The Celestine Prophesy

cark green, all-text cover does not suggest adventure
Try not to get too excited.

James Redfield’s novel The Celestine Prophesy is quasi-spiritual book about an American who goes to Peru where a 600 B.C. Mayan manuscript written in Aramaic has been found showing how to achieve peace on earth in the third millennium A.D.

The Catholic Church is trying to confiscate all translations of the 10 chapters of the text, which it considers to be heresy. “This document makes it sound as though humans are in control,” a Catholic cardinal says.

The unnamed man must try to avoid being caught with pieces of the text, which he does mainly by getting in a truck and going someplace else.

The book predicts that  people will “vibrate at a new level” and “consciously engage evolution” until, in the 21st century, humans will voluntarily reduce their population, intentionally let forests grow uncut, and “the means of survival—foodstuffs and clothing and transportation—will be totally automated and at everyone’s disposal.”

At the end of his adventure—which is about as exciting as a trip to the bathroom—the man goes back to America, presumably taking with him insights he has learned:

“Live one millennium at a time.”

“Breathe in energy.”

“Consciously engage evolution.”

“Onward and upward!”

The Celestine Prophesy: An Adventure
by James Redfield
Warner Books. ©1993. 246 p.
1994 bestseller #3; my grade: C-

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

The Promise: Cultural clash on personal level

In The Chosen, Chaim Potok explored how two brilliant teenage boys struggled to find a way to reconcile their orthodox Jewish faith with their academic interests.

NYC sidewalk scene on cover of The Promise
Cover for Potok’s 1969 bestseller about two young Orthodox Jewish scholars.

The Promise again brings Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders, now both graduate students, together around a problem to which they respond differently.

Reuven meets a famous Jewish scholar who, though unable to believe in the Jew’s God or their theology, believes in Judiasm’s ethics and culture.

Prof. Gordon’s son has mental problems.

Through Reuven, the Gordons learn of Danny, who is doing brilliant work in psychotherapy. They agree to letting Danny isolate Michael until he opens up to Danny.

The very idea appalls Reuven.

He has his own problems.

The man who will determine whether he passes the smicha exam and becomes a rabbi is an ultra-Orthodox Jew who has violently attacked Reuven’s father for heretical views.

Potok weaves these and many more threads together into a exploration of friendship, father-son relationships, faith and orthodoxy, and the potentially lethal consequences of the zeal of the persecuted becoming a club by which they can persecute others.

The Promise is as good on second—or seventh—reading as on the first.

The Promise by Chaim Potok
Alfred A. Knopf, 1969. 368 pp. 1969 bestseller #8. My grade A.

© 2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni