Bestselling children's author Philip Pullman has provoked more anger from Christians with a new book denying that Jesus was the son of God.
The book, due to be published next Easter, accepts there was a holy man called Jesus but says the idea of such a divine link came from the 'fervid imagination' of the apostle St Paul.
Pullman has already been condemned by the Vatican for the allegorical trilogy His Dark Materials, which has been described as anti-Christian.
His new book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, is a retelling of the story of Jesus.
It draws on the Bible for characters, locations and events, but the author says it reads like a mix between a novel, a history and a fairy tale. Pullman said: 'I wanted it to be like that because it is, among other things, a story about how stories become stories.
'By the time the gospels were being written, Paul had already begun to transform the story of Jesus into something altogether new and extraordinary, and some of his version influenced what the gospel writers put in theirs.
'Paul was a literary and imaginative genius of the first order who has probably had more influence on the history of the world than any other human being, Jesus certainly included. I believe this is a pity.'
One difference, then, is while Chopra relied on fashionable, irrational New Age gobbledygook, Pullman apparently draws upon creaky, warmed-over early nineteenth-century German Protestant theories that have been long abandoned by the vast majority (if not all) Scripture scholars. Perhaps this book will be the first volume of a new trilogy, His Dull Materials, with the other titles explaining how Jesus married Mary Magdalene and how the young Jesus spent time traveling to India, China, and Siberia.
For more on Pullman and his atheistic attacks on Christianity, see Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy (Ignatius Press, 2008), by Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel.
Related Insight Scoop posts:
• Pullman fans talk trash and pull back the curtain (Dec. 7, 2007)
• Philip Pullman's neo-Gnostic faith (Dec. 6, 2007)
• Philip Pullman's hubristic musings (Nov. 9, 2007)
• Philip Pullman's childish atheism (Nov. 2, 2007)
• L'Osservatore Romano: "In the world of Pullman, hope simply doesn't exist..." (Dec. 18, 2007)