New piece on Emmanuel Carrere’s THE KINGDOM

I wrote a thing about a book I think is overhyped but that I didn’t necessarily hate.

Most of The Kingdom resembles not a novel or autobiography but a highly engaging series of lectures, taught by the sort of shamelessly biased, engagingly sloppy, inappropriately digressive college teacher whose students love him (this type is usually a him) but who will never get tenure. His analogies and examples dazzle and sometimes blind; he is always ready with the kind of explanatory anachronism that a fully licensed expert knows too much to risk. He says Paul’s conversion is like Philip K. Dick’s famous mystical experience, and that Hellenic Jewish proselytes are like bourgeois Americans who dabble in Buddhism. Are these comparisons true? Are they helpful? They’re certainly memorable.

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