Mary Gordon on “Reading Jesus”

Mary Gordon, the novelist and critic, has written a new book on the Bible and Jesus, “Reading Jesus,” and she was interviewed about it by Bill McGarvey at

Busted: Mary Gordon

The renowned novelist and critic on Reading Jesus

From “Busted Halo”

BH: When people want to talk about the Bible literally it sometimes feels equivalent to treating The Catcher In the Rye like a handbook on juvenile delinquency. There’s a level of imagination that is necessary to truly be able to engage certain texts. Do you think some of the conflicts are rooted in fear of the imagination?

MG: I think the Gospels would be a very good antidote to fear, because if you just read them and read them slowly they’re simple, but they’re very complicated. So, it’s a way of easing people into a larger way of looking at the world. So even if you take what Jesus says very literally, you have to turn the page when he says something else, and so I actually think the New Testament opens an imaginative life to quite ordinary people. The parables open an imaginative life to people. Here’s a great storyteller, a great fiction writer, he’s a poet, and so I think what’s wonderful about the New Testament is that it allows everybody to be imaginative.

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