Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jesus, According to Norman Mailer Author's Moments of Depth Are Too Few in Ambitious `Gospel'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jesus, According to Norman Mailer Author's Moments of Depth Are Too Few in Ambitious `Gospel'

Article excerpt

The Gospel According to the Son

A novel by Norman Mailer

243 pages, Random House, $22 **** SETTING HIMSELF UP to tell the "true truth" about Jesus, Norman Mailer poses a series of interesting questions, but never really reaches an adequate answer. Rather, he argues with himself about the nature of Jesus, as God and/or man, supposedly gentle, yet full of rage, allegedly self-confident, yet full of fears, and, often beset with the dueling voices of God and Satan. All in all, Mailer baits an interesting hook, but fails to land the fish. "The Gospel According to the Son" retells familiar Biblical stories, fills in often-questioned lacunae, and addresses long-speculated matters of theological speculation and curiosity, (Jesus' "lost" years, between 12 and 30, for example). Mailer "explains" his birth, baptism, public life, and passion and death in a series of growing awarenesses that acquire an awkward "split screen" effect as God seems to take over, and the haunting, alluring voice of Satan distracts Jesus during crucial moments. God puts words in Jesus' mouth, alternately scorning Satan and providing messages of wisdom and guidance. Readers familiar with scripture, either through their own faith or personal religious experience, or even those with a latent recognition of the basic "story," will find the book easy reading as Mailer lopes through travels in the countryside, selection of the apostles, cleansing the Temple, and any number of miracles and cures. Beyond the readily familiar, though, Mailer adds little substance, insight or depth, despite his early intention to do just that, when Jesus declares his desire to "remain closer to the truth" than the other Gospel writers. They, he asserts, wrote often to increase membership in their own various churches, but his intent is simply to tell the story. What is interesting, and what does provide some substance for one's own reflections on faith, freedom and forgiveness, are the all-too-rare reflections of Jesus with Mary of Magdala and Judas Iscariot. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.