'The Kingdom: A Novel', by Emmanuel Carrère - Review

By Wilson, An | The Spectator, March 18, 2017 | Go to article overview

'The Kingdom: A Novel', by Emmanuel Carrère - Review


Wilson, An, The Spectator


This is an odd one, not least because it claims to be a novel, which it isn't. Emmanuel Carrère, writer and film-maker, looks back on an earlier self when, as a young man, he had a phase of being a devout Catholic, going to Mass daily, making his confession, the whole caboodle. He decides to marry his girlfriend, who is called Anne. We do not hear much about her. He later marries Hélène Devynck. Like the 'real' Carrère, the narrator has a house on the island of Patmos, where much of this book was written -- appropriately, since it is a (sort of) commentary on the New Testament.

As Carrère modestly says, everyone who has ever investigated the origins of Christianity ends up surveying the same relatively small number of sources and documents: the New Testament itself, obviously; the writings of Flavius Josephus, the historian who recorded the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70; the Dead Sea Scrolls (not much there to help us). Christianity or the Christians get brief mention in Tacitus, and the letters of Pliny the Younger. Otherwise you are on your own, and have to decide for yourself what to make of all this strange stuff.

Carrère imagines that James, brother of Jesus and head of the Jerusalem church, really had it in for Paul: indeed, tried to get him bumped off. (Here I felt like Captain Mainwaring -- ' I think you're getting into the realms of fantasy, Jones.')

The character who seems to engage Carrère's imagination most vividly is Luke. In this book, Luke is a disciple of Paul, who accompanies him to Jerusalem for his last journey there. When, at the end of Acts, Paul is left under house arrest in Rome, Carrère seems to think that Luke exaggerated the number of Paul's friends. Although Peter and companions had by then reached the Eternal City, 'no doubt none of them stooped to visiting Paul'.

When Paul was eventually killed by the Romans, it was left to Luke to keep the flame alive. In Carrère's version, Luke wrote some of Paul's later epistles, notably inventing the novelistic details of 2 Timothy, its abusive comments about Alexander the Coppersmith, the request for a cloak left behind in Troas, and its giveaway sentence 'only Luke is with me'. Carrère's Luke also wrote the Epistle of James, which, we learn, is much closer to the sort of things Jesus actually said than anything in Paul's letters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'The Kingdom: A Novel', by Emmanuel Carrère - Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.