The Bronze Bow

The Bronze Bow

Book - 1989
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After witnessing his father's crucifixion by Roman soldiers, Daniel bar Jamin is fired by a single passion: to avenge his father's death by driving the Roman legions from the land of Israel. Consumed by hatred, Daniel joins the brutal raids of an outlaw band living in the hills outside his village. Though his grandmother's death slows his plans by forcing him to move home to care for his sister, he continues his dangerous life by leading a group of boy guerrillas in spying and plotting, impatiently waiting to take revenge. In nearby Capernaum, a rabbi is teaching a different lesson. Daniel is drawn to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, only to turn away, disappointed and confused by Jesus's lack of action in opposing the Romans. The Bronze Bow won the 1962 Newbery Medal for this magnificent novel of Daniel's tormented journey from a blind, confining hatred to his acceptance and understanding of love.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., c1989.
ISBN: 9780395137192
Call Number: SPEAR
Characteristics: 254 p. ; 21 cm
Subjects: Jesus Christ -- Juvenile fiction.
Newbery Medal.
Jews -- Juvenile fiction.
Jewish teenagers -- Juvenile fiction.
Revenge -- Juvenile fiction.
Palestine -- History -- To 70 A.D. -- Juvenile fiction.
Palestine -- Juvenile fiction.
Historical fiction, Juvenile.


From the critics

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Mar 21, 2019

Age 14+

Mar 07, 2019

Amazing, talks about Jesus, and the life of a man under the oppression of the Romans

IndyPL_SteveB Dec 26, 2018

18-year old Daniel lives in secret in the mountains of ancient Palestine. As a younger boy, he witnessed his father being crucified by the Romans for a minor offense. His mother died soon afterwards and Daniel fled to the mountains to join a band of bandits/rebels. Daniel’s hate of the Romans drives him and he is prepared to spy or murder in order to help a great rebellion get started. However several of his friends have come under the influence of a wandering teacher preaching love and peace, who goes by the name of Jesus.

This could have been boring or preachy. But Speare was too fine a writer to go down the obvious proselytizing path of so many religious novels written in that time. Her focus remains on Daniel and his blinding hatred. Daniel involves his sister and his friends in his plots against the Romans, but a disaster makes him pull back and re-examine his life. To her credit, Speare also portrays Jesus as a real person, trying to do the right thing but exhausted with responsibility and expectations. Still, he goes on consoling the hopeless, pointing toward the Kingdom of God, and doing what he can for people.

I was especially interested in the different approach that Speare uses, reminding us that the Romans occupied Palestine at this time and that there was a deep-seated resentment about that among the Jewish population. Also, she shows us that many of the “Roman” soldiers were themselves from other cultures conquered by the Romans. An excellent novel with much depth.

Lovestoread5 Aug 05, 2018

A surprising look into the life of those around the time of Jesus. I was surprised to know that in the 1960's books were still allowed to have God written in them and that it actually won the Newbery Award - one just doesn't see this anymore, regretfully. It did somewhat drag on a little with the main character and his anger issues, but it gives a great look into the time of the Roman occupation and the helplessness of the Jewish people and what type of "King" they were expecting as opposed to the one they got. An interesting read.

Mar 24, 2018

Incredible story of sacrifice, love, family, and Christianity. Absolutely recommended.

May 01, 2016

This is a beautiful story, full of vivid characters, suspenseful plots, and realistic historical events. Daniel bar Jamin, a Jew living in the time of Christ, vows revenge when his father is killed by the Romans. He lives with a group of bandits, cares for his demon-possessed sister, and leads a band of boys sworn to fight, always ready for the long-awaited Savior to come destroy the Romans. He cannot accept that maybe hatred and destruction are not the answer. Daniel must learn how to love instead of hate. Even to love the Romans.

Mar 29, 2016

This is a great book for anyone to read. It is a gripping story and fascinating to listen to. Plus, how the story intervene with the story's and people of Jesus' life is truly what make this book interesting. This book deals with what people thought about Jesus at that time and the author has implied these truths into the story very well.

Feb 22, 2016

This book is a must read for kids and adults alike. it is now my favorite fictional book I have ever read in my life! the story is amazing and beautifully written. the characters are vividly real and remarkable! it seems like you are really there with the people in the story! I had never read a fictional book during the time of Jesus, but now that I have read this book, I would rate it 5 stars. the only part I didn't like is the end, because it just makes you hungry for MORE! books this great need a sequel. too bad there isn't a sequel for The Bronze Bow. :(

Apr 29, 2014

A life-changing look at Jesus through the cultural context of his day. Childrens lit, but a must-read for adults! I loved this and have recommended it to many others.

Jul 19, 2013

A classic! As a Christian and enthusiast of world religions, I loved seeing Christ through the eyes of the Jewish people of his time, especially the youth. An excellent read!

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Apr 14, 2018

thevales thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Feb 27, 2016

blue_horse_3253 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Mar 22, 2015

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Nov 26, 2012

shelbyc15 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 9


Add a Quote
May 01, 2016

"God is my strong refuge, and has made my way safe.
He made my feet like hinds' feet, and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze."

Feb 22, 2016

"He trains my arms for war, so I can bend a bow of bronze"


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