Friday, April 29, 2022

Mostly just reading

It's been a tiring and hard couple of weeks, had a little stomach virus, had to deal emotionally with the person having delusions and their going missing (and still no real word on what happened), worries about the state of the world, and dealing with students wanting to hand things in really late so I have all kinds of hang-over grading.

I've mostly been spending my free time (what I have of it - have been boxing up more stuff recently) reading on "Dear and Glorious Physician." It's *really* good. Even beyond the idea that it's a (fictionalized, probably pretty heavily) story of St. Luke, the author (Taylor Caldwell, who I had never even heard of before - I guess she was mostly active in the 1950s) does a really good job of evoking landscapes and setting the stage. That's one of my favorite things in a book - when it can take you somewhere else and you stop thinking about your own concerns and problems for a while, and this novel can do that. 

Right now, Lucanus (the name he goes by at least in the first part of the book) is just finishing up his physician's training. He's become very embittered by various losses (including Rubria, the daughter of his patron, and apparently the love of his young life) and is angry at God (and yet: he still believes God exists, and basically God is the monotheistic God of the Jews - what the Greeks of his time called "the unknown God" which is how Lucanus learned about God as a child). And now (about 200 pages in) he sees how a man with leprosy is nearly killed by Roman soldiers for violating his exile just to look at his family one last time through the window of their house and hears of a good and honest man's sorrow over the kidnapping of his son, and Luke has become embittered against people, too (though there is also a miraculous healing involved, which I would think would have reconciled Lucanus somewhat to God). 

Apparently he's roughly contemporaneous with Jesus (If I remember correctly, the Gospel of Luke was written about 50 years after the Crucifixion). In the story, Luke meets with a man who was apparently one of the Magi while he was still a young man. 

Even accounting for the heavy fictionalization (though some say Caldwell did use "apocryphal" sources, which could have a bit of historical accuracy even if they're not accepted into the general canon), it's still a very interesting story, well told, very readable.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

The Apocrypha has intrigued me since I discovered it in my 20s. (My Bible study growing up did NOT mention it...)