Thursday, December 30, 2010
I've just had my review of Alternative Christs published in the Review of Biblical Literature. It's a nice collection of essays about unusual visions of Christ and his significance that have developed over the past 2000 years.
Actually, I think the Revelation of the Magi would agree quite strongly with John 14:6.
And for clarification, when I post these sorts of negative comments, it's not out of self-pity or some related emotion. Instead, they make me genuinely pleased that people have reacted so strongly to my work. It would be much worse simply to be ignored.
This one by John Reilly (a commenter on the blog) calls attention to the text's focus on human inability to speak about the divine, and also to the text's positive view of the Watchers, those folks who started the whole Flood mess.
And here's another review from the Patheos website, by Angelica Nohemi Quinonez. I found the following passage particularly beautiful:
"Revelation of the Magi is a testament to God’s communication with humanity. It is not only that God communicates through the Magi through the star, just as it is not that God communicates Himself to humanity through the incarnation or the cross. Rather, God gives himself to us in love. There is an open invitation to allow that unseen resplendent light to guide us. Revelation of the Magi is, perhaps, a story about us–wanderers in expectation of seeing the mysteries reveal themselves before our eyes, walking in faith, open to truth."
Last but certainly not least, a review by Judith Weingarten, an archaeologist whose blog is truly required reading for those interested in ancient history.
Here's my favorite comment from the ABC website (and this is a comment I genuinely like!):
"The cave is filled with light," Landau said, describing the transcribed text. "They're kind of hesitant about this, but eventually the star...its light concentrates and reveals the small luminous human being...a star child, if you will...it's Christ." -------------- So Jesus was an alien? Well, that's at least as believable as anything else......
As expected, Diane asked great, provocative questions, and deftly managed callers, emailers, tweeters, etc., getting a diverse sampling of opinions and questions.
Of course, not everyone was happy. Here's the first comment of all from the website:
"Your producers are scraping the bottom for guest [sic].
This writer has no hard facts, only vivid imagination."
I do indeed think the writer of the Revelation of the Magi had a vivid imagination, but I don't think that's what the commentator meant.
If you're just finding this for the first time, welcome! If you're looking to buy the book, go here; if you're looking for the dissertation, go here.
Catching up on media to follow shortly.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
This one in the LA Times book section gave it five stars and implied that I was a bit like Dan Brown's Robert Langdon. Not really, but it's quite flattering to be compared with the eminent symbologist.
And this one on the Christian Humanist blog had some extremely interesting things to say.
First, my favorite quote: "And to prove that old texts have their own warped sense of humor, there’s even a baby-switch gag in which Mary panics because she sees one of the Magi’s mystical vision of Christ and thinks that he’s kidnapped baby Jesus. Of course, when she finds the real Jesus back where he should be, the infant gives her a long speech providing her anxious soul comfort. (Yes, you did just read that. You really want to check it out now, don’t you?)."
And second, a very insightful critique of one of my major theses (and one that I don't really have a good answer for at present): "Landau’s footnote to this verse as well as the volume’s concluding essay point to this as evidence of an early “theology of the world’s religions” and speculates that the final episodes in RM might have been later scribal addenda geared towards taking the sting out of such an intellectual novelty. The problem I see with Landau’s approach is that he seems to apply a very modern understanding of “faith” without giving any lexical justification. In modern times, of course, phrases like “interfaith dialogue” and “faith-based organizations” are relatively commonplace: “a faith” in this language-game is Islam, Christianity, or something bearing resemblance to them, and there are a plurality of “faiths” in the world. In legal systems that recognize a plurality of incommensurable “faiths” or “religions,” such a use makes perfect sense, but in an intellectual context that knows syncretism but not pluralism, such a move seems strange."
Monday, December 13, 2010
I've only had a chance to listen to the first three minutes, but I've heard from other people who enjoyed it.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I'm really happy with the piece, but the readers' comments were pretty disappointing overall (and I probably shouldn't have expected otherwise). Lots of proclamations about how Jesus never existed, that Christianity was based on ancient Egyptian mythology, and similarly ignorant stuff.
But, I *loved* this comment, since at least this conspiracy theorist actually read the article:
"The author ignores the possibility that the exclusion of "Jesus" or "Christ" did not appear in the original text, was because those concepts were named well after it was written."
But I do know that I'll be on the Diane Rehm Show on Monday, December 20th, from 11AM-12PM EST (the second hour of the show)! I'm thrilled and flattered to be interviewed by Diane Rehm, as she's one of the best in the business and a huge personal favorite of mine.
I'll post again on these appearances once we get a little closer and I have more info.
NOTE: For y'all in Oklahoma, the Diane Rehm Show is on from 9AM-11AM CST, so I'll be on from 10-11. And for those of you in Arizona, I've heard reports that the second hour is on first (??), from 9-10. Beyond that, check your local listings! And if you miss it, I'm sure it will be available at the NPR website in perpetuity.
KGOU, the National Public Radio affiliate here in Norman, OK, will be airing an interview with me about the book on Monday, December 13th (that's tomorrow) at 11:00AM CST. It will be on the "Oklahoma Voices" program.
So tune in, either on the radio or over the Internet!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
And you can start by looking at their features on the Revelation of the Magi, here and here!
And for the record, listening to a stage actor read my English translation of the Syriac has been by far the most surreal moment of this experience thus far.
To my delight, the book has already generated a fair amount of interest, so this blog will keep track of news stories, reviews, media appearances, and the like.
For starters, here's a link to where you can buy the book.
And if you'd like to browse the book, go here.
Lastly, this book is an adaptation of my dissertation. If you're interested in a more technical, scholarly approach to the Revelation of the Magi, you can access my dissertation here.