The Tin Man by David B. Austell
ISBN 81-8250-079-6 2018 pp.324 Hard Demy
The Tin Man, by distinguished American poet and educationist, David B. Austell, is a moving homage to a little known but charismatic figure in the Christian biblical narratives, Saint Joseph of Arimathea. Completed after six years of research and writing, The Tin Man is based on a myriad of primary and secondary source materials including canonical texts, apocrypha, religious traditions, church history, medieval literature, and folklore. The Tin Man is a grand narrative poem in epic style regarding the key intersections of Joseph of Arimathea’s life both with Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Palestine, and with the strange and charismatic Jesus of Nazareth. The poem explores the experiences of a dramatically flawed man, and the transmutation of his inner being in the presence of the Numinous.
Joseph of Arimathea appears as a key figure in the “passion narratives,” those sections of the four Christian Gospels that focus on the trial and death of Jesus in Jerusalem immediately prior to the celebration of the Jewish Passover in 33 A.D. It is here that we learn of Joseph’s status in the community as a wealthy man, a secret follower of Jesus, and a member of the high council of Jerusalem. It is also here that we read of Joseph’s unenviable task in the interment of the maverick rabbi who many believed to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. In the apocryphal gospels and later writings, Joseph’s influential role in the early years of the Christian Church is brought to light. For the first time, we are introduced to Joseph of Arimathea as a member of the Davidian royal family, the uncle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the great-uncle of Jesus. Later in the Vulgate, Joseph is referred to as NobilisDecurio (Noble Decurion). Thereafter he becomes the Roman citizen, the provincial Senator, and the legendary Roman superintendent of tin mining operations in the southwestern shires of England. In the final analysis, The Tin Man explores the life-changes that transform an arrogant and troubled expatriate into a Christian saint, missionary, evangelist, and church leader.
The Tin Man is the epic song of Joseph of Arimathea.
“The figure of Joseph of Arimathea has always been dear to English hearts because of the age-old tradition, linked not only with Cornwall but also with Glastonbury, that he traveled here himself…Anyone reading this work will feel a great debt of gratitude to David Austell…The writing is full of music and it is music that leads us to the amazing figure of ‘The Tin Man’ so that we journey with him through history as pilgrims.”
-from the Introduction by the Very Reverend Dr. Robert A. Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, England
David B. Austell, Ph.D. is Associate Provost and Director of the International Students and Scholars Office at Columbia University in New York City where he is also an Associate Professor of International Education in Teachers College-Columbia University (adjunct). David has over thirty years of executive leadership experience in International Education, and is a frequent writer and presenter in his professional field. David has undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education, focusing on International Education. His doctoral dissertation, The Birds in the Rich Forest, concerned Chinese students in the United States during the Student Democracy Movement. David was a Fulbright Fellow in Japan and Korea in 1992. He is also a poet, and The Tin Man is his third book.