From the Telegraph:
Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials, has written his own version of the New Testament in which the story of Jesus is given a “different ending”.
The writer has penned an alternative Bible passage imagining a different fate for Christ, who was executed by the Romans.
“He has written what would have happened if Jesus had had a fair trial,” a friend told The Daily Telegraph’s Mandrake column.
“He knows it will be controversial, but he has some serious points to make.”
Pullman is due to read his “account” of Christ’s last days at the Globe theatre on Thursday as part of an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Reprieve, an organisation which campaigns for the rights of prisoners.
Books by Pullman, who is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society, have been criticised by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. His critics often cite an interview in which he reportedly said: “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”
The fantasy novels His Dark Materials, with their religious allegories, have been seen as a direct rebuttal of The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis, the late Christian author, which have been criticised by Pullman.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has, however, proposed that His Dark Materials should be taught as part of religious education in schools.
There is nothing surprising about this since Pullman is an atheist, supporter of the British Humanist Society and actively pursues an anti-Christian agenda, saying things like, “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”
One does wonder, therefore, why Rowan Williams thinks Dark Materials should be taught in schools as religious education; I can only surmise that Rowan, having not quite managed to single-handedly destroy the Anglican Church, is looking for some help.
To be serious – really – I should have thought that Graham Taylor’s Shadowmancer, which is explicitly Christian, would have been a better recommendation for Rowan to make. Perhaps it hits too close to home: the villain, Reverend Obadiah Demurral, is an Anglican vicar.