Just finished an intriguing book: Paul and Stephen, by Francisco Candido (Chico) Xavier. This book, published by the International Spiritist Council of Brazil, is listed as “A Novel Dictated by the Spirit, Emmanuel”. Subtitled, Historic Episodes of Primitive Christianity, it has been “psychographed” by Chico Xavier, that is, written down by him. Is this the way some of the biblical documents were written? H-m-m-m!
The book tells the story of Saul of Tarsus, and Stephen, the first martyr of the Christians. It is completely faithful to the sparse details the Bible gives us. It fleshes out the story, giving us a much fuller picture and more complete story of the early years of the followers of Jesus after he was killed. In that way it is a most fascinating story, especially since I have been a student of the scriptures and have known these stories for many years.
My biggest critique has to do with the writing. Since this is a translation from the Portuguese, it is not fair to criticize the author. But the language is overly flowery. Everything is always perfect; everything always works out for the good. Skies are always crystal blue, with gentle breezes blowing. Because of this it gets quite tiring to read. Do angels and spirits not have a sense of good literature?!!
But it was helpful to understand more fully the struggles of the earliest followers of the Way of Jesus. Theirs was not an easy existence. And to see the transformation of Saul the persecutor into Paul the Apostle was marvelous. An interesting detail was that Saul was betrothed to the sister of Stephen, before either of them knew that the Stephen who Saul was persecuting to the point of his stoning death, was actually her brother Jeziel under an assumed name. When she and Saul discovered this, at the time of his death, both were completely overcome with despair and guilt. Understandably this became a very formative event in Saul/Paul’s life.
So, an interesting read, raising some questions. I hope to be able to read more from this source, about the early Christian days. I have already read Astral City by the same author, a book coming from a doctor in Rio de Janeiro who died, and then began communicating with Chico Xavier about life on the other side. This also is a fascinating account, but very poorly translated. The Portuguese version, Nosso Lar, has been around since the 1940’s. It illustrates many of the things I have been learning over the past years about death and life on the other side. The video is well worth checking out.