The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ

Paperback | November 2, 2010

byPHILIP PULLMAN

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This is a story. In this ingenious and spellbinding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turned. For, above all, this book is about how stories become stories.




From the Hardcover edition.

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From the Publisher

This is a story. In this ingenious and spellbinding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resona...

PHILIP PULLMAN was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particul...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.95 × 5.19 × 0.69 inPublished:November 2, 2010Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307399222

ISBN - 13:9780307399229

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Customer Reviews of The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Unique Read, Loved it! Pullman's revisioning of the life of Jesus is a great quick read that I did not find offensive at all. Yes, Pullman is an avowed atheist but he treats that the sensitive topic of the Gospels with respect asking the lay reader to ponder the issue of how history and myth interwine in religious belief. Cannot say much more than that as I do not want to spoil the book for those who haven't read it yet. Enjoyable, can be read in a day.
Date published: 2013-01-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Idiotic and disappointing Starting this book, I didn't expect a Christian story, or even a book extolling the virtues of Christianity. I know Pullman is an atheist, and expected this book to reflect that. What I did expect, from such a highly acclaimed author, was a well written story and some deep issues to ponder. I was sorely disappointed! The characters are undeveloped and unlikable, and nothing makes any sense! Jesus complains that he never hears from God, yet he comes out with all these "profound teachings" about the coming Kingdom and how we should behave. Where does this "wisdom" come from? There never is an explaination. One minute, Pullman is having Jesus perform miracles, and then saying they don't exist. The Christ character is a spineless wimp with no other ambition in life than to do what others tell him to do, never think for himself, but always whine about the outcomes. Clearly Pullman has a grudge against Christians. He uses this book as an outlet for his rantings against church corruption, and his frustration about not being able to understand Jesus' teachings. I have strong faith in God, and I love exploring the teachings of His Word. I am encouraged by Paul to test everything. A faith that never doubts, that never questions is a dead faith. It believes (and does) whatever it's told and never explores anything for the deeper meaning and therefore, never grows stronger. Perhaps the Christ character would be a metaphor for dead faith in a better book. I had hoped to find something interesting to ponder and discuss in reading this book. I found nothing but a poorly written thesis on how stupid and gullible Christians are.
Date published: 2010-09-16

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Mary and Joseph 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. The death of the other is not part of the story. As the world knows, their mother was called Mary. She was the daughter of Joachim and Anna, a rich, pious and elderly couple who had never had a child, much as they prayed for one. It was considered shameful that Joachim had never fathered any offspring, and he felt the shame keenly. Anna was just as unhappy. One day she saw a nest of sparrows in a laurel tree, and wept that even the birds and the beasts could produce young, when she could not. Finally, however, possibly because of their fervent prayers, Anna conceived a child, and in due course she gave birth to a girl. Joachim and Anna vowed to dedicate her to the Lord God, so they took her to the temple and offered her to the high priest Zacharias, who kissed her and blessed her and took her into his care. Zacharias nurtured the child like a dove, and she danced for the Lord, and everyone loved her for her grace and simplicity. But she grew as every other girl did, and when she was twelve years old the priests of the temple realised that before long she would begin to bleed every month. That, of course, would pollute the holy place. What could they do? They had taken charge of her; they couldn’t simply throw her out. So Zacharias prayed, and an angel told him what to do. They should find a husband for Mary, but he should be a good deal older, a steady and experienced man. A widower would be ideal. The angel gave precise instructions, and promised a miracle to confirm the choice of the right man. Accordingly, Zacharias called together as many widowers as he could find. Each one was to bring with him a wooden rod. A dozen or more men came in answer, some young, some middle-aged, some old. Among them was a carpenter called Joseph. Consulting his instructions, Zacharias gathered all the rods together and prayed over them before giving them back. The last to receive his rod was Joseph, and as soon as it came into his hand it burst into flower. ‘You’re the one!’ said Zacharias. ‘The Lord has commanded that you should marry the girl Mary.’ ‘But I’m an old man!’ said Joseph. ‘And I have sons older than the girl. I shall be a laughing-stock.’ ‘Do as you are commanded,’ said Zacharias, ‘or face the anger of the Lord. Remember what happened to Korah.’ Korah was a Levite who had challenged the authority of Moses. As a punishment the earth opened under him and swallowed him up, together with all his household. Joseph was afraid, and reluctantly agreed to take the girl in marriage. He took her back to his house. ‘You must stay here while I go about my work,’ he told her. ‘I’ll come back to you in good time. The Lord will watch over you.’ In Joseph’s household Mary worked so hard and behaved so modestly that no one had a word of criticism for her. She spun wool, she made bread, she drew water from the well, and as she grew and became a young woman there were many who wondered at this strange marriage, and at Joseph’s absence. There were others, too, young men in particular, who would try to speak to her and smile engagingly, but she said little in reply and kept her eyes on the ground. It was easy to see how simple and good she was. And time went past.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"Pullman is a supreme storyteller who knows better than anyone that a myth needs no justification." --Telegraph"A fierce and beautiful book which, like the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov, will move even those who disagree with it." --Richard Holloway, The Guardian"A compassionate meditation on the nature of faith." --CBC News"Approaches his biblical source material with respect. . . . He shines when he twists the stories, combining, changing and corrupting." --Winnipeg Free Press"It made me think of the story of Christ as just that: a great story." --The Globe and Mail