While Narnia is a land filled with magic—where animals can talk and even sing—not all people can hear them. In C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew we learn that Uncle Andrew is one of those people. When the animals speak to him, Uncle Andrew hears only animal sounds. Just noise, not words.
Why? He is closed to the idea of a magical world. He assumes (in his worldview) that animals are nothing but dumb creatures. Thus, when Aslan sings, Uncle Andrew is able to rationalize it away: “‘Of course, it can’t really have been singing,’ he thought, ‘I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?’”
Then Lewis (as the narrator) offers the most profound insight: “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
This inestimable lesson, one it seems every generation needs to learn anew, is perhaps the big take away from the book I have just finished: Ariel Sabar, Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife (Doubleday, 2020).
Sabar’s fascinating page-turner has garnered quite a bit of attention over the last few months and it is easy to see why. Utilizing his skills as an investigative journalist, he has taken a deep dive into the saga of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, building upon his 2016 article in The Atlantic.
The saga began in 2012 when Karen King, professor of divinity at Harvard University, announced the discovery of a provocative new papyrus fragment where Jesus utters the phrase, “my wife…” Needless to say, the academic world was stunned by this new “gospel” and the implications it might have for the history of Christianity. [Read more…]