Saramago discussion

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

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message 1: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Page 55--An example of Saramago's wry humor using references to the Bible. Joseph leaves Mary under a fig tree. But it is an "unforgivable mistake" because it is "slowly killing her." Both he and Mary "should have known better." But "Fortune, who protects the innocent whenever she remembers them, decreed" that Joseph would walk by just in time to save her "from the deadly shade of the fig tree."

See Matthew 21:18-22. See also Mark 11. Jesus punishes a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season. Really a weird story. So Saramago's satire is also weird. I mean who can explain such a ridiculous tale.

message 2: by Jimmy (last edited Oct 13, 2010 08:54AM) (new)

Jimmy Pages 12-13--Joseph makes love to Mary so that Saramago eliminates the idea of a Virgin Mary giving birth. I've known Catholic youngsters who doubted that idea of a virgin birth, and they were told by their priest that doubt must end in certainty that Catholic dogma like virgin birth is the truth. There was no room for any other conclusion.

The scene is done with no lovemaking, just a quick entry and release. But Mary does give a "low moan" which she was "unable to suppress." The "holy seed of Joseph" is the "fountain of life" and the "holy womb of Mary" is the "chalice of life." Because God is "pure spirit," he "probably" is not even really there to witness the event.

message 3: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Page 54--Saramago deals with the concept of the immaculate conception. He says that the "whole process, from the moment of impregnation to the moment of birth, is unclean." He refers to "that vile female organ." It produces "blood, discharges, gushing water, revolting afterbirth." He wonders how God can permit his "beloved children to be born in such impurity." But Jesus is born under such conditions because that is how birth works. Why would his conception and birth be different than any other?

message 4: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Page 58--The suffering of birth is a result of Eve's "sin." Women have been made by God to bring forth children in "suffering" and "sorrow." And after all this time gone by, "God is not yet appeased and the agony goes on." This is some merciless and punishing God. Thankfully, we are finding ways to cut down on such suffering without any help from this kind of a God.

Joseph hears his wife and says, "the earth seems to be screaming." An allusion to the death of Abel who was "the first to find a home beneath the blood-soaked earth," to quote from a poem by Samuel Grophilius Genetopsis.

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