Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quote du Jour: A Mystery?

This one mystifies me:

Jesus is the masterpiece. The thieves are minor works. Why are they there? Not to frame the crucifixion, as some innocent souls believe, but to hide it.
~ Roberto Bolano, 2666

Does anybody have any thoughts on what meaning it intends to convey? Clue: the discussion going on in the novel is about literature.


Anthony said...

I have no idea.

Rodak said...

In the novel, 2666, the man who speaks those lines is a literary man, who is speaking on the subject of literary masterpieces, and their rarity.
I think, perhaps, that he means that the multiplicity of non-masterpieces in the literary world are necessary, in that they create the milieu in which an occasional masterpiece is created.
It has occured to me in the past that the whole of any religion is the same: it is the milieu in which the life of an occasional saint can happen. And, in turn, the viability of any religion is dependent upon its generation of those saints.
So in this sentence, Jesus perhaps represents the set of saints, and the thieves represent the rest of us...

Tom said...

Perhaps the idea is that the presence of the two thieves makes Jesus' crucifixion -- which we know by faith to be The Crucifixion -- appear to be merely a crucifixion, just one of three on that particular day in that particular place.

Someone passing by, glancing on the scene, would no more be able to pick out Jesus as the masterpiece of obedience and love than would an unlearned person wandering through a museum be able to pick out the masterpiece among three "Madonna & Child"s hanging on the wall. Maybe.

Rodak said...

That's an excellent thought on it. Perhaps it's like the parables; another case where only those "in the know" are able to discern the full significance of that to which they are being exposed.