The Memoirs of Saint John:
No Greater Love

Who was Mary Magdalene and what was her relationship with Jesus?

As the United States and its allies threaten to invade Syria, an archaeological expedition in the country's east yields an ancient cache of scrolls whose authorship is uncertain though whose text consists of classical Greek with occasional passages in Aramaic. Beginning a translation, New Testament scholar David LaSalle quickly realizes what he has in his hands is a 2000-year-old love story, as told from the point of view of John the disciple of Jesus. But LaSalle is in a race against time. What if the U.S. invades Syria? No one can say what will happen, but the loss of such a priceless archaelogical treasure is unthinkable.

The novel tells two stories in two timelines, both of which unfold simultaneously. The sections of the book set in the first century chronicle the saga of John, the disciple, from his early childhood up through the crucifixion, including his journeys with Jesus and the other disciples throughout Galilee and Judea. John becomes a very eloquent and human bearer of the classic gospel story...the miracles of healing, the turning over of the tables of the well as that part of the narrative to which the gospels only briefly, and temptingly, hint at: the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

In the sections of the book set in the modern era, the novel's main character is Dominic David LaSalle, a tenured university professor of religious studies who also is a Catholic priest. The head of the Syrian archaeological expedition happens to be LaSalle's old college friend, Arthur MacBride, and at the outset of the story, the latter appeals to LaSalle for help in translating the words written in the scrolls. A key concern of LaSalle and other scholars working on the project becomes determining whether the "John" of the Syrian scrolls is the same "John" who authored the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, also known as St. John's Apocalypse.

But LaSalle’s efforts become sidetracked by Cateline, a 13-year-old ward of a Catholic-run orphanage, who, though blind, has psychic visions. The young girl’s vision of a tsunami in the Indian Ocean presages one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history, a catastrophe that claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people. While doctors attempt to identify the cause of Cateline’s symptoms, including manic depression and the shedding of blood-filled tears, LaSalle and Sister Denise Michallat, director of the orphanage, must come to terms with the young blind girl’s apparent ability to see into the future.


  “The nearest to this great book is Joseph and his Brothers of Thomas Mann. Enjoyable, adventurous, light, even boisterous, thrilling, never sermonizing, this story of St. John the Divine rolls from his childhood on the idyllic Sea of Galilee shores through many encounters with fishermen, robbers, Gnostics, priests, to his mission as the Favourite Disciple in the exciting and fateful time when the pious Jew had met with the intellectual Hellene and the state-minded Roman to create our civilisation. This full-size, many coloured saga of the first century Palestine world brings the Bible characters to life: meek and sweet John, lecherous and thieving Judas, spiritual beauty of Magdalene, and above all, the majestic figure of Christ depicted with love and admiration.

  “Richard Edmondson’s profound learning and his wealth of details form a reliable factual basis for the book, at the same time it entertains the reader. You’ll never be bored!”
--Israel Shamir, author of Galilee Flowers

and Cabbala of Power



“William Blake wrote that ‘imagination is evidence of the divine.’ In Memoirs of Saint John, Richard Edmondson wrote, ‘when the purpose of life has been forgotten, when wisdom recedes and men become scarcely truthful in speech, God manifests himself on earth.’ Memoirs of St. John is a manifestation of the divine imagination expressed through well-developed characters from antiquity and today. Edmondson writes from a heart enlightened by the wisdom of women and the oneness of humanity.”
—Eileen Fleming, of We Are Wide Awake and
author of
Keep Hope Alive

“Ancient papyrus scrolls found in the Syrian desert give the first person account of Saint John’s life as dictated to his friend, Quintus Cintugnatus….I was totally caught up in the story and had forgotten that it’s a novel. The Memoirs of Saint John will have that effect on you.

—Paul Griffin (DJ Captain Fred) Berkeley Liberation

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Richard Edmondson

I am a journalist, poet, novelist, and peace activist. Email:

The Memoirs of Saint John:

No Greater Love

ISBN 978-0-9678909-0-6
retail price: $24.95
492 pages
Publisher: OTWAY Books

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