The Greatest Story Ever Told

by Fulton Oursler

from Goodreads
Fulton Oursler's 1949 novel about the life of Jesus Christ was written with powerful simplicity and set against a rich historical background. Using a fictionalized narrative, Oursler takes events from the Gospels of the New Testament and adds imaginative dialogues and personalities to recreate the first century, while maintaining Biblical integrity. As you experience Christ's nativity, the Holy Family's flight into Egypt, Christ's public ministry, passion, death, and resurrection, you will almost feel as if you were there.

my rating

my review
First off, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the irony of this situation? The Greatest Story Ever Told is the only book I've ever given a 1/5 to. And it gets such a rating because after 105 pages, one-third of the book, I couldn't go any further.

I was willing to work with a golden-bearded Joseph and blue-eyed Mary, despite the inaccuracies there. I didn't even mind overly much that the wise men appeared far too soon, and that there were exactly three of them. But while Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are all described as pale, the evil king Herod alone has brown skin. Though offended, I kept reading.

Later, when young Jesus is mentally questioning the practice of sacrificing animals, the author quotes Amos 5:21-24, which includes "Yea, though you offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them." Jesus asks himself why no one pays attention to this teaching of Amos. However, these verses do not refer to God's appreciation (or lack thereof) of sacrifices, but rather to the unfaithfulness of His people. God despises the empty rituals of those who do not fear Him.

I finally (and readily) gave up on the book at my husband's urging (apparently I was far too tense while reading it), ending just after Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine. Apparently, according to Fulton Oursler, ancient Israel had caterers--and they were male. I highly doubt it.


  1. Sounds awful. I wouldn't have kept reading it either.

    I don't think I could ever endeavor to retell the story of Jesus. I mean, why try to embellish the greatest story ever told? Thanks for great review.

    1. I do enjoy biblical fiction, such as the AD Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene, but this was just poorly done. What a presumptuous title for an embellished story, eh? :)

      Welcome to poetree, by the way, and thanks for following!