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Thomas W. Atzberger’s insights on History and Religion



The author enables readers to have a different perspective on faith

COLUMBUS, OHIO, UNITED STATES, July 7, 2022 / -- This fascinating, highly original prose meditation explores the culture of the times during the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The powerful and compelling tone of the author puts us into a prehistoric setting that frames all of history, namely, the option to choose good or evil. The author then brings us into Mary’s everyday life, showing us her childhood and family and how she made her choices in such day-to-day, normal events as worship, friendship, holidays, and challenges.

In the prehistoric setting, two hunting partners, Acha and Onyo, set out to hunt from their residential caves to the grasslands in their milieu. They succeed in securing an animal for their families but do not see that they are being watched by another man, who has the choice either to find his own game or steal theirs. The resolution of this question is left to the reader.

The author then observes that, in the millions of days from those ancient times to Mary’s time, the same human nature made many changes in culture and traditions. They domesticated animals, mastered farming, developed laws and organized their communities. This passage of time has resulted in the village in which Mary lived. Even so, Atzberger observes, the ancient people are connected to the simple life of Mary through the common element of all people and all times: making moral choices.

The author then shows us how Mary’s village, her childhood events, and the community of Nazareth, akin to all communities, formed its people, including Mary. The early chapter, The Village, introduces us to the roles of people in their traditional families. Mary’s mother, and her friends, follow the cultural roles of wives and mothers, rearing their children, building their characters and personalities, and running their households.

We see young girls help their mothers make the daily bread, especially preparing for the time when their fathers may be home for the midday meal. Likewise, we see the interesting details of how the grown and little ladies performed their other household chores.

As the author delves into Mary’s everyday life, he draws her as an intelligent and curious child. She observes her natural surroundings and the incidents she encounters from day to day. For example, she asks her mother how the water gets into the well in the village and her father duly explains it to her, feeding her curious mind. Her father also eagerly teaches her their religious traditions, and she responsibly takes this education in, thus giving the reader insight into Jewish culture.

The reader learns about the House of Prayer and its religious role in the community, as well as the batlanim, who were volunteers who would devote their time to the House of Prayer in religious, educational, and community services. Through her father’s work in the local House of Prayer, she meets different religious scholars. For instance, the book talks about a renowned scholar named Azach from Zippori, who gives a powerful sermon in the House of Prayer.

The book moves on through other stages of Mary’s growth, ultimately into Mary’s Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel, and the agonizing burden and risk this created for her. It also tangibly presents the difficulties of travel in her time, as she visits her cousin Elizabeth. Yet, she courageously lives out her life, day to day, and, ultimately, looks forward to the birth of her own child.

I Am Only Mary is a book that can be read by people of any faith who have any interest in Mary as a person in her own right. The book helps the readers know Mary as a fellow traveler, emphasizing her humanity and her virtuous living of God’s call. The book reveals the elements of Mary’s life and character we have rarely thought of. Since the probable details of Mary’s biography are rarely available to the readers, this little history of her actual life brings her close to us.

This book is available on different online platforms, including

About the Author
Tom Atzberger is a retired Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, married to his wife Christina since 1970, with three adult children. Tom completed three years of college-level studies in a Catholic seminary before earning degrees from John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He and his wife of over forty years, herself one of the early John Carroll woman graduates, are active in their church’s programs, including marriage preparation classes, singing, teaching young people about the Old Testament, and participating in Worldwide Marriage Encounter. The parents of three adult children. Tom and Chris teach English to immigrant people at the Dominican Learning Center in Columbus.
If you need more information about the book, email at, or simply buy the book.

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