Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

by Christopher Moore
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

by Christopher Moore

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Overview

Everyone knows about the immaculate conception and the crucifixion. But what happened to Jesus between the manger and the Sermon on the Mount? In this hilarious and bold novel, the acclaimed Christopher Moore shares the greatest story never told: the life of Christ as seen by his boyhood pal, Biff.

Just what was Jesus doing during the many years that have gone unrecorded in the Bible? Biff was there at his side, and now after two thousand years, he shares those good, bad, ugly, and miraculous times. Screamingly funny, audaciously fresh, Lamb rivals the best of Tom Robbins and Carl Hiaasen, and is sure to please this gifted writer’s fans and win him legions more.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380813810
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 05/25/2004
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 30,219
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

About The Author
Christopher Moore is the author of seventeen previous novels, including Shakespeare for SquirrelsNoirSecondhand Souls, Sacré Bleu, Fool, and Lamb. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Hometown:

Hawaii and San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

August 5, 1958

Place of Birth:

Toledo, Ohio

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don't. Trust me, I was there. I know.

The first time I saw the man who would save the world he was sitting near the central well in Nazareth with a lizard hanging out of his mouth. Just the tail end and the hind legs were visible on the outside; the head and forelegs were halfway down the hatch. He was six, like me, and his beard had not come in fully, so he didn't look much like the pictures you've seen of him. His eyes were like dark honey, and they smiled at me out of a mop of blue-black curls that framed his face. There was a light older than Moses in those eyes.

"Unclean! Unclean!" I screamed, pointing at the boy, so my mother would see that I knew the law, but she ignored me, as did all the other mothers who were filling their jars at the well.

The boy took the lizard from his mouth and handed it to his younger brother, who sat beside him in the sand. The younger boy played with the lizard for a while, teasing it until it reared its little head as if to bite, then he picked up a rock and mashed the creature's head. Bewildered, he pushed the dead lizard around in the sand, and once assured that it wasn't going anywhere on its own, he picked it up and handed it back to his older brother.

Into his mouth went the lizard, and before I could accuse, out it came again, squirming and alive and ready to bite once again. He handed it back to his younger brother, who smote it mightily with the rock, starting or ending the whole process again.

I watched the lizard die threemore times before I said, "I want to do that too."

The Savior removed the lizard from his mouth and said, "Which part?"

by the way, his name was Joshua. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yeshua, which is Joshua. Christ is not a last name. It's the Greek for messiah, a Hebrew word meaning anointed. I have no idea what the "H" in Jesus H. Christ stood for. It's one of the things I should have asked him. Me? I am Levi who is called Biff. No middle initial. Joshua was my best friend.

The angel says I'm supposed to just sit down and write my story, forget about what I've seen in this world, but how am I to do that? In the last three days I have seen more people, more images, more wonders, than in all my thirty-three years of living, and the angel asks me to ignore them. Yes, I have been given the gift of tongues, so I see nothing without knowing the word for it, but what good does that do? Did it help in Jerusalem to know that it was a Mercedes that terrified me and sent me diving into a Dumpster? Moreover, after Raziel pulled me out and ripped my fingernails back as I struggled to stay hidden, did it help to know that it was a Boeing 747 that made me cower in a ball trying to rock away my own tears and shut out the noise and fire? Am I a little child, afraid of its own shadow, or did I spend twenty-seven years at the side of the Son of God?

On the hill where he pulled me from the dust, the angel said, "You will see many strange things. Do not be afraid. You have a holy mission and I will protect you."

Smug bastard. Had I known what he would do to me I would have hit him again. Even now he lies on the bed across the room, watching pictures move on a screen, eating the sticky sweet called Snickers, while I scratch out my tale on this soft-as-silk paper that reads Hyatt Regency, St. Louis at the top. Words, words, words, a million million words circle in my head like hawks, waiting to dive onto the page to rend and tear the only two words I want to write.

Why me?

There were fifteen of us — well, fourteen after I hung Judas — so why me? Joshua always told me not to be afraid, for he would always be with me. Where are you, my friend? Why have you forsaken me? You wouldn't be afraid here. The towers and machines and the shine and stink of this world would not daunt you. Come now, I'll order a pizza from room service. You would like pizza. The servant who brings it is named Jesus. And he's not even a Jew. You always liked irony. Come, Joshua, the angel says you are yet with us, you can hold him down while I pound him, then we will rejoice in pizza.

Raziel has been looking at my writing and is insisting that I stop whining and get on with the story. Easy for him to say, he didn't just spend the last two thousand years buried in the dirt. Nevertheless, he won't let me order pizza until I finish a section, so here goes...

I was born in Galilee, the town of Nazareth, in the time of Herod the Great. My father, Alphaeus, was a stonemason and my mother, Naomi, was plagued by demons, or at least that's what I told everyone. Joshua seemed to think she was just difficult. My proper name, Levi, comes from the brother of Moses, the progenitor of the tribe of priests; my nickname, Biff, comes from our slang word for a smack upside the head, something that my mother said I required at least daily from an early age.

I grew up under Roman rule, although I didn't see many Romans until I was...

Lamb. Copyright © by Christopher Moore. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

We know all about Christ's birth, and even more about Christ's death. But until he really started getting the word of God out there, there's little recorded information about his life. What do we really know about the Messiah's formative years? Enter Christopher Moore's Biff, resurrected by the angel Raziel and held captive in a New York City hotel room until he records a new gospel.

Lamb is the story of Biff writing his and his buddy Jesus Christ's (aka Joshua's) story; it's the hilarious inside scoop on the could-be origins of hundreds of tales we recognize from the Bible and from popular culture. While negotiating the terrors, curiosities, and conveniences of modern life, Biff transcribes the untold story of his and Josh's youth. He describes the escapades of the Son of God -- from his time as a stone-cutter's apprentice in Nazareth to his journeys to modern-day Afghanistan, China, and India in search of the magi who attended his birth; to his return to his homeland to gather his disciples and fulfill his destiny. Underlying it all is the story of his unconsummated love for an incomprehensibly beautiful woman named Mary the Magdalene.

Biff reveals the human side of the Son of God, and paints a vivid historical picture of what life might really have been like in Christ's time. Plus, it's really funny.

Topics for Discussion

  1. Did you find Lamb to be fairly true to the Bible as you know it? Did you learn anything from Lamb? Do you find reading the Bible enjoyable?

  2. Early in the book, Biff writes about "little-boy love," describing it as " ... the cleanest pain I've ever known. Love without desire, orconditions, or limits -- a pure and radiant glow in the heart that could make me giddy and sad and glorious all at once." Do you understand what he's saying? Have you ever experienced that kind of love?

  3. Would Joshua have made it to maturity without Biff? Do you think Jesus had any human -- not divine help in becoming who he was? Is Moore making a statement about historical facts in the Bible, or about the value of friendship in general?

  4. Were you offended by this book in any way? There's so much here that Moore could almost be called an "equal opportunity offender." Did you find that some parts bothered you, while others didn't? Did he go too far, in any way? Not far enough?

  5. At one point, Biff asks, "Are all women stronger and better than me?" and Josh answers, "Yes." Do you think Moore believes this? Do you think Christianity teaches this? From what you know about other world religions, how does the role of women differ in each?

  6. Did you recognize any moments in your own development as you heard the story of Christ's? Do you relate to the character of Josh? Does this story of "Josh" make you feel any differently about Jesus as a human being?

About the author

Christopher Moore is the author of Fluke, Lamb, Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.

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