Graves liked serendipitous occasions. With the then recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel’s new nationhood in 1948, and the success of King Jesus, he embarked on a new project – to decode the Gospels, in his own style. Working with Joshua Podro, a skilled Talmudic scholar, he wrote The Nazarene Gospels Restored.
His enthusiasm was infectious as he delved into such questions as
‘why did Matthew X.29 say only two sparrows were sold for one farthing, and Luke XII.6 that five were sold for two farthings?’
Although some like the Canadian novelist Robertson Davies called The Nazarene Gospels Restored a courageous book, reviews were savage, especially marking his hostility to Paul, and the depiction of Jesus as an apocalyptic extremist.
Published in an edition of 2,981 copies, it remains one of Graves’s lesser read books.