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The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
by Philip Pullman
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Pullman retells the story of Jesus's birth, life, and crucifiction with a twist. Jesus had a twin named Christ who followed him around and recorded his deeds--but did so with enhancements at the request of a mysterious figure who argues that it is necessary for the church that will grow up after Jesus's death. Christ can see through the problems with this, and Pullman provides a scathing indictment of the church's future crimes against humanity, but Christ has too much ego to prevent his becoming a pawn in the mysterious figure's game. You'll see what is coming, and it is one explanation for the resurrection and the subsequent path of Christianity, but I wonder who this book is supposed to please. Jesus himself, despite the purity of his beliefs, is not always an admirable character. Certainly this book isn't going to please religious readers. Nor, I fear, is it going to please non-religious readers such as myself. Pullman's idea is clever, but not that profound, and certainly not that entertaining. This book is a curiosity at best.
I wanted to enjoy this book and give it a decent rating, but unfortunately I cannot. The story was repetitive, boring and (incredibly) predictable. Unfortunately, I feel like this book was a bit of a waste of my time. A lot of it was already familiar, there weren't enough changes/amendments/additions from the "original" source material to grab my attention and keep me interested.
On the bright side though, it was still infinitely better than "Maestra" by L. S. Hilton.... I don't even know If that should be called a book, for in doing so, it tarnishes all other literature that is classified as a "book".
Maestra was utter garbage, this book at least tried to accomplish something with a bit. of class and style.
Pullman typically writes children's stories (The Golden Compass, part of the Dark Materials series), ah, but this novel is for adults! Sweet. He writes about how Jesus Christ was REALLY twins, Jesus and Christ. Jesus was a very humble man who did very good things, Christ was a propagandist who wanted Jesus to exploit all of the good things to create followers and become famous. The story is written in a very fun, engaging way. the afterwards Pullman explains who he believes that religious fanatics took a good, humble man and created a very large story.
Good story, underwhelming delivery. This might be because it's written in the sort of manner one expects Bible translations aimed at children to be written. So it "feels" consistent with what you've heard before if you had any sort of Christian/nominally Christian upbringing but for an adult reader there's not much challenging here (unless you are strongly religious, which I'm not). Also it's pretty short and feels almost like a treatment for a screenplay rather than a novel.
Det är skickligt, fast stundtals undrar jag varför jag ska läsa Pullman och inte originalet. Byta ut de övernaturliga passagerna mot rationalistiska kan jag göra själv. Men låt oss stanna vid det som är specifikt för Pullmans version.
"The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" was commissioned by its publisher, Canongate, as part of a series in which the world's great myths "are retold in a contemporary and memorable way." This one comes up decidedly short of the mark.
A very bold and deliberately outrageous fable, then, rehearsing Pullman's familiar and passionate fury at corrupt religious systems of control – but also introducing something quite different, a voice of genuine spiritual authority. Because that is what Pullman's Jesus undoubtedly is.
I said earlier that Pullman was a Protestant atheist. Even so, he may well have been annoyed at the welcome given to his book by the clerical establishment in the person of the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, who has described the “Jesus” character as “a voice of genuine spiritual authority” and the book itself as “mostly Pullman at his very impressive best, limpid and economical.”
this latest attempt to secularize Messianism is a disappointment to those of us who can never forgive the emperor Constantine, not just for making Christianity a state dogma, but for making humanity hostage to the boring village quarrels and Bronze Age fables that were drawn from what remains the world’s most benighted region.
Which brings us to Pullman's new work, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, which is, to put it mildly, a very strange book. Superficially a novel, it is Pullman's attempt to graft his belief system onto the life of Jesus, to mutate Christianity into a kind of Pullmanism. Give Pullman high marks for moxie: How many writers would dare to try to rewrite—no, to repair—the most famous, most sacred story ever written?
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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 listener questions that will continue to reverberate long after the final word is spoken. For above all, this audiobook is about how stories become stories.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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4 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.
Editions: 1847678254, 1847678270, 1847680186, 0857860070
2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.
Editions: 1921656190, 1921758090
The book reads well, a bit like a children's version of the New Testament, and presents the subject as a simple story, removing many (but not all) religious references. I believe the aim may have been to present Jesus as a man, and separate his life from his divinity. Knowing the basic story, I was confused by several changes made by Pullman, and later reference to the handmaid of History reminded me of history classes.
Whilst this book was interesting, I don't personally feel as if I gained a new perspective or insight. ( )