Anne Rice Reads Scripture

CT‘s interview with Anne Rice is a fascinating read. I have to say that I am astonished to discover how much she enjoys reading conservative, Protestant interpreters of scripture. She lists D. A. Carson, Craig Keener, and N. T. Wright among her favorites, and says, “Of all the people I’ve read over the years, it’s their work that I keep on my desk.” Here’s a piece of the relevant exchange:

CT: Are there any other religious authors you read?

Rice: I read theology and biblical scholarship all the time. I love the biblical scholarship of D.A. Carson. I very much love Craig S. Keener. His books on Matthew and John are right here on my desk all the time. I go to Craig Keener for answers because his commentary on Scripture is so thorough. I still read N.T. Wright. I love the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner. I love his writing on Jesus Christ. It’s very beautiful to me, and I study a little bit of it every day. Of course, I love Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

CT: You mentioned D.A. Carson, Craig Keener, and N.T. Wright. They are fairly conservative Protestants.

Rice: Sometimes the most conservative people are the most biblically and scholastically sound. They have studied Scripture and have studied skeptical scholarship. They make brilliant arguments for the way something in the Bible reads and how it’s been interpreted. I don’t go to them necessarily to know more about their personal beliefs. It’s the brilliance they bring to bear on the text that appeals to me. Of all the people I’ve read over the years, it’s their work that I keep on my desk. They’re all non-Catholics, but they’re believers, they document their books well, they write well, they’re scrupulously honest as scholars, and they don’t have a bias. Many of the skeptical non-believer biblical scholars have a terrible bias. To them, Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, so there’s no point in discussing it. I want someone to approach the text and tell me what it says, how the language worked.

God works through His word to transform people (John 17:17; 1 Thes 2:13), and this is all the more reason to be hopeful about Rice. If she is as committed to reading the Bible as she indicates here, who knows what the next stop on her spiritual journey may be?


  • RD

    Why is it such a surprise that Anne Rice would read these writers? Denny, your last comment comes across as if you are completely shocked that she actually does read and study the scriptures and studies a wide range of relevant scholarship.

  • Mark

    As a conservative evangelical Calvinist maybe I should start reading books by Bart Ehrman. Perhaps I have missed some things he has said in his writings about the New Testament. I’m being serious here. Sometimes we need to step outside of the circle of D. A. Carsons, Tom Schreiners, Craig Keeners, Donald Guthries, Leon Morrises, etc. Perhaps these apostates or atheists have written things about the Bible to sharpen our lenses…so we can respond back in full force to why we believe the way we do.

    Btw, Anne Rice’s interview with CT gives us some hope that she may truly come back embracing the true gospel and the true faith.

  • Mark

    One more thing. In a way I kind of understand why Anne Rice made her decision. This is why I got so delusioned with the religious right conservative culture wars. People who call themselves Christians only talking about “gross” sins like homosexuality, adultery, abortion, drug dealing, etc., yet not taking a stand against slander, backbiting, envy, selfish ambition, strife, etc. within the church. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly against homosexual sex, adultery, abortion, and drug dealing. What I am saying is that if we truly want to follow the Scriptural pattern of ethics consistently we need to also speak out against the more “respectable” sins. As I recall, the Apostle Paul also lumped envious people, divisive people, selfishly ambitious people, unjustly angry people, and slanderers with the sexually immoral, witchcraft practicioners, and drunkards as those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)

  • Dana

    “…yet not taking a stand against slander, backbiting, envy, selfish ambition, strife, etc. within the church.” Mark, I’m not sure what church you attend but certainly many pastors DO take stands on these sins. Our elders are dealing with it right now. Your overstatement, it seems, diminishes the faithful, biblical teaching ministries of many sound pastors around the country.

  • Scott


    I’ve profited so much by reading the works of NT scholars who are outside the conservative box. I don’t always agree with their conclusions and find faults with their methodology, but I respect their work and appreciate their contributions. I wouldn’t start with Ehrman. I like the Hermeneia commentaries as starting points.

  • Mark

    Dana, that is great that you know pastors who speak out against the more attitudinal sins. I wish I knew just as many pastors who would speak out against it more in their pulpits. My only question is: do these pastors you know who speak out against it also preach that these sins are just as deadly to the soul as the more grosser sins if they characterize a person? I’m not saying that our salvation is dependent on not practicing these sins (that would be salvation by works). What I am saying is that even sins that we usually don’t think of it as terrible can show us and others that we may not be truly saved if they characterize our lives. Anyway, I don’t want to digress too far away from the original topic of this entry.

  • Mark


    I have read some commentaries in the Hermeneia series (Romans by Jewett and Hebrews by Attridge). They are helpful but when you read it you know they are so laced with a higher-critical sociological understanding of the texts. It just boggles my mind that some people don’t know that it is a strongly agenda-filled series. Same with the Anchor Bible commentaries. Helpful sometimes but you can see right through what many of the scholars are trying to promote.

  • Nate

    Mark, while I understand the premise of where you are going, I think it may be important to consider as well. Are their members of your congregation or others that you know of actually vocalizing that the “attitudinal” sins are not sin and that we really don’t understand, but if we did we would embrace that style of living as bibically true.

    In effect, that appears to be what you are arguing for. While pastors are declaring abortion and homosexuality more loudly, that is because the culture and many Christians argue that they really aren’t sins if done in love, or if the child wasn’t desired, etc.

    I don’t know of any congregations or even the general public that thinks that greed, slander, backbiting, envy, etc. are really misunderstood qualities that people should desire.

  • Mark


    I think perhaps I should have been clearer in my posts. Sometimes I seem to talk in generalities and overstatements that I sometimes get misunderstood.

    I guess that the church circles I grew up is in different from some people here. Except a few different occasions, I grew up in a church environment where exhortative preaching is rarely heard. I guess my own quibble was about how many evangelicals today (from what I have observed) seem to have passive-indifferent attitude to lighter sins since they believe Christ shed his blood for all our sins (which is true when it is not misconceived).

    Maybe what I am saying is that even in evangelical circles (at least where I come from) I don’t see a holistic Christian ethics being expounded, and that perhaps has something to do with the way some Christians I have encountered understand things like justification and Christ’s atoning death (in other words, a very radical disjunction between faith and works).

  • john

    I also read widely outside conservative circles, but I wouldn’t read Ehrman! If you want text skepticism there are far better writers. Ehrman long ago sacrificed hard work and scholarship for marketing and sales. Its not his conclusions that I disagree with (even though I do), it is the sophomoric level of his writing.

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