Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Christ the Lord - Out of Egypt

Last week I finished reading Anne Rice's work: Christ the Lord; Out of Egypt. Rice writes a novel imagining Jesus at the age of 7 and 8. She introduces us to Jesus and his family as they live in Alexandria, Egypt. In her story the family takes leave of Alexandria and returns to Nazareth. Her lens focuses on Jesus, who is about the business of discovering who he is. The opening chapter has Jesus discovering the power to take life and restore it, as he's engaged in a street brawl. The special gifts he has, are perplexing to him, as well as the conversations that he finds among the adults in his life. They all seem to know something that he's searching for, an explanation of who he is. The story concludes with Jesus hearing the events in Bethlehem after his birth, and the with that story and other events, a great discovery is made.
Rice does a great job of painting the human-divine union present in Jesus.
She does accept and use gospel apocrypha accounts regarding Jesus, which may cause some questions among some of her readers.
She writes of Jesus with much admiration. In her "Author's Note" at the end of the work she describes the journey that brought her to the point of writing about Jesus. (This was an early outline for her later spiritual autobiography.) In that note she makes a confession of surprise that ought to be grappled with by those in the church and seminaries: "I . . . sensed something else. Many of these scholars, scholars who apparently devoted their life to New Testament scholarship, disliked Jesus Christ. Some pitied him as a hopeless failure. Others sneered at him, and some felt and outright contempt. . . . there are New Testament scholars who detest and despise Jesus Christ."
To be sure, Rice's work has no sneering, no contempt, it is written out of adoration and scholarship. She has given to the world and the church a great gift in this work.

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