Category Archives: Nabataeans

Cats of Rekem chosen as one of IndieReader’s Best of 2015!

 

Exciting news for The Cats of Rekem!

IndieReader has selected The Cats of Rekem as one of the

Best Self-Published Books of 2015!

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To check out all of IndieReader’s top picks, click here.

 

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Rave reviews for The Cats of Rekem!

 

The first 3 reviews are in for The Cats of Rekem!

 

Indie_5“The Cats of Rekem is an intriguing and beautifully written consideration of the life of Jesus and the meaning of his teachings, offered from a novel perspective. The writing is poetic and lush, with moments of tender emotion, spiritual ecstasy and sorrow, enlivened by touches of humor . . . 5 stars!”

IndieReader

 

SPR-WIdget-4Half“The Cats of Rekem is a wonderful addition to historical fiction . . . a fascinating interpretation of Jesus, his life, and how he impacted those around him . . . clever and magical . . . well-balanced with a twist . . . a powerful lesson for today! 4 1/2 stars!”

Self Publishing Review

 

Midwest“The Cats of Rekem represents spiritual fantasy at its best . . .brimming with flavor . . . the feel of the times springs to life . . . scintillatingly haunting . . . Christian fantasy readers will find it a delightful adventure!”

                                    — Midwest Book Review

 

Read the full reviews HERE.

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New: The Cats of Rekem

 

 

Temple of Winged Lions, photo TWLCRM
Temple of Winged Lions, photo TWLCRM

The Yeshua’s Cats website has a new page today: the prologue and first chapter of The Cats of Rekem, third book in the Yeshua’s Cats series! If all goes well, The Cats of Rekem will be released in the fall of 2015.

Take a look!

Below is a rough sketch of one of the carvings in the Temple of the Winged Lions at Petra:

sketch by CL Francisco
sketch by CL Francisco

 

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Yeshua’s Cats Advent Season

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Now! Yeshua’s Cats’ Advent Puzzles are back!

24 days of amazingly detailed masterworks of Christmas art

each hiding its own tiny cat! Find Mari (or Miw)!

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Click on the link above to start!

The Cat Is Out — Again!

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A Cat out of Egypt is now available on Amazon!

Instead of the estimated 3-5 day lag between submission and appearance, it popped up immediately! So check out the paperback today at:

http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Out-Egypt-Prequel-Yeshuas/dp/1500776416/

and the Kindle edition (available October 15) at:

http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Out-Egypt-Prequel-Yeshuas-ebook/dp/B00O78WU9U/

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And don’t forget to leave a review if you enjoy it!

 

 

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Midwest Book Review Praises “A Cat Out of Egypt”!

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A Cat out of Egypt’s 1st advance review is in!

and the verdict is . . .

“Enchanting, poetic, engrossing, and vivid–simply a delight!”

~ D. Donovan, Reviewer for Midwest Book Review

MidwestBook Review

 

 

Here’s the review in its entirety:

A Cat Out of Egypt is billed as a prequel to Yeshua’s Cat (…not seen by this reviewer), and opens with a prologue that deftly sets the first-person character as cat Miw, called ‘Daughter of Fire’ among her people. Born with the rare ability to communicate with humans, Miw is growing old and thus is motivated to share her story about her encounters with humans she normally eschews and one special human in particular. A Cat Out of Egypt is her story and will attract a range of readers from young adult through adults.

But if you think you’re getting the typical cat’s-eye view of a cat’s life, think again: this story begins with the birth of a baby in a manger, where the magi aren’t the only ones to see a strange star in the sky and wonder. So does the Great Cat Who is Bast, as she gives birth to kittens – and thus begins a journey of transformation and fear: one in which vipers and sacred dancers mingle and portents spark an ancient cat culture to view human events with a new perspective.

As one special cat interacts with young Yeshua and imparts wisdom on what it means to live in a cat’s world, readers are in for a treat that presents Biblical events and times from quite a different (cat-oriented) vantage point wedded to the notion of a Goddess overseeing all, rather than a male God: “The goddess is simply the One who is. And it makes sense. Among cats, mothers feed and care for the young. Fathers go their own ways and care little for their children. If a male cat offers neither love nor sustenance to his kittens, why should a male deity do more?”

Spiritual revolution is in the air and human and cat worlds alike find their focal points in one child who will grow up to change everything: “Who was this child who held the power of life in his hand? Had he spoken truly when he said all gods but the One Creator were lesser gods, unfit to be called by that name? Was her beloved Bast, Flame of the Morning and Mother of Light, no more than a trembling wraith who thinned and vanished before the brilliance of the god Yeshua called the One?”

Sons and mothers, friendships between animal and human, the birthing of kittens and new possibilities, and (most of all) the evolution of a new force in the world saturate a striking blend of spiritual history and feline observation that holds many important spiritual conversations and observations: “I know there was a time when people everywhere knew the face of the Creator. Our scriptures tell us so. But scripture doesn’t explain how they could have forgotten the name of the One who formed them from the dust, and confused him with the small spirits of the Earth. Even the beasts are not so blind. I wonder if the glory of the One was too great? Perhaps the human heart cries out for a god it can see and touch.”

Enchanting, poetic, engrossing, and vivid, A Cat Out of Egypt is simply a delight, and highly recommended for Christian readers who would gain a different, fictional, cat’s-eye perspective on Jesus’ early experiences and his interactions with the world.

~ D. Donovan, Reviewer for Midwest Book Review

 

 

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Author C. L. Francisco’s blog — home of Yeshua’s Cats!

 

 

This site is still under construction in some areas. Please be patient with our glitches!

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Release date set for A Cat Out of Egypt!

A Cat Out of Egypt,  magical prequel to Yeshua’s Cat, is scheduled for release October 15th!

Join the child Yeshua and his temple cat Miw

for a breathtaking race across the Egyptian desert,

pitting their faith against a deadly evil of the ancient world!

Editing and formatting of A Cat Out of Egypt are complete, and If all goes well, Egypt will go live on Amazon on October 15th, both in paperback and Kindle formats. The narrative has come in at 70,500 words: approximately 40 pages longer than Yeshua’s Cat (not counting the glossary and explanation of illustrations).

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The cover design is the work of the author, based partially on a painting of the temple of Isis at Philae by the 19th C artist David Roberts. The line drawings opening each chapter are sketches of Egyptian artifacts, also by the author.

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Cat mummy from Ptolemaic/Roman period
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Glazed terracotta cat, Ptolemaic period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at the sample pages for the opening chapters!

 

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“A Cat Out of Egypt,” prequel to Yeshua’s Cat!

A Cat Out of Egypt, prequel to Yeshua’s Cat, is complete–

and now entering the editing process!

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Due for release in autumn of 2014

A luminous tale drawn from the missing years of Jesus’ childhood, A Cat Out of Egypt joins the child Yeshua, with Maryam and Yosef, as they flee Egypt in the company of an escaped cat from the great temple of Bast at Bubastis.

Mark it on your calendars for Christmas!

 

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The Decapolis

What exactly was the Decapolis? It was mentioned twice in Mark’s gospel and once in Matthew’s, but described only as a region near Galilee where Jesus’ fame spread. In The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat, Yeshua and Mari spend considerable time in the Decapolis among the Greco-Roman peoples there.

Decapolis meant literally “ten cities” in Greek, and referred to a loosely knit group of ancient cities in what is now Israel, Jordan, and Syria. No one can say for sure which cities were included in the ten–or even if there were exactly ten–since their relationship was never formalized in Greek or Roman law. As best we know, they were independent cities, each established as a polis, or city-state, with its own local sphere of influence. They supported each other because of their common ties of culture, similar economic interests, and commitment to the Greek, and later, Roman, empires. With the construction  of Roman roads they became even more closely interconnected: outposts of the Roman Empire on its furthest eastern edges,  islands of Greco-Roman speech and culture, determinedly set apart from the Aramaean, Nabataean, and Jewish populations all around them.

The Decapolis
The Decapolis

The red dots on the map above mark the eight cities closest to Galilee that were probably included in the Decapolis in the early 1st C. CE. The cities connected by red lines are the ones Yeshua visited in The Gospel According to Yeshua’s Cat, although (except for Scythopolis) they aren’t identified by name in the book. In the paragraphs below, cities where specific events in Yeshua’s Cat took place are identified by small cat silhouettes:

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Antiochus Epiphanes

Greek influence in Syria was strongest between the time of Alexander the Great and the reign of the Seleucid emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whose rule ended a century before the Roman conquest in 63 BCE. Most of the Decapolis cities were founded during this period.

When Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple and forbade the observance of the Jewish religion, Israel revolted, led by Mattathias the

Judas Maccabeus, Acre Synagogue, photo Dr. Avishai Teicher
Judas Maccabeus, Acre Synagogue, photo Dr. Avishai Teicher

Hasmonean and his five sons, later known as the Maccabees. They overwhelmed the Seleucids and forced them to concede Israel’s limited independence, thus founding the Hasmonaean dynasty, which ruled in Israel until after the Roman conquest. Once the Greeks were defeated in Israel, the Hasmonaeans turned their eyes to the walled cities of Trans-Jordan, and conquered most of the Decapolis by the beginning of the 1st C BCE.

Ancient Roman statue of Pompey the Great
Ancient Roman statue of Pompey the Great

After annexing the Decapolis, the Hasmonaeans forced Judaism and circumcision on the predominantly gentile population of Hippos, exiled the gentiles from Scythopolis, and burned Pella to the ground after it refused to accept the Jewish religion. Circumcision was a point of irreconcilable conflict between Greeks and Jews. For the Jews it was the essential mark of the male believer in the One God; for Greeks it was a desecration of the divinely formed human body.

Hard feelings between the people of Israel and the Decapolis during the time of Jesus had roots both in the Seleucid oppression of Israel and the years of warfare under the Hasmonaeans. Each side had known cruelty and suffering. When Pompey claimed the Decapolis for Rome in 63 BCE, the gentile population greeted him as a liberator, and killed many Jewish residents in revenge for Hasmonaean cruelty. Once the Romans established themselves in the Decapolis, a period of extensive rebuilding began, lasting into the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. As a result, little remains of the original Greek cities.

 

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Hippos looking west across Sea of Galilee

BlogCatStampHIPPOS sat on a high ridge overlooking the eastern side of Sea of Galilee, surrounded on all sides by steep inclines and high fortifications. One thin shoulder of rock approached the main gate on the east, where a fortified road connected the city to the eastern hills as well as indirectly to the sea. Of all the Decapolis cities, Hippos is said to have harbored the greatest antagonism toward Israel for her part in the Hasmonaean wars.

BlogCatStampAs you read of the blind man Yeshua healed outside the gates of the first Decapolis city he visited, you can imagine that long ridge by which travelers still approach the gates of Hippos.

 

 

View of the eastern approach to Hippos
View of the eastern approach to Hippos

BlogCatStamp_Gadara13GADARA, like Hippos, was built on a long ridge with steeply sloping sides. Unlike the other Decapolis cities, Gadara developed an international reputation for philosophy, art, and literature. Pilgrims to the hot springs located below the city also contributed to its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Some scholars believe that the story of the demoniac among the tombs was set in its general locale.

BlogCatStampYeshua’s debate with the young philosopher took place in a wealthy home in Gadara.

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Gadara’s theatre, photo by Berthold Werner
Abila, photo by APAAME
Abila, photo by APAAME

ABILA is still little more than an excavation in process, with only tantalizing possibilities visible to the visitor. But the area awaiting excavation is immense. The ruins extend across two tells, and appear to include structures going back as far as 4000 BCE.

 

 

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Gerasa Cardo, photo by Bgabel
Gerasa Cardo, photo by Bgabel

GERASA, or JARASH, was a strong walled city, but stood in a river valley rather than on a hill. Most of the surviving structures date back to a massive Roman building program begun in the 1st C CE. The Cardo, or main thoroughfare, is one of oldest structures, running east-west through the city, with the marketplace on its west side.

 

Below are the remains of the market, or macellum, where Yeshua’s parable of the prodigal son brought a tide of change to the people of the Decapolis. This was also the market where Mari trapped Maryam into speaking with Yeshua.

The Macellum at Jarash, photo by APAAME
The Macellum at Jarash, photo by APAAME

PELLA, of all the ancient cities of the Decapolis, has left the greatest mystery behind. Almost no ruins from the Roman period have survived. Located in the hills on the east side of the Jordan Valley, on a major Roman road, Pella lay in an area with fertile soil and plentiful water, where towns had stood almost continuously from Neolithic times. After Alexander Jannaeus sacked and leveled the city in 82 BCE, it was entirely rebuilt by the Romans. Archaeologists have suggested that after the great earthquake of 526, the inhabitants of Pella might have recycled the rubble of Roman buildings to rebuild the city.

Site of ancient Pella looking toward the Jordan River
Site of ancient Pella looking toward the Jordan River

BlogCatStampSCYTHOPOLIS, or BEIT SHE’AN, is the only one of the Decapolis cities located on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. These ruins have been extensively excavated, revealing almost continuous occupation from the earliest times, although the city’s significance fluctuated with intermittent wars and violent conquest. The Seleucids founded Scythopolis in the 3rd C BCE on the ruins  of the ancient city of Beit She’an, destroyed during the Assyrian sack of Israel. During the Hasmonaean wars much of the Greek polis was destroyed. Once the Romans took over, Scythopolis was named the capital of the Decapolis, and a massive urban building program began, which continued through the next 2-300 years. The steep hill, or tell, which rises to the north of today’s excavated Roman city, covers the remains of the biblical Beit She’an, as well as Seleucid and early Roman ruins. Most of the monumental Roman buildings were completed during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE on the flat land to the south and east of the tell, leaving little evidence of the city’s appearance during the time of Jesus, although the main layout of the streets may have been similar.

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Temples were built on the tell at various times during Greek and Roman occupation, perhaps partly because of Scythopolis’ fame as  a major center for the worship of Dionysos. Legends of the time located the tomb of his nurse Nysa at Scythopolis.

BlogCatStampBecause of the city’s connection to the Greco-Roman dying and rising agricultural god, in Yeshua’s Cat the procession of Tammuz’ devotees witnessed by Mari, Yeshua, and the disciples took place in Scythopolis. The tell was the hill the mourning women climbed by torchlight.

Excavations on the tell at Beit She’an
Excavations on the tell at Beit She’an

 

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