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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fictional versions of the myth of Jesus in the modern period Perry, Sylvia Margaret 1974

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FICTIONAL VERSIONS OF THE MYTH OF JESUS IN THE MODERN PERIOD by SYLVIA PERRY B.A. (Hons. E n g l i s h ) , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department o f ENGLISH We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d s tandard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1974 In p resen t ing t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requi rements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r re fe rence and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permiss ion f o r ex tens i ve copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g ran ted by the Head o f my Department or by h is r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l no t be a l lowed w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver V6T1W5, Canada Date i i ABSTRACT For a b r i e f pe r iod i n the h i s t o r y o f Western l i t e r a t u r e , l i b e r a t e d , y e t d i s t u r b e d , by the d e c l i n e i n f a i t h , some impor tan t w r i t e r s sought t o " improve" upon the myth o f Jesus by r e - c o n s t r u c t i n g h i s h i s t o r i c a l l i f e i n i m a g i n a t i v e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f va r ious t y p e s . This paper i s concerned w i t h such works o f f i c t i o n and prose drama, not p o e t r y , poe t i c drama, or convent iona l b iography. Ernest Renan's L i f e o f Jesus, pub l i shed i n 1863, p rov ided the impetus f o r f i c t i o n a l ve rs ions o f the l i f e by such w r i t e r s o f the e a r l y modern pe r iod as George Moore and Bernard Shaw; Moore's The Brook  K e r i t h was a major i n f l u e n c e on the w r i t e r s o f the next g e n e r a t i o n , i n c l u d i n g D.H. Lawrence and Robert Graves. The w r i t e r s tend t o c rea te Jesus i n t h e i r own image, thus many and v a r i e d are the p o r t r a i t s they p resen t . The r e s u l t i s an e x c l u s i v e l y human h e r o , what Schwei tzer c a l l s " t h e h a l f - h i s t o r i c a l , ha l f -modern J e s u s , " i n t e r e s t i n g as a stage i n the e v o l u t i o n o f a new h e r o - f i g u r e , but l a c k i n g the superna tu ra l q u a l i t y necessary f o r a g r e a t r e l i g i o u s symbol . However, i n t h i s process o f " d e - m y t h o l o g i z a t i o n , " as T i l l i c h c a l l s i t , many works o f l i t e r a r y m e r i t were produced; some o f the most o r i g i n a l a t t e m p t . t o i n t r o d u c e the femin ine p r i n c i p l e i n t o t h i s most mascul ine o f myths, i n common w i t h modern p a t t e r n s o f though t . The l a s t work examined, Kazantzak is ' The Last Temptat ion o f C h r i s t (1948) , i s a lso one o f the best f i c t i o n a l ve rs ions o f the l i f e ever w r i t t e n . i i i CONTENTS PAGE PREFACE i v INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER I . SHAW, MOORE AND HARRIS 14 I I . THE NEXT GENERATION: MURRY, LAWRENCE, MAURIAC, SAYERS, GRAVES AND KAZANTZAKIS 47 CONCLUSION . . . . . . 86 POSTSCRIPT 88 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY . 91 i v PREFACE As late as 1968, when he wrote the "Introduction" to the Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology, Robert Graves found i t necessary to account for the omission of " a l l Biblical narratives, even when closely paralleled by myths from Persia, Babylonia, Egypt and Greece; and of a l l hagiological legends. . . ." This omission was made because "mythology is the study of whatever religious or heroic legends are so foreign to a student's experience that he cannot believe them to be true." In other respects, he feels the Encyclopaedia to be a comprehensive work. It is ironical that the most far-reaching myth of modern times should be thus excluded, for there is a vast bulk of literature, at least since Strauss's f i r s t Life of Jesus, published 1835/6, which applies the concept of myth to the New Testament narratives in the same way in which i t has been applied to the Old Testament stories for years. Even Strauss is far from being the f i r s t to apply mythical interpretations to the Gospel, but as Albert Schweitzer points out, he was the f i r s t to do so consistently, not confining his work to the virgin birth and the resurrection, but looking at the whole l i f e of Jesus. He was able to do this because he did not believe that any of the evangelists were actual eye witnesses; and because he was not affronted by the use of the word "myth", seeing i t as "the clothing in historic form of religious ideas shaped by the unconsciously inventive power of legend, and V embodied i n a h i s t o r i c p e r s o n a l i t y . " ^ The h i s t o r i c Jesus had t o appear i n " t h e garb o f Old Testament Messianic ideas and p r i m i t i v e C h r i s t i a n e x p e c t a t i o n s . " Strauss had been f r e e d f rom or thodox b e l i e f by Hegel 's ph i l osophy , which had opened h i s eyes t o the "mys t i c i n t e r p e n e t r a t i o n 2 of . . . God and man" l eav ing him ready t o accept the apparent con-t r a d i c t i o n s i n the idea o f God-manhood, syn thes ized i n the h i s t o r i c p e r s o n a l i t y o f Jesus. For Schwe i tze r , Strauss goes too f a r i n d i s c o u n t -ing superna tu ra l elements i n the l i f e , but he recognizes the immense sensat ion t h a t the p u b l i c a t i o n o f the book caused a t the t i m e , and i t s f a r - r e a c h i n g e f f e c t s on European thought and w r i t i n g . Schwei tzer h i m s e l f , a t the end o f h i s b r i l l i a n t s t u d y , sees the u t t e r nega t i v i sm o f i t s r e s u l t s : The Jesus o f Nazareth who came fo rward p u b l i c l y as the Messiah, who preached the e t h i c o f the Kingdom o f God, who founded the Kingdom o f Heaven upon e a r t h , and d ied t o g i v e His work i t s f i n a l consecra-t i o n , never had any e x i s t e n c e . He i s a f i g u r e designed by r a t i o n a l i s m , endowed w i t h l i f e by l i b e r a l i s m , and c l o t h e d by modern theo logy i n an h i s t o r i c a l ga rb .3 The h a l f - h i s t o r i c a l , ha l f -modern Jesus w i l l never work f o r anyone; what does work f o r mankind, o r a t l e a s t f o r Schwe i tze r , i s the f a c t t h a t "a mighty s p i r i t u a l f o r c e streams f o r t h f rom Him and f lows through our t ime a l s o . " He can be understood on ly by c o n t a c t A l b e r t Schwei tzer , The Quest o f the H i s t o r i c a l Jesus, (New York: Macmi l lan , 1959) , p. 79. Schwei tzer , p. 79. 3 Schwei tzer , p. 396. v i w i t h h i s s p i r i t , he was "no t t e a c h e r , not a c a s u i s t ; He was an imper ious 4 r u l e r . . . " and can be comprehended on ly by an a c t o f f a i t h . Th is conc lus ion i s echoed and adapted by T i l l i c h i n 1957, when he s p e c i f i c a l l y t u r n s h i s a t t e n t i o n to what he c a l l s "demytho log iza -t i o n " , a negat ive and a r t i f i c i a l approach which must be a t tacked and r e j e c t e d i f i t means complete removal o f symbols and myths. T i l l i c h f e e l s t h a t C h r i s t i a n i t y r e s t s on a "broken myth" which can and must be accepted even by men who have reached the stage o f q u e s t i o n i n g my tho log ica l v i s i o n s as l i t e r a l . In o t h e r words , he f e e l s i t i s both poss ib le and d e s i r a b l e f o r men t o subscr ibe t o the r e l i g i o n even a f t e r they become conscious o f i t s symbol ic c h a r a c t e r . " C h r i s t i a n i t y " he says i s " s u p e r i o r t o those r e l i g i o n s which are bound t o a n a t u r a l myth. But C h r i s t i a n i t y speaks the m y t h o l o g i c a l language l i k e every o t h e r r e l i g i o n . Many o f the major w r i t e r s o f the l a s t hundred y e a r s , s ince Ernest Renan wro te h i s L i f e o f Jesus i n 1863, have a t tempted t o present t h i s " h a l f - h i s t o r i c a l , ha l f -modern " Jesus i n works o f f i c t i o n and drama; and the r e s u l t s tend t o bear ou t S c h w e i t z e r ' s a s s e r t i o n r a t h e r than T i l l i c h ' s compromise. The i r o f t e n v a l i a n t e f f o r t s to mend the o l d my th , i n keeping w i t h t h e i r p r e j u d i c e s o f c o u r s e , f a i l comple te ly to r e e s t a b l i s h the f i g u r e o f Jesus ; but they are ext remely i n t e r e s t i n g as c o n t r i b u t i o n s towards a new, s t i l l l a r g e l y u n r e a l i z e d p a t t e r n o f b e l i e f , based on a new model . 4 Schwe i tze r , p. 4 0 1 . 5 Paul T i l l i c h , Dynamics o f F a i t h , (London: George A l l e n & Unwin, 1957) , p. 50. 6 T i l l i c h , p. 54. 1 INTRODUCTION The C h r i s t i a n myth , l i k e any r e s u r r e c t i o n my th , depends on a s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m ; a l t h o u g h , o f cou rse , pagan vers ions o f the myth c a r r y w i t h them promises o f e a r t h l y s u r v i v a l , sometimes the ac tua l renewal o f the hero h i m s e l f , w h i l e Jesus r e t u r n s on l y b r i e f l y be fo re m e l t i n g i n t o the a b s t r a c t heaven he i n v i t e s mankind t o share one day. (He w i l l , o f course , r e v i s i t e a r t h once more t o c o l l e c t the chosen.) Terence Des Pres w r i t i n g i n Encounter , September, 1971 , says : Our most se r ious models, those who f o r c e n t u r i e s have commanded love and i m i t a t i o n , draw t h e i r sa n c t i o n and compe l l ing s t r e n g t h f rom dea th . C h r i s t , Soc ra tes , the t r a g i c hero f rom Ant igone t o Samson t o Becket , a l l are s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m s , a l l d i e t o reso lve c o n f l i c t , to r e - a f f i r m a l a r g e r o r d e r , to ensure t h a t the s p i r i t they speak f o r w i l l not p e r i s h . But t imes change, and w i t h i n a landscape o f t o t a l d i s a s t e r , p laces l i k e Auschw i t z , H i rosh ima , the hamlets o f V i e t Nam where men d i e by thousands, where machines reduce courage t o s t u p i d i t y and dy ing to a k i n d o f c o m p l i c i t y w i t h a g g r e s s i o n , i t makes l i t t l e sense to speak o f the d i g n i t y o f death^or o f i t s communal b l e s s i n g . 7 What i s r e q u i r e d now, says Des Pres , i s a S u r v i v o r . He demonstrates c o n v i n c i n g l y t h a t t h i s S u r v i v o r , i n f l e s h as w e l l as i n s p i r i t , a l ready dominates our c u l t u r a l y e a r n i n g s , and i s best e x e m p l i f i e d i n the works o f such w r i t e r s as A l b e r t Camus and Alexander S o l z h e n i t s y n . "The S u r v i v o r " , Encounter , V o l . x x x v i i , No. 3, p. 4 . 2 But be fo re t h i s a n t i - h e r o cou ld be b o r n , t h e r e was a long p e r i o d o f l i t e r a r y g e s t a t i o n ; and i t i s d u r i n g t h i s t ime t h a t many w r i t e r s who thought they were h e l p i n g to s u s t a i n the C h r i s t my th , u s u a l l y by m o d i f i c a t i o n s and omissions to make i t " r e l e v a n t " t o the age, were a c t u a l l y hasten ing i t s demise. Many i n t e r e s t i n g p ieces o f work were produced, c r e a t i n g , a t l e a s t f o r contemporary r e a d e r s , who seem o f t e n to have comple te ly misunderstood the impor t o f the work i n q u e s t i o n , a c o m f o r t i n g , f i c t i o n a l Jesus who su rv i ves even though God i s dead. Unders tandably , each w r i t e r tends t o r e c r e a t e Jesus i n h i s own image, a t l e a s t i n h i s i d e a l i z e d s e l f - i m a g e , s t a r t i n g w i t h Renan's charming, g e n t l e dreamer. For Moore and Lawrence, he i s the deluded s e l f - s t y l e d messiah, who must be s p i r i t u a l l y r e - b o r n , w i t h a r a d i c a l l y new s e t o f v a l u e s . For the younger Shaw, Jesus i s an a r t i s t and bohemian, a s u p e r - r e a l i s t , capable o f p r o v i d i n g a b l u e p r i n t f o r the s a l v a t i o n o f man on e a r t h ; however, the o l d e r Shaw r e g r e t -f u l l y recognizes t h i s admirab le man has to " v a n i s h " - - t h e L i f e Force w i l l need many o t h e r m a n i f e s t a t i o n s i n o rder t o come to f r u i t i o n . Graves' Jesus i s another i n t e l l e c t u a l man o f a c t i o n ; l e g i t i m a t e h e i r to the throne o f Judah, a sacred k ing who must d i e f o r the Goddess. Kazantzak is ' hero seems c l o s e r t o Moore's and Lawrence's i n h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n to cas t o f f the p a s t , and a l l i t i m p l i e s , i n h i s search f o r f reedom: " I hope f o r n o t h i n g , I f e a r n o t h i n g , I am f r e e . " Most o f the w r i t e r s are uneas i l y aware t h a t the s t o r y o f Jesus i s p r i m a r i l y a myth f o r and about men; and one o f the most impor tan t aspects o f each w r i t e r ' s approach i s h i s a t tempt to r e s o l v e t h i s problem. Some w r i t e r s concent ra te on Mary the Mother , but i f they t r y to p resent 3 her as more than a " v e h i c l e " , they are faced w i t h Jesus ' r e j e c t i o n o f her as he grows to manhood. They deal w i t h t h i s e i t h e r by sent imen-t a l i z i n g the words o f the Gospel , a d i f f i c u l t task w i t h such r e t o r t s as "Woman what have I t o do w i t h t h e e ? " , o r by u n d e r l i n i n g the s t a r k q u a l i t i e s o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p and p r e s e n t i n g a t r a g i c f i g u r e . N e i t h e r method can a l t e r the f a c t t h a t Mary 's r o l e i s v i r t u a l l y l i m i t e d t o her b i o l o g i c a l (no t even mi racu lous i n modern terms) f u n c t i o n a t the beg inn ing o f the s t o r y . I f the w r i t e r s focus on Mary Magdalen, and they o f t e n do, they encounter the dangers o f b r i n g i n g t h e i r a l l - t o o -human hero face t o face w i t h h e r , and must t h e r e f o r e deal w i t h the d i f f i c u l t ques t ion o f Jesus ' s e x u a l i t y . P a r a d o x i c a l l y these w r i t e r s who decide to r e w r i t e the a c t u a l " h i s t o r i c a l " l i f e o f Jesus e n j o y , and s u f f e r f r o m , more freedom than those who a t tempt to " t r a n s f i g u r e " h im. Theodore Z io l kowsk i i n F i c t i o n a l T r a n s f i g u r a t i o n s o f Jesus examines the l a t t e r g roup , i n -c l u d i n g such novels as Mann's The Magic Mounta in , where the w r i t e r t ransposes the myth to o t h e r p e r i o d s , o t h e r s e t t i n g s , y e t must s tay very c lose to the bas ic events o f the l i f e , o r o f cou rse , the symbol ic values are l o s t . There i s a l so a l a r g e group o f r a t h e r t i m i d "b iog raphers " who are f a i t h f u l t o the Gospels , w i t h on ly a h e s i t a n t "perhaps" o r " i t must be t h a t " to i n t r o d u c e l i m i t e d f l i g h t s o f f a n c y , and who deserved ly produce on l y dreary i m i t a t i o n s o f what has been done superb ly i n the Gospels . These can s a f e l y be i g n o r e d . The most g F i c t i o n a l T r a n s f i g u r a t i o n s o f J e s u s , ( P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1972 ) . 4 i n t e r e s t i n g , and i n f l u e n t i a l , f i c t i o n a l ve rs ions o f the l i f e appear t o be w r i t t e n when the a r t i s t h i m s e l f i s i n a s t a t e o f t r a n s i t i o n , r e f l e c t i n g the c o n d i t i o n s o f a s o c i e t y i n t h a t s t a t e o f f e v e r i s h ove r -p roduc t ion preceding d i s i n t e g r a t i o n , a pe r iod w i t h what Rose Macaulay c a l l s "a t e r r i b l e look . . . w i t h too much l i t e r a t u r e and too many r e l i g i o u s t r e n d s . " Men can be s a t i s f i e d w i t h the E v a n g e l i s t s ' ve rs ions o f the s t o r y o f Jesus as long as they b e l i e v e h i s e a r t h l y l i f e i s on l y one a c t , by no means the most i m p o r t a n t , i n h i s drama. Once t h i s b e l i e f i s s e r i o u s l y t h r e a t e n e d , both the w r i t e r and h i s audience are ready to r i s k the loss o f the superna tu ra l i n C h r i s t t h a t might r e s u l t f rom a t o o - s u c c e s s f u l r e - t e l l i n g o f h i s s t o r y . Cer-t a i n l y t h e r e have been e a r l i e r per iods i n C h r i s t i a n sacred a r t when the human Jesus, " d i s f i g u r e d w i t h b lood and g r i e f " ^ has predominated, but a lways , u n t i l the modern p e r i o d , the Holy Ghost hovers i n the b a c k g r o u n d . ^ The d i v i n i t y o f C h r i s t can s u r v i v e the most homely o f genre p a i n t i n g s (always the l i t t l e aureo le de f ines the C h r i s t -c h i l d ) ; p o e t r y , w i t h ' i t s many d imens ions , cannot des t roy i t , bu t the modern novel des t roys i t u t t e r l y . For the novel c e l e b r a t e s l i f e on e a r t h ; i t i s a b l u e p r i n t f o r s u r v i v a l , no t a dream o f d e a t h ; b u i l t o f q Re l ig ious Elements i n Eng l i sh L i t e r a t u r e , (London: Hogarth Press , 1931) , p. 154. ^ D o r o t h y Sayers, The Man Born t o be K i n g , (New York: Harper , 1943) , p. 1 . ^ D i c k e n s ' exaggerated r e v u l s i o n a t M i l l a i s ' famous p a i n t i n g o f C h r i s t i n h i s f a t h e r ' s ca rpen te r shop i s an i n d i c a t i o n o f h i s w e l l -found f e a r s f o r the loss o f the r a t h e r sen t imenta l myth he embraced. His own v e r s i o n o f the l i f e , w r i t t e n f o r h i s c h i l d r e n , i s i n s i p i d , but the myth he c rea ted i n A Christmas C a r o l , a myth o f s u r v i v a l and conquest o f death,has much more to say today . 5 f a c t u a l exp lana t ions i t takes " the hero w i t h a thousand faces " and d iscusses what he wears and e a t s , how he s l e e p s , and w i t h whom; q u i t e l i t e r a l l y " n o t h i n g i s s a c r e d . " The modern p lay i s even more d e s t r u c t i v e , as Shaw r e a l i z e d when he abandoned one o f h i s f i r s t a t tempts a t drama (a l i f e o f Jesus i n b lank v e r s e ) , a t the p o i n t be fore Jesus i s b rought i n f r o n t o f P i l a t e , and ceases, i n Shaw's v iew, to a c t i n c h a r a c t e r . Shaw was a l s o faced w i t h problems o f a Jesus who i s merely a "disembodied vo ice i n the w i n g s " ; t h i s d i f f i c u l t y i s surmounted i n the very success fu l r a d i o p l a y , The Man  Born t o be K ing , but the t o p i c a l i t y demanded by t h i s medium puts o t h e r k inds o f pressures on the a r t i s t , which w i l l be examined i n d e t a i l when Dorothy Sayers ' p lay i s d i scussed . At t h i s p o i n t , i t seems use fu l t o se t ou t the bas ic s t r u c t u r e o f the s t o r y ; which i s a t l e a s t as d i f f i c u l t t o do w i t h the s t o r y o f Jesus as w i t h any g r e a t my th , f o r the gospel i t s e l f comes f o u r f o l d , supplemented by the "Acts o f the A p o s t l e s " , the " L e t t e r s " and "The Reve la t ion o f John" . Mark and John g i ve no data about the ch i ldhood o f Jesus. Both Matthew and Luke ment ion the V i r g i n B i r t h and g i ve Bethlehem as the l o c a t i o n . Matthew descr ibes an a n g e l i c v i s i t t o Joseph, the v i s i t o f the Mag i , and the f l i g h t i n t o Egypt ; w h i l e Luke w r i t e s o f a n g e l i c v i s i t s t o Mary and E l i z a b e t h , the a d o r a t i o n o f the shepherds and the e x p l o i t s o f the boy Jesus i n the Temple. The synop t i c gospels descr ibe Jesus ' bapt ism by John the B a p t i s t (John 1 : 32-33 a l so r e f e r s o b l i q u e l y to i t ) ; and descr ibe the temp ta t i on i n the d e s e r t . They seem to be i n general agreement about many f a c t s o f h i s p u b l i c l i f e ; i t was spent l a r g e l y i n G a l i l e e , a l though i t 6 ended i n Judaea, and c o n s i s t e d o f teach ing and work ing m i r a c l e s - - h e a l i n g m i r a c l e s , na ture m i r a c l e s , r a i s i n g the dead, expu ls ion o f demons—but the re i s g r e a t c o n f u s i o n , even w i t h i n a g o s p e l , as t o the meaning o f these m i r a c l e s . Jesus taught i n parab le and sermon, and, accord ing t o John, a lso by d i s c o u r s e . The main concepts he d iscusses concern a benevo len t , y e t r i g o r o u s God, w i t h whom he i s i n very c lose communicat ion; the es tab l i shment o f a s p i r i t u a l kingdom; the necess i t y f o r repentance and a break w i t h the p a s t ; and, above a l l , the importance o f b e l i e f i n God and love f o r one's fe l lowman. A l l f o u r gospels begin the s t o r y o f the l a s t week w i t h the t r i umphant e n t r y i n t o Jerusa lem; a l l f o u r descr ibe a l a s t supper ; a l l f o u r p o i n t t o Judas as the " p e r f i d i o u s f r i e n d " , a l t h o u g h , o f cou rse , the o t h e r d i s c i p l e s a l so dese r t Jesus i n the Garden o f Gethsemane; and P i l a t e p lays h i s i n t e r e s t i n g r o l e i n each v e r s i o n o f the t r i a l . D e t a i l e d accounts o f the t o r t u r e and C r u c i f i x i o n and Resur rec t i on are g iven i n a l l f o u r g o s p e l s , but the on l y c l e a r d e s c r i p t i o n o f the Ascension i s v g i v e n i n Acts 1:9 - - " a s a c loud removed him f rom t h e i r s i g h t . " A l l f o u r gospels promise a second coming. The e v a n g e l i s t s were w r i t i n g w i t h d i f f e r e n t purposes. Matthew seeks t o conver t the Jews, so he spends much t ime q u o t i n g f rom and i n t e r p r e t i n g the Old Testament; Luke seeks t o conver t the Gen t i l es and w r i t e s a s t o r y w i t h wide genera l a p p e a l ; Mark c h r o n i c l e s deeds r a t h e r than teach ings ( t h e r e i s an o l d t r a d i t i o n t h a t h i s gospel i s based on the memoirs o f P e t e r , the man o f a c t i o n ) ; w h i l e John conducts s o p h i s -t i c a t e d d iscourses o f h i s own compos i t i on . Var ious combinat ions o f d e t a i l s drawn from a l l f o u r o f the gospe ls , p lus some more f lamboyant ideas from the New Testament 7 Apochrypha ( e s p e c i a l l y concerning Mary the M o t h e r ) , t o g e t h e r w i t h c e r t a i n t r a d i t i o n s about Jesus ' con tac ts w i t h the Essenes, l a t e l y g iven substance by the d i scovery o f the Dead Sea S c r o l l s , supply modern w r i t e r s w i t h most o f the m a t e r i a l f o r t h e i r work. What they add i s most o f t e n i n s p i r e d by t h e i r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h v a r i o u s a s p e c t s , o f t e n the mess ian ic , o f t h e i r hero . Some o f them even i d e n t i f y w i t h Judas; and Kazantzak is , f o r one, sees h i m s e l f i n both Jesus and Judas. The s t i p u -l a t i o n o f t e n made t h a t the b iographer must not have an axe o f h i s own to g r i n d seems imposs ib le to meet and many are the mot ives which lead modern w r i t e r s to a t tempt t h i s most d i f f i c u l t o f t a s k s . Yet the best o f them are honest men, and i n the process o f r e v e a l i n g the i nne r l i f e o f Jesus , they make d i s c o v e r i e s about him and about themselves which take them f a r beyond narrow s e l f - i n t e r e s t . This i s p e r f e c t l y obvious i n the f i r s t impor tan t work t h a t must be cons ide red : Renan's L i f e o f  Jesus, pub l i shed i n 1863, and t r a n s l a t e d i n t o Eng l i sh t h a t same y e a r . Th is book was immensely popular i n i t s t ime ( e i g h t e d i t i o n s i n th ree months ) , and i s the b i g g e s t s i n g l e i n f l u e n c e on the works i n the same v e i n which f o l l o w e d i t . The book was based on s o l i d s c h o l a r s h i p - -Renan was a p ro fesso r o f S e m i t i c l a n g u a g e s — b u t d i f f e r e d from o t h e r L ives i n t h a t i t was d e l i b e r a t e l y w r i t t e n not on ly to "p reserve the r e l i g i o u s s p i r i t w h i l s t g e t t i n g r i d o f the s u p e r s t i t i o n s and 12 a b s u r d i t i e s t h a t deform i t , . . . " bu t had a l s o , more i m p o r t a n t l y from a l i t e r a r y p o i n t o f v iew , p re tens ions (some o f which were un-doubted ly r e a l i z e d ) t o being a work o f a r t . For Schwe i tze r , a t l e a s t , i t i s an example o f the p u z z l i n g nature o f French a r t , 12 L i f e o f Jesus, (London: K. P a u l , T rench, Trubner & Company, 1893) , T r a n s l a t o r ' s Pre face . 8 . . . which i n p a i n t i n g grasps nature w i t h a d i r e c t -ness and v i g o u r , w i t h an o b j e c t i v i t y i n the best sense o f the word , such as i s s c a r c e l y to be found i n the a r t o f any o t h e r n a t i o n , . . . [ b u t ] has i n poe t r y t r e a t e d i t i n a fash ion which sca rce l y ever goes beyond the l y r i c a l and s e n t i m e n t a l , the a r t i f i c i a l , the sub-j e c t i v e , i n the wors t sense o f the word.13 The book was the f i r s t "pop" v e r s i o n f o r a C a t h o l i c aud ience, a l though Renan, l i k e so many o f the w r i t e r s who f o l l o w h im, had l o s t h i s C a t h o l i c f a i t h , found " f r e e - t h o u g h t too p lebe ian f o r h i s t a s t e s . . and was b a s i c a l l y a s c e p t i c . The numerous sects i n P ro tes tan t i sm d i d not appeal t o h im. He was a lso confused p o l i t i c -a l l y , being i n t u r n s R o y a l i s t , Republ ican and B o n a p a r t i s t , a l though t h i s may s imply have been expediency. Schwei tzer g ives him c r e d i t f o r o f f e r i n g a Jesus who was a l i v e , whom he had encountered w i t h the help o f h i s a r t i s t i c ima g in a t i on "under the b lue heaven o f G a l i l e e . " However, h i s Jesus seems to be a l ay f i g u r e i n a charming p a s t o r a l scene r a t h e r than a l i v i n g man; and t h e r e i s some j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r Schwe i t ze r ' s summing-up: C h r i s t i a n a r t i n the wors t sense o f the term . . . wax images, the g e n t l e Jesus . . . might be taken over f rom the shop-window o f an e c c l e s i a s t i c a l a r t emporium i n the Place S t . S u l p i c e J 5 The word " c h a r m i n g " , f rom the French "charmant " , Renan's f a v o r i t e a d j e c t i v e , i s o f t e n quoted d e r i s i v e l y by h i s c r i t i c s . Schwe i tze r , p. 181 . ^ R i c h a r d M. Chadbourne, Ernest Renan, (New York: Twayne, 1968) , p. 67. 15 Schwe i tze r , p. 182. Chadbourne's exp lana t i on t h a t he was perhaps us ing i t to mean " c h a r i s m a t i c " . i n the case o f Jesus i s p l a u s i b l e ; however, w h i l e Renan achieves h i s ambi t ion to present an uneducated Jesus , untouched by dogma, a t the same t ime h i s g e n t l e dreamer appears to lack the q u a l i t i e s t h a t heroes and mar ty rs are made o f . A l though most o f Renan's f o l l o w e r s p r e f e r to p resent a Jesus w i t h a l i t t l e more backbone, h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the gospels i s so o f t e n copied t h a t i t i s wor th examining i n d e t a i l . Renan's Jesus was born a t Nazare th ; l a t e r i t was necessary to pretend he was born a t Bethlehem t o f i t i n w i t h Old Testament p rophec ies . His parents were people i n humble c i rcumstances , he was the e l d e s t o f severa l b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r s ; and h i s educat ion was l i m i t e d to Judaism. Mary was the head o f the f a m i l y , Joseph being dead be fore Jesus takes a p u b l i c r o l e . Jesus never mar r ied "hav ing an ext remely d e l i c a t e f e e l i n g towards women. His s u f f e r i n g s i n the dese r t a r e , o f cou rse , p s y c h o l o g i c a l ; and Renan descr ibes h i s development f rom a maker o f " i nnocen t aphor isms" to a po l i cy -maker who would a b o l i s h the law, but the s t r o n g e s t f e e l i n g Renan a l lows him i s "a gloomy r e s e n t m e n t " ^ a g a i n s t h i s enemies. Renan discusses the cyc le o f f a b l e s which are the bas is f o r the s t o r i e s o f supernatura l b i r t h , and the roya l descent f rom Dav id , but he s t resses t h a t Jesus never thought o f h i m s e l f as the i n c a r n a t i o n o f God, a l though he probably " d e l i b e r a t e l y determined to a l l o w h i m s e l f t o be k i l l e d " i n 1 6 R e n a n , p. 80. 1 7 R e n a n , p. 257. 10 order to found h i s kingdom. At t h i s t ime Renan f e l t he seemed " t o t a l l y o u t s i d e nature . . . sometimes one would have s a i d h i s reason was d i s -1 o t u r b e d . " For Renan, "poor" Judas may have s u f f e r e d more from awk-wardness than p e r v e r s i t y , and P i l a t e cou ld s c a r c e l y have acted o t h e r w i s e . Renan hoped t h a t Jesus ' d e l i c a t e c o n s t i t u t i o n brought him a s w i f t d e a t h , a l though he mentions the many ins tances when c r u c i f i e d men were brought back t o l i f e ; on the whole he blames the s t rong imag ina t i on o f Mary Magdalen, who, a f t e r a l l , had once been possessed o f seven d e v i l s , f o r the r e s u r r e c t i o n legends. Every one o f these i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s has been taken and developed i n va r ious ways, but the u n i v e r s a l l y accepted i d e a , not o r i g i n a l w i t h Renan, but f i r s t made e a s i l y a v a i l a b l e to the E n g l i s h -speaking wor ld i n t r a n s l a t i o n s o f h i s L i f e o f Jesus , i s h i s view o f Jesus as " t h e h ig h e s t summit o f human g r e a t n e s s , " the c l o s e s t man has 19 y e t come to d i v i n i t y . I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e t h a t Major-General Lew Wa l lace ' s Ben-Hur: A Tale o f the C h r i s t was pub l i shed i n 1880, on l y seventeen years a f t e r Renan's ve rs ion o f the l i f e . I t seems so s u r e l y o f the 20 modern w o r l d . This very s u c c e s s f u l , s t i l l q u i t e r e a d a b l e , h u c k s t e r ' s v e r s i o n o f the myth i s a p e r f e c t s o l u t i o n f o r those who would have t h e i r cake and eat i t . The s t o r y o f C h r i s t p rov ides a s e n t i m e n t a l , charming backdrop to the robus t a c t i o n s t o r y o f the handsome young ' "Renan, p. 224. 19 Renan, p. 305. 20 Ben-Hur: A Tale o f the Chr is t . (New York: A i r m o n t , 1965). p. 7. (A m i l l i o n copies were d i s t r i b u t e d be fore 1911; i n 1939 Sears Roebuck disposed o f a m i l l i o n copies from a s i n g l e o r d e r . ) 11 Jewish p r i n c e , adopted by a Roman t r i b u n e , who loves the m a r t i a l a r t s , good ho rses , women and money. For a t i m e , Ben-Hur be l i eves Jesus to be the w a r l i k e Messiah I s r a e l has been a w a i t i n g so l o n g ; b u t , w i t h the help o f the magus, B a l t h a s a r , he a t l a s t understands the t r u e na ture o f the Kingdom, and becomes one o f the f i r s t C h r i s t i a n s , f i r s t having p r u d e n t l y removed h i m s e l f and h is money f rom Jerusalem ( " a f l o a t i n the 21 marts o f the wor ld as b i l l s o f exchange") Ben-Hur 's t r a v e l s b r i n g 22 him i n t o con tac t w i t h I r a s , B a l t h a s a r ' s daughte r , a devotee o f I s i s . I r as i s pagan, and t h e r e f o r e i n Wal lace 's t e rms , w o r l d l y , scheming and v o l u p t u o u s , i n c o n t r a s t t o the p u r e , s l a v i s h Es the r , the Jewish g i r l Ben-Hur e v e n t u a l l y m a r r i e s . Both the hero ines " g l i d e " through the n o v e l , bu t I r a s g l i d e s s i n u o u s l y , Esther s u b m i s s i v e l y . I t should s u r p r i s e no one t h a t the V i r g i n Mary i n t h i s v e r s i o n , as i n so many o t h e r s , has b lue eyes and "a f l o o d o f golden h a i r . " Jesus h imse l f has dark b lue eyes, and b r i g h t ches tnu t h a i r . I r a s says: Ins tead o f a S e s o s t r i s r e t u r n i n g i n t r iumph o r a Caesar helmed and sworded- -ha , h a , h a ! - - I saw a man w i t h a woman's face and h a i r , r i d i n g an a s s ' s c o l t and i n t e a r s . The K ing ! The Son o f God! the Redeemer o f the w o r l d ! 23 And one f e e l s a c e r t a i n empathy w i t h her . Never the less , Wa l lace 's v e r s i o n o f the c r u c i f i x i o n i s dramat ic and moving. The e x - C i v i l War General does not s h r i n k from the harsh 'Wa l lace , p. 416. 22 A fo re runner perhaps o f " t he woman who served I s i s " i n Lawrence's "The Man who Died?" 23 Wal lace, p. 410. This view o f Jesus must s u r e l y have been i n -f luenced by the much-reproduced p a i n t i n g " L i g h t o f the World" by Holman Hunt, which i s reputed to d e p i c t the face o f C h r i s t i n a R o s s e t t i , surrounded by the y e l l o w h a i r o f another female model. 12 d e t a i l s o f t e n g lossed over or avoided by h i s f e l l o w - w r i t e r s , and the scene i s f u l l o f c o l o u r : " red s p l o t c h e s " o f b l o o d , "golden ves tments , " " p u r p l e pomegranates, and golden b e l l s , " u n t i l the "superna tu ra l n i g h t . . . dropped from the heavens" brought death and f e a r , " f o r the 24 blood o f the Nazarene was upon them a l l . " The novel prov ides the p e r f e c t basis f o r the many f i l m e d ve rs ions o f the myth , i n which the t r u e hero o f the s t o r y i s not the g e n t l e , passive v i c t i m , but the s u r v i v o r ; i n t h i s case, Ben-Hur, l o v e r , horseman, s o l d i e r , p a t r i o t and businessman, i n h is comfor tab le " v i l l a by Misenum," g i v i n g g r e a t sums to the new Church to assuage h i s conscience f o r h i s f a i l u r e t o a c t a t the Cross. He d i d t r y to i n t e r v e n e i n the Garden; he was none o t h e r than the "young man w i t h no th ing on but a l i n e n c l o t h . . . [who] s l i p p e d ou t o f the l i n e n c l o t h and ran away naked. " (Mark 14: 5 1 - 5 2 ) . 2 5 Wal lace 's novel i s the f i r s t , and s t i l l the b e s t , i n a s e r i e s 26 o f " a c t i o n - p a c k e d , " s u p e r f i c i a l l y pious ve rs ions o f the myth. He was apparen t l y conver ted t o C h r i s t i a n i t y h i m s e l f d u r i n g the course o f w r i t i n g i t . More i n t e r e s t i n g works have been c rea ted by the few, very few b e l i e v e r s l i k e Mauriac who have at tempted a m p l i f i c a t i o n s o f the ^ W a l l a c e , p. 4 4 1 . 25 For a very d i f f e r e n t v e r s i o n o f t h i s always myster ious ep isode, see a d i s c u s s i o n o f The Secre t Gospel by Morton Smi th , l a t e r i n t h i s paper. 2 6 L l o y d C. Douglas" The Robe (1942) and The Big Fisherman ( 1 9 4 8 ) , are among the b e t t e r o f these popular n o v e l s . 13 27 myth ica l l i f e w i t h some success; but the most wo r thwh i l e e f f o r t s have been those o f men who, l i k e Renan, were q u e s t i o n i n g the double s tandard which convent iona l C h r i s t i a n i t y imposed upon t h e i r w o r l d . Indeed Mauriac says o f the n o n - b e l i e v e r , " i f he belong to the category o f those who f i r s t deny the superna tu ra l and do not see the God i n Jesus, we may be c e r t a i n he understands no th ing o f the sub jec t o f h i s s t u d i e s . " 14 CHAPTER I SHAW, MOORE AND HARRIS In a l e t t e r to Frank H a r r i s , w r i t t e n on November 1 1 t h , 1915, Shaw says : . . . and you now t e l l me t h a t you are doing a l i f e o f Jesus. I am doing e x a c t l y the same t h i n g by way o f Preface to Androcles and the L i o n , which i s a C h r i s t i a n mar ty r p l a y . They t e l l me t h a t what I have gathered from the gospel n a r r a t i v e s and the r e s t o f the New Testament, which I have read through a t t e n t i v e l y f o r the f i r s t t ime s i n c e , as a boy, I read the whole B i b l e through out o f sheer bravado, i s much the same as Renan's e x t r a c t . I do not know whether t h i s i s t r u e ; f o r I have never read the Vie de Jesus , though I w i l l look i t up p r e s e n t l y . Anyhow i t i s r a t h e r s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t you and I and George Moore should be on the same t r a c k . The main t h i n g t h a t I have t r i e d t o b r i n g ou t i s t h a t modern soc io logy and b i o l o g y are s t e a d i l y bear ing Jesus ou t i n h i s p e c u l i a r economics and t h e o l o g y J This was w r i t t e n i n r e p l y to a l e t t e r f rom H a r r i s i n which he exp la ins t h a t he has been s tudy ing " t h e Master" f o r years but i s a f r a i d the s u b j e c t i s too much f o r h im , and i s r e s o l v e d never to p u b l i s h the work unless i t " b e t t e r e d my b e s t " . Very s e n s i b l y , H a r r i s abandoned h i s l i f e o f Jesus , a l though he pub l i shed an i n t e r e s t i n g s h o r t s t o r y , "The M i r a c l e o f the S t i g m a t a " , and devoted a chap te r o f h i s n o t o r i o u s L i f e and Loves to "Jesus the C h r i s t " . Both o f these w i l l be examined. Shaw, t o o , a f t e r an e a r l y u n f i n i s h e d p o e t i c drama, (unpub l ished u n t i l Frank H a r r i s , Bernard Shaw, (New York: Simon and Schus te r , 1931) , p. 359. 15 very r e c e n t l y ) never cent red a major work on the f i g u r e o f C h r i s t , and o f the t r i o "who were on the same t r a c k " , o n l y George Moore produced a major work , The Brook K e r i t h , which deserves d e t a i l e d examina t ion . Nothing Shaw w r o t e , however, can be i g n o r e d , and t h e r e i s a g r e a t deal o f i n t e r e s t , not on ly in the Preface to Androcles and the L i o n , mentioned above, but a lso i n the Preface t o On the Rocks and i n The Adventures o f the Black G i r l i n Search o f God. Shaw's e a r l i e s t known e f f o r t t o p resent the s t o r y o f Jesus was i n the form o f a p o e t i c drama, an a l i e n medium f o r what to h im, a t t h a t t i m e , cou ld be considered an a l i e n s u b j e c t . Fresh f rom the C a t h o l i c versus P r o t e s t a n t a b s u r d i t i e s o f D u b l i n , he was probably c l o s e r to being an a t h e i s t than a t any o t h e r t i m e . The p lay was never f i n i s h e d by Shaw, i n f a c t he wrote " v i l e s t u f f " across the m a n u s c r i p t , bu t was pub l i shed i n 1971 w i t h the t i t l e Passion P lay : A Dramatic Fragment, e d i t e d and 3 i n t roduced by J e r a l d E. B r i n g l e . His approach to the s u b j e c t i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h a t i t foreshadows h i s l a t e r work , both s t y l i s t i c a l l y and t h e m a t i c a l l y . The p lay begins i n the c a r p e n t e r ' s shop i n Nazareth : Mary and Joseph, r e s p e c t i v e l y a shrew and a s h i f t l e s s b u l l y ( p r o t o t y p e s o f Adam and Eve i n Back to Methuselah) are a rgu ing b i t t e r l y about t h e i r sons Jesus and John who " d o n ' t h e l p " , when Judas I s c a r i o t , a weal thy t r a v e l l e r , e n t e r s , l ook ing f o r a f i r s t - r a t e c r a f t s m a n . Joseph, hungry f o r bus iness , recommends Jesus , Mary 's i l l e g i t i m a t e son , and d e s p i t e Jesus ' p r o t e s t s t h a t he i s q u i t e u n s k i l l e d ( the idea o f Jesus J.Percy Smith The Unrepentant P i l g r i m , (To ron to : Macmi l l an , 1965) , p. 131 . Passion Play: A Dramatic Fragment , ( Iowa: Windhover Press, 1971). 16 as a " f a i l e d c a r p e n t e r " comes up q u i t e f r e q u e n t l y i n the f i c t i o n s ) , t h e two men go o f f t o g e t h e r , deep i n Shavian d i s c u s s i o n . Jesus t e l l s Judas about a god who i s no t a "gloomy t y r a n t " , bu t "a g r a n d , i n e f f a b l e , benevolent Power/Throned i n the clouds and a l l composed o f l o v e . . . " who "g i ves us a l l t h a t ' s noble i n our n a t u r e s . " (Act I I , Sc. i i ) . Judas sees no need f o r a p o e t i c myth o f a god , p r e f e r s t o study man, be l ieves i n the powers o f o b j e c t i v e r e a s o n i n g , and sees Jesus as a poet who " h a s t made a re fuge i n rosy bowers o f i m a g i n a t i o n / Where t h y o 'erburdened q u e s t i o n i n g soul may r e s t . " Shaw deals w i t h the i n c i d e n t i n the temple , and shows Jesus ' h o r r o r when h i s un-Fabian a c t i o n s i n o v e r t u r n i n g the money-changers' t a b l e s i n c i t e Barabbas t o v i o l e n c e , and the murder o f the Roman s o l d i e r . Shaw abandons the p lay a t the moment when Jesus i s about t o c o n f r o n t Mary Magdalene, P i l a t e ' s m i s t r e s s . The idea o f such a meet ing f i l l s Judas w i t h d read , s ince he be l i eves Jesus w i l l not be ab le to r e s i s t her charms. A l though the l a s t s i g h t o f Mary Magdalen shows her r e m o r s e f u l , on her knees, an encounter between the v i r i l e Jesus and the i r r e s i s t i b l e Mary he had c rea ted was probably more than Shaw f e l t ready t o deal w i t h a t t h i s stage i n h i s c a r e e r ; a l though o f course he descr ibes many c o n f r o n t a -t i o n s between s i m i l a r charac te rs i n h i s l a t e r p l a y s . I t seems a p i t y t h a t he d i d not f i n i s h the s t o r y o f Judas and Jesus , which i s an e a r l y example o f h i s endless debate between r e a l i s m and i d e a l i s m ; a l though there i s a h i n t o f r e s o l u t i o n i n the pact Judas makes w i t h Jesus: . . . Hencefor th thy g e n t l e f a i t h Shal l t r a v e l hand i n hand w i t h hard negat ion • Tempering i t s unsympathet ic edge And l e a r n i n g somewhat f rom i t s breadth o f v i s i o n . (Act I , Scene i i ) . 17 A f ragment t h a t might serve to i l l u s t r a t e the dichotomy i n Shaw h i m s e l f . At t h i s t i m e , o f course , Shaw had not y e t developed h i s own p a r t i c u l a r myth o f a god, c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to Bergsonian ideas o f " c r e a t i v e e v o l u t i o n " . . This god i s best descr ibed as the " L i f e F o r c e " , and the bes t spokesman f o r the L i f e Force i s Juan i n "Don Juan i n H e l l " , f rom Man and Superman. The L i f e Force i s a " s t u p i d god" says Juan, " b u t no t as s t u p i d as the f o r c e s o f Death and Degenera t i on " ; a f t e r ages o f s t r u g g l e , i t has evolved the human i n t e l l e c t , "a mind 's eye t h a t s h a l l see , not the phys ica l w o r l d , but the purpose o f L i f e , and thereby enable the i n d i v i d u a l t o work f o r t h a t purpose, i ns tead o f t h w a r t i n g and b a f f l i n g i t by s e t t i n g up s h o r t - s i g h t e d personal aims 5 as a t p r e s e n t . " The happ ies t and h ighes t s o r t o f man, t h e n , i s the p h i l o s o p h i c man "who seeks i n con temp la t ion to d i scove r the i n n e r w i l l o f the w o r l d , i n i n v e n t i o n t o d i scove r the means o f f u l f i l l i n g t h a t w i l l and i n a c t i o n to do t h a t w i l l b^ » the so-d iscovered means." La ter i n h i s c a r e e r , Shaw was, o f c o u r s e , e a s i l y ab le to f i t Jesus i n t o t h i s s e l e c t group o f men and women, who, s imply by being what they a r e , are a b l e , l i k e Samuel B u t l e r ' s "gentlemen" to take mankind a shade h ighe r on the e v o l u t i o n a r y l a d d e r . In t h i s sense, Jesus i s s t i l l a messiah, one o f those who w i l l e v e n t u a l l y lead mankind to a s t a t e o f heaven on e a r t h . Shaw a l so "uses" Jesus - -Ben t l ey f e e l s Shaw's theo logy i s no theo logy but a symbol ism, c h i e f l y a use o f The Complete Plays o f Bernard Shaw, (London: Paul Hamlyn, 1965) , p. 379. 18 r e l i g i o u s l a n g u a g e ^ - - i n a very p r a c t i c a l and conv inc ing way as an e a r l y subsc r ibe r to va r ious theor ies o f Fabian s o c i a l i s m . In the Preface to Androcles and the L i o n , Shaw says t h a t Jesus advocates communism, the widening o f the f a m i l y w i t h i t s cramping t i e s i n t o the g r e a t f a m i l y o f mankind under the fa therhood o f God, the abandonment o f revenge and punishment, the c o u n t e r a c t i n g o f e v i l by good. ' ' Shaw i s , o f cou rse , on s o l i d ground here and has no t r o u b l e backing up h i s a s s e r t i o n s , a l though the re are moments when he i s f e l t t o be s t r e t c h i n g the myth too f a r - - J e s u s i s imagined to be " l augh ing o u t r i g h t " a t the idea o f the Sunday School t h e o r i s t s t h a t money might be d i s t r i b u t e d accord ing to m e r i t . A laugh ing Jesus has not appeared i n C h r i s t i a n a r t f o r many c e n t u r i e s . Shaw exp la ins h i s w i l l i n g n e s s t o use "Jesus more than a n o t h e r " : . . . f o r some reason the i m a g i n a t i o n o f w h i t e mankind has p icked out Jesus o f Nazareth as the C h r i s t and a t t r i b u t e d a l l the C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e s to h im; and as i t i s the d o c t r i n e and not the man t h a t mat te rs and as bes ides , one symbol i s as good as another p rov ided everyone a t taches the same meaning to i t , I r a i s e , f o r the moment, no ques t ion as t o how f a r the gospels are o r i g i n a l , and how f a r they c o n s i s t o f Greek and Chinese i n t e r p o l a t i o n s . The record t h a t Jesus sa id c e r t a i n t h i n g s i s not i n v a l i d a t e d by a demonst ra t ion t h a t Confucius sa id them before h im. Those who c l a i m a l i t e r a l d i v i n e p a t e r n i t y f o r him cannot be s i l e n c e d by the d iscovery t h a t the same c l a i m was made f o r Alexander and Augustus.8 E r i c B e n t l e y , Bernard Shaw, (New York: New D i r e c t i o n s , 1947) , p. 67. ^The Complete Prefaces o f Bernard Shaw, (London: Paul Hamlyn, 1965) , p. 574. g Pre faces , p. 548. 19 A l l the same, Shaw i s we l l aware t h a t he h i m s e l f i s not f r e e from super-s t i t i o n . He admits he i s f a s c i n a t e d by " c e r t a i n ideas and d o c t r i n e s . . . f l a t l y c o n t r a r y to common p r a c t i c e , common sense and common b e l i e f . . . which have, i n the t e e t h o f dogged i n c r e d u l i t y and r e -c a l c i t r a n c e , produced the i r r e s i s t i b l e impress ion t h a t C h r i s t . . . was 9 g r e a t e r than h is Judges. " A superman i n f a c t . One must be g r a t e f u l f o r t h i s "weakness" i n Shaw, which enabled him to produce i n S a i n t Joan what i s p robab ly the most success fu l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the myth o f Joan, o r indeed o f any o t h e r C h r i s t i a n m a r t y r ^ f o r modern aud iences. These moments o f weakness are few, however, and he has p l e n t y o f reasons t o e x p l a i n o t h e r "unreasonable" f e e l i n g s . For example, on the s u b j e c t o f Jesus and m a r r i a g e , Shaw w r i t e s : . The mere thought o f Jesus as a mar r i ed man i s f e l t t o be blasphemous by the most conven t iona l b e l i e v e r s and even by those o f us to whom Jesus i s no superna tu ra l personage, bu t a prophet o n l y as Mahomet was a prophet f e e l t h a t t he re was something more d i g n i f i e d i n the bachelordom o f Jesus than i n the spec tac le o f Mahomet l y i n g d i s t r a c t e d on the f l o o r o f h i s harem w h i l s t h i s wives squabbled and henpecked around h i m J O And he f e e l s the absence o f any comp la in t a g a i n s t Jesus ' c a v a l i e r t r e a t -ment o f mothers , f a t h e r s and wives " tempts us t o dec la re t h a t on t h i s ques t ion o f marr iage the re are no conven t iona l peop le ; and t h a t eve ry -one o f us i s a t hear t a good C h r i s t i a n s e x u a l l y . " C e r t a i n l y , t h i s ave rs ion to the idea o f a mar r ied Jesus i s shared by many o t h e r w r i t e r s i n the modern p e r i o d . Renan's h e r o ' s Q Pre faces , p. 548. 1 0 P r e f a c e s , p. 584. 20 "ex t remely d e l i c a t e f e e l i n g s towards women" are shared by many o f the "Jesus C h r i s t s " who f o l l o w him. In The Brook K e r i t h , Moore, always e x p l o r i n g d e l i c a t e sub jec ts through Jesus ' a l t e r ego, Joseph o f Ar imathea, shows h is hero t o be a man more l i k e l y to love another man than a woman. He i s never more e x p l i c i t than t h i s . Lawrence's Jesus i s c e r t a i n l y h e t e r o s e x u a l , bu t not domes t i ca ted ; even Graves' King Jesus denies h i s b r i d e the consummation o f m a r r i a g e , d e s c r i b i n g i t as " the a c t o f da rkness , " the " a c t o f d e a t h . " Shaw, seeing Jesus as the " a r t i s t - p h i l o s o p h e r " , who has no need o f , i n f a c t who must not be t rammel led b y , domest ic t i e s , i d e n t i f i e s s t r o n g l y w i t h t h i s aspect o f Jesus ' t e a c h i n g , and w r i t e s : When he sa id t h a t i f we are to f o l l o w him i n the sense o f t a k i n g up h i s work we must g ive up our f a m i l y t i e s , he was s imp ly s t a t i n g a f a c t ; . . . t o t h i s day the Roman C a t h o l i c p r i e s t , the Buddhist lama, and the f a k i r s o f a l l the eas te rn denominat ions accept the s a y i n g . I t i s a l so accepted by the p h y s i c a l l y e n t e r -p r i s i n g , the e x p l o r e r s , the r e s t l e s s l y e n e r g e t i c o f a l l k i n d s ; . . . the unmarr ied Jesus , and the unmarr ied Beethoven, the unmarr ied Joan o f A r c , C l a r e , Teresa , F lorence N i g h t i n g a l e seem as t h e y . s h o u l d be ; . . . H I t i s , however, w i t h Jesus the Economist t h a t Shaw f e e l s the c l o s e s t a f f i n i t y ; perhaps he f e e l s they both subscr ibe t o the o l d e s t myth o f a l l , the idea o f a Golden Age o f p l e n t y f o r every man, by v i r t u e o f a p r a c t i c a l and equal d i s t r i b u t i o n o f the w o r l d ' s goods. Shaw i s not i n t e r e s t e d i n a share o f the kingdom o f heaven, but he never a l lows h imse l f t o doubt t h a t t h i s Golden Age must come Pre faces , p. 586. 21 e v e n t u a l l y on e a r t h , when a t l a s t mankind heeds the words o f Jesus (and men l i k e him) and r e a l i z e s t h a t the kingdom o f Heaven i s w i t h i n you . . . we are members one o f ano the r ; . . . ge t r i d o f p r o p e r t y by th rowing i t i n t o the common s tock . . . i f you l e t a c h i l d s ta rve you are l e t t i n g God s t a r v e . . . . Love your neighbour as y o u r s e l f . . . every mother you meet i s as much your mother as the woman who bore y o u . . . . ^ Why then does Shaw neg lec t to dramat ize the myth o f t h i s most s u i t a b l e and popular h e r o , who shares so many sound s o c i a l i s t ideas? I t i s u s u a l l y assumed t h a t i t i s because o f the i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f p r e s e n t i n g Jesus on the stage a t t h a t t i m e , y e t t h i s k ind o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n never stopped Shaw from f u l f i l l i n g what he saw as h i s r o l e as " a r t i s t -p h i l o s o p h e r " , i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the defenders o f the s t a t u s quo. The reason f o r Shaw's " n e g l e c t " o f Jesus spr ings from something much more fundamental than f e a r o f censorsh ip . In the Preface t o On the Rocks, Shaw e x p l a i n s why Jesus d i d not defend h i m s e l f : "he d i d not regard h i m s e l f as a p r i s o n e r being t r i e d f o r a v u l g a r o f fence and us ing a l l h i s w i t t o escape condemnation. He b e l i e v e d he was going through a s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e . . . he went 13 l i k e a lamb to the s l a u g h t e r . " This i s the i n c o n t r o v e r t i b l e f a c t i n the l i f e o f Jesus i n the Gospels, and Shaw w i l l no t f a l s i f y i t , nor can he accept the p r i n c i p l e behind i t . In h i s own words: Pre faces , p. 574. 1 P r e f a c e s , p. 369. J 21a I have been asked repea ted ly to dramat ize the Gospel s t o r y , most ly by admirers o f my d r a m a t i z a t i o n o f the t r i a l o f Sa in t Joan. But the t r i a l o f a dumb p r i s o n e r , a t which the judge who puts the c r u c i a l ques t ion to him remains unanswered, cannot be d ramat i z -ed unless the judge i s to be the hero o f the p l a y . Now P i l a t e , though perhaps a t r i f l e above the average o f c o l o n i a l gove rno rs , i s not a h e r o i c f i g u r e . Joan t a c k l e d her judges v a l i a n t l y and w i t t i l y ; her t r i a l was a drama ready made, o n l y needing t o be brought w i t h i n the t h e a t r i c a l l i m i t s o f t ime and space to be a t h r i l l i n g p l a y . But Jesus would not defend h i m s e l f . I t was not t h a t he had not a word t o say f o r h i m s e l f , nor t h a t he was denied the o p p o r t u n i t y o f say ing i t . He was an exper ienced p u b l i c speaker , ab le to ho ld m u l t i t u d e s w i t h h i s o r a t o r y , . . . y e t he went l i k e a lamb to the s l a u g h t e r , dumb. Such a spec tac le i s d i s a p p o i n t i n g on the s t a g e , which i s the one t h i n g t h a t a drama must not be , and when the d isappo in tment i s f o l l o w e d by a scourg ing and a c r u c i f i x i o n i t i s unbearab le ; not even the genius o f our Poet Lau rea te , w i t h a l l the magic o f Canterbury Cathedral f o r scenery , can redeem i t except f o r people who enjoy h o r r o r and ca tas t rophe f o r t h e i r own sake and have no i n t e l l e c t u a l expec ta t ions to be d i s a p p o i n t e d .14 He descr ibes the d isappo in tment he f e l t when he r e - r e a d the Gospel s t o r y as an a d u l t , as i f he had heard "someone p lay an unreso lved d i s c o r d and could not go t o s leep u n t i l he had r i s e n to p lay the r e s o l u t i o n on h i s p i a n o . " The b r i e f d ia logue between P i l a t e and Jesus pub l i shed i n the Preface t o On the Rocks i s Shaw's a t tempt t o reso lve P i l a t e ' s d i s c o r d , a t l e a s t . P i l a t e makes the wrong d e c i s i o n on very s e n s i b l e grounds: i t i s a l l r i g h t f o r a " p o e t i c vagran t " to l o a f about the roads and t a l k b e a u t i f u l l y , but P i l a t e must "choose between reasonab le , w e l l - i n f o r m e d o p i n i o n and sen t imen ta l Pre faces , p. 371 . (Shaw i s r e f e r r i n g to John M a s e f i e l d ' s The T r i a l o f Jesus, w r i t t e n i n 1925.) 22 i l l - i n f o r m e d impu lse ; " a f t e r a l l , the pax romana i s b e t t e r than the c i v i l wars o f the Jews, and h i s j o b i s to preserve t h a t peace. He i s very broad-minded about the f a c t t h a t Jesus breaks a l l the laws o f the Jews, as he puts i t , and i t i s not u n t i l Jesus blasphemes a g a i n s t Caesar and Rome t h a t he decides t h a t he must d ie " w h i l s t t he re i s s t i l l some law i n the w o r l d . " Shaw i s , i n e v i t a b l y , less successfu l w i t h Jesus i n t h i s scene from a p lay which was never w r i t t e n . He uses him to examine the e v e r l a s t i n g dilemma o f the re former who knows t h a t what he preaches i s dangerous: Jesus . . . must , i f he had any sense o f moral respon-s i b i l i t y , have been cha l lenged by h i s own consc ience , again and again as t o whether he had any r i g h t t o s e t men on a path which was l i k e l y t o lead the bes t o f them t o the cross and the wors t o f them to the moral d e s t r u c -t i o n descr ibed by S t . August ine . . .15 Ye t , as Jesus says i n the d ia logue w i t h P i l a t e , he must revea l the t r u t h , " t h a t which a man must t e l l even i f he be stoned o r c r u c i f i e d f o r t e l l i n g i t . " The reasonable man i s d e f e a t e d , f o r the t r u t h t h a t Jesus speaks i s a ma t te r o f f e e l i n g as w e l l as o f e x p e r i e n c e , " o p i n i o n i s a dead t h i n g and impulse a l i v e t h i n g " and " t h e law i s b l i n d w i t h o u t c o u n s e l . " The c l imax o f the scene comes when P i l a t e and Jesus are i n agreement: P i l a t e says , " i t seems to me t h a t i f you are Word made f l e s h , so a lso am I " and Jesus q u i c k l y agrees , "Have I not sa id so again and again? . . . The Word i s God and God i s w i t h i n y o u . " Jesus and P i l a t e are both agents o f the L i f e Force. P re faces , p. 370. 23 Other speeches by Jesus, which wander f a r from the s c r i p t u r e s , are less s u c c e s s f u l , and the re i s no f e e l i n g o f r e g r e t t h a t a p lay o f which t h i s scene would be the c l i m a x , was never w r i t t e n . I t m i g h t , however, have been i n t e r e s t i n g to s e e Shaw's v e r s i o n o f the d i s c i p l e s . L i ke Moore, he shared Renan's lack o f respec t f o r them, and i s hardest o f a l l on P a u l , a man possessing many f i n e q u a l i t i e s , but "hope less l y i n the c o i l s o f S i n , Death and L o g i c , which had no power over J e s u s . " Not u n t i l 1932 d i d Shaw f i n d a s u i t a b l e medium i n which t o exp lo re the idea o f Jesus. In h i s t a l e The Black G i r l i n Search o f God, Jesus i s on l y one i n a s e r i e s o f cha rac te rs encountered by the h e r o i n e , an endear ing v e h i c l e f o r the L i f e o f Force. Unencumbered by the fash ionab le coyness o f some o f h i s e a r l y hero ines who must stoop to any th ing t o grab the r i g h t p a r t n e r f o r t h e i r eugenic exper imen ts ; f r e e o f the aura o f sa in thood which dogs Barbara and Joan, the b lack g i r l s t r i d e s naked and burdened on l y w i t h her B i b l e , which she sheds p i e c e -meal through the j u n g l e as i t becomes obso le te f o r h e r , and her knobkerry which i s necessary f o r de fense , not as might be imagined, aga ins t a f i e r c e l i o n (who becomes her f r i e n d A n d r o c l e s - s t y l e ) , bu t aga ins t a Roman S o l d i e r and a Lady E t h n o l o g i s t , t r u l y dangerous t h r e a t s t o her freedom. Jesus i s c a l l e d the c o n j u r e r , and he i s the p leasan tes t person she meets on her j o u r n e y ; he g ives her water to d r i n k , and performs a minor m i r a c l e f o r her e d i f i c a t i o n , but h i s command to " l o v e one another" i s too general f o r the black g i r l : ^ 1 g "Preface to Androcles and the L i o n , " P re faces , p. 591 . ^^The Black G i r l i n Search o f God and Some Lesser T a l e s , (London: Penguin, 1966). 24 "Do you r e a l l y and t r u l y love me, baas?" The c o n j u r e r shrank, but immediate ly smi led k i n d l y as he r e p l i e d "Do not l e t us make a personal ma t te r o f i t . " "But i t has no sense i f i t i s not a personal m a t t e r " sa id the black g i r l . "Suppose I t e l l you I love y o u , as you t e l l me I ought ! Do you not f e e l t h a t I am t a k i n g a l i b e r t y w i t h you?" " C e r t a i n l y no t " sa id the c o n j u r e r . "You must not t h i n k t h a t . Though you are b lack and I am w h i t e we are equal be fo re God who made us s o . " "I am not t h i n k i n g about t h a t a t a l l " s a i d the black g i r l . "I f o r g o t when I spoke t h a t I am b lack and you are on l y a poor w h i t e . " A w h i t e man's heaven f u l l o f " d e v o u r i n g " love does no t appeal to the black g i r l ; f o r her i t must be " t h e home o f God and h i s t h o u g h t s ; the re i s no b i l l i n g and cooing t h e r e , no c l i n g i n g to one another l i k e a t i c k t o a sheep." She f i n d s the c o n j u r e r ' s " c u r e - a l l commandments" use fu l once i n twenty t imes perhaps; i n any case i t i s God she i s seek-i n g , not commandments. "To f i n d h im, such as you must go past me" says the c o n j u r e r . And w i t h t h a t he van ished. "That i s perhaps your best t r i c k " sa id the b lack g i r l , " though I am s o r r y t o lose y o u ; f o r to my mind you are a l o v a b l e man and mean w e l l . " ( p . 54). A f t e r many adven tu res , the b lack g i r l f i n d s h e r s e l f i n a booth w i t h images o f wood and p l a s t e r and i v o r y ; on the ground i s a l a r g e wooden cross on which the c o n j u r e r i s l y i n g w i t h h i s ankles crossed and h i s arms s t r e t c h e d o u t , a c t i n g as a model f o r the owner o f the booth who i s c a r v i n g a s ta tue o f h im. Mahomet i s e x p o s t u l a t i n g w i t h the con-j u r e r f o r s u b s c r i b i n g to so f l a g r a n t a breach o f the second commandment, but the c o n j u r e r exp la ins t h a t he i s so r e j e c t e d o f men t h a t t h i s i s h is on ly way o f making a l i v i n g . A f t e r a s u f f i c i e n t supply o f images 25 has been made, the c o n j u r e r can go back to h i s rea l l i f e o f g i v i n g people good advice and t e l l i n g wholesome t r u t h s ; he i s , u n f o r t u n a t e l y , no w r i t e r and must do i t by word o f mouth. The b lack g i r l i nspec ts a l l the images i n the b o o t h , on ly one appea ls , momenta r i l y , t o he r : Pan p l a y i n g a mouth organ. But why h a l f a goat and h a l f a man, why not h a l f a woman? Venus i s o f f e r e d and r e j e c t e d : "why i s her lower h a l f hidden i n a sack?" The c o n j u r e r adds t h a t the Word must be made f l e s h , not marb le , and " t o make a l i n k between Godhood and Manhood, some god must become man." The b lack g i r l r e p l i e s , " o r some woman become God." A f t e r a b r i s k exchange w i t h Mahomet on the l i b e r a t i o n o f woman, the b lack g i r l i s on her way to V o l t a i r e ' s garden, where she s e t t l e s down to d i g f o r God i n the garden. E v e n t u a l l y , on V o l t a i r e ' s a d v i c e , she mar r ies a r e d - h a i r e d I r i s h m a n , " r a t h e r a coarse f e l l o w , " who wanders i n t o the garden t o he lp the "oul f e l l a " d i g h i s p o t a t o e s ; but who i s not prepared to waste t ime search ing f o r a god who i s " n o t p r o p e r l y made and f i n i s h e d y e t . " The god must do the s e a r c h i n g , "we've got t o f i n d out i t s way f o r i t as bes t we can , you and I ; . . . " The f u l f i l m e n t can be "made reasonably easy and hopeful by S o c i a l i s m . " The b lack g i r l has moments i n her happy and busy l i f e as a w i f e and as a mother to her "charming c o f f e e - c o l o u r e d c h i l d r e n " t o marvel a t the t e m e r i t y o f the u n s e t t l e d g i r l who s e t o f f " t o pay God a v i s i t . " The most man can e x p e c t , says Shaw, i s f o r God t o j o g h i s elbow when he i s gardening u n s k i l f u l l y , and b less him when he i s gardening w e l l . I f you i n s i s t on a f u l l knowledge, y o u ' l l " s h r i v e l up and crack l i k e a f l e a i n the f i r e " as Semele d i d when she wanted to be loved by a God. 26 Thus the one a r t i s t i c a l l y successfu l p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Jesus Shaw makes i s i n a suppor t ing r o l e , one o f the most successfu l agents o f the L i f e Force, a v i t a l l i n k i n the e v o l u t i o n o f man, f u l l o f good advice and wholesome t r u t h s , but l i m i t e d i n h i s a p p e a l , and on h i s way o u t : " v a n i s h i n g " says the b lack g i r l , i s " h i s best t r i c k . " Th is reasonab le , d i s p a s s i o n a t e , and one might add, deadening view o f Jesus i s not shared by H a r r i s , who approaches the t o p i c w i t h t r e m b l i n g f e r v o u r and a g r e a t deal o f empathy. He i s a good example o f the w r i t e r s who " i d e n t i f y w i t h " Jesus. Sent to p r i s o n f o r contempt o f c o u r t , he "drew p a r a l l e l s between h i m s e l f and the D iv ine one who was c r u c i f i e d a t Ca lvary" and c r i e d " F a t h e r , f o r g i v e them f o r they know 18 not what they d o . " Frank H a r r i s , l i k e Moore and Shaw, was a P r o t e s t a n t who grew up i n I r e l a n d a g a i n s t a background o f r e l i g i o u s and p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o v e r s y , l eav ing the coun t ry as soon as p o s s i b l e - - i n h i s case f o r A m e r i c a — t h e n spending h i s most impor tan t years as a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t o f the f r u i t f u l and e x c i t i n g l i t e r a r y l i f e o f London i n the e a r l y years o f t h i s c e n t u r y . H a r r i s ' s major c o n t r i b u t i o n t o l e t t e r s i s as an e d i t o r , no tab ly o f the Saturday Review, when, to quote H.G. W e l l s , "Oxford and the S t u f f y 19 and the Genteel and Mr. Gladstone were to be des t royed . . . . " Shaw was h i r e d as darma c r i t i c , Wel ls to rev iew n o v e l s , Cunningham Grahame Vincent Brome, Frank H a r r i s , (London: C a s s e l l , 1959) , p. 122. Brome i s quo t ing from A . I . Tobin and E. G e r t z , Frank H a r r i s , (Mendelsohn, 1931) , p. 187. Brome, p. 86. 27 to w r i t e t r a v e l ske tches , Max Beerbohm as c h i e f s a t i r i s t , and Thomas Hardy and Rudyard K i p l i n g c o n t r i b u t e d s t o r i e s and poems. He i s a l so remembered f o r h i s h i g h l y s u c c e s s f u l , h i g h l y i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c b iography o f Shakespeare, o f which Hesketh Pearson w r i t e s : A f t e r the dreary works o f U n i v e r s i t y Professors i t was a r e v e l a t i o n . Here was a man ins tead o f a mummy, a man w i t h par ts and pass ions , a man one might meet any day on the s t r e e t . Time has toned down my f i r s t e s t i m a t e , but I s h a l l not e a s i l y f o r g e t my f i r s t exc i tement . . . whatever might be urged a g a i n s t Frank H a r r i s ' s book . . . he a t l e a s t made i t c l e a r t h a t the c r e a t o r o f F a l s t a f f and Cleo was a man, not a commi t t e e . 2 0 Har r i s wrote e q u a l l y c o l o u r f u l l i v e s o f Oscar Wilde (whom he defended pass iona te l y a t the t ime o f h i s t r o u b l e s ) and, o f course^o f George Bernard Shaw. He was a man who sought c o n s t a n t l y f o r a h e r o , a super-man, t o w o r s h i p , and as such i s d e f i n i t e l y , i f not very e l e g a n t l y , r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f h i s t i m e . In Chapter X I , Volume Four o f h i s j u s t i f i a b l y n o t o r i o u s a u t o -21 b iog raphy , h i s i n s i g h t s , methods and a t t i t u d e s as he approaches the t o p i c o f "Jesus , the C h r i s t " , u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y parody those o f b e t t e r w r i t e r s than h i m s e l f , and , i n c i d e n t a l l y , p o i n t up the s k i l l w i t h which they manage to avo id s i m i l a r l y o f f e n d i n g i n t h i s most d i f f i c u l t o f l i t e r a r y t a s k s . H a r r i s " loves Jesus w i t h o u t ador ing Him" and t r i e s to see him as he r e a l l y was. He i s s t r u c k by the f a c t t h a t Jesus ' phys ica l weakness was mani fes ted i n h is i n a b i l i t y to c a r r y "a not Hesketh Pearson by H i m s e l f , (New York: Harper & Row, 1965) , p. 102. 21 Frank H a r r i s , My L i f e and Loves, (London: Corgi Books, 1966) , pp. 880-889. 28 very heavy" cross. This weakness, he feels, caused Jesus to faint on the cross long before the average victim, thus to survive the cross, but to die soon after his resurrection. Harris reproves Renan for stressing the physical beauty of Jesus; he was obviously not handsome, but was transfigured by the beauty of his voice and message. (Time after time, contemporaries of Harris remark on his physical ugliness, forgotten as soon as he began to speak.) Naturally, Harris's favorite story is that of the woman taken in adultery: "the greatest story in the world, i f I may judge i t . . . ." He also rather wistfully asks i f • the fact that Jesus said "Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more" means that he too was not "without sin?" Harris worries about well-known contradictions in the gospels, but he is quite certain that Jesus really lived, in spite of the doubts of John MacKinnon Robertson and "the majority of Rabbis who think that he never existed" because he is convinced that every great movement in the world comes from a great man. He finds cause for enormous optimism in the survival for two thousand years of the ideas that Jesus preached: I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. This he sees as "the impartial statement of s c i e n t i f i c truth." The impact of Jesus' admonition to love one another is twofold for Harris. The f i r s t is admirably expressed in his work, wherein he demonstrates that loving comprehension leads beyond forgiveness, so that for a short time, at least, in his checkered l i f e , he lives by the "new commandment" 29 which he says " i n f l u e n c e d me i n my conduct o f the Saturday Review, as I have s t a t e d , i n my d e s i r e to ge t the best men to work w i t h me, ca re less o f t h e i r o p i n i o n s , and to se t them, as f a r as p o s s i b l e , t o p ra ise and not to b lame." Secondly, he c r e d i t s the " i n t e n s e s p i r i t u a l -i t y o f C h r i s t ' s t e a c h i n g " w i t h " i n c r e a s i n g s e n s u a l i t y and the sensuous express ion o f a f f e c t i o n , " e x e m p l i f i e d i n the Middle Ages, by the love o f the Magdalen, the woman who had " loved much". He i s ready , t h e n , to e x p l o i t the myth i n every poss ib le way, not on ly as j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r w i d e l y d i v e r g i n g p a t t e r n s i n h i s personal l i f e , bu t a l s o , d i r e c t l y , as m a t e r i a l f o r a t l e a s t one o f h i s , q u i t e e f f e c t i v e , s h o r t s t o r i e s : "The M i r a c l e o f the S t i g m a t a . " 2 2 In t h i s s t o r y , he presents Jesus , r e s u r r e c t e d , as "an everyday Jew, t o a l l appearances", y e t w i t h a "stamp o f s u f f e r i n g " . He now c a l l s h i m s e l f Joshua and i s a c a r p e n t e r , mar r ied t o J u d i t h , n iece o f Simon and T a b i t h a . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h e i r happy marr iage i s broken up when J u d i t h i s drawn to "a new Messiah w i t h remarkable powers." The d e s c r i p t i o n i n the s t o r y o f Paul might e a s i l y have f i t t e d H a r r i s : "no t b i g , nor handsome; small indeed and o r d i n a r y l o o k i n g but as soon as he begins to speak he seems to grow before your eyes. You cannot help b e l i e v i n g h im; he i s l i k e one i n s p i r e d . " Joshua i s s t r a n g e l y d i s t u r b e d by Pau l ' s t e a c h i n g s ; he and J u d i t h become estranged when she i s conver ted to C h r i s t i a n i t y , and he l i v e s alone u n t i l he i s d iscovered one day dead a t h is bench and the s t igmata are exposed. P a u l , o f Forum, Nov. 1911 , V o l . 46 , pp. 564-577. 30 course , "misunderstands m a g n i f i c e n t l y " , b e l i e v i n g t h a t Joshua, the un-b e l i e v e r , who f a i l e d to f o l l o w h i s t e a c h i n g s , has been marked by the s t igmata as a s ign and warning t o the w o r l d . "The cont inuous i r o n y " says Brome, "reaches the supreme c l imax when Jesus i s accla imed as the 23 l a s t unbe l i eve r to be saved . " Th is t w i s t t o the p l o t , however, was probably not H a r r i s ' s own i d e a . I t i s c e r t a i n l y presented w i t h f a r more s u b t l e t y by Moore i n The Brook K e r i t h , i n the scene where Jesus asks f o r an e x p l a n a t i o n o f the word " c h r i s t i a n " . Even Moore may not be the o r i g i n a t o r o f the i d e a , f o r Richard E l lmann, i n Eminent Domain, quotes Oscar Wilde as f o l l o w s : One day Wilde sa id he had been i n v e n t i n g a new C h r i s t i a n heresy.. C h r i s t was c r u c i f i e d but d i d not d i e , and a f t e r b u r i a l managed t o escape from the tomb. He l i v e d on as a c a r p e n t e r , the one man who knew the fa lsehood o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . Once Paul v i s i t e d h i s town and he alone i n the c a r p e n t e r s ' q u a r t e r d i d not go to hear him preach. Hencefor th . . . he kept h i s hands covered . 24 And W.B. Yeats , Ellmann p o i n t s o u t , took the same f a b l e and twenty years l a t e r " e x a l t e d i t i n t o h is poem,'The Magi,' where not C h r i s t but ' t h e pale u n s a t i s f i e d ones' s u f f e r from the d i m i n u t i o n o f an image t h a t once possessed them." I t sometimes appears t h a t the idea o f t r a n s f o r m i n g Jesus the S a c r i f i c e i n t o Jesus the S u r v i v o r obsessed a whole g e n e r a t i o n o f w r i t e r s . Of them a l l , on ly Moore had the t e m e r i t y to work ou t h i s obsession i n the form o f a f u l l - l e n g t h work o f f i c t i o n , The Brook K e r i t h . 25 23 Brome, p. 143. Eminent Domain,(London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1965) ,p . 22. George Moore, The Brook Ker i th , (New York: MacMi l l an , 1916) . 24 25 31 Moore wrote The Brook K e r i t h i n 1916, a t a t ime when, as Wilde put i t , he had been "conduct ing h i s educat ion i n p u b l i c " f o r over f o r t y y e a r s . At the t ime o f p u b l i c a t i o n , i t was much admired, and, t o g e t h e r w i t h Esther Waters, i t i s s t i l l , and always has been g iven grudging r e s p e c t , even by those who have seen Moore as a n a t u r a l b u t t f o r t h e i r most s t r i n g e n t c r i t i c i s m . The very phys ica l shape o f Moore proc la ims the v i c t i m , but the s-shaped s u b j e c t o f the famous Manet drawing i s a lso an observer (a s e l f - s t y l e d "smooth sheet o f wax") and , i n h is a r t , he i s more o f t e n the aggress ive i n n o v a t o r than the passive c o p y i s t . Al though o f t e n a f o o l rush ing i n w i t h the l a t e s t enthus iasm, he a l so possessed vas t resources o f perseverance and a d e d i c a t i o n which o f t e n enabled him a t l a s t t o a t t a i n h i s o b j e c t i v e s , even i f i n the process these were m o d i f i e d by the compulsions o f h i s a r t . His mot ives i n under tak ing one o f h i s q u i x o t i c tasks were so c a r e f u l l y d e l i n e a t e d t h a t one tends t o accept them a t face v a l u e . Esther Waters , he assures u s , was w r i t t e n as a novel i n the n a t u r a l i s t i c , b r u t a l l y r e a l i s t i c mode o f Z o l a . Moore t e l l s i n Confessions how he c o l d - b l o o d e d l y c o l l e c t e d data about h i s l a n d l a d y ' s s e r v a n t , "a mule . . . a beast o f burden, a drudge too h o r r i b l e f o r any th ing but work. . . . He a lso makes i t c l e a r t h a t Esther Waters i s w r i t t e n to confound the e a r l i e r masters o f the Eng l ish novel i n t h e i r t rea tment o f the u n i v e r s a l theme o f poor g i r l w i t h c h i l d . Un l i ke E l i o t ' s Het ty S o r e l , and Hardy 's Tess, Esther i s able to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y both f o r the ac t which produced the c h i l d and f o r the c h i l d i t s e l f . And, o f course , the novel i s on ly one Confessions o f a Young Man, (Montreal and London: M c G i l l -Queen's U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1972) ,p . 133. 32 a t t a c k i n h i s c o n t i n u i n g b a t t l e w i t h V i c t o r i a n i s m , s p e c i f i c a l l y i n the persons o f Messrs. Mudie and Smi th . In s p i t e o f h is co ld -b looded preamble, what emerges i s a "good" book, i n every sense o f the word. Esther emerges as a woman, not a guinea p i g , and her s t a r k , c y c l i c a l j ou rney has the beauty o f t r u t h . A s i m i l a r process takes p lace i n The Brook K e r i t h . Another a rche typa l f i g u r e i s chosen, t h i s t ime the u l t i m a t e scapegoat. Again the p r o j e c t i s c a r e f u l l y o r g a n i z e d . N a t u r a l i s t i c techniques are employed: the t r i p to P a l e s t i n e ; the examinat ion o f the S c r i p t u r e s and the w r i t i n g s about the Essenes, mastered a t e i t h e r f i r s t o r second-hand; the t r a d i t i o n t o be f l o u t e d now i s n e i t h e r the Eng l ish l i t e r a r y one, nor the V i c t o r i a n moral one; r a t h e r he i s t a k i n g on the whole weight o f Paul ine C h r i s t i a n i t y , and i s s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned w i t h the task o f confounding the j oy lessness o f Roman C a t h o l i c i s m as p r a c t i s e d i n h i s n a t i v e I r e l a n d . Much o f h i s work had a l ready been d i r e c t e d a t the a b s u r d i t y , as he saw i t , o f c e l i b a c y , o f martyrdom i n the cause o f C a t h o l i c i s m , (a l though i t was, o f cou rse , always acceptab le i n the 27 cause o f A r t ) . He r e a l i z e d , as Shaw, and even, m e r c i f u l l y , H a r r i s had, t h a t he could not t h i s t ime a t tempt t o see the wor ld through the eyes o f h i s p r o t a g o n i s t , and so he chose, very w i s e l y , t o exp lo re the s e t t i n g ( i n 27 Malcolm Brown i n h i s use fu l book, George Moore: A Reconsider- a t i o n , ( S e a t t l e : U n i v e r s i t y o f Washington Press , 1955) , p. 213, says , " t he harshness o f h i s own s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e i s now legendary . " Yea ts , who never p ra ised him g r a t u i t o u s l y , sa id t h a t when i n p u r s u i t o f u n i f i e d c o n s t r u c t i o n "he would s a c r i f i c e what he had thought the day be fore not on ly h i s best scene, but ' t h e best scene i n any modern p l a y , ' and w i t h -out r e g r e t : a l l must rece ive i t s being from the c e n t r a l i d e a ; no th ing be i t s e l f a n y t h i n g . " 33 every sense o f the word) f o r The Brook K e r i t h through the eyes, e a r s , and i n t e l l i g e n c e o f Joseph o f Ar imathea. A young man o f the prosperous "middle c l a s s , " who educates h i m s e l f through t r i a l and e r r o r , r a t h e r as Moore d i d h i m s e l f , Joseph i s a b l e , because o f h i s i n d u l g e n t f a t h e r ' s money, t o master Greek and Hebrew language and c u l t u r e , and t o sample a l l the c u r r e n t i d e o l o g i e s . His f a t h e r ' s business (he i s a who lesa le r o f d r i e d f i s h ) b r i n g s Joseph i n t o c o n t a c t not on l y w i t h P e t e r , John and James, and thus e v e n t u a l l y w i t h Jesus (a l though he does g l impse him b r i e f l y f i r s t i n the cenoby o f the Essenes), but a l so w i t h P i l a t e who o b l i g i n g l y e l i m i n a t e s the robbers who prey on the f i s h - t r a d e r s ' caravans. I t i s necessary f o r Moore's "melodic l i n e , " a most s u i t a b l y hypno t i c medium f o r a t a l e o f t h i s k i n d , t o develop one man's stream o f consc iousness, and Moore found i t imposs ib le to use the ( t o him) l i m i t e d mind o f the young Jesus f o r t h i s purpose. In t h i s way he h a p p i l y avoids the charge o f " c h i l l i n e s s " which i s o f t e n made i n the case o f Esther Waters , which i s caused by h i s d i f f i c u l t y i n i d e n t i f y i n g w i t h a member o f the " lower o r d e r s . " (He does not have t r o u b l e w i t h the sex d i f f e r e n c e i n t h i s r e s p e c t ; many o f h i s midd le c lass h e r o i n e s , Evelyn Innes , f o r example, are warm enough.) Joseph i s a most endear ing c h a r a c t e r , bu t he i s more than t h a t . By adopt ing a common technique i n h i s t o r i c a l n o v e l s , (as indeed Lew Wallace had a l ready done i n Ben-Hur) and choosing as n a r r a t o r a contemporary w i t n e s s , about whom so l i t t l e i s known, Moore not on l y adds c o l o u r by means o f an " e y e - w i t n e s s " r e p o r t , arouses i n t e r e s t by the a d d i t i o n o f a s u b - p l o t , b u t , more i m p o r t a n t l y uses Joseph to embody 34 h is own a n x i e t i e s , the a n x i e t i e s o f the t y p i c a l w r i t e r o f the p e r i o d o f t e n unsure and anxious about h i s s e x u a l i t y ; who c o n t i n u a l l y f i n d s and d iscards a h e r o , and through t h a t hero a r e l i g i o n and a way o f l i f e . Joseph, apparen t l y homosexual i n h i s i n c l i n a t i o n s , i s shown, c o n s c i e n t i o u s -l y , i f f r u i t l e s s l y , i n s p e c t i n g h i s ne ighbours ' daughters w i t h a view to p leas ing h i s f a t h e r and c a r r y i n g on the f a m i l y . He s t i l l be l i eves i n law and o r d e r , Roman-sty le, so t h a t commerce and i n d u s t r y may p r o s p e r , y e t he i s a t t r a c t e d by s i m p l i c i t y and the r u s t i c l i f e . Most i m p o r t a n t l y , Joseph p ro found ly be l i eves i n an u l t i m a t e l y b e n e f i c e n t , i f s t e r n , omnipotent p a t r i a r c h a l God. To the end, Joseph's deepest love and l o y a l t y i s to h i s f a t h e r , Dan, i t i s t h i s l o y a l t y t h a t bars Joseph f rom f u l l d i s c i p l e - s h i p , f o r he cannot obey Jesus ' command to " f o r s a k e such 28 ghosts as f a t h e r , mother and c h i l d r e n and w i f e . " Joseph's major f u n c t i o n i n the a c t i o n o f the novel (as indeed i t i s i n the Gospe ls ) , i s foreshadowed i n the passage e x p l a i n i n g the a c q u i s i t i o n o f the tomb, i n an e x c e l l e n t example o f Moore's s u b t l e , sometimes almost s l y s t y l e : H e r a c l i t u s was r i g h t : h i s p resent l i f e cou ld be no th ing e lse but the death o f another l i f e . And as i f t o en force t h i s d o c t r i n e a r e c o l l e c t i o n o f h i s grandmother i n t r u d e d upon h i s m e d i t a t i o n . She was s e v e n t y - e i g h t when she d i e d , and her i n t e l l e c t must have faded some months b e f o r e , but w i t h her passing one o f the servants t o l d him t h a t a cu r ious express ion came i n t o her f a c e - - a s o r t o f mocking e x p r e s s i o n , as i f she had l e a r n t the t r u t h a t l a s t and was laughing a t the dupes she l e f t beh ind . She The Brook K e r i t h , p. 186. 35 l a y i n a grave i n G a l i l e e under some p leasant t r e e s , and w h i l e t h i n k i n g o f her grave i t occurred to him t h a t he would not l i k e to be put i n t o the e a r t h ; and h i s fancy favoured a tomb c u t out o f the rocks i n Mount Scropas, and going ou t on the t e r r a c e he stood under the cedars and watched f o r an hour the o u t l i n e s o f the humped h i l l s t h a t God had d r i v e n i n endless d i s o r d e r , l i k e herds o f c a t t l e , a l l the way to J e r i c h o , t h i n k i n g a l l the w h i l e t h a t i t would be p leasant t o l i e out o f hear ing o f a l l the s i l l y h u r l y -b u r l y t h a t we c a l l l i f e . But the h u r l y - b u r l y would not be s i l l y i f Jesus were by h im, and he asked h im-s e l f i f Jesus was an i l l u s i o n l i k e a l l the r e s t , and as soon as the pa in the ques t ion had provoked had d ied away, h i s d e s i r e o f a tomb took possession o f him a g a i n . . . . (p . 199) . This passage does so many t h i n g s , i t seems wor th making an e f f o r t t o l i s t them. With an a f f e c t i o n a t e r e s p e c t f u l backward g l a n c e , i t e l i m i n a t e s grandmother, an impor tan t f i g u r e e a r l y i n the book but a poss ib le source o f comp l i ca t i ons when Joseph b r i ngs Jesus home from the tomb. I t demonstrates Joseph 's di lemma, "Am I Greek or Jew?" - -and shows t h a t he i s d r i f t i n g back to an e a r l i e r s t a t e , be fore Jesus ' i r r a t i o n a l ideas o f the coming o f the Kingdom o f Heaven on e a r t h d i s t u r b e d h i s Greek r a t i o n a l i s m . In the course o f the paragraph i t becomes c l e a r t h a t Joseph a l ready begins t o doubt Jesus as Messiah, a l though he i s s t i l l devoted to him as man; t h a t he longs f o r s o l i t u d e and l o n e l y s a l v a t i o n , i n f a c t t h a t Joseph i s r a p i d l y approach-ing the s t a t e o f n i rvana which Jesus on ly achieves twenty years l a t e r . Moore's n a r r a t i v e a m p l i f i e s , but i n no way d isagrees w i t h , Mark 's d e s c r i p t i o n o f Joseph and h i s p a r t i n the s t o r y o f Jesus: By t h i s t ime evening had come; and as i t ' w a s Preparat ion-Day ( t h a t i s , the day before the Sabbath) , Joseph o f Ar imathaea, a respected member o f the C o u n c i l , a man who looked fo rward to the kingdom o f God, b rave ly 3 6 went i n to P i l a t e and asked f o r the body o f Jesus. P i l a t e was s u r p r i s e d to hear t h a t he was a l ready dead; so he sent f o r the cen tu r i on and asked him whether i t was long s ince he d i e d . And when he heard the c e n t u r i o n ' s r e p o r t , he gave Joseph leave t o take the dead body. So Joseph brought a l i n e n shee t , took him down from the c r o s s , and wrapped him i n the sheet . Then he l a i d him i n a tomb cu t out o f the r o c k , and r o l l e d a stone a g a in s t the en t rance . And Mary o f Magdala and Mary the mother o f Joseph were watch ing and saw where he was l a i d . 29 Mark 15: 42-47. Moore's Joseph does not a c t u a l l y w i tness the c r u c i f i x i o n ( t h i s i s the k ind o f scene Moore s e n s i b l y a v o i d s , he knows he cannot handle i t ) , but i s the re i n t ime to l a y h i s hand on the c e n t u r i o n ' s spear -head, s t a y i n g the sympathet ic coup de grace which has always been a problem f o r those who b e l i e v e Jesus d i d not d ie on the c r o s s . I t i s made c l e a r he re , and a t o t h e r p o i n t s i n the book, t h a t the c r u c i f i x i o n , the common mode o f execu t ion a t t h a t t i m e , meant a t h ree or f o u r day death-agony. The appeal t o P i l a t e f o r permiss ion t o take and bury the body, the d iscovery i n the tomb t h a t Jesus i s s t i l l a l i v e , the he ro i c s t r u g g l e to c a r r y him to the deser ted co t tage on Joseph's e s t a t e , are a l l w e l l done; but Moore comes i n t o h i s own, as u s u a l , i n the cosy domestic scene, w i t h the o l d woman ( t h e r e are on ly o l d , safe women i n The  Brook K e r i t h ) Esora, app ly ing c lean w h i t e l i n e n c l o t h s and her famous balsam ( f rom a sec re t r e c i p e o f King Solomon's) to the scourged back; and w i t h the pupp ies , a usefu l l i n k between the young-shepherd Jesus and the o ld-shepherd Jesus, and the l i g h t gardening j o b s , f o r t he rapy . The New Eng l ish B i b l e w i t h the Apocrypha, (Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1970T 37 At h i s b e s t , Moore i s a h e a l e r , a b u i l d e r , as s i n c e r e l y concerned w i t h b e t t e r i n g the human c o n d i t i o n as any o f h i s o v e r t l y concerned contempor-a r i e s . He i s a lso aware t h a t Joseph and Esora , i n p rese rv ing Jesus a t the r i s k o f t h e i r own l i v e s from the c r u e l t i e s o f both Jewish and Roman law , exemp l i f y the best i n C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e . And, o f course , Joseph lays down h i s l i f e f o r h i s h e r o , knowing q u i t e w e l l by now t h a t he i s not the Messiah, merely a s i c k man whom he l o v e s . Joseph disappears f rom the novel so suddenly t h a t the reader f e e l s b e r e f t (as no doubt he i s meant t o do) and i s f o r c e d t o e n t e r the consciousness o f the man Jesus. Chapters X X I I I and XXIV, c o v e r i n g the ac tua l j ou rney f rom Joseph's home t o the Brook K e r i t h , twenty-odd mi les away, i s a lso a symbol ic j ou rney o f the mind f o r the c r u c i f i e d man. For Moore exp la ins the " l o s t y e a r s " o f Jesus ' adolescence and young manhood, as having been spent w i t h the Essenes as t h e i r shepherd; and now Jesus i s r e t u r n i n g t o the main business o f h i s l i f e , a f t e r the i n t e r l u d e o f s e l f - d e l u s i o n and madness. The pupp ies , " o f t h r e e -q u a r t e r Thrac ian s t o c k , " the best f o r herd ing sheep, make a sp lend id d i v e r s i o n du r ing t h i s pe r iod o f t r a n s i t i o n . The i n t e l l e c t u a l Joseph and the a lmost s imple-minded s u f f e r e r are u n i t e d i n c a r i n g f o r them, a t a t ime o f g r e a t personal p e r i l . Then i t i s t ime f o r the s o p h i s t i -cated observer to d isappear ( k i l l e d on the s t r e e t s o f Jerusalem by order o f the p r i e s t s ) and the n a r r a t i v e f l ows f rom the mind o f the shepherd-Jesus. There i s no th ing sent imenta l i n Moore's use o f t h i s o l d e s t m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f the myth--Jesus as Shepherd; i t was prompted by h is q u i x o t i c j ou rney back to I r e l a n d to p lay h i s p a r t i n the I r i s h Renaissance, when he r e i n f o r c e d ch i ldhood memories o f sheep-herding 38 as a very a n c ie n t and s a t i s f y i n g way o f l i f e i n c o n t r a s t t o the l i f e o f the average man i n the modern age. His Jesus i s l o v i n g and tender w i t h the l i t t l e orphan ram (amico moor in i named i t Caesar) but he i s saving i t f rom death because i t i s a ram o f the r a r e s t b reed , and w i t h i t he hopes to r e b u i l d the s i c k l y f l o c k o f the Essenes. The c e l i b a c y o f the Essenes i s g e n t l y mocked i n the d e s c r i p t i o n s o f the b r o t h e r s ' j o y i n the ram's a c t i v i t i e s ; and i t i s a p i t y t h a t Moore f e l t he had t o belabour the p o i n t i n the Chaucerian d e s c r i p t i o n s o f m a r i t a l exper iences i n the " o t h e r " cenoby. His preoccupat ion w i t h Essene s a n i t a t i o n i s a lso i r r i t a t i n g ; one wishes he had never heard o f the l i t t l e axes and the use to which they were p u t . The g e n t l e , con temp la t i ve Jesus l i v e s f o r twenty years i n the h i l l s , s l ow ly r e b u i l d i n g h is . m ind , which " d i e d " on the c r o s s ; and a t the p o i n t when he r e t i r e s to end h i s days i n the cenoby, another ques t ing i n t e l l e c t u a l takes over the f l o w o f the n o v e l , t h i s one by no means as l o v a b l e as Joseph o f Ar imathaea. In what must be cons idered a t r iumph f o r Moore, Paul and Jesus are brought face t o f a c e . Paul appears j u s t a t the moment when Jesus ' hal f -submerged memories are s u r f a c i n g , and he i s beg inn ing to t e l l h i s own s t o r y i n the l i g h t o f twenty years o f con templa t ion and s p i r i t u a l growth i n the l o n e l y h i l l s . Hazae l , the o l d P res iden t o f the cenoby, i s making i t eas ie r f o r him by r e l a t i n g h i s own p a r t i n the s t o r y . He i s " r e c r u i t i n g " i n Nazareth when he f i n d s a small boy " t h a t would do honour to the Essenes and love God more than any I had ever met w i t h y e t . " Jesus i n t e r r u p t s Hazae l 's account w i t h "bu t a year o f my l i f e i s unknown 39 to thee Hazael" and i s about to confess h i s de lus ions f o r the f i r s t t i m e , when they are i n t e r r u p t e d by the monks. Jesus reso lves t o t e l l h is s t o r y next day, but the a r r i v a l o f Paul d r a m a t i c a l l y i n t e r v e n e s . Moore had a l ready w r i t t e n "The A p o s t l e , " i n 1911, a p lay based on a Paul /Jesus c o n f r o n t a t i o n , and the d ia logue a t t h i s p o i n t o f the novel becomes h i g h l y d r a m a t i c , w i t h elements o f low comedy from the two f r i g h t e n e d Essenes who r e s i s t Jesus ' e f f o r t s to open the door and succour the wanderer. So Paul t e l l s h i s v e r s i o n o f the s t o r y f i r s t , Jesus has become the Lord Jesus C h r i s t , r e s u r r e c t e d by the power o f h i s Fa the r , and P a u l , chastened by a v i s i o n on the road to Damascus, i s now the c h i e f a r c h i t e c t o f a f l o u r i s h i n g new r e l i g i o n , r e j e c t i n g the c la ims o f Jesus ' b r o t h e r James who had made h i s b r o t h e r acceptab le i n Jerusalem by l opp ing f rom him a l l t h a t was Jesus, making him accord ing to h i s own image; w i t h these C h r i s t i a n s he no longer stood up as an opponent o f the law, but s a i d : I come not to a b o l i s h the law but to con f i rm i t . . . . ( p . 407 ) . Unable to come to terms w i t h Peter ("a t i m i d man and anxious always t o avo id s c h i s m " ) , o r w i t h James, Paul r e t u r n e d t o Tarsus convinced t h a t " t h e r e d i d not.seem to be on e a r t h a t r u e C h r i s t i a n bu t m y s e l f , " a n ice t o u c h , u n d e r l i n e d by Jesus ' innocent ques t i on "What i s a C h r i s t i a n ? " Despi te h i s avowed a d m i r a t i o n f o r P a u l , Moore g ives f u l l vent to h i s f e e l i n g s about Paul as s p o i 1 e r - o f - t h e - f u n - - P a u l on the A then ians : 40 A f r i v o l o u s peop le , Ma th ias , l i v i n g i n a c i t y o f s ta tues i n the a i r , and i n the s t r e e t s below a c i t y o f men t h a t seek a f t e r reason , and would e x p l a i n a l l t h i ngs i n the heavens above and the e a r t h beneath by t h e i r reason , and on ly w i l l i n g to l i s t e n to the s t o r y o f a m i r a c l e because m i r a c l e s amuse them. A race much g iven t o e n j o y -ment, l i k e women, Ma th ias , and among t h e i r mountains they are not a d i f f e r e n t race from what they are i n the c i t y , but g iven to m i l k i n g goats and dancing i n the shade t o the sound o f a p i p e , . . . a l i g h t race t h a t w i l l be soon f o r -g o t t e n , and convinced o f t h e i r t r a n s i e n c e I depar ted f o r C o r i n t h , a c i t y o f f e n c i n g mas te rs , merchants , s l a v e s , cou r tesans , y e t a c i t y more w i l l i n g to hearken to the t r u t h . t h a n the l i g h t A t h e n i a n s , perhaps because i t has much commerce and i s no t s l o t h f u l i n bus iness . . . . ( p . 416) Par is and London? Jesus i s not present when Paul t e l l s h i s s t o r y to the b r o t h e r s , but i t i s w e l l - r e c e i v e d by the more g u l l i b l e monks, though quest ioned by Math ias , the scho la r and t e a c h e r , who i s e s p e c i a l l y d o u b t f u l o f Pau l ' s d o c t r i n e o f p r e d e s t i n a t i o n . When Jesus a t l a s t t e l l s h i s s t o r y , he dwe l ls h e a v i l y on h i s own wrong-do ing : . . . i n Nazare th , when my mother came w i t h by b ro the rs and s i s t e r s to the Synagogue I s a i d , woman, I have no need o f t h e e , and when Joseph o f Ar imathaea r e t u r n e d t o me a f t e r a long at tendance by h i s f a t h e r ' s beds ide. . . . I t o l d him t h a t he must l e a r n to hate h i s f a t h e r and mother i f he would become worthy to f o l l o w me. But my passion was so g rea t i n those days t h a t I d i d not see t h a t my teach ing was not l ess than blasphemy a g a i n s t God, f o r God has created the wor ld f o r us to l i v e i n i t , and he has put love o f parents i n t o our hear ts because he wishes us to love our p a r e n t s , and i f he has put i n t o the hea r t o f man love o f woman and i n t o the hear t o f woman love o f man, i t i s because he wishes both to enjoy t h a t l o v e . (p . 447) 41 When Jesus s o r r o w f u l l y a d m i t s , "My teach ing grew more and more v i o l e n t . I t i s not peace, I s a i d , t h a t I b r i n g y o u , but a sword. . . . " Paul rushes from the cenoby c r y i n g "Madman!" be fo re Jesus t e l l s o f the c r u c i f i x i o n and h is recovery . When Jesus a t l a s t hears Pau l ' s v e r s i o n o f e v e n t s , he i s determined to go t o Jerusalem and scotch i t , t o atone f o r h i s s i n o f "no t having loved man enough." Hazael t r i e s to dissuade him: "But Jesus, a l l r e l i g i o n s except ours are founded on l i e s and the re have been thousands, and the re w i l l be thousands more . " The s t o r y ends i n an e f f e c t i v e , low-keyed d ia logue between Paul and Jesus on the road to Caesarea. Jesus i s f o r a b r i e f t ime the more f o r c e f u l o f the two; Paul being weakened by an e p i l e p t i c f i t , caused by the shock o f Jesus ' r e v e l a t i o n s . He i s , however, a l ready r a t i o n a l i z -ing away h i s f e a r ; a f t e r a l l he had never been i n t e r e s t e d i n " the human l i f e o f Jesus i n G a l i l e e , " nor i n h is t e a c h i n g . "Jesus taugh t a l l the v i r t u e s , but these were known to humanity f rom the b e g i n n i n g . " I t i s on ly the Lord Jesus C h r i s t who appeared t o him i n the s p i r i t on the road t o Damascus who concerns h im. Jesus t r i e s to convince Paul t h a t he i s i n a s t a t e o f s e l f - d e l u s i o n , s i m i l a r to h i s own o f twenty years b e f o r e ; he t e l l s h im: A l l t h i ngs are God, Pau l : thou a r t God and I am God, but i f I were to say t h a t thou a r t man and I am God, I should be the madman thou b e l i e v e s t me to be . . . God d i d not design us t o know him but th rough our con-sciousness o f good and e v i l , . . . There i s but one t h i n g Pau l ; t o l e a r n f o r ourse lves and to s u f f e r our f e l l o w s to do l i k e w i s e , (p . 480) There i s a s l i g h t suggest ion t h a t perhaps Paul w i l l someday reach the p la teau h i m s e l f , b u t , o f c o u r s e , i t w i l l then be too l a t e , C h r i s t i a n i t y w i l l be f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d . 42 Paul goes on h i s way to Rome, l i v e s i n cus tody , bu t i s f r e e to p reach , " t he r e s t o f h i s s t o r y i s unknown." Jesus i s l a s t seen going towards a group o f monks from I n d i a , and Paul "begins t o t r a c e a l i keness between the d o c t r i n e s t h a t Jesus con f ided i n him and the shepherd 's s t o r y o f the d o c t r i n e s which were being preached by the monks f rom I n d i a . . . f i n d i n g him t o be o f t h e i r mind they may ask him t o r e t u r n to I n d i a w i t h them and he w i l l preach t h e r e . " Here Moore echoes the o l d legend t h a t Jesus ended h i s days as a monk i n I n d i a . At the t ime i t was p u b l i s h e d , The Brook K e r i t h was rece ived w i t h r a p t u r e by many, banned by the c i r c u l a t i n g l i b r a r i e s , c r i t i c i z e d most s t e r n l y by those who were i n t e r e s t e d i n t a c k l i n g the same s u b j e c t themselves. Robert Graves read i t " i n the t r e n c h e s , " and many years l a t e r makes a savage and i n t e r e s t i n g a t t a c k on the book which w i l l be use fu l when i t i s t ime to cons ide r h i s own work King Jesus , l a t e r i n t h i s paper. Humbert Wo l fe ' s George Moore: A Stud io Ske tch , ( c a l l e d by Frank Swinnerton " a r c h " and by Rebecca West, "an odd wh isper ing T i t t l e b o o k " ) , p rov ides a good example o f the f e e l i n g s o f the m a j o r i t y o f readers towards the book: In "The Brook" he concen t ra ted f i e r c e l y on Jesus as seen through the eyes o f Joseph o f Ar imathaea. With u n r e m i t t i n g f i d e l i t y he p e r m i t t e d the s t o r y t o u n f o l d i t s e l f as the d i r e c t r e s u l t not o f the a u t h o r ' s momentary v i s i o n but o f the charac te rs i n t h e i r u n i v e r -sal o u t l i n e . He d i d not a l l o w h i m s e l f t o be d e t e r r e d by the majesty o f C h r i s t . He i n s i s t e d t h a t He should e x p l a i n and be Himsel f i n words and a c t i o n s . He r e -garded Him from the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s p o i n t o f view as a man and a Jew i n the f i r s t cen tu ry o f C h r i s t ' s e r a . The superb command o f the Eng l i sh tongue which he had acqu i red made i t p o s s i b l e f o r George Moore t o put 43 words i n the mouth o f Jesus t h a t rang t r u e , even • from t h a t source. His pass ionate i n s i g h t i n t o cha rac te r enabled him to make a moving human t a l e o f the Gospel S t o r y - - a t a l e so conv inc ing t h a t the second h a l f o f the book which denies the C h r i s t i a n f a i t h holds the mind w i t h e f f o r t l e s s c e r t a i n t y . 30 This i s t y p i c a l o f the con fus ion which e x i s t e d among even reasonably en l i gh tened readers o f the p e r i o d . Even as Wolfe p ra i ses Moore f o r down-grading the myth to a "moving human t a l e , " he c a p i t a l i z e s the name, t a l k s o f C h r i s t and h i s m a j e s t y ; a l though he does p o i n t out t h a t : P a u l , not Jesus, was the C h r i s t o f the V i c t o r i a n s , and, l i k e Paul the age was a c u t e l y conscious o f the f l e s h , but u n l i k e Paul unable to conquer i t by p r a y e r , by f a s t i n g and by v i s i o n . . . . Not , o f course , t h a t George Moore under ra tes or misunder-stands Pau l . Indeed I should t h i n k t h a t s e c r e t l y he f i n d s i n him the man-god o f P r o t e s t a n t i s m as opposed to Jesus the woman-god o f C a t h o l i c i s m . There w a s n ' t enough room f o r h i s ba ld mountain greatness i n The Brook K e r i t h and t h e r e f o r e George Moore wrote The A p o s t l e . But though he cou ld and does apprec-i a t e P a u l , Paul in ism was as abhor ren t to him as scamped and d ishonest w r i t i n g . 3 1 Moore wrote The Apos t le i n 1911, so t h a t , i n f a c t , he tu rned from Paul t o Jesus, but t h i s passage i s h e l p f u l . Again and again i n Moore's au tob iog raph i ca l w r i t i n g s he r e f e r s a d m i r i n g l y t o P a u l , y e t the e f f e c t o f Paul i n the novel i s and has t o be n e g a t i v e . I t now becomes c l e a r 30 Humbert Wolfe, George Moore: A Stud io Sketch, (London: Thornton B u t t e r w o r t h , 1933"),p. x x i . 3 1 W o l f e , p. 2 1 . 44 t h a t i t i s Paul as a r t i s t , o r perhaps as g rea t a r t i f i c e r , o f an enormously successfu l r e l i g i o n whom he admires , w h i l e d i sag ree ing whole-h e a r t e d l y w i t h the tene ts o f t h a t r e l i g i o n . Paul i s o f the s t u f f o f which heroes are made i n Moore's eyes: the g e n t l e shepherd i s n o t . Moore was s t i l l enough o f a V i c t o r i a n to be a t t r a c t e d by power, a c t i o n , even a g g r e s s i o n ; he l i v e d i n an England which s t i l l enjoyed many o f the f r u i t s o f i n i t i a t i v e and "p rog ress " on a g loba l s c a l e , and which was on ly i n the e a r l i e s t stages o f d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . Almost i n s p i t e o f h i m s e l f , however, Moore c rea ted a new Jesus , a s u r v i v o r , t o whom he cou ld g ive h i s deepest f e a l t y . Moore's ambivalence towards h i s two p r o t a g o n i s t s i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s own ac t i ons as an I r i s h l a n d l o r d . The man who became famous f o r an i r r i t a t i n g p iece o f bravado: . . . t h a t some wretched farmers and miners should r e f u s e to s t a r v e , t h a t I may not be depr i ved o f my demi- tasse a t T o r t o n i ' s ; t h a t I may no t be f o r c e d to leave t h i s b e a u t i f u l r e t r e a t , my c a t and my py thon—monst rous . . . 32 ( w r i t t e n as Malcolm Brown says , " i n the se l f -mockery o f an o v e r - a s s e r t i o n 33 couched i n the s t y l e o f a p rovocateur i n the enemy's pay . . . " ) i s the same man who rushes home to n e g o t i a t e w i t h r a t h e r than e v i c t h i s t e n a n t s , a t a t ime when e v i c t i o n was a f a r more usual course . Brown po in t s out t h a t he knew i t was h i s p o s i t i o n as " the g r e a t s q u i r e ' s e l d e s t son, whose boy ish whims might annoy a thousand Moore Ha l l Confessions o f a Young Man, p. 123. Brown, p. 15. 45 peasant f a m i l i e s " which gave him h i s sense o f f reedom, l e t a lone the f i n a n c i a l suppor t which enabled him to se t out on h i s he ro ic jou rney i n the cause o f a r t . Moore was a lso we l l aware t h a t the s t a t e o f p a s s i v e , n a t u r a l goodness which h i s Jesus has a t t a i n e d a t the end o f The Brook K e r i t h does not produce the on ly k i nd o f achievement he, Moore, recogn ized . An u n i d e n t i f i e d w r i t e r i n the New York Times, August 27, 1916, says o f the book: The Jesus i n "The Brook K e r i t h " and the Jesus o f the Gospel are as d i f f e r e n t as l i f e and d e a t h . The cha rac te r to whom he g ives t h a t name might be the d e v i t a l i z e d p r e s e n t a t i o n o f any o f the minor Sy r ian p rophets . Indeed i t i s a p i t y t h a t George Moore d i d not leave the Gospel f i g u r e s out o f account and take up one o f the many prophets and wonder-workers who had come a l i t t l e be fore t h a t p e r i o d . The i n fe rence i s t h a t t h i s i s y e t another o f George Moore's " landscapes" and t h a t the re i s no need f o r one o f the f i g u r e s i n t r o d u c e d f o r i n t e r e s t to be t h a t o f Jesus. This i s a s u p e r f i c i a l view o f the book, but i t does have a r i n g o f t r u t h , borne out by what Moore says h i m s e l f i n the Preface to the October , 1916 e d i t i o n : " Now what , I sa id t o mysel f would be the f u t u r e l i f e o f a man who has l o s t every b e l i e f ? How w i l l l i f e r e c o n s t r u c t i t s e l f ? " A c t u a l l y h i s examinat ion o f the problem i s t h r e e - f o l d : Joseph, s t r i p p e d o f h i s l a s t b e l i e f when he f i n d s h i s Messiah i s merely a man, i s l e f t on ly w i t h f e e l i n g s o f love and p i t y , which apparen t l y s u s t a i n him to the end; Jesus , wounded i n body as w e l l as i n mind , i s , a t f i r s t , incapable o f f e e l i n g or t h o u g h t , and must be re -bo rn a f t e r twenty years o f slow p r e p a r a t i o n , m e d i t a t i o n i n 46 the h i l l s as a new man i n a s t a t e o f n i r v a n a , ( " a l l t h i n g s are God, Pau l : thou a r t God and I am God . . . God l i k e a l l the r e s t i s a possession o f the m i n d " ) ; w h i l s t P a u l , faced by a complete negat ion o f h i s whole s t r u c t u r e o f b e l i e f , takes re fuge i n a f i t o f madness and r i s e s from i t unregenerate to found C h r i s t i a n i t y on a t i s s u e o f l i e s . For Moore's purpose, t h e n , a minor "p rophet and wonder-worker o f the p e r i o d " j u s t w i l l not do. His o t h e r s t a t e d i n t e n t i o n i n the Preface t o the October,1916 E d i t i o n i s to f o r g e t " the h i e r a t i c Byzant ine mosaic o f the e a r l y c e n t u r i e s " ( i n d i r e c t c o n t r a s t to Yeats , i t must be noted) and to supp lan t Holman Hunt 's C h r i s t , a p roduct o f the " fond s e n t i m e n t a l i t i e s t h a t the I t a l i a n Renaissance i n v e n t e d , a woman's face w i t h a b lond b e a r d , " Renan's " fond sent imenta l redeemer." T h i s , I b e l i e v e , he ach ieves , w i t h the he lp o f h i s knowledge o f . a n o t h e r p a s t o r a l c i v i l i z -a t i o n , and i n the s p i r i t o f the e a r l y Pre -Raphae l i te ideas o f a r e t u r n to p r i m i t i v e C h r i s t i a n i t y he had absorbed as a young man. But Moore could no more have c rea ted h i s p a r t i c u l a r Jesus w i t h o u t the help o f Renan, than the w r i t e r s o f the next genera t i on cou ld have produced t h e i r ve rs ions w i t h o u t the help o f Moore. 47 CHAPTER I I THE NEXT GENERATION: MURRY, LAWRENCE, MAURIAC SAYERS, GRAVES AND KAZANTZAKIS In the next genera t ion o f w r i t e r s , those who came to m a t u r i t y du r ing the F i r s t World War, the re were many who f e l t the need t o t r a n s -m o g r i f y , and thus somehow "save" Jesus , not so much f o r themselves as f o r t h e i r r e a d e r s , " the s imple C h r i s t i a n s , " as one w r i t e r c a l l s them. Many w r i t e r s pub l i shed t h e i r v e r s i o n o f the l i f e , and the most impor tan t o f these works inc lude John Midd le ton Mur ry ' s Jesus: Man o f Genius i n 1926, D.H. Lawrence's The Man Who Died i n 1928, Francois Maur iac 's L i f e  o f Jesus i n 1937, Dorothy Sayers 1 The Man Born to be King i n 1943, Robert Graves' King Jesus i n 1946, and Nikos Kazantzak is ' The Last  Temptat ion o f C h r i s t i n 1948. Moore's The Brook K e r i t h p rov ided the impetus f o r t h i s genera-t i o n o f w r i t e r s , i n much the same way t h a t Renan's L i f e o f Jesus had i n s p i r e d the genera t ion t h a t f o l l o w e d him. For example, Robert Graves appears to have w r i t t e n King Jesus i n (de layed) r e b u t t a l t o Moore's n o v e l , w h i l e Lawrence's Jesus i n The Man Who D ied , i s i n many ways the n a t u r a l successor to Moore's h e r o , making e x p l i c i t much t h a t was i m p l i c i t i n The Brook K e r i t h . In h i s Reminiscences o f S.H. Lawrence, J . M idd le ton Murry saw h is f r i e n d as the "Jesus o f our t i m e s . " He w r i t e s : 48 Whereas I am i n no danger o f d i s c o v e r i n g t h a t I am l i k e the founder o f C h r i s t i a n i t y , D.H. Lawrence v e r i t a b l y i s . He happens to be more l i k e him than any man who has l i v e d f o r the pas t f i f t y y e a r s , unless perchance i t were t h a t o t h e r a n t i - C h r i s t i a n , F r i e d r i c h N i e t z s c h e J Murry cas ts h i m s e l f i n the r o l e o f the man from K e r i o t h : My duty as a f r i e n d t o Lawrence was to be h i s pure enemy. Lawrence knew i t w e l l , I knew i t d i m l y . 2 And so he made use o f h i s exper ience as the f r i e n d and c h r o n i c l e r o f the " s u f f e r i n g man" he had seen on the famous n i g h t a t the Cafe Roya l , i n o rder to w r i t e another i n h i s s e r i e s o f hero-worsh ipp ing b iog raph ies (he had a l ready t a c k l e d Shakespeare and K e a t s ) , Jesus: Man o f Genius. In h i s Preface to the work , he s t a t e s t h a t h i s t r a i n i n g as a l i t e r a r y c r i t i c " t r y i n g t o understand men o f gen ius" i s probably the bes t t r a i n i n g f o r the p r o j e c t , f o r even i f Jesus i s not a superna tu ra l b e i n g , he i s c e r t a i n l y no o r d i n a r y man. At t h i s p o i n t , Murry i s r e m i n i s c e n t o f Frank H a r r i s , (whom he knew and a d m i r e d ) , shar ing the same r e v e r e n t , t r e m b l i n g approach to h i s heroes , y e t hard-headed and shrewd when i t came to r e c o g n i z i n g and p u b l i s h i n g these "men o f g e n i u s . " The most conv inc ing p o r t r a i t s o f Judas share t h i s ambivalence o f c h a r a c t e r ; he i s o f t e n presented as the d i s c i p l e who loved and understood Jesus b e s t , y e t sought to e x p l o i t h im, u s u a l l y on b e h a l f o f r e v o l u t i o n a r y f o r c e s . ^John Midd le ton Mur ry , Reminiscences o f D.H. Lawrence,(London Jonathan Cape, 1933) ,p . 266. 2 Mur ry , p. 19. 3 John Midd le ton Mur ry , Jesus : Man o f Genius,(New York: Harper , 1926) ,pp . v i i - x i i i . 49 In the Preface to his Jesus: Man of Genius, Murry explains that he is editing the gospels in order to give his story unity; what he actually does in the smooth-flowing narrative is to leave out a l l the details which give l i f e and colour to the gospel story. While he accepts the Marcan hypothesis, he sees Mark as "a na'ive recorder of vivid and crucial incidents as the aged mind of Simon Peter remembered them." He begins the biography when Jesus is thirty, at the time of the baptism by John, and replaces the fabulous and beautiful story of Jesus' birth and childhood by a brief, rather dreary account of a fatherless boy brought up in rigorous circumstances by a poor mother. He concedes the fact that the healing miracles might have taken place in such an age of fa i t h , but he cannot accept what he calls the "prodigies," and has as many rational explanations for them as any of the "advanced c r i t i c s " he reproaches for having taken away the Jesus of the "simple Christians." No water is turned into wine, there is no miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the storm was about to die down in any case, and nobody walked on the water, except in the imagination of the disciples. In fairness, i t must be said that Murry leaves more dimensions to his hero than do many of his fellows in the same f i e l d of f i c t i o n a l -ized biography. In the f i r s t part of his book he has created a believable representation of "the best man who ever lived"; and in the second part he presents the best of the teachings as a magnificent literary achievement by a man with "a creative mastery of the scriptures," whose major success he describes in this way: 50 For i n the Old Testament the re i s not one God, but many gods; from among them Jesus sought but one, one who should s a t i s f y h i s own deep i n t u i t i v e knowledge of what God must be; . . . a God whom he could worship . . . [ w i t h ] a vo ice i n e f f a b l y sweet.4 Th is Jesus o f Mur ry ' s i s indeed the Son o f God, but on ly i n the sense o f being the s i n g l e man who has ever comple te ly understood and loved God. A l l men, says Mur ry , are capable o f being sons o f God i n j u s t t h i s way, and when they a r e , the anarchy t h a t Jesus preached w i l l be p o s s i b l e . This stance i s a k i n t o Shaw's; however, Murry was a t t h i s t ime i n h is l i f e c a l l i n g f o r d i r e c t p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n . Mur ry ' s Jesus , f a r f rom being the he lp less v i c t i m , the lamb, wrote the s c r i p t f o r , and produced the drama o f the C r u c i f i x i o n : s e t t i n g up Judas, (a l though Judas be l i eves he i s i n c o n t r o l ) and a r rang ing f o r Simon o f Cyrene to produce "an unbroken c o l t on the o u t -s k i r t s o f Je rusa lem. " Un l i ke h i s " l i b e r a l and r a t i o n a l " predecessors who, Murry s a i d , ended the s t o r y on a note o f "sympathe t i c condescen-s i o n , " Murry f e l t he alone understood the subl ime i m a g i n a t i o n o f Jesus as he sought the on ly a e s t h e t i c a l l y f i t t i n g death f o r the on ly son o f God. As f o r Judas, Murry says: He needed but one man: one t o b e t r a y h im. Judas o f K e r i o t h i s l o s t f o r e v e r i n the darkness o f h i s t o r y . His memory has been b l o t t e d o u t . Ye t , even by the b e l i e v e r s i n the God-man, the name o f Judas should have been revered as the name o f the man by whose hand God's s a c r i f i c e was made p o s s i b l e . For a be-l i e v e r i n the man-God Judas stands next to Jesus Jesus: Man o f Genius, p. 24. 51 h imse l f i n the g rea t s t o r y . For he, when a l l were w i t h o u t unde rs tand ing , must have unders tood. Perhaps not a l l , but something. Whether Jesus knew h is weakness, or d iscovered h is s t r e n g t h ; whether he was the unconscious ins t rument or the conscious p a r t n e r i n Jesus ' purpose—must remain f o r e v e r h idden. The man who bet rayed Jesus and hanged h i m s e l f i n sor row, judged by the commonest measure was a man, and perhaps more a man than the d i s c i p l e s who l e f t t h e i r Master and f l e d , o r than Peter who denied him t h r i c e . 5 This passage echoes some words o f Moore's i n The Brook K e r i t h , where Nicodemus sees Judas as a " s o r t o f o t h e r Jesus . " However, w h i l e Moore i s a lso sympathet ic to Judas, he takes the much more common tack o f making him a c t out o f a d e s i r e t o save Jesus f rom the u l t i m a t e g blasphemy o f b e l i e v i n g h i m s e l f t o be the Messiah. A l though Murry never managed to make the. leap to f u l l b e l i e f i n C h r i s t i a n i t y , he came very c l o s e , not on ly to c o n v e r s i o n , but t o o r d i n a t i o n i n the Church o f England. The main s tumbl ing b lock was h is lack o f b e l i e f i n the R e s u r r e c t i o n . F.A. Lea says t h a t "he was s t i l l unconvinced o f any r e s u r r e c t i o n a t a l l beyond what he f e l t as the ' r e a l presence i n my i m a g i n a t i v e b e i n g ' o f Jesus , Keats and Kather ine [ M a n s f i e l d ] , " ^ a statement t y p i c a l o f Mur ry ' s f r e q u e n t , Jesus: Man o f Genius, p. 242. ^ E r i c L i n k l a t e r ' s n o v e l , Judas, pub l i shed i n 1939, i s one o f the best t rea tments o f t h i s f a s c i n a t i n g c h a r a c t e r and h i s m o t i v e s . He presents a Judas who ac ts to save the c i t y from r i o t i n g and bloodshed when he perce ives a new, v i o l e n t Jesus emerging; but f e a r s t h a t he a lso ac ts t o p r o t e c t h i s own l i f e and p r o p e r t y . This Judas loves Jesus more than any o f the o t h e r d i s c i p l e s do , s ince he alone cannot bear t o go on l i v i n g a f t e r the C r u c i f i x i o n . The L i f e o f John Midd le ton Mur ry , (London: Methuen & Co. L t d . , 1959) , p. 249. 52 sometimes endear ing , i n c o n g r u i t i e s . In h i s h u m i l i t y , i n h i s acceptance o f the wor th iness o f the s a c r i f i c e c o n t r i v e d and w i l l i n g l y made by h i s Jesus, he comes very c lose to t r a d i t i o n a l C h r i s t i a n b e l i e f . But he was a changeable man i n a changeable t i m e . As a d i s c i p l e o f Lawrence, he t r i e d very hard to f i n d s a l v a t i o n , f i r s t i n the " b l o o d -bro therhood" o f man, secondly i n the union o f man and woman. He d i d not measure up t o Lawrence's e x a c t i n g standards f o r b l o o d - b r o t h e r h o o d ; and the s t o r y o f h i s stormy f i r s t marr iage to Kather ine Mans f ie ld i s we l l - known , w h i l e h i s t h ree o t h e r m a r i t a l adven tu res , a l l embarked on w i t h the same earnest sense o f commitment, a l so f a i l e d him i n one way or ano ther . A f t e r Lawrence's d e a t h , i n h i s never -end ing search f o r a way o f l i f e , he was "consumed even to t e a r s by the reading o f Das  K a p i t a i , and wrote The Necessi ty o f Communism, another eulogy o f a man o f g e n i u s , t h i s t ime a "bourgeois ideo logue" l i k e h i m s e l f , Kar l Q Marx." By t h i s t i m e , he was convinced t h a t contemporary man cou ld f i n d h i s r e a l i t y on ly i n a s o c i a l c o n t e x t , and f rom then on became concerned w i t h the p r a c t i c a l imp lementa t ion o f a s o c i a l system not u n l i k e the anarchy proposed by the hero o f Jesus: Man o f Genius. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , even h e r e , he found h i m s e l f f o l l o w i n g i n the f o o t s t e p s o f h is f i r s t master : h i s a u t h o r i t a r i a n approach to the va r ious communities he founded evokes memories o f Lawrence, and the r o l e Lawrence env is ioned f o r h i m s e l f i n Rananim. I f Murry cou ld accept the Atonement, and be s a t i s f i e d w i t h a 9 s u r v i v o r i n s p i r i t , Lawrence cou ld n o t . Murry l i v e d to a r i p e o l d 8 F . A . Lea, p. 191 . q Murry makes i t c l e a r t h a t i t i s the s p i r i t o f poe t ry t h a t he i s t a l k i n g about , and t h a t Jesus shares t h i s w i t h Keats and Shakespeare, among o t h e r s . 53 age, but was always f a s c i n a t e d by death and ideas o f s a c r i f i c e ; Lawrence d ied young, having fough t death f o r y e a r s , and had no s e n t i -mental i l l u s i o n s about i t . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t the idea o f r e s u r r e c t i o n should be the most appeal ing aspect o f the myth f o r h im, a l though h i s t rea tment o f the idea was f a r f rom o r t h o d o x , d e s p i t e h i s p r o t e s t s t o the c o n t r a r y : . . . Church d o c t r i n e teaches the r e s u r r e c t i o n o f the body and i f t h a t d o e s n ' t mean the whole man what does i t mean? And i f a man i s whole w i t h o u t a woman then I 'm damned!10 The most no tab le t rea tment o f the idea o f a Jesus who does not a c t u a l l y d i e on the c r o s s , be fo re Lawrence's The Man Who D i e d , ^ i s , o f cou rse , Moore's i n The Brook K e r i t h , and the two works have much i n common. Ne i the r man f e l t ab le to c o n f r o n t the ac tua l hero o f the Gospel ; Lawrence begins h i s n o v e l l a w i t h the " r i s e n man," w h i l e Moore devotes h a l f h i s s t o r y to e x p l o r i n g another man's psyche, w i t h on l y b r i e f g l impses o f Jesus the teacher and m a r t y r , u n t i l the reader i s p e r m i t t e d to e n t e r Jesus ' mind a f t e r h is rescue from the tomb. In h i s l e t t e r o f May 3 r d , 1927 to E.H. Brewste r , Lawrence could be d e s c r i b i n g The Brook K e r i t h as we l l as h i s own work: I wrote a s t o r y o f the R e s u r r e c t i o n , where Jesus gets up and f e e l s very s i c k about e v e r y t h i n g , and c a n ' t s tand the o l d crowd any more--so cuts o u t - - a n d as he heals up he begins to f i n d what an a s t o n i s h i n g p lace the phenomenal wor ld i s , f a r more marve l lous than any s a l v a t i o n or heaven--and thanks h i s s t a r s t h a t he needn ' t have a miss ion any more.12 ^ C o l l e c t e d L e t t e r s , ed. Aldous Hux ley , (New York: V i k i n g , 1932), p. ITTF: ^ D . H . Lawrence, S t . Mawr and the Man Who D ied , (New York: Penguin Books, 1953). 12 C o l l e c t e d L e t t e r s , ed. Aldous Hux ley, p. 975. 54 Lawrence f i r s t named h i s s t o r y "The Escaped Cock," f rom " t h a t toy i n Vol t e r r a , " which he and Earl Brewster had seen i n a shop window. While Moore leads h i s Jesus g e n t l y back i n t o the phenomenal wor ld through an awareness o f f i r s t the boughs o f the t r e e wav ing , then the a n t i c s o f the p l a y f u l puppy, and f i n a l l y the l u s t y young ram f u l f i l l i n g h i s purpose i n l i f e ; Lawrence cuts s t r a i g h t through to the hea r t o f the mat te r w i t h the proud c o c k e r e l . Here the bas ic d i f f e r e n c e between the two s o l u t i o n s f o r s u r v i v a l i s apparen t . While Moore's g e n t l e r Jesus i s con ten t to watch w i t h approval the young ram's r e j u v e n a t i o n o f the f l o c k , t u r n i n g t h a n k f u l l y a t the end o f the novel t o a l i f e o f what Lawrence c a l l s s c o r n f u l l y ( i n another connec t ion) Buddhis t i n a c t i o n 13 and m e d i t a t i o n , " "The Man Who Died" hastened to put i n t o p r a c t i c e what he had learned from the c o c k e r e l ; and a l though he too goes on h i s way, away from " the l i t t l e l i f e o f j e a l o u s y and p r o p e r t y " w i t h " . . . the go ld and f l o w i n g serpent . . . c o i l i n g up again to s l e e p , " he 14 promises t o r e t u r n t o h i s l o v e r i n the S p r i n g . I f Lawrence's man o f a c t i o n i s more e f f e c t i v e than Moore's g e n t l e voyeur , Lawrence's t rea tment a l so f a l l s s h o r t o f the m a t t e r - o f -f a c t acceptance i n sexual m a t t e r s , c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f pagan myth and d e s i r a b l e f o r v i a b l e modern myth. The j a r r i n g note i n The Brook  K e r i t h caused by the s n i g g e r i n g re fe rences to l i f e i n " t he o t h e r cenoby" o f mar r ied Essenes, i s u n f o r t u n a t e l y echoed i n The Man Who Died 1 C o l l e c t e d L e t t e r s , ed. Aldous Hux ley , p. 701 . ^ 4 The Man Who D ied , p. 2 1 1 . ( F u r t h e r page re fe rences to t h i s work w i l l be placed i n the t e x t . ) 55 by Lawrence's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d i s d a i n f o r the mat ing o f the s laves - -wha t i s b e a u t i f u l and n a t u r a l i n the cock and hens, "one w a v e - t i p o f l i f e ove r lapp ing f o r a minute a n o t h e r , i n the t i d e o f the swaying ocean o f l i f e . . . " (p . 172 ) , and e a r t h - s h a k i n g and i n e v i t a b l e i n the union o f the two a r i s t o c r a t s , i s shameful and vu lga r i n the coup l ing o f the young s l a v e s . Two q u o t a t i o n s from h is essay on " A r i s t o c r a c y " i n R e f l e c t i o n s  on the Death o f a Porcupine help to e x p l a i n , i f not e x c u s e , t h i s l apse . F i r s t , he i s convinced t h a t the Messiah must be a superman, i n the Nietzschean sense, f o r . . . i t i s the a r i s t o c r a t s l i k e Caesar and Cicero who e s t a b l i s h e d a new connect ion between mankind and the u n i v e r s e . . . . Secondly, the idea t h a t the Messiah should come to save the poor and humble i s abhor ren t to Lawrence: Jesus , i n a wor ld o f a r rogan t Phar isees and e g o i s t i c Romans, thought t h a t p u r i t y and pover ty were one. I t was a f a t a l m is ta ke . P u r i t y i s o f t e n enough poor . . . but pover ty i s on ly too r a r e l y pure.15 There i s even a suggest ion o f two s a v i o u r s . For the s l a v e s , Lawrence says: " A l l - t o l e r a n t Pan should be t h e i r God f o r e v e r . . . " ( p . 1 9 7 ) , w h i l e f o r the P r i e s t e s s , the sav iou r i s a god o f l i g h t , an A p o l l o -f i g u r e . A c t u a l l y she be l i eves the man to be O s i r i s , the r i s e n God, who w i l l come every Spr ing t o save her . Women (even p r i e s t e s s e s ) and 16 most men s t i l l need " m i r a c l e , mystery and a u t h o r i t y . " Only the Man 15 R e f l e c t i o n s on the Death o f a Porcup ine, (London: M a r t i n Seeker, 1934) ,pp. 223-40. 1 g " P r e f a c e , The Grand I n q u i s i t o r , by F.M. Dos to ievsky , " Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers o f D.H. Lawrence, (New York: Macmi l l an , 1968) ,p . 288. 5 6 Who Died , the t r u e a r i s t o c r a t , can l i v e f o r and by h i m s e l f . As i s o f t e n the case w i t h Lawrence, the c o n t r i b u t i o n to the e l u c i d a t i o n o f mankind's image o f i t s e l f l i e s less i n the c h a r a c t e r i z -a t i o n o f the hero (what he says about h i m s e l f , what Lawrence says about him) than i n the i n t e g r a t i o n , i n t h i s case the r e . - i n t e g r a t i o n , o f the cha rac te r w i t h h is phys ica l su r round ings . This i s e x e m p l i f i e d i n The  Man Who Died by the e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y wholesome d e t a i l s of the man's b r i e f so journ on the l i t t l e p e n i n s u l a . When he f i r s t appears , "a s t r a n g e r i n a dark broad h a t " ( p . 190 ) , he r i s e s l i k e a t h r e a t f rom the corner o f the temple s t e p s , b a t t l i n g the w i n d , i n sharp c o n t r a s t t o the peacefu l temple o f which the woman seems almost an i n t e g r a l p a r t as she stands i n "her y e l l o w mant le on a step above h im, beside a p i n k - a n d - w h i t e pa in ted p i l l a r . " Soon, however, the man i s s h e l t e r e d i n a l i t t l e dark womb-l ike cave where he i s nour ished i n readiness f o r h i s r e - b i r t h i n the temple above. The d e s c r i p t i o n o f the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f the cave from a "dark l a i r " i n t o a home f o r the man i s Lawrence a t h i s domestic b e s t : There the slave-men had c a r r i e d out the o l d heath o f the bedd ing , swept the r o c k - f l o o r , and were spreading w i t h n ice a r t the m y r t l e , then the rougher h e a t h , then the s o f t bushy h e a t h - t i p s on t o p , f o r a bed. Over i t a l l they put a w e l l - t a n n e d w h i t e o x - s k i n . The maids had l a i d f o l d e d wool len covers a t the head o f the cave and the w i n e - j a r , the o i l - j a r , a t e r r a - c o t t a d r i n k i n g cup, and a basket c o n t a i n i n g b read , s a l t , cheese, d r i e d f i g s and eggs stood n e a t l y a r ranged . There was a lso a l i t t l e b r a z i e r o f c h a r c o a l . The cave was suddenly f u l l and a d w e l l i n g - p l a c e , ( p . 200) The man i s massaged back to l i f e , as Moore's Jesus was by the anc ien t Esora, but t h i s time- i t i s a young woman, "a r a r e woman" who awai ts 57 a " r e - b o r n man," who re juvenates the hero . For h e r , he i s the r i s e n O s i r i s , and a f t e r t h e i r sp lend id m a t i n g , the man f e e l s h imse l f f u l l y a t one w i t h the w o r l d : But the man looked a t the v i v i d s t a r s before dawn, as they ra ined down to the sea, and the d o g - s t a r green towards the sea 's r i m . And he though t : "How p l a s t i c i t i s , how f u l l o f curves and f o l d s l i k e the i n v i s i b l e rose o f d a r k - p e t a l l ed openness t h a t shows where the dew touches i t s darkness! How f u l l i t i s , and g r e a t beyond a l l gods. How i t leans around me, and I am p a r t o f i t , the g rea t rose o f Space. I am l i k e a g r a i n o f i t s perfume, and the woman i s a g r a i n o f i t s beauty . Now the wor ld i s one f l o w e r o f many pe ta l led darknesses, and I am i n i t s perfume as i n a touch." (p . 208) . As he s tays i n the cave the next day w h i l e the c o l d r a i n f a l l s o u t s i d e , he r e a l i z e s : "Th is i s the g r e a t atonement, the being i n t ouch . The gray sea and the r a i n , the wet narc issus and the woman I w a i t f o r , the i n v i s i b l e I s i s and the unseen sun are a l l i n touch and a t one . " (p . 208) By summer-time, the woman has conceived and i s happy to be alone " w i t h the coolness o f her own a i r around h e r , " (p . 2 1 0 ) , as the man l e a v e s , p romis ing to r e t u r n i n the S p r i n g . The man and the woman are thus p a r t o f the n a t u r a l c y c l e o f l i f e , which Lawrence sought t o make bas ic to h is ve rs ion o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . He a t tempts c o n s t r u c t i v e c r i t i c i s m o f Jesus ( i n a way t h a t i s rem in i scen t o f Shaw's ) . In the Preface to The Grand I n q u i s i t o r , he w r i t e s : The t h i n g Jesus was t r y i n g to do was t o supp lan t phys ica l emotion by moral emot ion . So t h a t e a r t h l y bread becomes, i n a sense, immora l , as i t i s t o many r e f i n e d people today . The I n q u i s i t o r sees t h a t t h i s i s a m is take . The e a r t h l y bread must i n i t s e l f be the m i r a c l e , and be bound up w i t h the m i r a c l e . 58 And here, surely, he is right. Since man began to think and feel vividly, seed-time and harvest have been the two great sacred periods of miracle, re-birth, of the earthly bread, and they are festivals which go to the roots of the soul. For i t is the earthly bread as a miracle, a yearly miracle. All the old religions saw i t : the Catholic s t i l l sees i t by the Mediterranean.17 So that while Murry's well-meaning, eminently sensible re-telling of the myth makes comfortable reading for the believer, Lawrence's extraordinary l i t t l e book constitutes a genuine re-vamping of the myth, or, perhaps i t would be more correct to say re-creation of the myth. If, as seems probable, Lawrence has played a part in altering man's view of himself, this book has been one of his most successful vehicles for conversion. His man is a survivor, in tune with natural forces, despising the unnatural forces (represented by the Mother and the Overseer) which exploit and enslave mankind for money, forces which Lawrence f e l t to be nourished by conventional Christianity. His elitism and his feeling of male superiority must be forgiven him. The Man Who Died, for a l l i t s ori g i n a l i t y , is s t i l l part of the tradition established by Renan and Moore, with i t s stress on man in harmony with a beautiful, balanced, natural setting. The hero of the next work to be examined, Mauriac's Jesus, is quite alone, moving in a stark inner world of psychological conflict. Mauriac's Galilee, the object of so much lush description in other novels, is simply a place where Phoenix, p. 288. 59 a l i t t l e people s t r u c k out i n the oppos i te d i r e c t i o n , tu rned t h e i r backs on the quest f o r power, f o r s a t i e t y and sensual s a t i s f a c t i o n . Upon the shores o f the Dead Sea, the Essenes l i v e d a b s t i n e n t and c h a s t e , concerned on ly w i t h t h e i r s o u l s J S Few o f the w r i t e r s d iscussed i n t h i s paper have such se l f -knowledge as Maur iac , o r perhaps few o f them are as ready to share t h e i r mot ives and confess t h e i r shor t -comings as t h i s g rea t C a t h o l i c w r i t e r . In the Pre face , be fore the reader may approach the book, he i s warned aga ins t B i b l i c a l scho la rs i n g e n e r a l , not on ly the u n b e l i e v e r , but even the C h r i s t i a n whose "ve ry f e r v o u r causes the p a i n t e r ' s hand t o t remble and obscure the v i s i o n . " P r e f e r a b l y , a l i f e o f Jesus should be w r i t t e n on one 's knees, says Maur iac. Having taken the p lunge , however, w h i l e he sees the weaknesses i n h is work , Mauriac re fuses t o a p o l o g i z e : I have s t ressed those t h i n g s which correspond to my own p reoccupa t ions , and e s p e c i a l l y the f u r y o f the Man-God, be fore which my mind r e a l l y f a l t e r s - - a s though I wished to prove to myse l f t h a t t h i s does not t r y my f a i t h . That sharpness and v i o l e n c e I have a t tached to perhaps a too human idea o f l o v e : I b e l i e v e t h a t i n C h r i s t they are not opposed to l o v e , t h a t on the c o n t r a r y they are i t s i n d i c a t i o n s . ( p . 280) . Indeed, t h i s i s why he wrote the L i f e , from a "need o f f i n d i n g and o f touch ing i n some way the l i v i n g and s u f f e r i n g Man, whose p lace i s empty i n so many h e a r t s — t h e Word made f l e s h , t h a t i s an e a r t h l y being o f the same f l e s h as our own." Only the concre te can s a t i s f y Maur iac , Francois Maur iac, L i f e o f Jesus, (New York: Longmans, Green, 1937) , p. 28. 60 and he deplores a l l e f f o r t s to min imize the human e lement , a l though i n h i s g l o r i f i c a t i o n o f the human, Mauriac w r i t e s i n d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n to the t r a d i t i o n o f Renan, Moore and Lawrence, w i t h i t s emphasis on man i n harmony w i t h a b e n e f i c i a l n a t u r e ; and h a l f the human race i s a u t o m a t i c a l l y excluded f rom g l o r y . Woman can on ly s u f f e r and s i n . A m o t i f which occurs again and again throughout the novel i s the sword i n Mary 's h e a r t , bu r ied deep, but beg inn ing to s t i r a l i t t l e as John the B a p t i s t announces the a r r i v a l o f "one the s t r a p o f whose sandals I am not wor thy to stoop and l o o s e , " and causing her u n t o l d agony by the end o f the s t o r y , agony which i s l i t t l e comfor ted by her son. Even Mauriac wonders i f perhaps Jesus might have shown a l i t t l e more t e n d e r -ness towards h i s Mother than the Gospel i n d i c a t e s , but d ismisses the idea as somehow e f f e t e . There are a lso uncomfor tab ly r e v e a l i n g d e s c r i p t i o n s o f Jesus ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r women: I t was the Man-God who r a i s e d h is eyes towards t h i s woman [ t h e Samaritan woman]. He, i n f i n i t e P u r i t y , who had no need to put down d e s i r e i n i t s lower and more so rd id f o rms , was none the less i n c a r n a t e d e s i r e , s ince he was i n c a r n a t e l o v e . He v i o l e n t l y des i red the soul o f t h i s woman. The Son o f Man demanded the possession o f t h i s c r e a t u r e . She might f u l l y be what she was: a concu-b i n e , woman who had been dragged i n the mud, had l a i n i n the arms o f s i x men, and he whose t h i n g she now was, and who had t a s t e d p leasure w i t h her was not her husband, (p . 52) As f o r the woman taken i n a d u l t e r y , "she who on t h a t very n i g h t had g iven h e r s e l f over to the d e l i g h t s o f the f l e s h , " she i s an example 61 o f the shortcomings o f the whole sex, o f the "unconquerable weakness o f the woman, t h a t c r a w l i n g c r i n g i n g c r e a t u r e t h a t she becomes a t c e r t a i n hours , be fore c e r t a i n b e i n g s . " (p . 154) . Even the conver ted woman can do no r i g h t : The women heard these t h i n g s w i t h o u t understanding them, as they do s t i l l , hanging on h i s l i p s , en-chanted by h i s vo ice a lone . One o f them i n t e r r u p t e d to c ry out to h im, "Blessed i s the womb t h a t bore thee and the breas ts t h a t thou d i d s t suck . " ( p . 171) This earns a s t e r n r e p r o o f f rom Maur iac 's Jesus , (as indeed i t does i n the Gospel . ) Grudging ly Mauriac concedes t h a t the mother o f Jesus may have been present a t the c r o s s , may have "emerged a t l a s t f rom her o b s c u r i t y , because he no longer had the s t r e n g t h to repe l h e r . " In h i s c o l l e c t i o n o f essays , Maria Cross, a book, not "about 19 C a t h o l i c i s m , but about e i g h t w r i t e r s who are C a t h o l i c s , " Conor Cru ise O 'Br ien examines the fo rces i n Mauriac which dominate h i s a r t . For Maur iac , the on ly c h i l d o f a widowed, ex t remely devout mother , the most d read fu l s i t u a t i o n imaginable i s t h a t o f a p a r e n t , a lmost always a mother , c o n t i n u i n g to dominate an a d u l t o f f s p r i n g . For Mauriac the u l t i m a t e h o r r o r i s the f a c t t h a t woman t u r n s i n t o c h i l d - d e v o u r i n g mother ; woman i s the c r o s s . In W r i t e r s a t Work, Mauriac says o f h is own work , " I d o n ' t observe and I d o n ' t d e s c r i b e . I r e d i s c o v e r the narrow Jansen is t wor ld o f my devou t , unhappy and i n t r o v e r t e d c h i l d -Conor Cruise O ' B r i e n , Maria Cross: Imag ina t i ve Pat te rns i n a Group o f Modern C a t h o l i c W r i t e r s , (Fresno, C a l i f . : Academy Gu i ld Press , 1963]T l [ i r Mar ia Cross"" i s the name o f the hero ine o f Maur iac 's novel Le Desert de 1'amour, a s t o r y about a f a t h e r and son, " r e l a t e d through~~Maria Cross^who i s f o r one a sexual image, f o r the o t h e r a sorrowing mother ; both f a l l i n love w i t h h e r . ) 62 90 hood. " This method, as O 'Br ien p o i n t s o u t , does have i t s p o s i t i v e s i d e . At h i s b e s t , says O ' B r i e n , "Mauriac i s the l e a s t ce reb ra l o f w r i t e r s , " and h i s most " e x p l o s i v e " e f f e c t s are the r e s u l t o f " i r r a t i o n a l i n s t i n c t i v e f o r c e " l a c k i n g i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l a b s t r a c t i o n s 21 o f such f e l l o w masters as S a r t r e and Camus. "The pagan D.H. Lawrence, who made a c u l t o f sex and sun, never evoked them w i t h any th ing l i k e 22 the dangerous power o f the C h r i s t i a n Maur iac . " There are indeed u n f o r g e t t a b l e moments i n h i s L i f e o f Jesus , c rea ted by what he h imse l f c a l l s techniques o f the cinema. At the beg inn ing o f the book, f i r s t t h r e e , and t h e n , a f t e r the death o f Joseph, two s i l e n t f i g u r e s s i t around the t a b l e , w a i t i n g f o r i t a l l t o b e g i n , w h i l e the reader /obse rve r l ea rns o f the past through f l a s h -backs i n the mind o f the woman. Then, a f t e r the a l l - t o o - s h o r t f e v e r i s h year o f a c t i v i t y , the unnatura l s t i l l n e s s a f t e r the c r u c i f i x i o n : Clouds d u l l e d the sky . Perhaps i t i s t r u e the dead came f o r t h , a l though no one remembered t h i s u n t i l l a t e r . I imagine r a t h e r a s p r i n g evening l i k e a l l evenings i n s p r i n g , the smell o f warm, damp e a r t h , and t h a t f l e s h l y wear iness , t h a t emptiness which I f e l t as a c h i l d , a f t e r the death o f the l a s t b u l l , when the arena was empt ied , as though my own b lood had been impover ished w i t h a l l the blood t h a t had been shed. (p . 266) The Par is Review I n t e r v i e w s , ed. Malcolm Cowley, (New York: V i k i n g , 1958) ,p . 42. 2 1 0 ' B r i e n , p. 33. 99 " O ' B r i e n , p. 5. 63 His most v i v i d w r i t i n g i s when he indu lges i n an ecstasy o f s e l f -abasement: f i r s t as he shares i n the f l a g e l l a t i o n : A l l our k i s s e s , a l l our embraces, the p r o s t i t u t i o n o f the body created to be the d w e l l i n g o f Love, the debasement o f the f l e s h , cr imes not on ly a g a i n s t g race , but aga ins t n a t u r e , the Son o f Man assumed them a l l h imse l f . . . ( p . 248) second, when he i d e n t i f i e s w i t h Jesus , as he c r i e s r e p r o a c h f u l l y f rom the c r o s s : " i t was necessary f o r the Son t o know t h a t u l t i m a t e horror—abandonment by the F a t h e r . " And Mauriac knows w e l l the road to Emmaus--"Who has not walked on t h i s road one evening when a l l seemed l o s t ? " depr ived o f Jesus, not on ly by h i s own " d i s g u s t i n g " pass ions , but a lso by the wel l -meaning e f f o r t s o f sages and ph i losophers who come between the s t a r k r e a l i t y o f the Man-God and h i m s e l f . Despi te some c r i t i c i s m o f the harshness o f the p o r t r a i t (and Mauriac d i d " tone down" some o f the more l u r i d passages f o r the second e d i t i o n ) Maur iac 's L i f e o f Jesus was recognized by the Roman C a t h o l i c Church as being va luab le to the f a i t h . I t has something which i s o f t e n l a c k i n g i n o the r f i c t i o n a l i z e d vers ions o f the modern p e r i o d ; Mauriac i s not a f r a i d to deal d i r e c t l y and w i t h b r u t a l honesty w i t h the charac te r o f Jesus as dep ic ted i n the Gospels. There i s no s i d e -s tepp ing the i s s u e , e i t h e r by s e n t i m e n t a l i z i n g the c h a r a c t e r as i n Renan, or by c o n c e n t r a t i n g the main f o r c e o f the novel on o the r c h a r a c t e r s , or by c r e a t i n g an e n t i r e l y new, p o s t - R e s u r r e c t i o n Jesus. But Maur iac 's Jesus belongs to another age, an age which f o u n d , c o r r u p t i o n and c r u c i f i x i o n an i r r e s i s t i b l e comb ina t i on ; and be l i eved 64 h a l f the human r a c e , the female h a l f , t o be f o r e v e r i n f e r i o r a t b e s t , f o r e v e r s i n f u l a t w o r s t . Even the passages which a t tempt to r e s t o r e a balanced p o r t r a i t , t o r e l i e v e the darkness w i t h f l a s h e s o f l i g h t - -"and when C h r i s t preached on e a r t h a sp r i ng o f l o v e , h i t h e r t o unknown, gushed f o r t h i n the hard hea r t o f the Roman Empire"--show the love o f C h r i s t having a f o r c e and compulsion f o r e i g n to the g e n t l e h e a l i n g q u a l i t y which i s s t i l l an a t t r a c t i v e aspect o f the C h r i s t i a n legacy . The c o n t r a s t between Maur iac 's Jesus and the hero o f the nex t work t o be examined, Dorothy Sayers ' p o p u l a r l y successfu l p l a y - c y c l e , The Man Born t o be K i n g , i s so extreme t h a t i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e t h a t they are based on the same f i g u r e . That two contempor-aneous w r i t e r s , who shared what Maur iac , a t l e a s t , f e l t t o be the most impor tan t q u a l i f i c a t i o n f o r the t a s k - - t h e y were both devout C h r i s t i a n s - - a n d who acted a p p a r e n t l y f rom the same m o t i v e , to present " t he l i v i n g and s u f f e r i n g Man" ( M a u r i a c ) , " the human Jesus d i s f i g u r e d w i t h blood and g r i e f " ( S a y e r s ) , could have produced such w i d e l y d i s p a r a t e heroes can perhaps best be exp la ined by r e p e a t i n g what I have a l ready c la imed: Maur iac 's hero i s a d e l i b e r a t e " t h r o w - b a c k , " w h i l e Sayers prov ides a g e n t l e r source o f i n s p i r a t i o n f o r a wor ld s ickened by i t s own sharpness and v i o l e n c e . Despi te her promises o f "b lood and g r i e f , " Dorothy Sayers presents a very c i v i l i z e d v e r s i o n o f the myth , and she has done i t , f i r s t by the use o f modern The Man Born to be K ing , (New York: Harper & B r o t h e r s , 1943) . 65 speech, and second by e n l a r g i n g the r o l e s played by women i n the s t o r y , thus " d o m e s t i c a t i n g " the whole p i c t u r e . These methods, w h i l e they enormously increased the popular appeal o f the p lay i n the Nineteen F o r t i e s , employ dated language and dated female s te reo types which make i t d i f f i c u l t t o app rec ia te her b r i l l i a n t c ra f tsmansh ip i n the c o n s t r u c -t i o n o f the twelve p l a y s . An examinat ion o f the d e s c r i p t i o n o f Mary may help to i l l u s t r a t e what I mean: She must be p l a y e d w i t h d i g n i t y and s i n c e r i t y and w i t h p e r f e c t s i m p l i c i t y . Her vo ice i s sweet but not sugary ; and the re must be no t r a c e o f any k ind o f a f f e c t a t i o n . A very s l i g h t touch o f a c c e n t — perhaps a f a i n t shadow c f I r i s h q u a ! i t y - - w o u l d be o f ass is tance i n keeping her i n her " s t a t i o n o f l i f e " ; b u t , i f so , Joseph's accent must be i n keep ing , (and l a t e r on we must not get the anomaly o f Jesus speaking i n a d i f f e r e n t accent f rom His m o t h e r ) , ( p . 27) The " I r i s h q u a l i t y " appa ren t l y adds a s a i n t l y d imens ion; o r perhaps Eng l ish audiences cou ld not be expected t o face up to the mother o f god w i t h a w o r k i n g - c l a s s a c c e n t , w h i l e a l i t t l e I r i s h brogue i s p e r m i s s i b l e , even d e s i r a b l e , a t every l e v e l . In any case, her d e s c r i p -t i o n o f Mary i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h a t i t shows Sayers ' g rea t f l a w : her p reoccupat ion w i t h the Eng l ish c lass system and her f a t a l tendency t o t ranspose the " g r e a t e s t o f a l l s t o r i e s " i n t o i t s narrow c o n f i n e s . "We d e c i d e d , " she w r i t e s , " t h a t Jesus and h i s Mother should speak Standard Eng l ish . . . the ques t ion then a rose , should the D i s c i p l e s a lso speak Standard Eng l ish ( i n which case they m i g h t , by c o n t r a s t w i t h the crowd, sound r a t h e r l i k e a U n i v e r s i t i e s ' Miss ion to the East End). . . . " In the end, i t was decided t h a t the re must be a h i e r a r c h y among the d i s c i p l e s - - J o h n and Judas speak Standard E n g l i s h , 66 Peter being kept " rougher" and Matthew, "as vu lga r a l i t t l e commercial Jew as ever walked Whi techapel " has a s t rong cockney accent . Mary has one good scene i n the f i r s t p l a y . In keeping w i t h Sayers ' general domes t i ca t ion o f the Gospel s t o r y , i t takes p lace i n a shepherd 's c o t t a g e , r a t h e r than i n the s t a b l e s , and she has a moving d ia logue w i t h the Three Kings. But the atmosphere o f the scene i s marred by the a u t h o r ' s ba thos: th ree m a g i c a l , myster ious K ings , r i d i n g w h i t e horses , wear ing g l i t t e r i n g be jewe l led armour, and bear ing p r i c e l e s s g i f t s , are approach ing , and the shepherd 's w i f e c r i e s to her daugh te r , " l ook i n the dresser drawer and f i n d a c lean b ib f o r Baby J e s u s ! " And a l though she dec lares again and again i n her p r e l i m i n a r y notes to the P lay-Cyc le t h a t she w i l l i n no way s o f t e n or s e n t i m e n t a l i z e Jesus , she cannot face up to h is unkindness t o h i s mother a t Cana; she evades the issue by having Jesus speak i n the " vo i ce o f a somnambul is t " ; the i n -ference i s p l a i n t h a t he r e a l l y does not know what he i s saying to h i s mother as he prepares h imse l f f o r h i s f i r s t impor tan t m i r a c l e . Mary does have some f i n e simple "Syngean" speeches i n the Eleventh P l a y , "King o f Sor rows, " where she expresses the f e e l i n g s o f the mother who o u t ! i v e s her c h i l d : "Th is i s the wors t t h i n g ; to conceive beauty i n your hear t and b r i n g i t f o r t h i n t o the wor ld and then to stand by he lp less and watch i t s u f f e r . . . " and " I know now what he i s and what I am . . . I , Mary am the f a c t ; God i s the t r u t h ; but Jesus i s f a c t and t r u t h - - h e i s r e a l i t y . " 67 What o f the o the r women i n the Play-Cycle? Mary Magdalen i s the s tock p r o s t i t u t e w i t h a " h e a r t o f g o l d , " who has her ( r a t h e r t a s t e -l e s s ) moment a t the c r o s s , when she s ings and dances f o r the C e n t u r i o n , an o l d customer, f o r the p r i v i l e g e o f approaching c l o s e r and t a k i n g John and the Mother w i t h he r . C laudia P r o c u l a , P i l a t e ' s w i f e , i s a t y p i c a l Roedean g i r l : " t h e very best type o f P a t r i c i a n l a d y - - s u r e enough o f her own p o s i t i o n to t a l k w i t h u n a f f e c t e d i n t e r e s t and s i m p l i c i t y t o bath a t tendan ts and her own s e r v a n t s . ( P i l a t e mar r ied r a t h e r above h i m s e l f ; the daughter o f t he 'C laud ians i s ou t o f the top d r a w e r ) . . . . " ( p . 152) L a t e r , and r a t h e r incongruously, t h i s cool c h a r a c t e r has dreams, "has looked upon Pan i n the moon l i gh t " and warns P i l a t e not t o persecute Jesus. P a r t l y because o f the "pop" medium i n which Sayers i s w o r k i n g ; and p a r t l y because she i s not a w r i t e r who delves beneath the su r face o f her charac te rs ( t h e r e i s no n e c e s s i t y f o r the hero o f even such f i n e d e t e c t i v e novels as hers to be any more complex than the much-loved Lord Peter Wimsey) her c h a r a c t e r s , male and fema le , remain s u p e r f i c i a l and unconv inc ing . For a l l her e r u d i t i o n and her t e c h n i c a l s k i l l , she seems too c i v i l i z e d , too " c e r e b r a l " above a l l too Eng l i sh t o be ab le to c rea te the atmosphere o f " h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i s m " she c raves . This i s , u n f o r t u n a t e l y , e s p e c i a l l y t r u e o f her d e l i n e a t i o n o f Jesus. Since t h i s work was o r i g i n a l l y meant to be heard (and was heard by l i t e r a l l y m i l l i o n s o f people) i t seems usefu l t o l e a r n the op in ions ( e s p e c i a l l y on her c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f Jesus h i m s e l f ) o f a t l e a s t two contemporar ies o f the author who heard the p lay a t the h e i g h t o f i t s success. G.W. S t o n i e r i n The New Statesman w r i t e s : 68 Miss Sayers has done l i t t l e more w i t h the cha rac te r o f C h r i s t than make Him humanly approachab le- -a d i f f i -c u l t enough f e a t , goodness knows; she emphasizes h i s p r a c t i c a l and humorous s i d e , and ignores the c r y p t i c a loo fness and the f i t s o f anger which a t one moment may be d i r e c t e d a g a in s t money-changers i n the temp le , but a t the next a g a in s t a f i g - t r e e t h a t w o n ' t bear f r u i t ou t o f season. She enjoys the m i r a c l e s i n a s e n s i b l e b u s t l i n g w a y — l i k e modern m i r a c l e s o f su rge ry . . . .24 R.A. Scott-James i n The Spec ta to r i s less generous: . . . we s h a l l not be impressed by evidence t h a t those who do not know t h e i r Gospels w i l l have been c a r r i e d away by these b roadcas ts . We should expect so sp lend id a theme to have an e f f e c t even i f not presented to the g r e a t e s t advantage. . . . The exper ience o f the present rev iewer i s t h a t whenever Miss Sayers was i n v e n t i n g , whenever she was using an imaginary s i t u a t i o n not drawn from the Gospel i n which Jesus was not an a c t o r , she was s u c c e s s f u l . She. has produced q u i t e good s t o r i e s o f the shepherds and o f Herod a t tended by h i s c o u r t o f f i c i a l s , and c l e v e r d ia logue between Caiaphas, Annas and Judas. Nor should i t be sa id t h a t she f a i l e d i n her p i c t u r e s o f the d i s c i p l e s . Where she r e a l l y breaks down i s i n her p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Jesus h i m s e l f . The language o f the Au thor i zed Vers ion i s a l ready ext remely s i m p l e , and has the m e r i t o f being i n t e l l i g i b l e to everyone. A s l i g h t depar tu re from the c o l l o q u i a l - - a n d i t was not the language o f the m a n - i n - t h e - s t r e e t i n King James 1 d a y — s t y l i z e s i t j u s t enough to l i f t i t above the o r d i n a r y and pe rm i t o f t h a t concept ion o f grandeur t h a t we dare not e l i m i n a t e . 25 Ne i the r c r i t i c mentions Sayers ' t rea tment o f the R e s u r r e c t i o n , i n the t w e l f t h p lay o f the c y c l e . In her p r o d u c t i o n n o t e s , which serve as an i n t r o d u c t i o n to t h i s ep isode , she faces the problem o f p resen t i ng "no fewer than n ine superna tu ra l appearances, w i t h o u t ted ious The New Statesman, V o l . 26 :28 , J u l y 10, 1943. 'The S p e c t a t o r , V o l . 171:42 , J u l y 9 , 1943. 69 r e p e t i t i o n , and w i t h o u t suggest ing e i t h e r Surrey melodrama or the more l i l y - l i v e r e d k ind o f Easter c a r d . " She does escape both these emot ional p i t f a l l s , but her common-sense approach produces something even more deadening than a "cheap t h r i l l " - - a neat s c i e n t i f i c e x p l a n a t i o n f o r a v a r i a t i o n on the age-o ld d e t e c t i v e mystery o f the murder v i c t i m i n the locked room. How d i d Jesus get out o f the tomb? Under the sub-head ing , "Mechanics o f the R e s u r r e c t i o n , " she deals b r i s k l y w i t h the " o p e r a t i v e elements i n the p r o b l e m " - - t h e open sepu lchre and the und is tu rbed g r a v e - c l o t h e s - - a n d comes t o the conc lus ion t h a t " t h e phys ica l body was, as i t were, d i s s o l v e d i n t o i t s molecu lar e lements , drawn out through the g r a v e - c l o t h e s and through the stone and assembled o u t s i d e . " This phenomenon, not s u r p r i s i n g l y , was accompanied by a v i o l e n t e l e c t r i c a l d i s t u r b a n c e , p e r c e p t i b l e as a k i nd o f ear thquake. This "Body," she e x p l a i n s , does not have to c a r r y i t s o r i g i n a l components w i t h i t , " I t cou ld b u i l d I t s e l f up from any atomic m a t e r i a l t h a t happened to be handy." I t must be noted t h a t The Man Born t o be King was a p i o n e e r , a g e n t e e l , we l l - sponsored one, but s t i l l i n n o v a t i v e . As S t o n i e r p o i n t s out the r a d i o was able to b laze a t r a i l f o r the drama o f C h r i s t i n a way t h a t the t h e a t r e cou ld n o t , s ince " the t h e a t r e i n England, as everyone knows, belongs to the d e v i l . C h r i s t may not walk t h e r e . " The B.B.C. had s t rong church backing f o r the p r o d u c t i o n and " i t was a v i c t o r y f o r good sense, though I am a f r a i d t h a t the B.B.C. would be as quick to ban a p lay by Mr. Shaw on the s u b j e c t as i t has been eager to encourage Miss Saye rs . " " I t seems u n f a i r , absurd even, nowadays to look a t The Man Born to be King i n the l i g h t o f Sa in t Joan. Only on 70 one a s p e c t - w i l l I dare to make comparisons. Shaw, i n h is g e n i u s , had long perce ived what Sayers was s t i l l b rave ly g rop ing f o r : "That the Of. Godhead must con ta in the Mother as we l l as the F a t h e r . " A l though Sayers does g i v e her women cha rac te rs many l i n e s to say, they speak them as second-c lass c i t i z e n s , whether they speak i n Claudia P r o c u l a ' s c l i p p e d accents or " t a l k rough" l i k e the shepherd 's w i f e . Her novel Gaudy N i g h t , which as we l l as being a c l a s s i c among d e t e c t i v e s t o r i e s i s a lso an i n t e r e s t i n g account o f women s tudents and dons c lawing t h e i r way out o f the dark ages o f the Ninteen Twenties and T h i r t i e s i n O x f o r d , c o n s t a n t l y a f r a i d o f being thought unnatura l women f o r us ing t h e i r minds, p o i n t s up her bas ic conservat ism i n an area where one might have expected much from a woman w r i t e r o f her s t a t u r e . But Dorothy Sayers , as a devout A n g l i c a n , s tayed s t r i c t l y w i t h i n the con f ines o f t h i s most mascul ine o f myths; and one must t u r n to a man, Robert Graves, f o r an e x t r a o r d i n a r y a t tempt to b r i n g the "Mother as we l l as the Father " i n t o the Godhead, w i t h o u t abandoning the C h r i s t i a n myth . In an a r t i c l e c a l l e d "Two Studies i n S c i e n t i f i c A t h e i s m , " Graves c a s t i g a t e s Ber t rand Russel l and J u l i a n Huxley f o r t h e i r a t tempts to supply a new s c i e n t i f i c myth and has some suggest ions o f h i s own: Shaw on R e l i g i o n , ed. Warren S y l v e s t e r Smi th , (London: Constab le , 1967) . In a l e t t e r to Dame L a u r e n t i a McLachlan o f Stanbrook Abbey, Shaw asks her why she f l i e s ou t a t him "when I devou t l y i n s i s t t h a t t h a t the Godhead must c o n t a i n the Mother as w e l l as the Father?" He goes on to d iscuss the f a i l u r e o f the C h r i s t i a n Mar ies : " n o t as approachable as the Egypt ian Goddesses o f the Great P e r i o d . " ( p . 205) 71 [ a ] g rea t mistake o f the Church has been to f reeze i t s myths beyond the p o i n t where they can be u n f r o z e n . I f the C h r i s t i a n God f i n a l l y abd ica tes and i s succeeded by some more immediately po ten t d e i t y or d e i t i e s , the reason w i l l be t h a t h i s myth no longer corresponds w i t h recen t deve lop-ments i n the Western s o c i a l system. He i s s t i l l presented as an abso lu te O r i e n t a l male monarch too ho ly ever t o reveal h imse l f i n p u b l i c , whose ex is tence i s apprehended on l y by the symbol ic male dove h i s s p i r i t u a l emanat ion; and whom mor ta l s cannot approach unless they have f i r s t secured the good o f f i c e s o f h i s so le son. This son, f o r m e r l y a m o r t a l , i s sa id to have been par thogenously born from a mother , who, though now assumed to heaven does not p a r t i c i - ^ pate i n h i s godhead. In modern r e p u b l i c s and i n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarch ies, o f t e n r u l e d by queens, t h i s myth makes l i t t l e sense.27 In King Jesus, Graves does h i s bes t to thaw the " f r o z e n m y t h , " by r e - w r i t i n g the Gospel s t o r y w i t h g r e a t emphasis on the Female. Mary the Mother n a t u r a l l y dominates Par t One o f the complex and f a s c i n a t i n g n o v e l , but a f t e r Par t One, " t r i p l e - M a r y " takes ove r . Graves exp la ins her best i n The White Goddess. The e a r l y church f o u n d , he sugges ts , t h a t along w i t h the "most d i a b o l i c a l and unpardonable heresy" o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the Hercu les -D ionysus-Mi th ras Bu l l w i t h Jesus C h r i s t went ano the r , " the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f the V i r g i n Mary w i t h the T r i p l e Goddess . . . the Copts even ventured to combine the th ree Maries who were spec ta to rs a t the C r u c i f i x i o n i n t o a s i n g l e c h a r a c t e r . " I t i s the s t o r y o f the " t h r e e Mar ies" which g ives King Jesus i t s c l a i m to be c a l l e d a n o v e l , i n c o n t r a s t t o the l o n g , i n g e n i o u s , but o f t e n somewhat p e r f u n c t o r y re -work ings o f the doings and sayings o f Jesus. I t i s The Crane Bag and Other Disputed S u b j e c t s , (London: C a s s e l 1 , 1969 ) , p. 16. p o King Jesus, (London: C a s s e l ! , 1946) . 72 c l e a r , i n f a c t , t h a t t h i s Jesus i s work ing w i t h o u t the b e n e f i t o f the Muse ( the White Goddess); he produces doggerel l i k e t h i s : The farmer t rudges out to sow, The l e a t h e r n seed-bag s lung a t h is s i d e , Along the merry fu r rows watch him go To s c a t t e r the good seed f a r and w ide . 29 Agabus, the D e c a p o l i t a n , who na r ra tes the s t o r y i n about A.D. 93 , exp la ins t h a t Jesus ' t r o u b l e was t h a t he "was t r u e t o Jehovah w i t h o u t a s i n g l e lapse i n l o y a l t y . . he had come . . . t o des t roy the work o f the f e m a l e . " (p . 9 ) . In t h i s he was a c t i n g w i t h i n contemporary Jewish t h o u g h t , f o r the "Jews as a n a t i o n have persuaded themselves t h a t they never owed any duty t o the Great T r i p l e Moon-Goddess." Th is c l a i m , says Agabus, i s u n t e n a b l e , f o r t h e i r sacred books preserve c l e a r t races o f t h e i r former a t tachment , and he be l i eves t h a t the homeless c o n d i t i o n o f the Jews a t the t ime he i s w r i t i n g i s a d i r e c t r e s u l t o f the "Goddess's i n e l u c t a b l e vengeance." Whi le Agabus pays t r i b u t e to the charm o f the N a t i v i t y Drama as " r e l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e , " he undertakes to t e l l the rea l s t o r y . C h i l d l e s s Hannah, the he i ress o f the roya l house o f M i c h a l , went i n t o the s t r e e t s o f Jerusalem i n her b r i d a l dress o f ten years b e f o r e , wearing a "pu rp le headband, o f which the c h i e f ornament was a s i l v e r c rescen t moon, curved around the s i x - p o i n t e d s t a r o f Dav id , s t i t c h e d In a defence o f the n o v e l , "The H i s t o r i c Logic o f King J e s u s , " C o r n h i l l Magazine, 162, Autumn, 1947, Graves speaks o f employing the " a n a l e p t i c " technique i n King Jesus , f i r s t used i n I , C l a u d i u s , " t o r e s t o r e the l o s t o r damaged p a r t s o f some rea l s t o r y , by r e l i v i n g the p e r i o d . " Agabus was chosen because he had l i v e d long enough to under-stand Church p o l i c y a f t e r t h e ' F a l l o f Jerusa lem. 73 i n go ld and s c a r l e t ; the go ld pyramid o f Anatha i n t e r l o c k e d w i t h the s c a r l e t vau t r i a n g l e , her wedge. . . embroidered w i t h m y r t l e - t w i g s , b e l l s , c e d a r - t r e e s , s c a l l o p - s h e l l s and pomegranates, the tokens o f queensh ip . " (p . 28) Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , she f i n d s a magic garden where she i s fed sweet wine and the seed o f the l o t u s by a "grave bearded man" and soon swoons away. The r e s u l t o f t h i s adventure on the n i g h t o f Eve's F e s t i v a l o f F r u i t s i s Mir iam (Mary ) . S i m i l a r adventures b e f a l l Mary i n her t u r n , except t h a t she i s l e g a l l y , i f s e c r e t l y , mar r ied t o Pr ince A n t i p a t e r , son o f King Herod. A n t i p a t e r has been convinced by the P r i e s t , Simon, t h a t through t h i s marr iage t o Mary, the he i ress o f the most a n c ie n t roya l house ( o l d e r by f a r than the House o f David) he can become the a u t h e n t i c K i n g . o f I s r a e l ; f o r i n the anc ien t days k ings and c h i e f t a n s r u l e d by woman-r ight . A c h i l d born to t h i s union then i s doubly r o y a l ; a l t h o u g h , to c o n f i r m h i s k i n g s h i p , he must i n h i s t u r n marry a roya l h e i r e s s . The s t o r y o f E l i z a b e t h and her adventures a t the love f e s t i v a l o f Rimmon, the Pomegranate-God, adds Zachar ias to the ranks o f com-p l a i s a n t o l d husbands, and r e s u l t s i n the b i r t h o f John the B a p t i s t . Graves i s a t h is i m a g i n a t i v e best on the meeting between Mary and her kinswoman, E l i z a b e t h . Mary i s admi t ted to her house " i n the name o f the Mother , " and i t i s no acc iden t t h a t the meal shared by these two f e r t i l e "goddesses" has a m a g i c a l , r i t u a l q u a l i t y q u i t e l a c k i n g i n the s t e r i l e b i t t e r f e a s t t h a t Jesus imposes on h i s puzzled d i s c i p l e s t h i r t y years l a t e r . As the s t o r y p rogresses , Mary i s never the passive v i c t i m , never merely the v e h i c l e . She deals ca lmly w i t h the r i c h l y dressed 74 messenger who comes to announce her b e t r o t h a l to the roya l p r i n c e , (he comes on Monday, so " c a l l me G a b r i e l , who i s Monday's a n g e l " ) , but the p r i e s t , Simon, has to c o n f i r m and e x p l a i n the message before she acquiesces. I t i s her idea to t r a v e l t o Bethlehem; when th ree Damascene Jews b r i n g spec ia l g i f t s to her son, she knows they are r i g h t l y bestowed, and accepts w i t h d i g n i t y ; when she hears o f A n t i p a t e r ' s d e a t h , she weeps, but r e j o i c e s i n her son; when the f a m i l y , w i t h Joseph as nominal head, takes re fuge i n Egypt she f i n d s work. For twelve years she i s c lose to her son, but the l a s t moment o f t h i s unders tand ing i s recorded as they s a i l f rom A lexandr ia to Tyre on t h e i r way back to Jerusa lem: He s i l e n t l y s t r e t c h e d out h is hand to Mary and each had a p e r f e c t unders tanding o f what was i n the o t h e r ' s mind: "The sea i s our mother. From the sea the dry land was d e l i v e r e d a t the Crea t i on as a c h i l d i s d e l i v e r e d from the womb. How b e a u t i f u l i s our Mother 's f a c e ! " But o l d Joseph wrapped h i s c loak more t i g h t l y about him and sh ivered i n the waste o f w a t e r s , (p . 153) Joseph, as a good Jew, hates the sea , because he assoc ia tes i t w i t h " t h e Great Goddess i n her e r o t i c c h a r a c t e r o f Rahab the H a r l o t - - t h e f i s h - t a i l e d A p h r o d i t e , i n f a c t , o f Joppa and Beyrout and A s c a l o n . " Years l a t e r , Mary t e l l s Jesus o f h i s roya l paren tage , but he has a l ready accepted expu ls ion f rom the Temple debates , as a b a s t a r d , (Temple records show h is mother ' s marr iage to Joseph took p lace a f t e r h i s b i r t h ) , and t h i s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , brooded over f o r f i v e y e a r s , prepares him to l i s t e n t o the woman-hating Essenes who descr ibe the Female as the " t h r e e f o l d demoness who i s Mother , Br ide and Layer-Out t o f a l l e n man." He now meets and cha l lenges the T h i r d Mary, Mary the Ha i rd resser (Mary Magdalen) , a t e r r i f y i n g o l d w i t c h , who does 75 her best to t e l l him the true story of the Female, but without success. Jesus and the Third Mary match spells, taking turns to interpret the pictures on two great stones which l i e at the foot of the Ark of the Covenant, of which Mary is custodian. In his "Historical Commentary" at the end of King Jesus, Graves explains the genesis of this long dialogue between Jesus and Mary thus: . . . I am here suggesting a new theory of the composition of the early historical books [of the Bible]: that to the parts not already existing i n , say the ninth century B.C. in the form of ballads or prose-epics were added anecdotes based on a deliberate misinterpretation of an ancient set of ritual icons, captured by the Hebrews when they seized Hebron from the "Children of Heth," whoever those people may have been. A similar technique of misinterpretation--let us call i t iconotrophy--was adopted in ancient Greece as a means of confirming the Olympian religious myths at the expense of the Minoan ones which they superseded. (p. 355) Thus Mary's assertion "... here my mistress, the First Eve, restores her virginity by bathing in the fish-pool of Hebron and becomes the Second Eve . . ." and Jesus' counter-assertion, "No, but King David from the roof of his palace at Jerusalem sees the wife of Uriah the Hittite bathing and lusts after her. . . ." Jesus wins the contest, but i t is a shallow victory, because she knows her mistress must win in the end: "the apostate may deny his mother the First Eve, and his bride, the Second Eve, he may reject; yet the Third Eve, his grandam, w i l l inexorably claim him for her own." (p. 219) Jesus now allows himself to be a l l i e d in marriage with Mary the Bride, another royal heiress, a kinswoman of his mother, in order to confirm his right to the kingdom through the female li n e , but refuses to consummate the marriage, saying: "I have come, not to renew 76 but to make an end. Beloved l e t us not do the a c t o f darkness , which i s the ac t o f d e a t h . " Mary, the mother , g ives the c l a s s i c r e p l y : "My son, i s t h i s how you deal w i t h your v i r g i n b r ide? What i f the King your f a t h e r had shamefu l ly done the same?" (And here Graves l e v e l s h i s major c r i t i c i s m o f C h r i s t i a n i t y , i t s a t t i t u d e towards sexual l o v e . ) Mary, the B r i d e , i s s i s t e r to Lazarus ; the de lay i n coming to the help o f Lazarus, always a problem f o r the i n t e r p r e t e r s , i s i n g e n i o u s l y accounted f o r . Jesus suspected t h a t the c ry f o r help was merely a sub te r fuge on the p a r t o f Mary to l u r e him t o her bed! Jesus cont inues i n h i s m i n i s t r y , preaching not a g l o r i o u s r e s t o r -a t i o n o f the Kingdom o f I s r a e l (as h i s f o l l o w e r s b e l i e v e ) , w i t h the backing o f P i l a t e and the Roman Emperor, but the coming o f the Kingdom o f Heaven and the end o f l i f e on e a r t h . He knows he i s doomed'to f a i l u r e , d e s p i t e h i s g r e a t g i f t s as p reacher , h y p n o t i s t , h e a l e r , and i s not s u r p r i s e d when Mary the H a i r d r e s s e r , the l a s t Mary, comes w i t h her a l a b a s t e r j a r o f t e r e b i n t h o in tment to anno in t him f o r the coming s a c r i f i c e . The th ree Maries are a l l p resent a t the C r u c i f i x i o n and a l l t h ree o f them surround Jesus upon the Mount o f O l i v e s , when the d i s c i p l e s have a l a s t s i g h t o f h im, be fo re a c loud envelops the mountain and they a l l f o u r d isappear . Jesus has l o s t h i s b a t t l e w i t h the Female. The f a c t t h a t C h r i s t w i l l r e i g n f o r two thousand years i s another m a t t e r . 30 In h i s essay, " D o n ' t F idge t Young Man," an account o f a meeting w i t h George Moore, and a c r i t i c i s m o f The Brook K e r i t h , Graves exp la ins the d i f f e r e n c e between C h r i s t , who i m p l i e s s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , the med ia t ion o f God w i t h man, a theme which can be " t r e a t e d i n a thousand 3 0 R o b e r t Graves, S teps , (London: C a s s e l l , 1958) , pp. 176-181. 77 l e g i t i m a t e ways by poe ts , a r t i s t s , t h e o l o g i a n s , e t c . . . . " and Jesus , a h i s t o r i c a l c h a r a c t e r , whose v i t a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to Graves i s h i s "complete Jewishness. " A sense o f t h i s , he compla ins , i s comple te ly l a c k i n g i n The Brook K e r i t h , which was w r i t t e n by a " G a l l i c i z e d D u b l i n e r . " But he concedes t h a t when he read the book, when i t f i r s t appeared dur ing the B a t t l e o f the Somme, when Jesus was being c a l l e d upon by Germans and A l l i e s a l i k e , and the s o l d i e r s had l o s t respec t f o r Paul ine r e l i g i o n , but f e l t a sympathet ic reverence f o r Jesus as a f e l l o w -s u f f e r e r , Moore's s t o r y made "good, c y n i c a l sense" t o him and to h i s f e l l o w - s u f f e r e r s . In f a c t , a l though Graves does not say t h i s , Moore's g e n t l e , con templa t i ve s u r v i v o r , who comes to terms w i t h the phys ica l wor ld and r e j e c t s dreams o f the kingdom o f heaven, was e x a c t l y the k ind o f hero f o r men threatened every moment by v i o l e n t d e a t h , who dreamed on ly o f a n a t u r a l wor ld amid the waste lend o f the t renches . Moore's myth o f a madman r e s t o r e d to s a n i t y must have been e s p e c i a l l y appea l -ing i n the con tex t o f a wor ld gone mad. (And s t i l l i s ) . As Graves prepares to t a c k l e the s u b j e c t h i m s e l f , many years l a t e r , he f o r g e t s what Moore a c t u a l l y c r e a t e d , and t a l k s o f Moore's "superman," d e p l o r i n g the f a c t t h a t he "seemed more i n t e r e s t e d i n the i r r e l e v a n t ambi t ion o f w r i t i n g a l i t e r a r y masterp iece than i n g e t t i n g a t the f a c t u a l t r u t h o f the Gospel s t o r y . " The t h e s i s t h a t Jesus su rv i ved the c r u c i f i x i o n , says Graves, i s much more p l a i n l y argued i n Samuel B u t l e r ' s The F a i r Haven, and " I a l ready hated Paul as p e r v e r t e r 78 n 31 o f the o r i g i n a l Nazarene Gospel'.' Even the cocks i n the famous c o c k f i g h t scene i n The Brook K e r i t h are the wrong breeds. Yet Moore's l i f e - l o n g and never-concealed long ing to w r i t e l i t e r a r y masterp ieces seems a t l e a s t as v a l i d and promis ing a mot ive f o r w r i t i n g a novel about Jesus as Graves' d e s i r e to expose the " t r u e f a c t s . " As i t happens, these f a c t s on which Graves b u i l d s h i s t h e s i s have e i t h e r been h o t l y d i spu ted or comple te ly ignored by b i b l i c a l s c h o l a r s , but t h i s does not seem to me to a f f e c t the q u a l i t y o f King Jesus one way or ano the r , any more than Moore's a n a c h r o n i s t i c f l o r a and fauna a f f e c t s The Brook K e r i t h as a work o f a r t . A c t u a l l y , o f cou rse , Graves i s most successfu l when he moves i m a g i n a t i v e l y among h i s pagan queens; h i s a s c e t i c Jewish p rophe t , much as Graves i d e n t i f i e s w i t h h i s s ing le -minded p u r s u i t o f the t r u t h , and admires h i s r o y a l b l o o d , and h i s s c h o l a r s h i p , i s less s u c c e s s f u l l y p o r t r a y e d . And, a f t e r a l l , what has Graves c rea ted i n h i s Jesus , but a superman, a k ing among men, even i f impotent among women, who perce ives the i r o n y o f h i s f a t e a t the end? . . . Dysmas, o b l i v i o u s o f h i s approaching d e a t h , sa id d r o w s i l y to Jesus: "My L o r d , remember me i n your Kingdom. Give me o f f i c e i n your new Kingdom." Jesus comfor ted h im, concea l ing the b i t t e r i r o n y o f h i s words: "When t o n i g h t I e n t e r the Other Kingdom, you w i l l be a t my r i g h t hand. " (p . 343) Samuel B u t l e r , The Fa i r Haven, (London: A.C. F i f i e l d , 1913) . This novel l i e s o u t s i d e the scope o f t h i s paper being the "Memoir o f the Late John P ickard Owen" but con ta ins what B u t l e r apparen t l y in tended t o be a s a t i r i c a l p o r t r a i t o f Jesus, y e t i s s t r a n g e l y pious i n i t s e f f e c t . 79 Th is s t u b b o r n , c y n i c a l , e r u d i t e man who d ies a t t emp t ing to " f u l f i l l Deu te ro -Zechar iah 's prophecy" cou ld never , one fee ls>have convinced or i n s p i r e d h i s d i s c i p l e s , l e t a lone the coun t less m i l l i o n s who have l i v e d by h i s myth ever s i n c e . I t begins to seem imposs ib le t h a t a conv inc ing f i c t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f the myth can s t i l l be w r i t t e n : one which i s recogn izab ly the B i b l e s t o r y w i t h o u t being s imply a naive r e - t e l l i n g o f the t a l e ; a v e r s i o n which takes i n t o account the e x t r a o r d i n a r y changes and stages through which the mind o f Western man has passed, and r e i n t e r p r e t s the myth , keeping i n t a c t i t s bas ic image p a t t e r n s so t h a t the s c e p t i c a l reader can a t l e a s t a p p r e c i a t e , even i f not succumb to i t s power. However, the l a s t major work t o be examined, Nikos 32 Kazantzak is 1 The Last Temptat ion o f C h r i s t , f i n i s h e d i n 1951 , a t the end o f a l o n g , immensely r i c h , l i f e , i s i n some ways the most complete and s a t i s f y i n g v e r s i o n y e t a t tempted . A p e c u l i a r combinat ion o f q u a l i t i e s (which w i l l be d iscussed l a t e r ) made Kazantzakis capable o f s u s t a i n i n g the exc i tement and express ing the passions necessary to make t h i s a p l a u s i b l e s t o r y f o r a "modern" n o v e l , w i t h o u t d e p a r t i n g r a d i c a l l y f rom the concre te d e t a i l s o f the Gospel s t o r y . He does, o f cou rse , f a l l i n t o he resy , " t h e same heresy t h a t M i l t o n , led by h i s scorn o f c l o i s t e r e d v i r t u e and h i s b e l i e f i n the necess i t y o f choice ( ideas shared by Kazantzak is) s l i p p e d i n t o on o c c a s i o n — a s when he dec la red t h a t e v i l may e n t e r the 33 mind o f God and, i f unapproved, leave 'no spot o r blame b e h i n d . ' " The Last Temptat ion o f C h r i s t , (New York: Bantam Books, 1968) . 33 "A Note on the Author and His Use o f Language," appendix to The Last Temptat ion o f C h r i s t , by the t r a n s l a t o r , P.A. B ien . 80 Bien goes on to e x p l a i n t h a t t h i s heresy i s the key to Kazantzak is ' g rea t a m b i t i o n : " t o l i f e C h r i s t out o f the Church a l t o g e t h e r . " This i s borne out i n the novel by Jesus ' impassioned denunc ia t i on o f plans to e s t a b l i s h h i s words i n Holy S c r i p t u r e s , to make new laws , t o b u i l d new synagogues and t o s e l e c t new p r i e s t s , (p . 419) and by the f i n a l s i g h t o f P a u l , i n the l a s t tempta t ion -d ream, runn ing l i k e a famished w o l f , " t o eat up the w o r l d . " Kazan tzak is ' Jesus i s an e p i l e p t i c . This b e l i e f i s common i n o l d legends o f Jesus (and o f many o t h e r e x t r a o r d i n a r y peop le , e s p e c i a l l y mys t i cs and prophets o f a l l r e l i g i o n s ) . An a t t a c k o f e p i l e p s y , f o r Jesus, i s always presaged by the appearance o f a mys te r -ious f i g u r e " w i t h the savage body o f a woman covered head to f o o t w i t h i n t e r l o c k i n g scales o f t h i c k bronze armour . " Th is c r e a t u r e has the head o f an e a g l e , grasps a p iece o f f l e s h i n her beak, and regards Jesus " t r a n q u i l l y and m e r c i l e s s l y . " She i s " t he Curse" and h i s F a t e , but she i s a l so a b l e s s i n g ; under her i n f l u e n c e , Jesus has h is most por ten tous dreams and v i s i o n s , and when she comes to c l a i m him a t 34 the end on Go lgo tha , he i s g r a t e f u l t o her . However, the o t h e r females i n the s t o r y p u l l down h is s p i r i t . Mary the Mother , d e s p i t e her b e l i e f i n the mi racu lous c i rcumstances o f h i s concept ion and b i r t h , (God comes to her i n her dream as a Jov ian t h u n d e r b o l t , Kazantzakis j o y f u l l y mixes h i s m y t h o l o g i e s ) , r e s i s t s a l l ideas o f h i s g l o r i o u s d e s t i n y and c r i e s : 34 She seems to have much i n common w i t h Graves' Mary the Hag, the Female " l a y e r - o u t , " and i t i s because h i s hero neg lec ts the T r i p l e Goddess t h a t he f a i l s . Kazantzak is ' Jesus, on the o the r hand, respec ts h i s muse, " t he Curse. " 81 "Have p i t y on me Father ! A p rophe t ! No, No! And i f God has so w r i t t e n , l e t him rub i t o u t . I want my son a man l i k e everyone e l s e , no th ing more, no th ing l e s s . Let him b u i l d t r o u g h s , c r a d l e s , p lows, and household u t e n s i l s l i k e h i s f a t h e r used t o do , and not as j u s t now crosses to c r u c i f y human be ings . Let him marry a n ice young g i r l , f rom a respec tab le home—wi th a dowry . " (p . 62) Mary Magdalen, h i s ch i ldhood p laymate , now a most success fu l p r o s t i t u t e , a l so p u l l s him down t o e a r t h , not on ly w i t h the a t t r a c t i o n s o f her body, but a l so w i t h the g u i l t he f e e l s f o r having r e j e c t e d h e r , the g i r l chosen to be h is b r i d e , whose sexual f e e l i n g s he was ( i n a l l innocence) the f i r s t t o arouse when they were both c h i l d r e n . Mary and Martha o f Bethany, s i s t e r s o f Lazarus , tempt him w i t h cosy d o m e s t i c i t y , good f o o d , s l a v i s h devo t i on t o h i s c o m f o r t . A l l these tempta t ions are brought t oge the r i n the " l a s t t e m p t a t i o n " which takes the form o f a dream on the Cross, dur ing which he f i r s t has a g l o r i o u s sexual adventure w i t h Mary Magdalen, then s e t t l e s down t o beget c h i l d r e n w i t h both Mary and Mar tha , and l i v e s to a respected o l d age! Jesus, o f course , r e s i s t s the l a s t t e m p t a t i o n — i t i s Judas who r e c a l l s him t o h i s d u t y — a n d awakes to f i n d h imse l f s t i l l on the Cross , c r y i n g t r i u m p h a n t l y : " I t i s accompl ished! " Thus Kazantzakis pursues the g r e a t q u e s t i o n , i m p l i c i t i n King Jesus and p a i n f u l l y e x p l i c i t i n Maur iac ' s L i f e o f Jesus. In the Preface to h i s n o v e l , Kazantzakis w r i t e s : "My p r i n c i p a l anguish and the source o f a l l my j o y s and sorrows from my you th onward has been the incessant merc i l ess b a t t l e between the s p i r i t and the f l e s h . " He q u i t e f r a n k l y sees t h i s as a b a t t l e between the male p r i n c i p l e as s p i r i t and the female as f l e s h ; b u t , u n l i k e Maur iac , he reve l s i n the 82 b a t t l e , and i t i s not a t a l l c l e a r t h a t he f e e l s t h a t Jesus i s t o be envied or admired f o r w inn ing i t . Kazantzak is 1 e a r l y days were spent i n a p a r t r i a r c h a l s o c i e t y w i t h an almost b i b l i c a l s i m p l i c i t y and i n t e n s i t y , and when, i n h i s l a s t yea rs ,he wrote the n o v e l , he was ab le to rec rea te t h a t e a r l y scene, w i t h a r e s u l t t h a t h i s women, w h i l e assuming much g r e a t e r importance than they a c t u a l l y do i n the Gospel s t o r y , f i t the t ime-honoured p a t t e r n s f a r b e t t e r than the uneasy c r e a t i o n s o f o t h e r modern w r i t e r s . In a l e t t e r w r i t t e n i n 1933, he says: Women (you know t h i s w e l l ) have another u n i v e r s e — M a t e r i a l , m o r a l , i n t e l l e c t u a l . The i r s p i r i t i s l a d e n , a l l r i p p l i n g w i t h f l e s h . They are innocent even i n t h e i r g r e a t e s t i n f i d e l i t i e s ( e s p e c i a l l y then) f o r they obey a subterranean d r i v e , pre-human and e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y p ro found . They are always f a i t h f u l t o t h i s d r i v e and, to be s u r e , t h e r e i n l i e s t h e i r g r e a t sad v i r t u e . Men can sometimes be f r e e , i n a moment o f heroism and i n t o x i c a t i o n : women never . Freedom such as t h i s (which i n a man i s honour) would be f o r her i n s u b o r d i n a t i o n to her d e s t i n y - -a v i c e . 3 5 A l l g rea t r u b b i s h , but an e x c e l l e n t ph i losophy on which t o base a l a s t g r e a t C h r i s t i a n n o v e l . L ike Maur iac , Kazantzakis captures the f e e l i n g o f expectancy a t the very beginn ing o f the n o v e l , but i ns tead o f t h ree people w a i t i n g s i l e n t l y around a t a b l e f o r the Messiah to begin h i s m i s s i o n , he has a whole s l e e p i n g , dreaming v i l l a g e groaning aloud t h e i r l o n g i n g : Helen Kazantzak is , Nikos Kazantzak is : A Biography Based on  His L e t t e r s , t rans 1 . by Amy Mims, (New York: Simon and Schuster , 1968) , p. 277. 83 "God o f I s r a e l , God o f I s r a e l , Adona i , how long?" • I t was not a man; i t was the whole v i l l a g e dreaming and shout ing t o g e t h e r , the whole s o i l o f I s r a e l w i t h the bones o f i t s dead and the r o o t s o f i t s t r e e s , the s o i l o f I s r a e l i n l a b o r , unable to g i ve b i r t h , and screaming, (p . 6) Th is atmosphere o f agonized expectancy i s sus ta ined th roughout the f e v e r i s h j o u r n e y i n g s o f Jesus , and Kazantzakis i s ab le to generate an atmosphere o f exc i tement and urgency about h is hero which makes i t q u i t e b e l i e v a b l e t h a t f ishermen should leave t h e i r n e t s , shepherds t h e i r f l o c k s , even hard-headed businessmen t h e i r dea l i ngs to f o l l o w him. The very extravagance o f h i s s t y l e and, h i s lack o f i r o n y which m i l i t a t e 36 aga ins t h i s p o p u l a r i t y i n some c i r c l e s i s e x a c t l y what works to "suspend d i s b e l i e f " here . His humour-- the Zorba-esque o l d men, the eagerness o f Matthew to t r a n s c r i b e P e t e r ' s dreams as " g o s p e l " t r u t h - -never j a r s , by v i r t u e o f i t s innocence. Every th ing i n Kazantzak is ' former l i f e seems to have been lead ing him to t h i s p a r t i c u l a r achievement. He was "an i n t e l l e c t u a l - -the author o f t r e a t i s e s on N ie t zsche , Bergson and Russian L i t e r a t u r e , the s tudent o f Buddhism, the t r a n s l a t o r i n t o Modern [ d e m o t i c ] Greek o f 37 Homer, Dante and Goethe." He understood the agony o f a s u b j e c t peop le , having wi tnessed the s t r u g g l e o f h i s people a g a i n s t the T u r k s , and he shared the ardour o f the r e v o l u t i o n a r y , a l t h o u g h , i n h i s case, i t was u s u a l l y freedom o f the mind t h a t he fough t f o r , r a t h e r than a 36 Robert Maurer, "The Unorthodox Greek," Saturday Review, 5 1 : 37-38, exp la ins t h a t Kazan tzak is 1 lack o f p o p u l a r i t y i n England was not because o f h i s unorthodox r e l i g i o u s v i e w s , but because o f " g l a r i n g f a u l t s " i n s t y l e , u n r e a d i b i 1 i t y o f much o f h i s work , and a c e r t a i n na ' i ve ty , i . e . i n h i s d e s i r e t o u n i t e a l l people ( w r i t e r s , e s p e c i a l l y ) i n a mass movement beyond p o l i t i c s . 3 7 B i e n , p. 488. 84 p o l i t i c a l cause. The cha rac te r o f Judas i n The Last Temptat ion o f  C h r i s t i s sometimes i n danger o f becoming the hero : " I f you had to be t ray your master , would you do i t ? " asks Judas, and Jesus r e p l i e s , "No, I do not t h i n k I would be able t o . That i s why God p i t i e d me and gave me the e a s i e r t a s k : to be c r u c i f i e d . " Judas a t the end o f the novel i s a freedom f i g h t e r i n the h i l l s , b u t Jesus achieves the a s c e t i c ' s u l t i m a t e goal o f complete w i thdrawal f rom l i f e and i t s t e m p t a t i o n s . While Kazantzakis does t e l l the b i b l e s t o r y , he adds enormously to i t , and what he adds has the f l a v o u r o f peasant l i f e i n Greece. This i s l a r g e l y due t o the use o f demotic Greek, the p r e s e r v a t i o n and promulgat ion o f which was probably what he f e l t to be h i s " d i v i n e m i s s i o n . " Even i n t r a n s l a t i o n , the r i chness o f the language i s not comple te ly l o s t , as Bien p o i n t s o u t : . . . the language's r e l i a n c e on metaphor can o f t e n be conveyed. Demotic always p r e f e r s the concre te t o the a b s t r a c t : the sun does not "hang" i n the s k y , i t " t o l l s the hours" ( t h a t i s , i t i s suspended, j u s t as the b e l l i s suspended i n the c a m p a n i l e ) ; a camel does not "ge t u p , " i t demolishes i t s f o u n d a t i o n s . 38 So t h a t the he ro ' s most d i f f i c u l t concepts are made most b e a u t i f u l l y c o n c r e t e , j u s t as the thoughts o f Jesus are expressed i n parables i n the Gospels. Yet t h i s i s not s imply a novel about Greek peasants , t h i n l y d i s g u i s e d ; i t has a u n i v e r s a l q u a l i t y , i n c o n t r a s t to The Greek  Pass ion , an e a r l i e r novel i n which Kazantzakis t ransposes the Gospel B i e n , p. 492. 85 s t o r y i n t o a modern Greek s e t t i n g , and the s t o r y i s used t o demonstrate what i s un ique ly Greek. By the t ime he wrote The Last Temptat ion o f  C h r i s t , he had reached a p la teau where he f e l t h i m s e l f t o be beyond a l l the p a r t i s a n a c t i v i t i e s which engaged him f o r most o f h i s l i f e , and which are r e f l e c t e d i n h i s w r i t i n g s u n t i l the l a s t y e a r s . His Jesus i s not a superman, not a communist, not a Greek p a t r i o t ; and by t h i s t i m e , h i s use o f demotic Greek appears to be from a r t i s t i c r a t h e r than p o l i t i c a l m o t i v e s . However, i t must be remembered, h i s Jesus i s not a god; he i s a man w i t h an i n f i r m i t y , a s u f f e r i n g hero who endures w i t h courage, who can renounce the wor ld and a l l i t s p leasures f o r the sake o f an i d e a l ; and Kazantzakis suggests t h a t w h i l e t he re i s always a p lace f o r a hero o f t h i s t y p e , he must be balanced by the s t rong man o f a c t i o n , who r e s i s t s i n j u s t i c e and l i v e s to f i g h t another day. And The Last  Temptat ion o f C h r i s t , r i c h and s a t i s f y i n g as i t i s , p lays i t s p a r t i n the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f the myth. 86 CONCLUSION I t appears t h a t every one o f these s i n c e r e and g i f t e d w r i t e r s , even the b e l i e v e r s , Mauriac and Sayers, has helped to d e s a c r a l i z e the myth by t h i s emphasis on the human q u a l i t i e s o f Jesus a t the expense o f the d i v i n e ; f o r , as Mircea E l iade says "myth c o n s t i t u t e s the H i s t o r y o f the Acts o f S u p e r n a t u r a l s . " \ When b e l i e f i n the superna tu ra l na tu re o f Jesus i s l o s t (or apo log ized f o r ) , no number o f i n t e l l e c t u a l exp lana t ions or symbol ic express ions can preserve h i s myth. The prose p lay and the novel c e l e b r a t e men, not gods. Indeed E l iade goes so f a r as to say t h a t " t he modern passion f o r the novel expresses the d e s i r e to hear the g r e a t e s t p o s s i b l e number o f ' m y t h o l o g i c a l s t o r i e s ' 2 d e s a c r a l i z e d or s imply camouflaged under profane f o r m s . " Loss o f b e l i e f i n the r e s u r r e c t i o n i s the key f a c t o r i n the c o n d i t i o n s lead ing the w r i t e r up to the moment when he f e e l s he must work out h i s ve rs ion o f the my th , and, as has been demonst ra ted, many and ingenious are the methods employed to t u r n Jesus the S a c r i f i c e i n t o Jesus the S u r v i v o r . Thoughts o f an a f t e r l i f e are d i s m i s s e d , and l i f e on ea r th i s c e l e b r a t e d i n every v e r s i o n save M a u r i a c ' s . Ins tead o f man endur ing a b r i e f and p a i n f u l so jou rn on e a r t h i n o rde r t o enjoy e t e r n a l heaven, the w r i t e r s are concerned to r e i n t e g r a t e man w i t h h i s su r round ings , showing him i n tune w i t h a b e a u t i f u l and b o u n t i f u l n a t u r e . Ins tead o f a god, too pure to e n t e r t a i n sexual t h o u g h t s , the w r i t e r s descr ibe a man whose s e x u a l i t y ranges from a harmless 'nyi.h and R e a l U y , (London: George A l l e n & Unwin, 1964) , p. 2. 2 E l i a d o , p. 191. 87 voyeurism to j o y f u l p a r t i c i p a t i o n , which j i n the case o f Lawrence's h e r o , r e s u l t s i n the concept ion o f a c h i l d . In h is " l a s t t e m p t a t i o n , " Kazantzak is ' hero t h i n k s w i s t f u l l y o f a long and f r u i t f u l mar r ied l i f e , and h i s f i n a l r e s i s t a n c e seems more the r e s u l t o f the k ind o f man he i s than o f any superhuman q u a l i t i e s he may possess. Above a l l , the c e n t r a l symbol o f C h r i s t i a n i t y , the l o n e l y Man-God on the Cross, has been rep laced by a man (not even a "superman") among men. I l i k e best Moore's l a s t impress ion o f h i s hero as he moves out o f Pau l ' s wor ld w i t h a group o f monks from the East . Thus c o n s c i o u s l y , o r unconsc ious l y , the w r i t e r s I have d iscussed i n t h i s paper expose the i n c o m p a t a b i 1 i t y o f the myth o f Jesus w i t h modern man, who no longer asks where he comes from or where he i s g o i n g , but how to s u r v i v e as best he can i n t h i s w o r l d . 88 POSTSCRIPT F i c t i o n a l ve rs ions o f the myth cont inue to be pub l ished but se r ious w r i t e r s have apparen t l y ceased to address themselves t o the task o f t r y i n g to improve upon the Gospels; and on ly the o f t e n be la ted t r a n s l a t i o n i n t o Engl ish o f a work i n another language b r i g h t e n s the p i c t u r e . M i k h a i l Bulgakov 's The Master and M a r g a r i t a J f o r example, a l though p r i m a r i l y a b r i s k and most amusing saga o f the D e v i l ' s v i s i t t o Moscow, has severa l b r i l l i a n t episodes s t a r r i n g Pont ius P i l a t e as he t r i e s to save the l i f e o f a g e n t l e , humorous h e a l e r , Yeshua. I t i s the Dev i l h imse l f who recounts the f i r s t ep isode , concerned t o convince h i s l i s t e n e r s t h a t God (and Jesus) e x i s t s , i n o rder to l e g i t i m -2 i z e h i s own p o s i t i o n . Par L a g e r k v i s t ' s Barabbas a l so concent ra tes on a suppor t i ng c h a r a c t e r i n the drama, the man who was spared i n p lace o f Jesus, and who su rv i ved f o r many years i n an agony, not so much o f g u i l t , as o f doub t , u n t i l he i s f i n a l l y c r u c i f i e d , commit t ing h is soul t o the darkness. In a Moslem v e r s i o n o f the my th , C i t y o f Wrong: 3 A Fr iday i n Jerusa lem, M. Kamel Hussein examines the g u i l t o f a whole s o c i e t y as i t condemns an innocent man i n the name o f the e s t a b l i s h e d o r d e r . As Kenneth Cragg p o i n t s out i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n to the n o v e l , The Master and M a r g a r i t a , t r a n s l . from the Russian by Michael Glenny,(London: C o l l i n s and H a r v i l l P ress , 1967) . ( W r i t t e n i n 1938) . 2 Barabbas, t r a n s l . f rom the Swedish by Alan B l a i r , (New York: Random House, 1951) . 3 C i t y o f Wrong: A Fr iday in Jerusa lem, t r a n s l . f rom the Arab ic by Kenneth Cragg, (London: Geof f rey B l e s , 1959) . 89 " the c e n t r a l f i g u r e . . . i s s t r a n g e l y absent f rom the scene. " This may be exp la ined by the f a c t t h a t Is lam be l i eves Jesus was never a c t u a l l y c r u c i f i e d , y e t the author never makes c l e a r who d ies i n Jesus ' p l a c e , or when the s u b s t i t u t i o n i s e f f e c t e d . However, s ince the whole focus i s on the accusers not the accused, t h i s i s not impor tan t to the development o f the n o v e l . Then the re are the popular b e s t - s e l l e r s . I r v i n g Wa l lace 's 4 The Word has p l e n t y o f v i o l e n c e , sex and suspense, i n a t o p i c a l s t o r y o f the d i scovery o f a l o s t m a n u s c r i p t , a Gospel accord ing to James. Th is gospel presents a " l i b e r a t e d " Jesus , one who, f o r example, b e l i e v e s i n the e q u a l i t y o f women w i t h men. Most o f the s t o r y concerns the e f f o r t s o f a g a l l a n t young P.R. man t o a u t h e n t i c a t e the m a n u s c r i p t , and h i s martyrdom a t the hands o f the " b i g p u b l i s h e r s " when he r e a l i z e s and t r i e s t o expose the f a c t t h a t i t i s a f a k e . Nature i m i t a t e s A r t 5 i n the p u b l i c a t i o n o f The Secret Gospel by Morton Smi th , who c la ims t o have d iscovered a f ragment o f "A Secret Gospel Accord ing to Mark," which exposes the secre ts o f Jesus the Mag ic ian , e s p e c i a l l y i n regard t o bapt ismal ceremonies and thus exp la ins the presence in the garden o f the naked young man grasp ing a sheet about him. Such books as t h i s are The Word, (Richmond H i l l , O n t a r i o : Simon & Schus te r , 1972) . The Secret Gospel , (New York : Harper and Row, 1973). 90 presented as works o f s c h o l a r s h i p - - t h e y i n c l u d e The Passover P l o t by Hugh J . S c h o n f i e l d , who descr ibes j u s t how Jesus arranged to be drugged on the c r o s s , and The Sacred Mushroom and the C r o s s , 7 by John M. A l l e g r o , who p o i n t s out t h a t Jesus was not a man a t a l l , but a mushroom--and are t h u s , b l e s s e d l y , ou ts ide the scope o f t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n . 1970 ) , ^The Passover P l o t , (To ron to : Bantam Books, 1967) . 7 The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, (New York: Doubleday, 91 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY A b b o t t , Anthony S. Shaw and C h r i s t i a n i t y . New York: The Seabury Press, 1965. A l l e g r o , John. The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. New York: Doubleday, 1970. B e n t l e y , E r i c . Bernard Shaw. New York: New D i r e c t i o n s , 1947. Brome, V i n c e n t . Frank H a r r i s . London: C a s s e l l , 1959. Brown, Malcolm. George Moore: A Recons ide ra t i on . S e a t t l e : U n i v e r s i t y o f Washington, 1955. Bulgakov, M i k h a i l . The Master and M a r g a r i t a . T r a n s l . Michael Glenny, London: C o l l i n s and H a r v i l l P ress , 1967. B u t l e r , Samuel. The F a i r Haven. London: A.C. F i f i e l d , 1913. Chadbourne, Richard M. Ernest Renan. New York: Twayne, 1968. Cowley, Malcolm, ed. The Par is Review I n t e r v i e w s . New York: V i k i n g , 1958. Des Pres , Terence. "The S u r v i v o r , " Encounter . V o l . x x x v i i , No. 3 , September, 1971. Douglas L loyd C. The Big Fisherman. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1948. . The Robe. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1942. E l i a d e , M i rcea . Myth and R e a l i t y . London: George A l l e n and Unwin, 1964. 92 El lmann, R ichard . Eminent Domain. London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1965. Graves, Rober t . The Crane Bag and Other Disputed Sub jec ts . London: C a s s e l l , 1969. "The H i s t o r i c Logic o f King J e s u s , " C o r n h i l l Magazine. No. 162, Autumn, 1947. King Jesus. London: C a s s e l l , 1946. Steps. London: C a s s e l l , 1958. The White Goddess. London: Faber and Faber, 1962. H a r r i s , Frank. Bernard Shaw. New York: Simon and Schus te r , 1931. "The M i r a c l e o f the S t i g m a t a , " Forum. V o l . 46 , November, 1911. My L i f e and Loves. London: Corgi Books, 1966. Hussein, M. Kamel. C i t y o f Wrong: A Fr iday i n Jerusalem. T r a n s l . Kenneth Cragg, London: Geof f rey B l e s , 1959. Kazantzak is , Helen. Nikos Kazantzak is : A Biography Based on His L e t t e r s . T r a n s l . Amy Mims, New York: Simon and Schus te r , 1968. Kazan tzak is , N ikos. The Greek Pass ion. T r a n s l . Jonathan G r i f f i n , New York: Simon and Schus te r , 1953. . The Last Temptat ion o f C h r i s t . T r a n s l . P.A. B i e n , New York: Bantam Books, 1968. L a g e r k v i s t , Par. Barabbas. T r a n s l . Alan B l a i r , New York: Random House, 1951. 93 Larousse Encyclopaedia o f Mythology. I n t r o . Robert Graves, 1968. Lawrence, D.H. Co l l ec ted L e t t e r s , ed. Aldous Hux ley , New York: V i k i n g Press, 1932. • Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers o f D.H. Lawrence. New York: Macmi l lan , 1968. . R e f l e c t i o n s on the Death o f a Porcupine. London: M a r t i n Seeker, 1934. S t . Mawr and The Man Who Died. New York: Penguin, 1953. Lea, F.A. The L i f e o f John Midd le ton Murry . London: Methuen & C o . , 1959. L i n k l a t e r , E r i c . Judas. London: Jonathan Cape, 1939. Macaulay, Rose. Re l i g ious Elements i n Eng l i sh L i t e r a t u r e . London: Hogarth Press , 1931. Maurer, Rober t . "The Unorthodox Greek," Saturday Review. V o l . 5 1 , pp. 37-38. Maur iac , F ranco is . L i f e o f Jesus. New York: Longmans, Green, 1937. . Memoires I n t e r i e u r s . T r a n s l . Gerard Hopkins, London: Eyre and Spot t iswoode, 1960. Moore, George. The Brook K e r i t h . New York: Macmi l l an , 1916. . Confessions o f a Young Man. Montreal and London: M c G i l l -Queen's U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1972. Esther Waters. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1963. 94 Murry , J . M i d d l e t o n . Jesus: Man o f Genius. New York: Harper , 1926. . Reminiscences o f D.H. Lawrence. London: Jonathan Cape, "1933. The New Eng l i sh B i b l e w i t h the Apochrypha. Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1970. O ' B r i e n , Conor Cru ise . Maria Cross: Imag ina t i ve Pat te rns i n a Group  o f Modern C a t h o l i c W r i t e r s . Fresno, C a l i f . : Academy G u i l d Press , 1963. Pearson, Hesketh. Hesketh Pearson by H imse l f . New York: Harper & Row, 1965. Renan, E rnes t . L i f e o f Jesus. London: K. P a u l , T rench, Trubner tCo., 1893. Sayers, Dorothy. Gaudy N i g h t . London: V i c t o r Go l l ancz , 1935. The Man Born t o be K ing . New York : Harper , 1943. S c h o n f i e l d , Hugh J . The Passover P l o t . To ron to : Bantam Books, 1967. Schwe i tze r , A l b e r t . The Quest o f the H i s t o r i c a l Jesus. New York: Macmi l lan , 1959. Scot t -James, R.A. "Review o f The Man Born to be King" by Dorothy Sayers, The S p e c t a t o r . V o l . 171, p. 42, ( J u l y 9, 1943). Shaw, Bernard. The Black G i r l i n Search o f God and Some Lesser  T a l e s . London: Penguin , 1966. The Complete P lays . London: Paul Hamlyn, 1965. The Complete Pre faces . London: Paul Hamlyn, 1965. 95 Shaw, Bernard. Passion Play: A Dramatic Fragment, ed. Jerald E. Bringle, Iowa: Windhover Press, 1971. Smith, J. Percy. The Unrepentant Pilgrim: A Study of the Development of Bernard Shaw. Toronto: Macmillan, 1965. Smith, Morton. The Secret Gospel. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Smith, Warren Sylvester, ed. Shaw on Religion. London: Constable, 1967. Stonier, G.W. "Review of The Man Born to be King by Dorothy Sayers," The New Statesman. Vol. 26, p. 28. (July 10, 1943). Strauss, David, Friedrich. Life of Jesus. Transl. George Eliot, London: George Allen & Co. Ltd., 1913. T i l l i c h , Paul. Dynamics of Faith. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957. Wallace, Irving. The Word. Richmond H i l l , Ontario: Simon & Schuster, 1972. Wallace, Lew. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. New York: Airmont, 1965. Wolfe, Humbert. George Moore: A Studio Sketch. London: Thornton Butterworth, 1933. Ziolkowski, Theodore. Fictional Transfigurations of Jesus. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. 

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