|Book review: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (Anne Rice)|
Posted by: LateForLunch ® |
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Anne Rice went through a very serious conversion (re-conversion) to theism. She abandoned the Satanic, homoerotic Vampire series after the death of her husband and returned to her roots. She moved to the Middle East to research and absorb the culture of God (Israel mostly). After doing this, she wrote a series of novels who goal was to honor Christ by humanizing Him, describing what the years Christ spent as a boy, teen and man might have been like before He took up his Ministry and Great Task.
She succeeds in remaining respectful to Scripture (nothing I have detected in the novels contradicts Scripture) while embellishing it with what might well have been the actions, thoughts, feelings of Jesus of Nazareth before he ascended to becoming the Savior of Humanity.
These books are so far from the casual, disrespectful noodling of a book like the blatantly sacrilegious (yea, blasphemous) Davinci Code nonsense, they should not be discussed in the same breath.
The whole intent of these books seems to be to humanize the Lord - to reinforce the fact that He became wholly human in every regard through Jesus Christ, sharing all knowledge of what it is to be human in darkness and in joy.
What is remarkable from a purely literary POV, is how well the story moves along and how interesting she makes it - sort of like Irving's wondrous Agony and the Ecstasy (biography of Michealangelo) or a Michner novel - like a time machine in so many ways. Even someone who does not have much interest nor belief in God or Jesus would enjoy the books (if they enjoyed the others mentioned above or historical novels). The prose often delineates into poetic passages full of rich imagery and ideas that are sublime.
The two books in the series are, Christ the Lord:Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord:The Road to Cana.
It is necessary to mention that these books are untouched by Rice's lifelong difficulty in accepting religion (she was raised Catholic but resigned from that religious tradition and never really returned, though her faith in God did return). The books stand on their own as tributes to God and Christ, whatever confusions she might have suffered in the aftermath of her own personal reconnection to God.
NOTE: On the author, Anne Rice was a person who grappled with personal depression and confusions about many things (by her own admission). She was unable to reconcile her personal dislike of organized religion (and by association, the common behavior of people who belonged to organized religions), with her faith in God. Eventually Rice declared publicly that she was more philosophically aligned with humanistic movements than with theological movements. In that she is merely rescripting the dilemma suffered by Frederich Nietzsche which led to his invariably-misquoted declaration that, "God is dead". Nietzsche was not an atheist - his statement was his poetic way of saying that the institutions and conventional ideas associated with God by organized religions of his time, were untenable (IOW, "dead") because they did not in his view, readily support the character, intentions nor spirit of the Living God in which he believed. Rice might have used Nietzsche's essay on that to define her own feelings in regard to God and Christ but instead merely declared that she was, "not a Christian, but rather someone who believes in Christ without believing in religions". I think Rice was in some ways, broken (a misanthrope) who despite her talent as a writer, suffered from some fairly significant emotional illness, which may have affected/impaired her in ways she was not fully aware*.
* Being very bright and self-aware, Rice it seems to me, had a very difficult time tolerating people who were neither very bright nor very self-aware.Christ did not say, "Love thy bright and self-aware neighbors as thyself". He said to "love one another" without qualification. So her intolerance (dislike for) people who called themselves Christians but did not have much intellect or introspection, might well be seen as a personal weakness. Not only was it a weakness, it was apparently a weakness that she did not register as such, having a rather large ego and being unafraid of offending many with her opinions in public statements about religion. Christian-based religions have been at the vanguard of virtually every successful social reform movement of the last two hundred years - so for anyone to maintain that organized religions are "bad" or "inferior" to secular philosophies is well - a little bit childish. Imagine that - a gifted creative artist behaving a little childishly...heh
Modified by LateForLunch at Wed, Feb 23, 2022, 03:36:05
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