Or, at least, he is in Philip Pullman's enthralling novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. I’ve recently finished reading this alternative version of the New Testament story, and I loved it! It was un-put-down-able, if I may coin a phrase.
As a student of religious studies, I was made aware that before the Bible was assembled as the book we now know, there were all sorts of different myths and stories about Jesus. Some of these stories claim that Jesus was a twin; others claim that Jesus escaped to Egypt while an unsuspecting dupe was crucified in his place. How fascinating to consider the alternatives...
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a story (repeat: story!) about Jesus and his twin brother, Christ. All the familiar players are involved: Mary, John the Baptist, Barabbas, and a flock of uptight Pharisees. But, this is a story unlike the one you may have read in Sunday school.
Pullman’s writing style is effortless and spare and yet he creates such wonderfully rich characters and atmospheres.
Check this book out over the Christ(s)mas holidays! I especially recommend it for those who are interested in religious studies, Bible studies, history and spirituality, and storytelling.