I received a kind email the other day from the novelist Anne Rice. It appears that she came to my site looking for information on recent manuscript finds in Israel and wanted to convey thanks for my “interesting articles on many subjects.”
In turn, I thought I would put a plug in for her latest work, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt: A Novel (Knopf, 2005; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com). I recognize that for the blogosphere this is old news (the book came out over a year ago! That’s like eternity on the ‘net!), but it is a novel worth reading.
Christ the Lord is an engaging novel written from the perspective of a seven year old Jesus returning to Nazareth with his family after living in exile in Egypt to escape King Herod’s clutches. Writing a book about the adolescent Jesus was quite the departure for the author who made her mark on the literary world by writing about vampires, but the novel is wonderfully written and well-researched. Rice draws from a wide array of sources for her inspiration, including, of course, the canonical gospels (which are admittedly sparse on the topic of Jesus’ adolescence), but also apocryphal works like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, scholarly understandings of first century Palestine, and traditional Catholic teachings. The result is a compelling coming of age story.
That being said, this is a work of historical fiction and you shouldn’t base your theology on it (for example, one problem that Michael Pahl notes — and I agree with — concerns her portrayal of Jesus’ strong messianic consciousness; others would include her use of apocryphal material).
If you are interested in more information about Rice’s novel and potential film plans, you can check out her site.