Scribes and Pharisees

Noted atheist Philip Pullman has written a book called The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. It’s a fable based on the premise that Mary had twins: Jesus, a respected moral teacher, and Christ, a traitor who invents a spurious religion around the death of his brother. No doubt it will invite a tiresome downpour of righteous wrath, and an equally tiresome uproar of atheist enthusiasm. Amid the clash, I hope the gentle voice of the Archbishop of Canterbury will be heard. His review is careful, thoughtful, and gracious. It pays Pullman the compliment of serious attention, without yielding any of the ground claimed by Christians who take the gospel seriously. Moreover by taking the book seriously as thought-provoking fiction, it avoids the righteous error of being provoked by fiction into serious dispute.