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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stephen King Blows the Death of St. Paul


I've been reading (and re-reading) my way through the works, old and new, of Stephen King. I like his books; I like them not in spite of, but precisely for all the schlock and the horror, for all the vulgarity and mayhem. I like them because they are intelligent books, and filled with deep insight and humor.  And hope. There is a good deal of hope in King's horror.

But occasionally good Mr. King blows it.

This morning I'm careening towards the conclusion of one of my favorites, 'Salem's Lot (1975) and find the following (mis)statement:

"It's as old as Macedonia," Father Callahan said, "Hanging the body of your enemy or betrayer upside down so that his head faces earth instead of heaven. St. Paul was crucified that way, on an X-shaped cross with his legs broken." (332)

Whoooops!

According to Christian tradition, St. Paul was tortured and then beheaded. According to the early church historian Eusebius, Paul was killed during the reign of Nero ca. AD 65 - 68. (Eccl. Hist. 2.25.5).  It was St. Peter who, according to tradition, was crucified upside down. And it is St. Andrew who is usually associated with the X-shaped cross.

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