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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Books!

Oh, I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.

I guess that means that life has been busy after returning from the time away.

But here I am again! To start off, I thought I would discuss some of the books that I managed to get through. First, I listened to Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice in the car on the way home, beginning Easter day. It is a fascinating novel written from the point of view of Jesus as a seven-year-old boy.


There are some negative aspects to the work, which I will discuss in a moment, but the positive characteristics outweigh them. Jesus is a young boy here, and so he doesn't have complete knowledge of who he is, and who is Father is. He is learning throughout this book the story of his birth as he grows in knowledge that he is divine. I think it is valuable because it presents a believable story to help us understand how Jesus is both human and divine--that he didn't know everything from the moment of his birth, but came to know himself just like each of us must.

The most prominent negative aspect is this: Rice uses the apocryphal gospels alongside the canonical gospels to explain these events. For instance, it comes up several times that Jesus brought clay birds to life (from the Proto-Evangelium of James). It's an odd story, and one that we do not accept as authentic to the gospel tradition.

Having said that, I understand the purpose of including the story of birds come to life in this work: it illustrates how Jesus learns of who he is. As a small child playing with clay, he wishes for his toys to come to life. He doesn't yet understand that his wishes are within his power because he is divine! The use of that image for this novel makes sense to me, even if I don't really believe it happened.

Theologically, everything else in the novel is faithful to the Catholic tradition.

I'm excited to read the second installment... Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.


(Photo credits: St. Joseph and the Child Jesus from www.katsuya-art.com)

3 comments:

all creatures, said...

Well ... does she include the apocryphal stories of Jesus maiming and killing children who annoy him and bringing them back to life? Or Mary not wanting to let him go outside for fear of him killing more children who anger him?

I hope she didn't include that!

Also, thank you for listening to the book whilst driving, instead of reading it. ;)

Anne Rice said...

Thanks for your generous mention of my novel, Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt. The story of the clay birds has been treated many times in art and in poetry, I think, but if I had known it was going to put people off I would not have used the early legends. We Catholics accept them because they give us the names of Mary's parents, Anne and Joachim, and of course there are churches to St. Anne all over the world. --- I do strive to be completely orthodox, and in the second book do not use anything of the legends. I understand that my fellow Christians care about this and I respect them. My books are a tribute to Christ as Divine and Human. Thanks again, and I wish you every blessing, Anne Rice.

Sophie's Daughter said...

I never expected to be honored by the response of the author. Thank you for visiting my humble blog!

I respect your choice of including the legends about Jesus, but I have to disagree with you about Catholic acceptance of them. Yes, Catholic tradition accepts certain details from them (such as the names that you mention in your comment). However, because these legends are not granted canonical status, they do not have the same authority as the Gospels. While there might be some truth found in them, that does not mean that everything they state is regarded as true.

Regardless, thank you for presentation of Jesus' childhood--I greatly enjoyed it and will certainly read the next installments.

Peace!