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Anne Rice’s Jesus

By now, you’ve likely read something about Anne Rice’s new Jesus book (if not, you haven’t been reading PaleoJudaica, Relapsed Catholic, Get Religion, Holy Weblog and most especially Mark Shea).
Anyway, the story’s pretty simple: Anne Rice is back on the faithful Catholicism train, committing herself “that I would not write anything that wasn’t for Christ.” Her first stop: writing a three-part Jesus biography in first-person narrative.
It’s an interesting story for a number of reasons. The one I’m most interested in that hasn’t been much discussed is how, as a faithful Catholic, she’s choosing certain academic assessments (such as when Jesus lived) to make her novel better (so that Jesus can meet Philo, for instance).
But covering this story straightforwardly is being done absolutely everywhere. What could I do to get published on this story?
I came up with a parody piece that Radar commissioned but ultimately decided wasn’t for them, so I’m publishing it here. The basic idea is that Rice is actually rewriting the New Testament with Jesus as a vampire.
What follows is the rough draft that came out of this idea.

Anne Rice is the queen of vampires, having written a gazillion novels about them. So it comes as some surprise that her latest book is actually a biography of Jesus. Or, at least, it was surprising until we got a sneak peek at an advance copy. What follows are some excerpts that you’ll surely find horrifying; that will make your skin crawl; that will keep you up nights; etc.
Water into Wine (Matthew 2:3-10). This passage comes just as Jesus has recruited his first few disciples and returned home to Nazareth to see his mother. He’s yet to really announce himself as a miraculous figure, and is hesitant to reveal his powers, when Mary asks him to provide more wine at a wedding party that’s run out.

2 And Jesus brought his disciples with him to the marriage. 3 And seeing that the party no longer had any wine, Mary told Jesus to intervene. 4 And Jesus asked Mary “What can I do? It’s not my time yet.? 5 But Mary took no note of his words, and approached the servants, telling them “Whatever He saith unto you, do it,? and left. 6 And there were six waterpots there, such as the Jews would use in their purifying rituals. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Lean over the waterpots.? 8 And all at once, Jesus bit into their necks, and their blood drained into them, filling them to the brim. 9 And when the red elixir had been served, the caterer of the feast spat it out, and said to the bridegroom “You’re supposed to serve the bad wine at the end of the feast, but this stuff is awful.? 10 And the bridegroom tasted the wine, and screamed “Behold, it is blood!? And as he did so, Jesus exited the house, tossing the six dead servants to the ground, with their blood dripping down his beard. And the partiers shrieked and howled as they ran home and gathered their garlic.

Jesus’ Intermediary Narratives. Jesus’ Intermediary Narratives. The New Testament is replete with instances of Jesus healing the sick, providing bounty for the poor, and performing other seemingly impossible feats. These, too, receive a treatment that traditional adherents might find shocking.
For one thing, Jesus’ “healings? have become “immortalizations? – Jesus simply bites the sick, turning them into immortals who are no longer blind, can walk, and the like, but in exchange for that have become part of his brood of vampires.
What’s more, some of the healing narratives take on a decidedly different character. Whereas one healing narrative has a sick man being brought in through a hole in the roof because he couldn’t get through surrounding crowds, Rice changes the story as relayed in Mark 2:

2 And Jesus had gathered around him many to learn, but kept the doors and windows shut. 3 And some people came to the house bearing a paralytic. 4 And Jesus demanded that they not open the doors, teaching them that sunlight would kill him, but suggested instead that they send the man down the chimney.

As well, the instances in which Jesus multiplied barley loaves and fish to feed thousands bear little resemblance to the original story, as in this retelling of John 6:

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Phillip “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?? 6 He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do. 7 Phillip answered him “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!? 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?? 10 Jesus said “Have the people sit down.? There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves and fish, and put them aside. Thereupon, he drained the blood of all five thousand, as his disciples looked on in horror, for this was the first time they’d seen him kill men. And as Jesus dropped the last corpse to the ground, he declared, blood coming from his mouth, “None of these men shall again know hunger.?

After Jesus makes all his disciples into vampires, they get in on the act, too. As in the famous “walking on water? passage from Matthew 14:

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, flying over the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him flying over the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a bat? they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.? 28 “Lord, if it’s you,? Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.? 29 “Come,? He said. Then Peter got down out of the bat, became a bat, as well, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!? 31 Immediately, Jesus caught him. “You of little blood,? He said, “You should have drunk more to have the strength to fly better.?

The Sermon on the Mount is altered, too, such as in Jesus’s iteration of the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do, do also to them, that by biting them they shall come to bite others.?
Interestingly, Jesus’ instructions during the Last Supper aren’t changed at all:

51 I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. 52 If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. 53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 57 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him. 58 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eats me, the same also shall live by me. 59 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eats this bread shall live forever.

A surprising twist comes when, instead of being hung on a cross at the instruction of Pontius Pilate, Jesus is stabbed with a cross by Buffy-us Pilate. The three days of death take place in a coffin, not a cave. And after resurrection, Jesus doesn’t ascend but simply takes His followers to Transylvania.

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