Monday, 20 November 2017

The Good man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ - Phillip Pullman

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A revered, controversial story told in a different light.

The Christ controversy was made popular by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code - for me. I was unaware of it it till then and thereafter began reading up a lot about it ever since. Not of them were that good. Coming across this one was a big plus. It offered a very simplistic perspective and talked to me in a language I understand - how stories evolve and change over a period of time.

Considering the author is a well known atheist, it was interesting to see his version of the story. What I liked is that there is no open criticism but more of a gentle nudge towards an alternative version. I am not religious and more fascinated by the theory. Pullman is a storyteller after all and his logical and pragmatic approach serves the story well. The afterword is the best part where he explains his reasons behind the story. 


A set of twins are born at the same time - Jesus and Christ. However Jesus is marked for popularity whereas Christ lurks in the shadows. People are drawn to his persona but with it comes the pitfalls of being a rebel. On the other hand, Christ is the cool operator, who finds himself an unwilling participant in the order of events. Very cleverly told in a layperson's language the story covers the crucifixion and also the resurrection. 

What works:
  • There is no lengthy explanation instead the author delves right in. It has a fluid style and bears the direct approach of a children's book. The only difference is that though it is a linear narrative, the layers are added slowly adding complexity and dimension to it.
  • Loved the way the author has used simple, direct language to narrate the story.
  • Throughout the story, it did not claim to refute claims or challenge any theory. It is simply a story and up to the reader to make sense of it. It is a mature work and to me is a testimony to the author's talent.
  • I loved his explanation of the miracles which made perfect sense to me although I can imagine it may annoy a believer.
What doesn't:
  • Nothing really. It is a quick read and offers a great perspective on a much debated concept. For someone who is fascinated by the religious theory, it offers a great insight into how the politics of it works. 
Highly recommended for those who are interested in concept of Christ and Church.

Also for those who simply love a well told story.

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