(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Novelist Marjorie Holmes explores the emotions of young romance through the biblical characters of Mary and Joseph in Two from Galilee. As the story begins, Mary, the eldest child of Hannah and Joachim of the village of Nazareth in Galilee, has just experienced her first menstrual period, ushering her into womanhood. As would be the case in first century Palestine, the next phase in Mary’s life, and the family’s main concern, is a proper and fitting marriage.

Mary is not interested in the more prosperous of her prospects. Rather, she insists on marrying the man of her girlhood dreams, Joseph the carpenter. In a culture where love is perhaps the least valued consideration in choosing a marriage partner—a function left to parents rather than the participants in the marriage—Mary’s feelings are not given serious consideration. Mary, however, demonstrates some of the courage and constancy that will characterize her life as she digs in her heels and persuades her father to entertain Joseph as a serious suitor for her hand in marriage. Hannah, heretofore always a dominant force in the affairs of the family, finds herself at odds with her daughter, who has the impertinence to interfere in affairs between her parents. Hannah also has much at stake personally in the social value of Mary’s nuptial union, since she has long touted Mary as one of Nazareth’s most desirable young women because of her natural beauty, grace, and quick wit. Therefore, Hannah is utterly opposed to Mary’s choice of a carpenter, of all people, as a husband.

In the midst of arranging the marriage, matters go from tense to unbearable. After Mary has held her ground, persuading her father to accept the marriage proposal of Joseph, suddenly Mary receives a revelation from God that she...

(The entire section is 733 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Holmes, Marjorie. Three from Galilee. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985. In this sequel, Holmes portrays the daily life and struggles of the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, during the Nazareth years. The author applies her insightful character development not only to the humanity of Mary and Joseph but also to the Savior himself.

Holmes, Marjorie. The Messiah. New York: Harper & Row, 1987. The third novel in the series portrays Jesus’ ministry and Passion.

Nixon, C. Robert. Review of The Messiah. Library Journal 112, no. 15 (September 15, 1987): 94. This review of the third novel of the series concludes that, “on the whole, Holmes has done a remarkably good job, giving us a believably divine human and nicely drawing the characters that surround him.”

Widmer, Cynthia. Review of Three from Galilee. Library Journal 110, no. 15 (September 15, 1985): 93. A review of Holmes’s first sequel to Two from Galilee.