I had no idea I would enjoy Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, by Anne Rice, this much.
This book is clearly fiction, and that should be kept in mind. However, Rice has given us both a researched and a readable look at the childhood of Jesus. Somehow she has portrayed Jesus dealing with both his divinity and humanity even as a seven year old. There is a wide array of perspective on what the cultural upbringing of Jesus looked like, let alone who he himself was. Rice has presented a Jesus that any conservative scholar can welcome, and placed him in a setting that any historian can deem credible. I am adding this book to my recommended reading list simply because I think anyone would find this an accessible way to begin to have an understanding of the cultural realities that framed the ministry of Jesus.
Equally compelling is her Author’s Note at the end where she describes her own journey from a churchgoer as a child, to an atheist, and back to a believer in the past decade. She describes her studies across the vast array of Jesus scholarship, and names those who have been of greatest value in her work. She gives the most recognition and her strongest recommendation to the study of NT Wright.
With The DaVinci Code set to release this spring, there will be another cry among Christians to find a conservative and reliable presentation of the historical Jesus. Maybe the best resource for many won’t be a reference work, but another fictional novel.