language Did Daniel Have To Learn A Book Review: Using Historical Fiction for Writing Prompts – The Bronze Bow

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A Book Review: Using Historical Fiction for Writing Prompts – The Bronze Bow

Young, budding writers learn a lot from using historical fiction as writing prompts and incorporating many subjects that form a unit study. To demonstrate we will use The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare who lived from 1908-1994. This book won the 1962 Newbery Medal.

Literature and Vocabulary: Students should learn that historical fiction has a story that arose from the author’s imagination in a historical setting. For The Bronze Bow we need to know that a small town in Palestine near Capernaum during the life of Christ forms the SITE for the time and place of the story.

CHARACTERS in The Bronze Bow include: Daniel, his sister Leah; Joel and his twin sister Thacia, Joel and Thacia’s father, an important Rabbi; Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15), Rosh, Samson; Marcus, the young Roman soldier and Jesus. According to the Bible, we know that Jesus lived and the story refers to that Jesus. Simon the Zealot, a disciple, followed Jesus in the Scriptures and in the story. Most of the other names occur frequently in Scripture or in general historical writings, but Speare probably used them only because they fit the setting.

TITLE and THEME comes out, Psalm 18:33-35, “He makes my feet like the feet of deer and makes me stand on my high places. He teaches my hands to fight, so that my arms can bend a bow of brass. . You also gave me the shield of your salvation, your right hand held me up, your meekness made me great.”

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary ZEALOT, a noun means, “a person who has strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings.”

Furthermore, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, a zealot is, “A sect of Jews that arose with Judas the Gaulonite (Acts 5:37). They refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that it was ‘ a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They rebelled against the Romans, but were soon scattered and became a lawless band of mere raiders.”

Other subjects that one can address with this book include mathematics (talking about distances between the town and Capernaum); Vocational education / History (explore the professions of the time – blacksmith, rabbi); Science / Health (explore healing practices of the time), Art / Music (make a model of the area; explore the music of the Jews of that time) and Physical Education (walk 3 miles to see how long it would take to to come the village to Capernaum).

The bronze arch

by Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare opens The Bronze Bow with our protagonist on the mountain with Rosh, a zealot. When the Romans killed Daniel’s parents years earlier, he decided to join a group of Zealots led by Rosh. This young man followed Rosh, believing that when the time was right, they would defeat the Romans. Throughout the book we see how Daniel progresses in his understanding of how the Jews would be free from the Romans. During the story we follow Daniel, as a follower of Rosh, the Zealot in the mountain; as a resource for Rosh, in the town and Daniel, as a follower of Christ, in the town.

Daniel meets Joel and Thacia as they explore the dangerous mountain area before their family moves to Capernaum. He warns them to stay away from this area. Joël remembers that Daniel left his blacksmith apprenticeship in disgrace. Daniel firmly believes in Rosh’s mission to restore Israel to self-government without the Romans who killed Daniel’s parents. Joel also promises Rosh that when the time comes, he will use him with Rosh for the mission. After they left, Rosh sent Daniel on his first solo job to capture a slave who would only respond to Daniel in the end. Many did not like that Rosh stole and captured to enable them to carry out the attack on the Rosh which is considered the right time.

We then learn that Daniel’s grandmother dies and that he must return to town to take care of his sister, Leah. She never leaves her house and cannot tolerate visitors. Daniel can now return freely because the blacksmith he was apprenticed to has died. Simon, the Zealot, also a blacksmith, wanted to follow Jesus, so he gave his shop and house to Daniel. This allowed Daniel to work and take care of Leah. Daniel and Joel both have work to do for Rosh while still living in their respective homes. Thacia and the young men meet together and make an agreement with the verse from Psalm as their motto, “So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze”, even though they did not fully understand it. Surprisingly, Thacia and Leah become friends. Much sacrifice follows as Daniel continues to believe that the Israelites under Rosh’s leadership will drive out the Romans.

Daniel, Thacia and Joël find many opportunities to listen to Jesus. At first it is difficult for them to understand what he teaches. Finally, Daniel, Leah, Joel and Thacia, understand and recognize that the kingdom Jesus spoke of was spiritual, not physical. Jesus heals Leah physically and everyone spiritually. Rosh didn’t have the answer, but Jesus did.

Elizabeth George Speare does an excellent job of placing the reader in the story and setting. We see Daniel and others progress from hatred to revenge and finally to reconciliation. Jesus changes lives.

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