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The Harrowing of Hell
by Jonathan Jackson
This audio performance is a dramatised rendition of author Jonathan Jackson's epic poem "THE HARROWING OF HELL," performed especially for audio by him.
Here's a note from Jonathan himself about how this story came to be:
C.S. Lewis said, “The heart of Christianity is a myth, which is also a fact. The
old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from
the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history.”
This book is ten years in the making. I first began writing it when my oldest
son was six years old. He’s now sixteen and a writer himself. I wanted to
write a heroic epic my children could grow up with and pass on to their
children. Now, the time has come to share it with the world.
My son’s imagination was captured at an early age by the epic stories of
Beowulf and Hercules. In these stories the longing for a hero emerges
naturally and profoundly. As a father, I longed for this enthusiasm and
exhilaration to eventually transcend mythology and ultimately be directed
towards Christ, the Hero of Heroes.
This poem explores the epic question: What happened between Christ’s
crucifixion and resurrection? In the ancient Christian Tradition, it is said that
Christ not only suffered and died on the Cross physically, but that He also
descended into Hell (Hades to be more precise) to destroy the power of
death and rescue imprisoned souls, breaking the iron bars of Death and
In this story, the foreshadowing of pagan myths finds their fulfillment in the
epic of Christ. The Harrowing of Hell is a glimpse into the untold chapter
of the Greatest Story ever told.
This is a work of historical fiction, I prefer to call it a poem because poetry
brings us into the “sense of things”; it conveys truth through paradox,
mystery, imagination and allegory, where concrete empirical knowledge
Although there is a great deal of imagination and poetry in this work of
historical fiction, the author seeks to render a faithful depiction of Christ as
revealed in the New Testament and the ancient Christian Faith. It is a
painting, more than an icon.
As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I have encountered a different
understanding of Hell, man’s free will and the mercy of God, then is often
articulated in Western traditions. It is a vision that is not widely known in
Europe or North America. It can be summed up by this phrase, “Even the
flames of Hell are love.”
Millions around the world are journeying through Great Lent on their way
towards the Resurrection of Christ. In these difficult and troubling times, it is
my humble prayer that this book will assist the reader’s meditation on the
mercy of God and the lengths to which He will go to rescue us from
Many heroes have risen to the challenge. Only One has descended.
Jonathan Jackson a multi-faceted artist who creates meaningful pieces of art through music, film, and the written word.
He is a five-time EMMY® Award-winning actor and Critics’ Choice Award nominee, who has starred in numerous TV and films including ABC/CMT’s hit drama “Nashville” “General Hospital” “Tuck Everlasting” “The Deep End Of The Ocean” and “Insomnia”.
His band Enation has performed alongside artists across the musical spectrum, including post-punk legends Echo & The Bunnymen, the iconic Sarah McLachlan, Echosmith and more. Their new album, Ultraviolet Empire, is set to be released in the fall of 2020 and is co-produced by GRAMMY® Award winning producer Colin Linden.
Jonathan is also a published author. His current books include a work of Mystical Poetry entitled, “Book of Solace and Madness” and the non-fiction prose “The Mystery of Art”, which has been translated into multiple languages.