The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Book - 2010
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Re-imagines the life of Jesus based on considerations of his dual nature, key Gospel stories, and the formulation of Church tenets.
Publisher: New York : Canongate ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2010
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780802129963
080212996X
Branch Call Number: FICTION PULLMAN
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 22 cm

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Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 20, 2014

Pullman finds another avenue to express his church = bad, Jesus = good dichotomy. It's a bit too obvious and simplistic, though he does provide a few interesting twists on some of the well-known parables.

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markd
Sep 21, 2014

The back cover says: This is a story. And it is. For me there was lots of familiar parts to it but the premise is somewhat unique. A quick read - and for me, a familiar story. I think it's a unique retelling of the gospel.

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bookwormjeph
Mar 27, 2013

a very clever book & even though I do not know the bible in depth just knowing the basics of Jesus' life and death you can enjoy the magic, the satire and the wonderful weaving pullman does with the story.

crankylibrarian May 21, 2012

Intriguing though not totally original idea: did Jesus really say what we've been taught he said? What would he think of modern Christianity, and how it is used to justify bigotry, warfare and greed? We've seen this in _The Last Temptation of Christ_ (Kazantzakis) and _The Gospel According to the Son_(Mailer); Pullman's twist is to split him into two distinct people: Jesus the lovable human teacher and leader, and Christ his twin brother, scribe and eventual betrayer. It is Christ who seems closest to angelic (or is it demonic?) revelation, yet he is a deeply ambivalent character. Devoted to his brother, and determined to preserve his legacy for posterity, Christ can not resist "improving" on certain events in order to draw truth from history. Pullman's legendary distaste for the Catholic church is under better control here than in his _Dark Materials_ saga; he wrestles thoughtfully with some of the more challenging aspects of the gospels. Though the results are not strikingly profound, the struggle is a worthy one.

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KatieJo
Jul 21, 2011

I really, really liked this. Pullman has obviously read the bible and the gnostic gospels thoroughly. His twist on the story of Jesus is genius. The writing is deliberately simple, in imitation of the style of more modern versions of the bible. If you are not familiar with the bible, this will not make as much sense to you, but for people who are familiar with the bible, it is a real treat. This

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katiespires
Sep 29, 2010

Phillip you let me down... was pretty boring and the writing was overly simple. Couldn't even finish it.

DanniOcean May 14, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette May 21, 2010

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bookKITTY
Jun 27, 2011

bookKITTY thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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DanniOcean May 14, 2010

THIS IS A STORY. That is what is emblazoned on the back jacket of Philip Pullman’s new novel. In other words, it is a work of fiction, not to be mistaken, like the Da Vinci Code has been, as a new revelation on the life of Jesus Christ. It was conceived as part of the Myths series that are re-workings of legendary epics by well-known contemporary authors (Margaret Atwood, Michael Faber, Ali Smith have all contributed novels). The author chose the life of Jesus after re-reading the Acts and Epistles, and noting how the apostle Paul was focused on Christ, rather than the man Jesus. He decided to write his novel with the tantalizing notion that Jesus had a twin, named Christ. Jesus grows up to be a straight-talking preacher who does most of the things one might remember from the New Testament – gets baptized by John, wanders the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, performs miracles, prays in the garden of Gethsemane and is crucified by the Romans. But the novel prods at the idea that the way those stories were recorded is not accurate to how they may have happened. A recorder of history may be more concerned with making that history readable for posterity, than with accuracy. So perhaps enhancements are made to make truly stark events appear more poetic. And if the recorder is Jesus’ own brother, someone who is more rational with a wider vision of the world, but forever in his brother’s shadow, how might Jesus’ story be altered? And if a mysterious stranger is able to manipulate Christ as Christ is manipulating recorded history, how might that affect the entire Christian religion? Provocative thought, is it not? Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (for young adults) generated much heated discussion for its criticism of Catholicism; this beautifully written and thoughtful novel is sure to spark further theological, political and philosophical debates in book clubs around the globe.

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