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Philip Pullman 'inspired by apocryphal gospels'

9th April 2010

Philip Pullman says he feels as though he has to explain why he based his new book on Jesus even though he is an atheist.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Pullman pointed out he does not normally subscribe to the view that authors have to explain the thinking behind their books, but he feels differently about The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

'Its protagonist belongs not just to me but to the history and the culture of the past 2,000 years and the story is not just any story but the foundation story of the Christian religion,' he explained.

The author revealed that he was inspired to write the book after re-reading the New Testament and considering how its portrayal of Jesus does not draw on the non-canonical gospels.

He added that reading the differing accounts of Jesus' story led him to think of him as having two distinct sides - Jesus the man and Christ the Messiah, which led to the idea for his recent novel.

Last month, Pullman told The Sunday Times that he has received dozens of threatening letters for the alleged blasphemy contained in The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

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