The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
June 6, 2010 § 18 Comments
And remember this: take the hard road, not the easy one. The road that leads to life is a hard one, and it passes through a narrow gate, but the road to destruction is easy, and the gate is broad.
This post has been a long time coming. I read this book about a month ago, and it isn’t until today that I’ve finally gotten the chance to really sit down and pen my thoughts on this book.
This book has gotten so much publicity already, I don’t think there would be that many people who don’t know what the gist of this book is. But even if you didn’t, Pullman tells you right from the beginning:
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.
Being part of the Myths Series, Pullman attempts to tell us his interpretation of the story of Jesus, his life, and perhaps, in a way, what he left behind for mankind. It’s been called controversial, as are all things even slightly related to religion, what more a story that tells a different version of what has been accepted as the official version.
Not being a Christian, I know only a little of Jesus’s story. What this book did for me, was not inform me of his life, or give me a second opinion, a different interpretation of what I’ve already heard. Rather, it told me that everything is possible, that there are worlds to discover if we are willing to keep our minds open and our hearts receptive.
The story is a simple one, written in some of the most simple sentences and phrases. Indeed, the language of the book reminded me of fables, of fairy tales told to children, where the prose is purposely kept at its most basic. There was no need for flowery vocabulary; the plot and the story itself was enough to provoke the imagination. The simpleness is deceptive: there seems to be a multitude of layered meanings hidden within, revealed only if you search hard enough.
I was really excited about reading this book, because I had fallen in love with His Dark Materials. I had expected this book to be somewhat like the trilogy. Instead, what I got was a brutal tale of faith and betrayal, told with the kind of honesty that feels both innocent and unyielding at the same time. It is a story about how stories are made, about how stories become legends, about how one things could change into another with just a little change of words.
My thanks to Ms Novak from Text Publishing for sending me this book.