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The Kingdom

by Emmanuel Carrère

Myth or truth? This genre-defying novel combines speculative fiction, memoir and documentary approach to explore testimony versus factual evidence in the New Testament accounts. As a book within a book, written during a crisis of faith, it is as much about the author as his fascinating subject. His intimate conversational style is witty, engaging and thought-provoking, whilst the topic should interest believers and non-believers alike.

Extract

Now I know you have to be careful about making facile comparisons, but for me this infatuation with Judaism, so widespread on the Mediterranean coast in the first century, is a little like the interest in Buddhism today: a religion that was both more humane and more refined, with that extra bit of soulfulness that was lacking in the waning paganism of the day. I have no idea just how fervently the Greeks in Pericles’ day believed in their myths, but it’s certain that five centuries later they no longer did, and neither did the Roman who conquered them. Or, in any case, most people no longer believed in them, just like most people no longer believe in Christianity... People believed in Zeus hurling bolts of lightning the way children believe today believe in Santa Claus: not for long, and not really.
Translated by John Lambert

Parallels

Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
A Time for Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
 

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