Monday, April 19, 2010
Pullman Fictionalizes Jesus (or rather, re-fictionalizes Jesus)
Just after Paul Verhoeven's Jesus of Nazareth dealt with the historical Jesus, Philip Pullman gives us a fictionalized portrait of the Man, God, what have you...
Is this the season of Jesus or something? How great is it that two of the most controversial creative talents working today have written books on Jesus? Verhoeven has been threatening to make a film of Jesus' life for years now--maybe Pullman should write the screenplay...
The book begins with the birth of Mary and soon moves into her betrothel to Joseph. The sixteen year old Mary gives birth to twins Jesus and Christ. Jesus becomes a miracle worker while Christ becomes the biographer of sorts. Enter some sort of angel (as described by the writer Christ) who convinces Christ to write Jesus' story in such a way that a massive religion will result from the resultant biography's architecture.
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is an interesting fictional take on the "greatest story ever told" (to borrow the phrase from the film of the same name). Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but certainly one of the most pivotal in human history--for better or for worse.
As Pullman writes on the back of the book:
"The story I tell comes out of the tension within the dual nature of Jesus Christ, but what I do with it is my responsibility alone. Parts of it read like a novel, parts like a history, and parts like a fairy tale; I wanted it to be like that because it is, among other things, a story about how stories become stories."
Go tell it Phil!
This is recommended reading for non-Christian and Christian alike.