So much for my March entry based on an extract, I have now read the book The Good Man Jesus and the Soundrel Christ twice.
The experience of reading Philip Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is disturbing but hugely worthwhile. Whilst Pullman emphasises that It is a Story, it does follow, in a great many respects, the story of Jesus as told in the Gospels. There is a huge jarring early on as the Annunciation is replaced by a rather equivocal scene with an angel in the guise of a young man. The result is twins and this provides the machinery of the plot.
Jesus is a good man who does not claim to be God. This successfully circumvents the conventional argument Christians put forward to those who say that the historical Jesus was a good man but not God; how can he be good and make the claims he does? Well in this story he doesn’t, but his younger and weaker twin brother, named Christ, has no such scruples. Jesus is passionate about calling all to repentance for the Kingdom of God is very close at hand. Scholars argue that the historic Jesus held a very similar view. Christ is altogether more circumspect.
The enduring impression is of Jesus and his honesty and goodness.