life, thoughts, writing

Does Originality Exist?

When I went to the doctor last week for a routine checkup, I told her about my recently published book, Through His Disciples’ Eyes.

After I described the book’s plot, she proceeded to tell me that it sounded like the Joshua Book Series and asked me if I’ve ever read it.

The “Joshua” what? Huh? No, I have not heard of it.

She said the book sounded similar because the series is about a modern-day Jesus just like mine.

This was both disconcerting and exciting all at the same time. Disconcerting, because not only had I thought my book was something original (I should’ve known nothing is original), but my prophet is also named Joshua! The reason I named him Joshua is because that is the true translation of Jesus’s name into English. I was afraid to look up the book series for fear it might be too close to mine.

It was exciting, because perhaps anyone who read those books might find mine just as good or better.

I waited a couple of days and finally checked it out. For those who aren’t already familiar, the book titled, Joshua: A Parable for Today, is the first in a series of nine and was published in 1983. The books spanned more than twenty years all the way to 2007.

First of all, I did not read any of the books, so I could be wrong in what I deduced by reading the plot descriptions. If you’ve read any of the books, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I’m going to share what I believe to be similarities and differences.

Difference: My Joshua and his disciples live in the 1950s and 60s. The other Joshua lives in the present day of the years the book was written.

Similarity: It appears that the other author’s character Joshua (we’ll call him 9-book-Joshua) is like my Joshua (we’ll call him Joshua Cane) in that they are both based on Jesus. They both have the ability to heal the sick and bring love, understanding, forgiveness, wisdom, peace, and enlightenment to all those they come in contact with.

photo by Colin Smith

Difference: 9-book-Joshua appears to be a nomad, floating from town to town (and eventually across the world) alone, solving problems and sharing peace and love.

Joshua Cane is a preacher doing tours at auditoriums due to his notoriety. He travels with family and friends who serve more as disciples. And these disciples are helping to spread his message.Difference: From what I could tell/deduce, the 9-book-Joshua makes a difference in communities. Joshua Cane makes a difference in one person’s life at a time.

Difference: Unlike the Joshua Series, my novel, Through His Disciples’ Eyes is exactly what the title states—a focus on three disciples struggles with inner demons created from the harsh realities of the physical world. It’s about them awakening to their true spirits within and discovering they are an expression of God in human form. Like the disciples of the Bible, not all of them always understood him, and the story is told through flawed human beings, not the prophet himself.

Similarity: In some areas, both books deviate from traditional Christianity and/or the way some interpret the Bible.

Difference: Mine is literally told through the eyes of three disciples and their perceptions of Joshua Cane. Not a narrator. Not Joshua. And not myriads of town’s people.

Similarity: Several of the reviews of the 9-book-Joshua series came away feeling inspired by the prophet’s message of peace and hope.

Difference: However, they seemed disconnected with the characters.

Those who reviewed mine, and those who tried to review, not only came away inspired, but connected with the characters on a deep level. Likely because I focused on one soul at a time as opposed to entire communities.

Since the idea for a modern-day Jesus was done before mine, I wonder if it was done before the Joshua Series as well. How many stories are completely original?

Regardless, it’s always good to have inspirational stories to read.



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