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L.A. Marzulli and the Nephilim : What Happens When a Good Idea Lands in the Hands of a Bad Author.

The Nephilim is one of those devilishly good topics in theology. They are so obscure, confounded in so much apocryphal and apocalyptic literature, once one acquires greater proficiency in Hebrew, it is all but impossible to avoid developing an arcane fixation. One rarely mentions it to one's mentors in the field. I personally learned the wisdom of keeping the topic hushed from a professor of mine-a man who also happens to edit one of the major theology journals in the country-who upon hearing of my research interest offered me, in a very round-about manner, a bit of advice. "Some topics," he said, "are best left until after you have your doctorate." One doesn't bring this topic before a doctoral committee, as it will surely go nowhere; few scholars will touch the topic; the Bene Elohim and their offspring are so obscure no one would be easily persuaded to direct such a thesis nor hire a man who spent his doctoral years invested in said topic.

Yet, despite the general weariness people have towards the topic, I've always kept my interest up, such that I am an unfortunate sucker for most books I come across, academic or no, written by authors of any merit or those selling snake oil at the dog and pony show. The past three years, L.A. Marzulli's books have managed to jump out from my range of peripheral vision, although they've largely been ignored. I don't read much fiction outside of rather tight circle and I've no desire to expand. This being so, Marzulli succeeded in agitating me just enough to read his bloody books. Now, this may have been his plan all along. Marzulli could have calculated that somewhere in the audience their would be a person with a theological background who get so furious at the general ignorance in his statements he or she would read Marzulli's books out of either frustration or disbelief, thus supplying some additional padding to Marzulli's royalty cheque. Something tells me Marzulli doesn't plot that well...actually, what tells me is the shite quality of his books, but more on that later. For now, let's supply a few examples of why Marzulli pisses me off so much.

1) The Nephilim. You'd think it would be bloody well right important to be cognizant of the identity of the entities who supply the basis for your books, wouldn't you? Lynn, Lynn, Lynn you putz! The Nephilim are the offspring of the fallen angels, yet several times you conflate them with their daddies! Sorry, bub, I'm a theologian, and this positively grates me.

2) Unreleased Dead Sea Scrolls. No amount of words could ever succeed in relating how sick I am of hearing this or being asked about this. Folks, there are scrolls from Qumran hidden away by the Jews, the Catholic Church, the Masons, the Muslims or ANYONE. All of the scrolls have been translated. There are a few scraps which exist in the hands of private collections, however, even these have been translated. The most famous of these scraps is the famous "Son of the Most High" hymn containing parallels to the Gospel of Luke's Annunciation, however even this has been translated by scholars. (Please see volume one of Joseph Fitzmeyer's commentary on Luke) Yet Marzulli had the audacity during his last appearance on Coast to Coast AM to confide to Ian and the audience that a scholar friend he knows read and un translated Dead Sea Scroll with a fire disk. Unfortunately for Lynn, there are no unpublished scrolls. What is unpublished are the tattered decaying fragments from longer works which scholars are positively unable to reconstruct. A further problem for Lynn is the limited base of scholars capable of a) accessing the manuscripts and b) reconstructing tattered fragments.

3) The Book of Enoch and Billy Meir. Commenting, in the same episode as referenced above, on the demonic nature of Billy Meir's contact ET give the similarity of his name with the name of one of the principle antagonists in the Book of Enoch, Marzulli dismissed the possibility of Meir having read the book and simply borrowed the name...as it wouldn't be quite so spooky were such a scenario true. Marzulli defended this dismissal stating the Book of Enoch wasn't readily available until more recent times. Wrong again buck-o! The Book of Enoch was first published in English in the 1870s. In the 1890s it was published again, by Oxford Press no less, in a critical edition with the Ge'ez text accompanied by Greek fragments, and was subsequently reprinted throughout the succeeding century in several popular editions. Tisk, tisk, Lynn. Was this an intentional effort to deceive???

With all of the aforementioned in mind, we can most surely presume I'm immediately biased against Marzulli. Such a presumption would be correct.

At the bookstore I read my fiance` a passage from the first book of the Nephilim trilogy. Her response: "Joe, it's written at a third grade reading level. You're not really going to buy it, are you?" Sadly, in the end, I could not resist. Having read Marzulli's trilogy, I can most surely say, there are one and a quarter days I will never, EVER, get back in my life!

As mentioned, if you could read the stories you read during elementary school, you'll have little difficulty traversing the cliche`d infested poor syntax of Marzulli's agonizing prose. If you ever watched an episode of the X-Files half unconscious, you'll have no trouble precipitating Marzulli's predictable plot line. If you've ever been a fan of poorly crafted 50's/60's sci-fi movies, you'll have no trouble identifying with Marzulli's shallow character constructions. If you've ever written a poem, short story or novel and refrained from submitting it for publication due to fear of rejection, you'll take great solace that a publisher was desperate enough to publish this trite rubbish. You genuinely have to be a terrible author to drop the ball with this idea. Between the Book of Enoch, UFOs and the claims of alien abductions, the plot is practically written for you. That Marzulli, given how the plot has written itself, can still succeed in creating a one dimensional story, and this is entirely removed from the flat prose, is an achievement, though one I'd personally rather not be known for.

If you've read every book you've wanted to read, have the disposable income, and simply must have everything put out by a Coast guest...by some Mozart or something. If you must read these books, just remember, you can't travel back in time to prevent yourself from reading these books. No matter how many times Kaku tells us it's possible, right now, at this moment, on this plane, you can't get the portion of your life swallowed up by these books back.

Short one and a quarter days, this has been The Wrath of Joe