The Tomb Guardians
Author Paul Griffiths
Publisher Henningham Family Press £12.99
This is a short book though not a quick read. Subtitled ‘a novel’, it records two conversations that coil around each other, each moving the other on. One is a dialogue between a modern lecturer in art history and his friend, on the subject of four Renaissance paintings of four soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb. The second is the conversation between three of the soldiers about the absence of the fourth and the conundrum of the empty tomb. (Today, three of the paintings are in Munich, the fourth in York.) It is hard to overstate just how skilfully these two exchanges are combined, with each section progressing seamlessly from where the last fragment has left off. This is obviously not a theological textbook, and it may not help you preach a better sermon. It mixes theology and psychology with art history and weaves them into a reflection on absence, faith and how people attempt to wriggle out of an uncomfortable situation. A witty, thought-provoking read – I would love to see it on stage.
Reviewed by GERTRUD SOLLARS