Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fiction from Fact

It sounds political, but it's not... well not explicitly.

I started reading Jose Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. I first read Saramago's Blindness in the FoFBC, the quarterly book swap I participate in and loved it so I wanted to read more of his work, but hadn't really had time between school, love, and The Moor's Last Sigh.

What I particularly like about Saramago's style is how he uses... or expresses some statement of fact or logic which then drives the way the narrative unfolds. In Blindness, it was often some idea of human nature, which led to a simultaneously horrifying and inspiring story.

The Gospel is what it sounds like, a retelling of the Gospels set more as a historical novel. What comes out is an intriguing portrayal of what Joseph and Mary’s lives were like, with gender roles, with Roman occupation, with geographical background. A far cry from the nativity scenes and iconography we’ve grown accustom.

There are departures from the scriptures yes, but scripture departs from its context.The novel is powerful reminder that as much as people believe the Bible is God’s word, it was written by men, and translated by lesser men. It also reminds the reader that though there is familiarity with the Gospel story, there isn’t familiarity with the story’s setting, which can be powerful for anyone who begins to the study the bible not as scripture, but as literature. Therein lies the political.

Lastly, it occurred to me that as I and my friends succeed and flounder in this mortal coil, we are the age at which Jesus began his preaching. Let’s not forget the power a young thirtysomething can have on this world. Again, the political.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home