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NEW AT THE OCICBW… REVIEW — 5 Comments

  1. Can’t access the link.

    Oddly enough, today’s Los Angeles Times published a review.

    While the reviewer is a fan of Pullman’s series “His Dark Materials,” he doesn’t think a lot of this offering:

    ***

    “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. In part, that’s because of Pullman’s wholly unexpected ambivalence toward his subject. He’s apparently fond — even admiring — of Jesus the defender of the poor and scourge of hypocrites. On the other hand, he loathes what Jesus’ followers and the generations that came after them made of his teachings in the form of an institutional church.

    Fair enough, but you’d expect a writer of Pullman’s abilities to make something fruitful of the tension between his affection and his revulsion; instead, he falls back on the hoariest of conceits: the evil twin. In this version Mary bears twin sons. One is a healthy, rather impish boy who grows up to be a man’s man and a fearless teacher, Jesus. The other, Mary’s favorite, is sickish, bookish, reclusive and inclined to suck up to authority. She calls him Christ.

    There’s a sadly missed opportunity here, for one of the questions that has preoccupied Christian theologians has been how Jesus understood himself and his place in his community. It would have been interesting to watch an author of Pullman’s talent engage that question from his outsider’s perspective. Instead, readers are stuck with the “evil twin” shtick.