Jeff Jensen
May 26, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Philip Pullman
publisher
Canongate
genre
Philosophy and Religion, Fiction

We gave it a B+

The erudite fantasy author Philip Pullman makes explicit his complaint against Christian dogma with a challenging deconstruction of the Gospels. In The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ his Jesus Christ is split into two brothers: Jesus, a strong-willed humanist, and Christ, a weaker, well-intentioned mystic who is tempted by a silver-tongued stranger (Satan? the apostle Paul?) to keep a distorted chronicle of his brother’s ministry. Why embellish? Because mankind is too corrupt ? to fulfill Jesus’ love-thy-neighbor mandate; we need miracles to inspire us and church structure to control us. Yet if all stories are flawed by bias, how credible is Pullman’s severe skepticism? Unanswered. B+

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