The Gospel According to the Son

The Gospel According to the Son

Book - 1997
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The autobiography of Jesus Christ, written by him after his ascension into heaven. The novel opens with his youth as a carpenter, gives his reaction to God's announcement of his mission to save mankind, and describes the terror of the crucifixion. Christ analyzes his two sides--the divine and the human--and recalls his debates with the devil.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [1997]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©1997
ISBN: 9780679457831
0679457836
Branch Call Number: FIC MAIL
Characteristics: 242 pages ; 22 cm

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l
lukasevansherman
Jul 14, 2020

"Please shut up. I don't know you."-J.C. on N.M.

m
maiki69
Nov 23, 2019

On any given Sunday, one can walk into a dozen churches in America and come away with as many versions of Christianity. There's no tenet at its foundation that makes this so. It's not the result of conspiracy - unless you believe Lucifer himself is behind it, stirring the pot in an effort to confuse people as to the true nature of God. Nor is secularism - that despised and oft preached against seven-headed horned beast - the cause. More likely, the root lies in Christianity itself, a hybrid of religious customs with a history of tripping over its own feet in an effort to appease ruling classes for its survival, growth, and prosperity. There's no explaining why one church is all-inclusive while the next is filled with bigots. One church finds power in the message of salvation; another keeps their congregation spellbound with fear. These are probably results of cultural influences. It's expected houses of worship in the South are more segregated than ones in the North, but what, besides geography, is behind the wide variances in worship?

Pulitzer prizewinner Norman Mailer takes on the thankless task of sorting out Christian theology. He doesn't just ask why Christianity comes in so many different flavors, he asks What is the foundation of it? The first question is easy enough. If you've ever read the New Testament, you've probably noticed there are four different versions of events surrounding Christ's life. These are the Gospels; more specifically, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That in itself - four versions of the same events - is cause enough for confusion and differences in churches. But Mailer doesn't stop there. Rather than play the role of theologian, droning on about his opinions and backing them with scriptures that fit accordingly, he asks himself, What would a gospel look like written by Christ? The result is THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON (Random House, $13.95).

THE GOSPEL opens with Christ reflecting on the four gospels at the foundation of Christianity. Immediately, He distances Himself from them, dismissing them as accounts written by men after-the-fact in attempts to increase their flocks. "Their words were written many years after I was gone and only repeat what old men told them," Christ writes. "Very old men." The majority of religious historians accept this, even though preachers like to claim otherwise. Two thousand years later, numbers still trump accuracy.

In Christ's time, Jerusalem is under Roman rule. The Great Temple still stood in the holy city, and the Pharisees who ran it hoarded its wealth, neglecting the poor. This struggle between the rich, pious temple authorities and the impoverished masses is at the core of THE GOSPEL. Christ stresses it repeatedly, warning it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Today, in a nation which likes to call itself Christian, narcissistic reality television stars get elected to positions of power, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, and churches seem more interested in erecting super structures to themselves than helping the poor. How similar to Christ's Jerusalem this looks.

It's easy to imagine the power such a gospel would hold in a world where not even His followers can agree on what Christianity is. A single gospel set down by Christ, settling the disparities between the accepted gospels, would be revolutionary. How different might the Church look and act then, unified by doctrine. Though its interesting to consider, in reality THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON remains the stuff of fiction.

crankylibrarian Sep 19, 2011

This re-telling of the gospel from J.C.'s point of view was neither revelatory nor revolutionary. Frankly it was kinda boring. Phillip Pullman's _The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ_ is a far more original and insightful take on the same topic.

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m
maiki69
Nov 23, 2019

Pulitzer prizewinner Norman Mailer takes on the thankless task of sorting out Christian theology. He doesn't just ask why Christianity comes in so many different flavors, he asks What is the foundation of it? The first question is easy enough. If you've ever read the New Testament, you've probably noticed there are four different versions of events surrounding Christ's life. These are the Gospels; more specifically, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That in itself - four versions of the same events - is cause enough for confusion and differences in churches. But Mailer doesn't stop there. Rather than play the role of theologian, droning on about his opinions and backing them with scriptures that fit accordingly, he asks himself, What would a gospel look like written by Christ? The result is THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON (Random House, $13.95).

As THE GOSPEL follows Christ's ministry, we find He's a none too eager Messiah. He's coming to terms with His destiny, and not without a bit of self-doubt. He enjoys His wine, and is naive when it comes to women. For the most part, Mailer is true to the larger aspects of events set down in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Variances are slight, mostly just in Christ's reflection on Himself and the miracles of the day. Upon feeding the multitudes, He supposes it will be blown totally out of proportion, claiming He just divided the fish up into very small portions so it went further. Over other miracles He's just as amazed as everybody else.

Mailer shows great restraint in the liberties he takes with Christ's story. What could have been a hatchet job is instead a thoughtful fictitious account of the most controversial figure in Western history. Although it's a novel, Mailer writes in a scriptural style. The chapters are short and the language is direct and to the point. The result is an eloquent account of Christ's ministry as if coming from Jesus Himself.

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m
maiki69
Nov 23, 2019

Their words were written many years after I was gone and only repeat what old men told them . . . Very old men."
-Jesus of Nazareth, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON, by Norman Mailer

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