out that 19th-century European scholarsrnwho scoured the Holy Land for traces ofrnthe historical Jesus were appalled by itsrncrowds, dirt, noise, and smell. Its residentsrnseemed hopelessly uncouth andrnunwashed. No doubt the hair underrntheir arms was plentiful and, at times,rnrank. How could this comport with theirrnimage of Jesus? So the hygienic Europeansrnset about rescuing their Saviorrnfrom the grime and stench of peoplernimprovident enough not to retain servantsrnto draw their baths, and, in the process,rnscrubbed away Jesus’s Levantinernidentity.rnAllen finds another kind of sanitizingrntaking place in our own time. Many ofrnthe more fashionable American theologians,rnespecially those of the popular JesusrnSeminar, have carefully cleansed allrnmiraculous references from their imagernof Christ. Why? Allen speculates thatrnsome may be embarrassed by their fundamentalistrnroots. Having left the BiblernBelt behind, they now associate “eschatologyrnwith snake-handling and polyesterrnblends.” Furthermore, they fear thatrnplacing “apocalyptic sayings into Jesus’srnmouth supports the political goals of thernChristian Coalition.” So they have createdrna secular Jesus congenial with theirrnfeel-good liberal agenda, one who carefullyrnavoids facing inconvenient questionsrnabout abortion, euthanasia. Heaven,rnand Hell.rnAllen’s chiding of the Jesus-questers is,rnon the whole, gentle. Yes, people get itrnwrong. But is this surprising? Jesus—ifrnwe are permitted to believe the words Hernis given in the Gospels—said so HimselfrnI, for one, cannot help imagining Himrnamused by our attempt to pin Himrndown. Whether it is a televangelist presumingrnto speak in His name or a secularistrnconfidently putting Him in somernhistorical nook. He calmly remains Himselfrnquite in touch with us, however outrnof touch we are with Him. And, certainly,rnin touch with the ineffable mystery ofrnour existence. This is how I interpretrnAllen’s insistence on Jesus’s otherness.rnShe applauds recent efforts by Jewishrnand Christian scholars to recover thernman who was a first-century PalestinianrnJew growing up in a polyglot region thatrnwas at once fully Hebraic and Hellenicrnand profoundly different from our own.rnClearly, Allen wants to smash the Jesusrnvanity mirror. But she walks carefullyrnhere. Rather than force the issue, she allowsrnus to draw our own conclusions.rnThe greatest value of her book is thernquestion it leaves eloquently unspoken.rnIn the full etymological sense of thernword, it is a crucial one; Are we here tornfind Jesus in ourselves, or to find ourselvesrnin Jesus? The first choice leads torna warm, cozy self-approval. The secondrnrisks shattering all we know of earthlyrncomfort to serve a Truth that transcendsrnhistory.rnGeorge McCartney teaches English atrnSt. John’s University.rnThe Sourcernby Thomas FlemingrnWater Distribution in AncientrnRome: The Evidence of Frontinusrnby Harry B. EvansrnAnn Arbor: University ofrnMichigan Press;rn168 pp., $27.95rnFew patriotic odes are written to thernwater commissioners of great cities,rnbut civilization rests in part upon a regularrnsupply of water for drinking and agriculture.rnThe rise of Rome can, in fact,rnbe charted by the development of its systemrnof water distribution. Down to thernlate fourth century B.C., Romans reliedrnupon their springs and wells, as well asrnon the waters of the tawny Tiber, but byrn312, the first aqueduct—the Appia —wasrnconstructed by Appius Claudius Caecus,rnthe famous censor who also arranged forrnthe construction of the Appian Way.rnAs Rome grew, her increasing needsrnfor water were met by a series of improvedrnaqueducts, the most famous ofrnthem being the Marcia, which suppliedrnclean potable water to large sections ofrnthe city. Although Alexander Severusrnbrought a water line into the city to supplyrnthe public baths he renovated, thernlast great aqueduct, the Trajana, bearsrnthe name of the Emperor Trajan, whorncompleted its construction in A.D. 109. Itrnwas under Trajan’s immediate predecessor,rnNerva, that Sextus Frontinus, the curatorrnaquarum, wrote the only importantrntreatise on the Roman water supply.rnWhile there have been many scholarlyrntreatments of Roman aqueducts, discussionsrnof water distribution within therncit)’ are much rarer, and Harry B. Evans,rna professor of classics at Fordham, hasrnprovided an accurate and accessible accountrnof a topic that has been of little interestrnto general readers as well as to mostrnclassical scholars. Nonetheless, anyonernwho has strolled through the streets ofrnRome and spotted, here and there, thernruins of the ancient system will want torntake a look at Professor Evans’ monograph,rnif only for the plates. Topographyrnis, I must confess, a subject fartherrnbeyond my reach than theoreticalrnphysics, and I am grateful to any scholarrnwho can make coherent sense of any aspectrnof ancient Rome.rnIf Rome’s increase in power and populationrncan be traced in the ruins of itsrnaqueducts and pipes and holding tanks,rnher final collapse came during the sixthrncentury when, as Professor Evans observesrnin his conclusion, the aqueductsrnwere still functional but the Gothic rulerrnVitigisrnduring the Gothic siege cut theirrnchannels outside Rome and Belisariusrn[Justinian’s general] blockedrnthe conduits to prevent use ofrnthem as a means of infiltration.rnThis forced the remaining populationrninto low-lying areas closer tornthe river and prompted the developmentrnof medieval Rome in thernCampus Martins.rnCut off from sources of clean drinkingrnwater, Rome slumbered on for a thousandrnyears, and even the treasures of thernRenaissance popes could not make therncity safe for human habitation. It is thernsame story with most aspects of our civilization.rnModern Europe only began torncatch up with the ancient world at somerntime in the 18th century, but by then thernrot had already set in. Even safe drinkingrnwater is something that Americans canrnno longer take completely for granted,rnwhether they are visiting Rome, Italy,rnor Rockford, Illinois.rnThomas Fleming is the editor of Chroniclesrnand the president of The RockfordrnInstitute.rnFOR BACK ISSUES, CALLrn1-800-877-5459rnFEBRUARY 1999/33rnrnrn