The last temptation
by Brent Beasley
Anne Rice, she of Interview with the Vampire fame, recommitted to her Catholic faith a few years ago and has since dedicated herself to writing novels that explore the life of Jesus. First came Christ the Lord: Out of Egpyt, and in 2008 Rice published Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. This novel, which I am reading now, depicts Jesus’ life as a young adult leading up to his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. It is fiction, of course, but Rice has tried hard to be as faithful to historical knowledge about Jesus’ life and world as possible. She imagines in this novel Jesus facing the temptation as a man in his late 20s to marry like all of his friends and brothers.
As I read last night one particularly powerful scene of Jesus imagining — and ultimately rejecting — that life, I couldn’t help but think of The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. This novel, written in the 1950s, was made into the controversial movie of the same title a few years ago. I never saw the movie and don’t know anything about it, but read the book a couple of years ago. Until reading the book, I never knew what “the last temptation of Christ” was referring to. What was this last temptation? According to Kazantzakis’s story, the last temptation Christ faced was to live a normal life — a wife, 2.3 kids, a dog and a house in a nice neighborhood. It is a fascinating insight to ponder. Read on…