This "Greatest Story Ever Retold" is
based on the book The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John
by Clarence Jordan in which the Gospel is presented in a setting of
rural Georgia with country music songs, the final and perhaps best work
of Harry Chapin. As this Gospel begins, they sing that "Somethin's
a-brewin' in Gainesville."
Herod is the mayor of Atlanta and,
inevitably, Christ is lynched by local thugs only to rise again. Drama
critics loved this show and so did a broad spectrum of religious
commentators. "A dream come true" wrote Contemporary Christian Music.
"A breath of fresh air." Something good is happening. A reverential
retelling of the book of Matthew.
It takes the Bible's passionate
intensity and directness for contemporary meaning into the popular vein
without diluting it.