zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (books)
[personal profile] zeborah
I don't think it's really a spoiler in any concrete way for this year's Doctor Who Christmas special to say that if you're going to resurrect someone then, by golly, *that's* the way to go about it. With double-plus cracktastic panache.

Also this morning I got an email from the city library to tell me my request for "Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (a novel)" was available. So then I spent the day reading that. Which is also full of resurrections, starting with Biff and some lizards, and then various attempted, partial, fake, and attempted fake, through to... Well, this is Christ, so y'know. The author treats Jesus completely as the Son of God and completely as human, and the Gospels as pretty much true just with certain omissions. Like the thirty years between Jesus's birth and his ministry; Biff fills in the gaps by describing his childhood and then his quest to learn from the three wise men how to be the Messiah. Fundamentalists would hate it. I loved it.

Favourite quotes!

From the afterword, the author talking: "to remain historically accurate, I would have had to leave out an important question that I felt needed to be addressed, which is, 'What if Jesus had known kung fu?'" Other than that he says he tried to be faithful to his research, though I have certain doubts about relying so heavily on the "eyewitness accounts of [the festival of Kali] from nineteenth-century British soldiers" cited in Joseph Campbell's Oriental Mythology. I haven't read Campbell or the soldiers in question, but it seems to me that there's a certain potential there for bias to creep in, y'know?

But anyway, from the actual story:
Joshua [aka Jesus] reached across the table and took the old man's hand. "You drill us every day in the same movements, we practice the same brush strokes over and over, we chant the same mantras, why? So that these actions will become natural, spontaneous, without being diluted by thought, right?"

"Yes," said Gaspar [aka one of the three wise men aka the anachronistic pseudo-Bodhidharma].

"Compassion is the same way," said Joshua. "That's what the yeti knew. He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words. That's what he taught me. Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell. That was his gift."


Maggie (aka Mary the Magdalene) talking to Joshua about the disciples: "Every time you give them a new metaphor for the kingdom they see the metaphor, a mustard seed, a field, a garden, a vineyard, it's like pointing something out to a cat -- the cat looks at your finger, not at what you're pointing at." (In context she's saying that this doesn't matter because faith's more important than intelligence, but I just love that simile, because I keep trying to point things out to Boots and she keeps wondering what's so interesting about my finger.)

In summary: Awesome book. (ETA: Er, other than that whole cultural appropriation thing - there was besides what I already mentioned the whole exotic oriental magician thing, plus a certain amount of "Yay, Chinese concubines!" on the parts of Biff and the author. But besides that, if that's the kind of thing you can put aside.) I must recommend to the library that they not put it back into storage, especially seeing as how someone else was reading it when I requested it so it's clearly not as unpopular as they thought.
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