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Preservationist

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  • Posted July 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    When I found this book in a used book store, it was a "must

    When I found this book in a used book store, it was a "must read. The dust jacket is unique in that a boat appears to be floating on the top edge of the jacket. This particular boat is revealed to be Noah’s ark, as he is the preservationist to whom the title refers.  Seeing Noah as a preservationist is so obvious that I had not considered that of him as I had seen him as “only” a righteous man who obediently followed the commands given him by his God.  Mr. Maine does not discount Noah’s faithfulness; rather his treatment of this story only deepens the truths revealed in this familiar Old Testament story.
    Told in three parts and from the points-of-view of the members of Noah’s family, this common story unfolds as new.    Mr. Maine uses an obscure edition of the Bible for spelling, seeing the names so acquainted with this story spelled in unfamiliar way helps to make the story “new.” Beginning shortly after Noah receives the command to build an ark, the book is revealed in a steady, even pace, allowing the reader to experience more closely how this event had to have “occurred.”  
    How Noah’s wife, sons and his daughters-in-law responded to this strange event is very human.  Each is heard responding to their respective roles and are seen evolving as their world, literally, is remade.  Noah’s wife, who is 540 years his junior, is seen as steady, faithful and hardworking but is never given a name in this story.    Sem, the eldest son, is rock steady, mirrors his father’s following of Yahweh but seems to have little concept of a Self outside of his familial home. Cham, the second son, is the boat-builder and “prodigal,” who returns home because he is compelled to do so. Japheth, the youngest, whose response to the situation reflects his birth order and his age (about 15 when the rain starts).  The daughters-in-law are put in charge of gathering the animals while the men build the ark.  The faithful acts of these women are rewarded with profound success; this is remarkable in that their faith was in obedience to Noah’s direction, not necessarily to Noah’s God.
    The book addressed questions raised should one ever deeply ponder this story.  The answers will satisfy some, enrage others but each incident is feasible.  The ten months spent on a boat with the world’s largest (and first) animal menagerie and in constant, CLOSE, contact with everyone else on the vessel is seen to be as horrendous as imagined.  Conversations about Yahweh’s destruction of a world he created are treated realistically – can Yahweh be trusted to care for Creation – Yahweh will always decide what is best – Yahweh will provide what is needed to complete what Yahweh commands – are all points of conversation somewhere in the years around the Flood.  The concern parents have around how to raise children who will leave to become productive members of society while hoping the relationship will be strong enough for those children to return to visit their aged parents, not letting them die alone and forsaken is addressed in as personal way as possible.  The question of "What will ‘the next generation’ do with the world when it is their turn to create it in line with their dreams?" is reduced to its barest answer within the pages of the book.
    Mr. Maine writes the book “as if” it is a historical event.  This is not a theological treatise, a book of history, nor is it a sociological reflection yet each of those issues enfolded within this work.  .

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