This is the story of Jesus and his brother Christ, of how they were born, of how they lived and of how one of them died.Call no: 800
–Philip Pullman - The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ - c.2010 - pg.1
Genre: fictional biography, historical fiction, myth & religion
Setting: Roman Judea
Rated : 7 Stars ISBN: 9781847678263 DDC: 823.814
The Canongate Myth series: XIV ; read as part of the Once Upon A Time challenge
The back of the edition of this that I read has only the words: This is a story. Interesting. Is that because the publisher’s don’t want to offend the ultra religious in the Christian world. Or is it a message from the author that the life of Jesus is a story. That the bible is a story.
Pullman, of course, is known for his ever so slightly controversial views on religion, he has used them in his fiction before. In that case it involved a worn-out god, and power-hungry angels. Here he revisits the myth of Jesus Christ and weaves a new story out of it.
In this examination of the Christian origin Pullman has two brothers, twins one called Jesus one Christ, embody Jesus Christ. One is an idealistic and passionate preacher. The other is more calculating and logical. Jesus preaches and Christ records.
What should have been is a better servant of the Kingdom than what was
It is really a story about how myths/religions/legends grow up. Pullman uses biblical tales to provide the framework, but the reader is allowed to interpret, just as you aren’t if you believe that the bible is the literal word of god.
Some of it is humourous. Some of it will make you smile as you see Pullman working the bible stories in. And some of it is questioning the existence of god.
But it is a slight book. Don’t go expecting characters and plot. This is the bare bones of a myth, it is up to the reader to create what they will out of it. If you are come from a christian background then you will probably get more out of this book, simply because you are familiar with the story, and this book works best, imo, when it is showing you how the traditional interpretation you may be familiar with isn’t necessarily the truth.
The one bit I didn’t like was the stranger. I think the story might have been stronger without that influence, or guiding hand. Show Spoiler ▼