Anne Rice: Darkness to Light?

Anne Rice has practically created the Vampire genre with her novels. “Interview with a Vampire” was even made into a movie. (One that helped propel young Kirsten Dunst’s career.) Rice’s work has been a tremendous draw for the Goth crowd.

A few years ago her writing slowed down. In 1998 she returned to the Roman Catholic Church as she moved from atheism to faith. Her newest book, first in a series, is called “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt“. She’s decided to write a fictionalize, first-person account of Jesus’ life.

At first, I was very skeptical. After reading an interview (free registration required) with Rice in the Chicago Trib, I now just skeptical.

Here are some quotes that backed me off from “very” skeptical:

Q. You write that, based on your reading of a lot of biblical studies, many scholars actually dislike Jesus. Why do you think this is?

A. I think Bible scholarship — skeptical Bible scholarship — started in earnest in the 18th Century, and it started on the premise that Jesus is not God. Many of the Bible scholars I read are skeptical, age-of-reason-type people, trying to show that the Gospels, in their view, don’t make sense, and there were no miracles, no virgin birth. It’s no more than a set of opinions, a set of opinions that have a skeptical worldview. It claims to be science, but what’s being used is a lot of speculation. There’s a huge bias to it.

I examined all these arguments and found them to be very shallow and very flimsy and assumptions built on assumptions built on assumptions. This is a field where everything is mixed up — religion, history, politics — and people have strong feelings, and often irrational feelings. The skeptics, I found, are as irrational as any religious person might seem.

She is spot on here!

Q. You write about your obsession with Jesus. How deep is that obsession? And just how obsessed are you?

A. I am totally obsessed. It’s a wonderful obsession. It’s having a subject that will never let you down. There’s no end to what you can study and ponder and learn. I’ve never felt this way in my life. Before, my writing was often so exquisitely painful. This is totally different. I feel totally transformed.

Almost sounds like Christian Hedonism. She is correct, we cannot exhaust our understanding of Jesus. The one word that is missing here is “love”. It is possible to be obsessed with something and not love it.

One last positive quote:

Q. Do you have a sense of what ripples this book will cause?

A. My hope is that it makes Jesus real to people who haven’t thought about him or ever seriously considered believing in him literally.

Wouldn’t that be great! I hope that God uses Anne’s books to awaken many, especially those in the Goth crowd.

However, all is not rosy. Here is the quote that troubles me:

Q. You write of using the Infancy Gospel of Thomas to help you think about the powers Jesus had as a child — the sparrows you have him creating out of lumps of clay, the playmate he kills without realizing what he’s doing. And there’s the snowball scene in which Joseph thinks the snow came because Jesus prayed for it, and he says, “No! I didn’t do it. Did I?” Did you have fun writing that?

A. It was fun. It also took a great amount of courage, and all that studying. I drenched myself in research. I read over and over and over again all the stories in the Bible. A lot of thought went into it.

The Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic writing. I read it in college and it is pretty bad. The fact that Rice not only read it, but mirrored it in her book is troubling. I would rather have her simply make some stuff up than reference to a work that is false and tries to pass itself off as authentic. “The Da Vinci Code” appeals to The Gospel of Thomas as well. Neither of which are historically accurate. Another book by a popular writer that gives a tip of the hat to it may serve to only make it that much more popular!

In the end, we’ll have to wait and see when the book comes out how well it does. If it is popular enough we can probably count on a major motion picture.

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  • The book’s out. I was perusing through it last night and read the first several pages. I noticed the GofThomas references at the beginning and it turned me off. I still may read it, but that certainly didn’t make it any more enticing to me.

  • Thanks Steve. I didn’t pay real close attention to the release date but since she was in the Trib it makes sense that its out.

    I should probably read it as it will most likely be a significant book.

  • Is this the same Tim Etherington that was once stationed at Edwards AFB?

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