Friday, July 30, 2010

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

Told through the eyes of a seven-year old Jesus, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel traces the life of His family as they travel from Egypt back to Nazareth. When they reach Jerusalem there is war going on and much bloodshed. The young Jesus witnesses a man brutally killed with a spear by a Roman soldier. This event will impact his thoughts the rest of the story. Jesus sees much death and suffering on his trip back to Nazareth, such as bodies hung on crosses which line the roads as far as the eye can see. However these brutal things are counterbalanced with love and respect of his family for one another. This family compassion is a very real presence throughout the story.

Anne Rice has written from the viewpoint of a Jesus who does not know He is God in the flesh. Throughout the story he is very inquisitive about himself, without turning into morbid introspection, as there seems to be much ambiguity about his birth and his family going down to Egypt. He learns of the angels who visited his mother and father from his uncle Cleopas.

The book ends just after Jesus is found by his parents in the Temple after He has gone missing for several days. While there he learns from Temple priests of the murder by Herod of the male children at his birth. This event also troubles him, as he sees himself as the cause of it.

The book is well written and told with reverence. Rice tries to be historically accurate. Her acknowledgments at the end of the book are well worth reading as she recounts her own personal and spiritual journey, along with her interaction with history and biblical texts while researching the book. Her conclusion? There is much error and biased opinions out there concerning the "historical" Jesus. She herself was biased for many years. I was a little troubled by her use of such resources as the Gospel of Thomas, i.e. Jesus turning clay pigeons into real birds, etc. But, her use of those are very, very limited. All in all, I thought Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel by Anne Rice was very good and I look forward to reading the sequel,Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana sometime in the near future.

1 comment:

Rick said...

It's troubling that Rice should rely on the Gospel of Thomas, but at least she didn't use the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Jesus is quite the little killer in that one. Several little boys who pick on Him find themselves experiencing deaths similar to the bad guys in the Indiana Jones movies.