I just finished reading Anne Rice’s latest book, Christ the Lord: Out of
2. I can’t write with knowledge about those earlier books because I’ve never read any of them. I have been aware of her reputation as a “vampire” writer, and I have avoided those books on purpose. But I have plenty to say about Christ the Lord: Out of
3. It was a little ironic to read the list of books written “also by Anne Rice”—things like Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Mummy . . . –and then to consider this title, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt . I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about it.
4. This is an amazing book. It is a first-person narrative about Jesus, as the title says. It covers about a year in his life as a child, when his large family comes back to
5. In the “Introduction to the Paperback Edition,” Rice says, in part, that her story assumes that God “became human in the person of Jesus Christ and ‘dwelt among us.’ The magnificent mystery of the Incarnation is accepted and affirmed as fact.”6. She says in the introduction that she used scripture to re-create the “emotions and powers of the Child Jesus.” In the author’s notes at the end of the book, she says that for a number of the incidents in the book, she used legends as set forth in the Apocrypha, stories and visions familiar to people for centuries.
7. The story seems very realistic as it presents the mind of the young Jesus. In the story, he is puzzled because he has miraculous powers—for example, the power to make living birds from clay, to heal sick people, to stop rain. He tries not to do these things, in obedience to Joseph and Mary, who discourage such acts. They don’t want to explain any of his beginnings to him until he is old enough to understand
8. We really have no early record in the Gospels of what Jesus was like as a child. I have wondered if he knew all along who he was or if he became aware of it gradually, and how that might have happened. To me, Rice’s interpretation makes sense; I believe that Jesus’ childhood could have been the way she portrays it. Some people would worry that her presentation of Jesus might be blasphemous, but she does it in a humble, loving, spiritual way.
9. The book won Beliefnet’s award for Best Spiritual Book of the Year—2005.
10. Just as amazing as the story itself is Rice’s story in the author’s notes of how she came back to faith. She grew up in the Catholic Church but she fell away from belief at the age of eighteen. She and her husband Stan Rice were avowed atheists for about thirty years.
11. She wrote that her first novel was a reflection of her misery and guilt “in being cut off from God and from salvation; . . . being lost in a world without light” (323). She said, “After that, I wrote many novels without my being aware that they reflected my quest for meaning in a world without God” (323).
12. She read countless scholarly books in preparation for writing about the life of Jesus, including both skeptical and faith-based approaches to the New Testament, history, and philosophy. She read a number of works by N. T. Wright; she said “. . .his generosity in embracing the skeptics and commenting on their arguments is an inspiration. His faith is immense, and his knowledge vast” (335).
13. She fell in love with Jesus. She said she offers this book to Christians of all persuasions “in the hope that my embrace of more conservative doctrines will have some coherence for them in the here and now of the book” (337). She offers it “to scholars in the hope that they will perhaps enjoy seeing the evidence of the research that’s gone into it . . .” (338). She hopes that people who don’t know Jesus Christ “will see him in some form” in the book. And finally, she offers it to her faithful readers “in the hope that Jesus will be as real to you as any other character I’ve ever launched into the world we share” because in truth, Jesus is “the ultimate supernatural hero” (338).
Rice said in a Christianity Today interview: "This book means more to me than anything I've ever done. I'm not offering agnostic explanations. He is real. He worked miracles. He is the Son of God! And there is so much more to write."
It’s a wonderful story—read it! Here’s a link to her web site.