"Let me be with you!" Homeless, living for years in a state of demonic insanity, Ithamar one day spots a mysterious man on the shore, runs to him, and finds himself wholly cured. But when he begs this healer to take him as a disciple, he is rejected and ordered to go home. Jesus and his entourage sail off toward the horizon without him. Why was he turned away—and how can he begin a new life?
Eight-time Nobel Prize nominee Riccardo Bacchelli imagines the life of the Gerasene demoniac after his exorcism: his inner battles, his return to the family and the first-century Jewish community, his quest for love and meaning. The healer's gaze has been branded into his mind, but he cannot grasp who this man really is. As he gathers secondhand news of the Galilean miracle worker, he is determined to piece together the puzzle.
Elegantly translated and introduced by Anthony Esolen, The Gaze of Jesus is a gripping psychological, historical, and theological investigation into what it takes for the "uncalled" to follow Christ, to seek the face of Jesus from a distance. Bacchelli offers a vivid and visceral experience of the world of the New Testament, including some elaborate character studies of the Bible's darkest figures: Herod, Herodias, and Judas.
"Esolen's beautiful translation showcases Bacchelli's masterly delineation of character. In Ithamar, all who desire to be transformed by the gaze of Jesus will find a psychologically real and relatable figure for the unfolding of our own conversion."
— Eleanor Nicholson, Author, A Bloody Habit: A Novel
"This wonderful novel is as timely as it is timeless. Putting ourselves in the presence of its pages puts us into the presence of Christ."
— Joseph Pearce, Author, Faith of Our Fathers and The Quest for Shakespeare
"Bacchelli has chosen one of the least likely figures from the Gospels: the wild Gerasene after Jesus has cast the demons out of him. From this intriguing premise, he weaves a tapestry into the familiar narrative that is unexpected and deeply satisfying."
— Dale Ahlquist, President, Society of G. K. Chesterton; Author, The Story of the Family
"In his biblical masterpiece, Bacchelli effortlessly draws the reader into the world of the Gospels. The Gaze of Jesus is up there with classics such as Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis; it is very exciting to see this novel rediscovered after so many years of neglect."
— Fiorella De Maria, Author, the Father Gabriel Mystery series
"Bacchelli takes us on a wrenching psychological quest, laying bare the reality of sin. A philosophical meditation on the desire for Christ, seen through the eyes of spurned love and pride."
— Rachel Fulton Brown, Author, From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary, 800–1200
"Translator Anthony Esolen is one of the great moral and literary voices of our generation. He has brought us a wonderful edition of Dante's Divine Comedy, and now he brings us Riccardo Bacchelli's modern classic, The Gaze of Jesus, a great gift to contemporary readers."
— James Matthew Wilson, Author, The Strangeness of the Good
"The celebrated historical novelist Bacchelli imagines the life of a cultured Jew delivered from possession to his former estate, becoming a courtier of the cruel and decadent Herod Antipas, always suspended resentfully between the Lord's gaze he carried from Gadara and the denial of his desire to accompany him."
— S. M. Hutchens, Senior Editor, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity
"In this unsettling novel, we meet characters very much like ourselves. The wisdom of this book aligns with that of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, who teaches that it's not enough to admire Jesus or even imitate Him. We're called to union with Him suffering and crucified, as the only means of liberation from despair and Hell. Read this novel and then go to prayer."
— Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., Host, The Catholic Current; Author, Christendom Lost and Found