Apr. 4th, 2010

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The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is a well known myth.

A baby, born in a stable who will grow up to be a wise teacher who inspires people to acts of kindness and generosity before suffering a cruel death. What is less well known is this baby has a twin who would spend his life in his brother's shadow, observing and recording his words for posterity. The question is, will the reports be accurate or will they be edited in the service of a greater truth?

This is an extraordinarily powerful and effective book. The conceit is to split the character of Jesus Christ into two - Jesus the earthy man concerned with the life of people in the here and now, and Christ whose eyes are on the future and how history will perceive events. Familiar stories from the new testament are given new life and resonance, in ways that affirm the human spirit.

This is not a blasphemous book, in the strictest meaning of the word. Rather, it is a stinging broadside against a religion which takes a myth and twists it in ways that are used to subjugate and control, whilst accruing power and wealth for its own purposes. It is difficult to find anything to argue with in Pullman's thesis, and the only people who will be shocked by it are the bishops and popes who sit on gilded thrones, dismissing any criticism as 'petty gossip'.

I read the 'enhanced edition' version available from iTunes, which combines the audiobook with an e-book and other features. This is an excellent way to appreciate this book if you have an iPhone or iPod touch.

View all my reviews >>
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Another lazy day in the sunshine, with a couple of breezy walks to loosen the old cobwebs.

I've started using Wii Fit again, since getting the Wii Fit Plus disc recently, and I'm rather enjoying it. I'm taking things slowly to try and build up my fitness levels again, so I've been using a mix of routines for twenty minutes and then playing the chicken flying game where you have to flap your arms to fly between a series of landing zones. Great fun and surprisingly tiring too. At least it makes up for the bit of nommy Green and Blacks chocolate that I've indulged in today.

I must say that I really enjoyed Doctor Who last night. I wasn't sure about the comedy schtick at the start of the episode, but it soon livened up and rattled along at a fair old pace. Funny, scary and thoughtful, with jokes on lots of different levels for all ages. The idea of seeing monsters out the corner of your eye is one that will have had a fair few kiddlywinks scurrying behind the sofa, I'm sure. Matt Smith channels the boggle eyed alien-ness of Tom Baker with aplomb, and I really liked the nod to the previous incarnations too. Aces.

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