Philip Pullman was on Radio 4's arts programme yesterday, Front Row, to discuss Bach with the conductor Jophn Eliot Gardiner; with their musings on the relationship between music and literature goiing into a great deal of intellectual depth. Towards the end of the segment, Pullman seemed to confirm that he's thinking of writing a book about Jesus, which you can read (slightly) more about here. Alternatively, you can skip to about 16:30 on the listen again playback to hear that particular part.
Mark Lawson (Presenter): You appear, from what I hear, to be writing a book about Jesus? Is that right?
Pullman: Iâ€™m very interested in the Jesus figure and the Jesus myth. That the man who was a sort of itinerant Rabii in the palace [?] of that time, who was executed for political reasons, and who subsequently became, something utterly different. He probably didnâ€™t even contemplate himself. The creation of a new figure who was to be worshipped. Itâ€™s an extraordinary transformation, a very very strange thing came over the early Christians, as we now call them. It was probably John or it was probably Paul. It was probably a combination of the two of them. It was that slew of intense, passionate, strange feelings, weird little cults, springing in to existence and then fading out again. Some of them lasting longer than others. Itâ€™s pure chance really that it was Christianity that survived and not Mytheryism [sp?], or something else. But it did, and weâ€™re not living with two thousand years of the consequences.
ML: And this book would be non-fiction?
PP: (pause) â€¦I donâ€™t know.
ML: But youâ€™re going to write about it in some way?
PP: I donâ€™t know.
Thanks to Jamie for typing that up for us.