The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ by

7 May 2010

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The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

ISBN: 9781847678263 DDC: 823.814
Author’s site
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[1] 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 ▼

Other reviews: Things mean a lot ; Bookgeeks ; Book puddle ; Vulpis libris


  1. is a myth a religion we dont believe in?

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2 Responses

  1. deslily says:

    I've read a few reviews of this book now and it keep putting me in mind of the book Chariots of the Gods. Although it sounds as if they are quite different, in the end it sounds like a bit of another theory on God, (but only a theory) I think I am going to have to read this book darn it! lol in the almost 3 yrs since I met Carl and his challenges my tbr pile has done nothing but Grow due to reviews!! lol this was a good one!

    • Fence says:

      that really is what these challenges do, introduce more and more books that sound interesting and causing Mt. TBR to keep on growing :)