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When the novel begins, Joel is a young scholar being readied to become a Rabbi and teacher at the synagogue. His meeting with Daniel inflames his patriotism, and he starts to ignore his studies and follow the path of a warrior, despite being unsuited for it. He is not as directly affected by Jesus as Daniel and Thacia, and he continues to desire conflict until Daniel, of all people, convinces him that his studies will be more helpful to the cause than his sacrifice.
Finally [Simon] spoke. "[Jesus] will never lead us against Rome, Daniel. I have given up all hope of that."
The quiet words had the force of a blow. Daniel had his answer at last. Joel had tried to tell him, and Thacia. Even Jesus himself.
(Speare, The Bronze Bow, Google Books)
This is the point when the reader truly understands how Jesus affected Joel. Instead of fighting his sermons, Joel was able to embrace them more fully than Daniel, because he understood the content of them, not simply the emotion. Joel knows that violent revolution will not be successful, and as Jesus preaches, they must work to change the hearts and minds of the people -- including the Romans. For Joel, returning to his studies is his way of embracing the teachings of Jesus, since he will serve in a similar role to teach and educate.
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