There are so many books I like and love and use. This book entered my life from a yard sale of all things. Sea Fire: tales of Jesus and fishing by Irene Martin (2003) The Crossroad Publishing Company, NY, ISBN 0824521285.
Why is this little book so cool? Because it explains all about fishing and Jesus — the archeology, the tools, the socio-political stuff, and well, actually how to fish and how they might have fished. Because while I spent many a day fishing with my dad, that was on a river or in the ocean and my job was to bail…. so I don’t know that much about actual fishing and certainly not how it might have been for Jesus and the disciples — and remember Peter, James and John are fishermen called to fish for people. As frustrating as fishing is, as lonely, dangerous, cold, wet, hungry, random — well they were well-set-up for the frustration of fishing for people, weren’t they!? These guys were used to a certain level of failure, a certain sort of independence, a cooperation of effort. And in a society where most folk got about, if they ever got far from home at all, by walking — they had boats. They had a speedy way to travel; and even one might note a secret way to travel. Oh one can think about fishing and boats and Jesus and the Bible a lot! And luckily Ms Martin has done it for us!
On page 12, Ms Martin writes: “Yet as a fishing person myself, … I wanted to know about the crummy little restaurants and crummy little bars of the smelly little towns. I wanted to know whether fish were plentiful or whether fishing had fallen on hard times. Were fish prices low or high? I wanted to know whether women prepared the fish for market and whether they did the buying, selling, and trading. I wanted to know about the net racks…. ” etc. She does her research, she uses present-day fishing towns when relevant, and her imagination and experience to reconstruct the Gospel stories utilizing the fishing milieu. A lot about fishing has not changed in thousands of years. A lot of the Gospels is specific to a geographical area. Her resultant book is just a gem.