I have sympathy for anyone who finds consolation anywhere we can. And many people do find it in religious tradition as it has been. I mean, I love much of that tradition. But somehow, that just didn’t speak to me in the way that it does to some.
We seem wired to grieve with greenery. Allowing the dead to dissolve into the earth, to become part of the cycle of the seasons, has, for millennia, held the promise of cheating mortality.
I did an audiobook for ‘Rough Crossings,’ which I thought was one of the best books I had published. But it was an absolute embarrassment to read it. All these horrible mucked-up bits of syntax, over-the-top adjectives. I found myself editing it while reading. Alert listeners will notice the difference.
Fundamentalism does mean reading quite conservatively and literally, saying ‘the Bible is the word of God and we have to follow it. What it says is this.’
In Mesopotamia or Egypt, for example, the monarch had a god-like religious status. But this is not the case in Judaism. So that notion that religion can go on, when all the markers of power and trappings of monarchy disappear, ultimately serves the endurance of Judaism very well.
After Ann Godoff, who was editor-in-chief at Random House, left and went to Viking, I got to know Viking and the people there, and liked them very much. I also found a wonderful editor there, Wendy Wolf. It’s a very congenial press.
Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sin – a view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.
I felt New York was a big, more stylish, more metropolitan Golders Green. I was thrilled.
The author of the Gospel of Judas wasn’t against martyrdom, and he didn’t ever insult the martyrs. He said it’s one thing to die for God if you have to do that. But it’s another thing to say that’s what God wants, that this is a glorification of God.
What’s different about the Gospel of Thomas is that, instead of focusing entirely on who Jesus is and the wonderful works of Jesus, it focuses on how you and I can find the kingdom of God, or life in the presence of God.