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The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (Canongate Myths #16)

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  7,117 ratings  ·  1,032 reviews
This is a story. In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turne ...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published April 1st 2010 (first published December 4th 2009)
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The Penelopiad by Margaret AtwoodThe Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip PullmanBaba Yaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka UgrešićWeight by Jeanette WintersonRagnarök by A.S. Byatt
Canongate Myths Series
2nd out of 18 books — 35 voters
Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadDead in the Family by Charlaine HarrisLinger by Maggie StiefvaterClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Can't Wait Books of 2010
425th out of 1,185 books — 10,702 voters

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Community Reviews

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Open Mind...Hey Big C, what's up?

Controversy: I’ve got another book review to do and this one could be a MAJOR PROBLEMO so I was really hoping you could help me out and be there when I post it.

Open Mind: Of course, you know I’m always glad to assist if my being present will help people get through one of your reviews.

Controversy: Believe me OM, without you there, this review is doomsville before it begins. Without you, we would have Inflammatory Rhetoric
showing up, with or witho
Riku Sayuj

Well played, Pullman.

Philip Pullman meets Alyosha and tells him his story.

Alyosha flushed. ‘But... that’s absurd!' he cried. 'Your poem is in praise of Jesus, not in blame of Him — as you meant it to be. And who will believe you about freedom? Is that the way to understand it? That’s not the idea of it in the Orthodox Church.... That’s Rome, and not even the whole of Rome, it’s false - those are the worst of the Catholics, the Inquisitors, the Jesuits!..'

Later Ivan came storming into Pullman's f
Tom Doggett
I liked this book far more than I thought I would, and after I was finished couldn't help but say the same thing I said after finishing the "His Dark Materials" trilogy upon the recommendation of a friend: was I *supposed* to like this?

The book is, of course, a retelling of the familiar Gospel story of Jesus of Nazareth but told from a modern perspective, understanding and commenting on everything good and especially bad that Christianity has become. Setting aside, for the moment, the question o
The night after his book was published, Philip dreamed that he met Jesus. He was dressed all in white, sitting at a table on which there was a bottle of wine, two glasses and a copy of Philip's novel.

"Please explain it to me," said Jesus politely.

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The concept behind this book is that Jesus was actually a twin - that there was one baby named Jesus and one named Christ. It is a 4 star concept, but panned out to be only a three star book. Jesus is the twin who goes out and preaches and tries to help people and Christ is the one who is more interested in establishing a religion/church. I thought the author did a nice job using familiar bible stories and retelling them in a different way -- showing how Jesus saw things versus how his brother C ...more
Philip Pullman's book based on the life of Jesus has garnered quite a lot of angry reviews and controversy. Some people have even decided that they don't need for him to die and be judged by their god to know that he's "going to hell" -- they can judge that for themselves, in their infinite wisdom! The problem seems to be that Pullman, like many people in the modern world, doesn't believe the stories of the Bible are anything more or less than the stories that come to us from Ancient Greece or R ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Maciek rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with an open mind
" A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

"It is not His teachings which make Jesus so remarkable, although these would be enough to give Him distinction. It is a combinati
Tamora Pierce
When I heard about Philip Pullman's new book, I thought the witch fires would soon be lit in the U.K. and here, but having read it, I think that if there's an outcry, it will be mostly because of the title. The book is a cool, considerate allegory about a pair of brothers. It invites the reader to thought rather than hysteria. I suspect it's the non-readers who will be inclined to hysteria, if they hear of it.

His premise: two sons are born to Mary (who may or may not have been visited by an ange
Madhurabharatula Pranav Rohit Kasinath
The Goodman Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a work of utterly dark, disturbing and moving beauty and not as controversial as its provocative title might have you believe. The biblical world that Philip Pullman populates with his all too human characters is rich in its simplicity and heart breaking in its ability to portray one man who has influenced history and religion; in such a very human light.
The basic premise that Pullman works from is this – Jesus had a twin brother called Christ. Jesu
Initially I wanted to give this little novel 2 stars, for I wasn’t overly impressed by it. I have to be fair though. My expectations were definitely far off target and outside the author’s intention.

I expected to read an ironic and sarcastic retelling of the New Testament, which of course, after reading it, I realized was not the case. Because of my unfulfilled expectations I liked this book (probably) less than I would have otherwise. Still, I have chosen to give this book 3 stars, because I r
I heard this book described a bunch of times as "subversive," but it was a major letdown on that count. About 60% of it is quoted verbatim from the gospels, which I've read. The remaining changes are mostly of the bizarre, rather than insightful, kind, like having Jesus rebuke Martha instead of Mary--what's the significance? The major plot twist, of course, is that Jesus is a pair of twins, Jesus and Christ. Jesus is the human, passionate, provocative, spiritual half while Christ is the intellig ...more
Dan Thompson
I'm not a religious man. I think I should make that very clear, but a book review is no place for me to argue my stance on that. I do think it is fair to say however, that the mythology of religion appeals to me more than the actual spirituality of it. Of course, people who know me will also know that Philip Pullman is my favourite author, and with his often vocal stance on religion, I thought his 2010 release, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ would make for a fascinating read. The bl ...more
Lakis Fourouklas
Ok, here it goes! I really looked forward to reading this book and when I finally did I felt nothing more than disappointed; almost cheated. I don’t know; maybe I got carried away by the title and expected too much, but in whatever way you put it I didn’t expect so little. There’s one thing that I know for sure: this is the worst work by the author that I’ve ever read. That’s maybe because it was an order-to-write kind of book, or perhaps because he didn’t bother to work too hard for it, or just ...more
Very pleased to be able to read something by Pullman that is good after putting down the third volume of Northern Lights way before the end.

The subject matter, the treatment and the title were all likely to put me off, but S-L highly recommended it and Manny read it in a sitting - despite the scintillating option of chatting to the knitters. That sold me.
Jason Mills
Aug 22, 2010 Jason Mills rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adherents and decriers of scriptural religion
Recommended to Jason by: Coggy!
Shelves: fiction, period
For a start, this is an easy and quick read. It's linear, has few characters and is written in plain language, so the pages turn themselves.

Pullman rehashes the gospels, turning the story of Jesus into an allegory about the dangers of scripture itself and its role as the foundation of authoritarian religion. In his tale, Jesus is a passionate, wilful, uncompromising preacher, whose 'miracles' are entirely metaphorical, whilst his unknown twin Christ is a pragmatist and scribbler, keen to massage
For somebody who had obviously done his homework on religious literature for The Amber Spyglass, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is an incredibly simplistic retelling, and I say this as somebody with a pretty limited Sunday School grasp of the Biblical stories, plus whatever you pick up in English Lit class along the way. I wasn’t offended by it in a religious sense, but I really thought it smacked of a kind of adolescent storytelling – ‘Wouldn’t it blow everybody’s minds if Jesus wa ...more
Whenever I think about the Bible, I am always fascinated by the double nature of the book. You have sinners in the hand of an angry god along with gentle men who call children to their side. You have the Old Testament and the New Testament, the sometimes conflicting Gospels, the rules that outline simple faith.

In The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman has taken that duality and made it entirely physical. Rather than Jesus reflecting the sometimes conflicting nature of our ow
A couple of things:
1. This is a novel. It should not been seen as anything but.
2. If you think you might be offended by this book, don't read it.
3. Philip Pullman doesn't like organized religion (specifically Christian/Catholic), so if you're a big fan of organized religion and are offended by any criticism of Christianity (which, lets face it, has had a lot of really bad stuff done in it's name), please don't read this book. It would only serve to upset you &, really, what is the point o
Jun 05, 2010 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in how myths or stories come to be, and how they shape our views of "truth."
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I came to The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ having read the His dark materials trilogy but found none of the withering thought provoking criticism of the power afforded to organised religion in those works here. Pulman’s retelling of the story of Christ felt a little juvenile and little lazy. It added nothing salient to the weary debate about the value and nature of religion, and at times felt like little more than an unnecessary and cheap point scoring exercise.

Of course Philip Pulman
I wanted to like this book because I think it’s brave, and I think its premise is valid. One of the reviews I checked out since reading TGMJATSC tells me that it was commissioned as part of a series where authors were asked to re-imagine well-known myths and I like the idea of that because that’s what story-tellers have always done. Even with my limited familiarity with the Gospels I can tell that there’s scholarly research underlying Pullman’s work, and his blending and reworking of the Christi ...more
Not sure what to make of this one to be honest! I enjoyed it as an interesting simple tale of the stories that I have grown up with, and the twist on it was fascinating, the idea there were twins, and that one was the chronicler was intriguing, I also liked the idea that Christ took over in a way after Jesus's death, and I could see how many people would assume that to make a lot of sense if they were sceptical about the resurrection. Personally I think the main thing it was trying to say was ho ...more
I sort of wanted to like this book, if only so I could resist the holy religious outrage which often accompanies anything written by the pop atheists nowadays. Religions would most of the time be better off confronting the abuses of faith that are pilloried by people such as Pullman, rather than pretending they don’t exist.

Of course, this assumes that said pillories have merit. Alas for Angry Atheism, Pullman’s retelling of the Jesus story lacks the bite necessary to be taken seriously as a grow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
”Tämä on tarina Jeesuksesta ja hänen veljestään Kristuksesta.”

Näillä sanoilla Pullman aloittaa uusimman Myytit-sarjaan kuuluvan kirjansa. Kirjan nimi on humoristinen, mutta huumori jääkin sitten kansilehdille. Tämä ei ole iloinen tarina.

Pullman kertoo erilaisen näkemyksen siitä, mitä Palestiinan alueella tapahtui vuoden 0 jKr tienoilla. Hänen tarinansa noudattelee hyvin tarkasti Uutta Testamenttia, kuin lasten Raamattu. Vain pienet muutokset tuovat Pullmanin omaa ääntä tarinaan, kuten juuri Jees
Anirudh Parthasarathy
(Note : I've not read the Bible, I'm also not a Christian. I'm treating this book as any other story and not as an altered version of the Bible.)

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a book written by the British author Philip Pullman, famous for his “His Dark Materials Trilogy”. The author is also said to be one of the most outspoken atheists in his field. The book was released in 2010 and has drawn in quite a few controversies.

Mary, gives birth to twins, boys, namely, Jesus and Chris
Beth Anne
May 02, 2011 Beth Anne rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one.

i was actually quite disappointed in this book. i expect more from pullman, and i feel like this was written to try to insight anger and controversy...but with really no payoff.

i'm not sure what i wanted out of this...but i can tell you what i didn't want, but got:

1. basically the entire story of the gospels paraphrased into a 145 page book, with some minor bullshit changes that really didn't cause me to think or question or even mildly ponder anything about religion.
2. a story of twin bo
Philip Pullman is a master storyteller, and one who has little truck with religion in general and the church in particular, so I suppose it makes sense for him to revisit one of the greatest, most influential stories ever told and add his own slant. That slant is faintly mischievous yet at the same time surprisingly reverent to the source material, the crucial difference being that Jesus and Christ were almost identical twins born in a Bethlehem stable. While one became a reactionary prophet pre ...more
Philip Pullman is a subtle and clever serpent. In ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’, he sets about demolishing the tenants of the (Catholic) church through the re-telling the gospel. Although this is no Python-esque hunt for absurdities, nor is it an angry rant in the Richard Dawkins style, instead the tale is told almost straight – but with the miracles placed in a more realistic setting. So the immaculate conception becomes a lascivious con-trick, bread and fishes losing all myster ...more
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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards ...more
More about Philip Pullman...

Other Books in the Series

Canongate Myths (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • A Short History of Myth
  • The Penelopiad
  • Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles (Canongate Myths)
  • The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur
  • Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson
  • Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams (Canongate Myths)
  • Anna In w grobowcach świata
  • Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis (Canongate Myths)
  • Binu and the Great Wall
  • Where Three Roads Meet: The Myth of Oedipus (Canongate Myths)
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2) The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials #1-3) Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version

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“Lord, if I thought you were listening, I'd pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive.” 39 likes
“Lord, if I thought you were listening, I'd pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive. That it should be not like a palace with marble walls and polished floors, and guards standing at the door, but like a tree with its roots deep in the soil, that shelters every kind of bird and beast and gives blossom in the spring and shade in the hot sun and fruit in the season, and in time gives up its good sound wood for the carpenter; but that sheds many thousands of seeds so that new trees can grow in its place. Does the tree say to the sparrow, 'Get out, you don't belong here?' Does the tree say to the hungry man, 'This fruit is not for you?' Does the tree test the loyalty of the beasts before it allows them into the shade?” 18 likes
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