Shiny new thread we got here. Nice!
Literary Buffistas 3: Don't Parse the Blurb, Dear.
There's more to life than watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer! No. Really, there is! Honestly! Here's a place for Buffistas to come and discuss what it is they're reading, their favorite authors and poets. "Geez. Crack a book sometime."
So, Raq, did you like House of Leaves? I got it for Christmas, but it's daunting.
Oh, someone loaned that to me recently but I haven't gotten to it yet. I'll be intrigued to hear what people think.
Not Raq, but I loved that book. At some point I need to go back and read just the footnotes, which I ended up kind of skimming the first time around.
I'm reading a book called "Misquoing Jesus" (too lazy to look up author). It's about how the manuscripts for the New Testament have changed over the years and how the modern Bible is different from earlier editions. He's going into detail about how textual criticism is done, especially in the Biblical areas. The author's a hoot, too. In describing a scholar, he described the man as having great respect "among the people who cared about such things." He also describes a flaming war conducted by pamphlets beween two disagreeing scholars. "Ah, those were the days," he writes.
I'm going to have to get his other books on early Christianity and Scriptural variance. I had no idea had conceive such a vivid interest in such arcana.
Early Christianity, and the development of the Christian Bible, is really fascinating stuff. If you're interested in the Gnostic stuff that didn't end up in the Bible, there's a great book by Elaine Pagels about the Gospel of Thomas called Beyond Belief.
For the history part of early Christianity, there's a great Frontline documentary called From Jesus to Christ that usually is rerun at Easter and Christmas. One of my favorite talking heads on that documentary is Father John Dominic Crossan, a little Irish priest from Chicago who reminds me of Barry Fitzgerald with a PhD and a wicked sense of humor. He has a book called The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus that I've been meaning to pick up.
I'm going to have to track down my book on the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary (by Antonia Fraser?) and read it again. I love history, but the ongoing portrayal of major things (attitudes towards the Virgin, what books are considered Scriptures, "The Commisar Vanishes", et al.) are like scholarly CSI episodes. Deducing entire events from scraps of clues.
When I first finished I House of Leaves I didn't know if I'd liked it or not. But it's really stuck with me and has moved into my favorites list, and is a book I don't hesitate to recommend.
My copy walked off with a friend years ago, so I haven't had a chance to re-read.
I also really like the companion CD by Poe (the author's sister). And I like the CD and the book together.
I'm reading a book called "Misquoting Jesus" (too lazy to look up author)
Bart Ehrman. He was interviewed by Leonard Lopate last month (streaming audio or downloadable file) and by Terry Gross in December. I don't remember much about either interview except that in both of them he talked about the "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" story. It's controversial for some reason, but a quick search didn't say why & I haven't had time to relisten.
Let me take a wild guess and say it has something to do with how the Religious Right has a habit of judging and seeking to punish those who they believe to be sinners.