Biblical Fictions

Biblical Fictions

by D. A. Vid


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UNCONDITIONAL PRAISE for "GOLGOTHA" ["The Will to Christ"] in VOLUME 2 of BIBLICAL FICTIONS ))) A Startling New Take on Christ ((( ALLAN BRICK [Yale Ph.D., Professor, Quaker, Author, Department Chair 09/23/2005] PART ONE ((((((((((((( David Swartz's "The Will to Christ" is a daringly confident attempt to bring new life to-and indeed rectify-past literary versions of the tragedy of Jesus and his immediate followers as originally portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels. Manifestly, it honors yet argues with both Milton's Paradise Lost and Blake's Milton, which itself was a radical outburst of monism aimed at correcting Milton's dualism. Blake is proudly outspoken in his intention of refuting Milton's conventionally Protestant (God knows better, all is in His hands) presentation of the Biblical Creation Myth and its Christianization by the Gospel of St. John. Swartz echoes yet corrects them both, offering a version that poses vibrant humanism against Divinely-necessitated asceticism and sacrifice. He dramatizes this tension as necessary to the human condition. To a degree Swartz joins D.H. Lawrence in his passionately pagan attack on Christianity in The Man Who Died but at the same time he incorporates Lawrentian humanism into a radically revised acceptance of Christian orthodoxy. This is an enormous task, so much so that it would take a fine poet, a learned scholar, and a passionate believer who deeply feels his own hard-earned faith, to conceive of it, much less to carry it out. People necessarily skeptical in reading this commentary and then daring to open the book, would go into it saying, "Oh, what chutzpah!" Even so, strange as it may seem, Swartz impressively succeeds in his project. And, as with both Milton and Blake, the result is as convincing as religion as it is literature. The poem is strong both in poetry and character. It has immediate dramatic impact, which grows throughout the plot, which is the familiar story of Jesus' time from Gethsemane until his death on the Cross. The characters are Mary Magdalene, Judas, Joseph, and Christ himself. Each one has his own struggle in light of the fundamental idea: God's demand that we sacrifice our human life to accept the Cross, that we do this in very immediately personal terms, and that this necessity is irrefutable and inescapable. The poem's form is as a quartet of soloists, monologues done in rotation, each one four times. Thus it moves from Magdalene, to Judas, to Joseph, and to Christ, repeating this sequence five times for a total of twenty sections. Then there is a twenty-first section in which Magdalene offers a kind of Greek chorus summation of the whole experience, in effect allowing each person in the audience to recognize how they have experienced their own involvement. PART TWO ((((((((((((( Swartz's most impressive accomplishment-from both religious and dramatic points of view-is characterization. These are very real people. Magdalene has been a working prostitute who, now with a whole new life of meaning before her, maintains still-one feels she is heroic in this-her insistence that life exists for human sensual involvement, for the body as constituting human spirit. Judas, the most present and realistic of them all, is a very {continued on first page interior} Biblical Fictions, nakedly put, like Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy, is one man's attempt to rewrite Sacred Scripture in the interest of lasting poetry.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781450236119
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/14/2010
Pages: 596
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.21(d)

About the Author

David Swartz has expired and been reincarnated as the 70 year old, perhaps far older, D. A. Vid, as a result of immersing himself in Dante. He still eats, excretes, and tickles the future. You might find him at your next poetry reading.

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