The Tin Man,by distinguished American poet and educationist, David B. Austell, is a very moving homage to a little known but charismatic figure in the Christian biblical narratives, Saint Joseph of Arimathea.
Completed after five years of research and writing, The Tin Man is the poet’s magnum opus.Based on meticulous research in myriad source materials including archaeology, alchemy, religious texts, scrolls and murals, poetry and private writings, Austell conceives 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 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 the NobilisDecurio (Noble Decurion). Thereafter he becomes the Roman citizen, provincial Senator, and the legendary Roman superintendent of tin mining operations in the southwestern shires of England. In the final analysis, Austell writes of the life-changes that transform an arrogant and troubled man into a Christian saint, missionary, evangelist, and church leader.
The Tin Man is Joseph of Arimathea’s epic song. As the reader turns the pages, he will find a grand modern day classic which can be read as biography or eclectic rhapsody, either of which demonstrate a vital and visionary saga of great mystery and shared humanity.