Customer Reviews for

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Average Rating 3
( 53 )
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(13)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Dull

    As I started reading this book, I did not enjoy it. The literary style is dull and dry. It's as though a fourth grader had translated the Gospels into his own words.

    I trudged on in hope that it would in the end be worth reading, but honestly, don't waste your time. Read Matthew, Luke, John, or especially Mark from the Bible and save yourself the boredom.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

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    Christ "spins," prettifies his twin brother Jesus

    Worth noting at once, THE GOOD MAN JESUS AND THE SCOUNDREL CHRIST is a novel. It is not scholarly or particularly theological. It is fiction, drawing loosely on Christian canonical and apocryphal scriptures. That said, it is imaginative, creative and rapidly retells (and spins) highlights of what early Christian writers had to say about the founder of their religion. *****

    At some level this novel is a game of "what if." I have played it myself. What if the rich young man who had walked away sadly rather than sell all his goods to the poor -- what if he had come back to Jesus (see Mark 10: 17 -22)? In Athens, Saint Paul spoke before crowds and persuaded some that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ). Presumably, others were NOT convinced. But did they remain unconvinced? "What if" speculation on sacred texts can, at its best, be a healthy form of contemplation, I submit. *****

    Author Philip Pullman, let me suggest, rethinks scriptures to make them solve certain problems he has with organized Christianity and to unload some of his dislikes. Pullman, through the mouth of Jesus, has harsh things to say about "church." A mysterious stranger, who Jesus's twin brother Christ thinks is an angel, pressures Christ to chronicle Jesus's words and deeds and to create a church to preserve the memory of both Jesus and Christ. If the two brothers are remembered, confused as if one person, and if the composite Jesus Christ is believed to have risen from the dead, then it will take an organized group of true believers -- a church -- to do the necessary. *****

    The novel rapidly reviews highlights of the life of Jesus as recorded by early Christians, both orthodox and gnostic. Jesus, like John the Baptist, is virile, a straight shooter, who tells it like it is: repent and get ready, the Kingdom is about to arrive. Brother Christ is weakly, imaginative, ultra-cautious and slowly persuaded to prettify Jesus's message of loving thy neighbor and foresaking wealth and family to follow Jesus. *****

    Much of the fun of reading this novel is to realize that your interpretation of what author Pullman wants readers to believe is likely different from mine. To me, the mysterious Stranger who manipulates Christ is Satan. Either God does not exist in this novel, or He has turned our world over to devils. The preaching of Jesus is mildly frightening to Satan. But if he can persuade Christ to channel Jesus's visions, commands and energy into safer channels -- scriptures, Church, rituals, garments, worldly power, then Satan will remain top dog, so far as we mortals are concerned. A clever piece of imagination, this novel. Wise? I leave that to other readers to judge. -OOO-

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

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    Overall, an EXCELLENT read!

    I imagine that there will be a lot of people who are going to be angry that Philip Pullman, an atheist, dared to write a novel about the life of Christ. They'll also gripe that it deviates from Scripture, and that it portrays Jesus/Christ as a man, not as the Son of God. These will be the exact same people who condemn both the book and the film of Nikos Kazantakis' novel THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. This novel is much in the same vein as LAST TEMPTATION, but taking the tale of Christ in some unexpected new directions. I found it both exciting and intellectually exhilarating. Now, I happen to be an atheist, but I can understand the attraction, both intellectual and emotional, in the Christ myth, and this book made me understand this attraction all the more. I've also talked to a number of religious people about the book, and the opinion is sharply, sharply divided. Some of them loved the book, others completely hated it. Make up you own mind. Read the book yourself. It may be a book you'll despise, or it might be a new favorite (like it is for me), either way, you will probably never forget this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2010

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    Falls Short

    Part of the allure of this story is the notion of a straightforward, human explanation of how Christian mythology might have been born. Instead, Mr Pullman weaves an unsatisfying fabric of everyday events together with selected mystical elements carried over from the Christian tradition. The book is a quick, enjoyable read, but you might find yourself wanting a bit more by the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

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    Not as profound as His Dark Materials

    I enjoyed The Golden Compass trilogy and was so excited to see this new book come out. Although it was about the life of Jesus, I knew if anyone could make me question things deeply it would be Pullman. I was a little disappointed with this book. You could read the first two chapters and the last two chapters and get the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Offended

    He is mocking christ it makes me upset that he thinks iys ok to write this

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Thought provoking.

    Pullman "retells' the basic Gospel story with some very interesting twists. Somewhat akin to Maquire's "retelling" of the Wizard of Oz, Pullman provokes a deep consideration of the interplay between actual events and the historical record. In doing so, Pullamn challenges what Gospel is in the midst of real, human life. An excellent book for personal reflection or group discussion. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

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    Don't bother

    I like to read book that make me think. I have questions about religion and this book was put out as something that would challenge you. NO, this one didn't. It was just not a good book.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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