Jesus Is Just Alright With Me

27 01 2009

buddy-jesus1I’ve been very slow to finish the book I’m currently reading (which is absolutely wonderful), mainly because I’ve been spending most of my time drinking or recovering from drinking.  When someone is moving across the country, you have to pack in as much happy drunk time as possible.  So – my reading has suffered.  Instead of a normal little book review, this is more just an essay on fictional accounts of the life and times of Jesus.  Now – I’m not into the Jesus (mainly because I’m a Jew), but, for some reason, I love reading novels about Jesus.  It combines my love of historical fiction with my fascination of that time period in general.  And, let’s face it, Jesus is a rockstar.  And just like my dad can’t help but read every new John Lennon biography, I can’t help but read a Jesus book.  [And I’m not talking about Christian Fiction – nothing along the lines of The Left Behind horribleness.  These books would all fall very neatly into the secular category.]

The best of this weird little sub-genre take the Jesus most people know from the Christian Bible, and attempt to flesh the man out.  Most tell the story from a different view point, integrating information from other sources – archaeological discoveries, the Gnostic Gospels, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc – into the known stories, giving different explanations for the miracles and philosophies of Jesus.  There are some really great serious novels that I’d recommend – Mary, Called Magdelene by Margaret George and Testament: A Novel by Nino Ricci.  I haven’t read either of these in years, but they’ve stuck with me – so that says something.

What kicked this off in my brainspace are two books I’ve recently read – The Fire Gospel by Michael Faber and Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.  Now, these are two very different authors with two very different books – and two very different results.  Lamb is awesome – laugh out loud funny, intelligent and thoughtful; The Fire Gospel really misses the mark.  Michael Faber’s novel focuses on the discovering of a new testament and the havoc that results from its publication.  And I really wanted this to be good – I like Michael Faber, this is a good concept – but OMG all the characters suck.  You know, if I were to find some scrolls that gave a whole new ending to the Jesus story, and I wanted to publish them, I would probably expect some people to not react very well.  And by some people – I mean the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD.  Lamb doesn’t really mess with the Jesus story as it is in the Bible – he creates a story for the almost 20 year gap in the gospels, building the foundations for Jesus’ teachings.  It is irreverant without being disrespectful, which is a difficult balance to maintain.

All in all, if you happen to share this same fascination for Jesusfiction, or if you randomly want to start reading some Jesus books – start here.  If you have absolutely no interest or love for ol’ JC, you should still probably read Lamb, it’s really friggin’ funny.  Or, pick up something else by Christopher Moore, A Dirty Job, mayhaps?  Or, you know, don’t – and remain sad and humorless – it’s your life, I’m not going to tell you how to live it.

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2 responses

28 01 2009
Julia

Thanks for giving the LJC a shout out, E. He appreciates it, I assure you. He told me. I love Him.

Can you tell it’s been a slow week at work for me??? 😉 Love you! Love the blog!

19 11 2009
Rex

your not into Jesus cause your a jew???

Enlighten me, just cause it will be fun….

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