UPDATE: Now, read John Wilson’s commentary on Anne Rice at Books and Culture.

John Wilson, editor of Books and Culture, was quoted today in a new CNN article covering Anne Rice‘s new focus on Christian faith, her new novel Christ the Lord, and the latest novel by Walter Wangerin: Jesus: A Novel.

John Wilson, editor of the evangelical journal Books & Culture, said the conjunction of the Jesus novels by Rice and Wangerin isn’t surprising — writers have continually produced fiction about Jesus. Among them: Sholem Asch, Anthony Burgess, Robert Graves, Nikos Kazantzakis, D. H. Lawrence, Norman Mailer, Jose Saramago and Gore Vidal.

It’s a difficult challenge. None of these novels are masterpieces and “often they just seem absurd,” Wilson said. “You don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, both with the pious variety and the debunkers.”

As for Rice, he thinks she simply “had taken this flirtation with evil as far as it would go and returned to the good.”

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