September 27th, 2010 / 1:49 pm

Does anyone have suggestions for good fictional, alternative narratives of Jesus’s life? I’ve read and liked Jim Crace’s Quarantine and Jose Saramago’s The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.


  1. a.ksjfgsa

      Didn’t Norman Mailer take a crack at that?

  2. Kyle Minor

      The Last Temptation of Christ / Nikos Kazantzakis

  3. Guest

      The Gospel According to the Son by Norman Mailer.

  4. Gabe

      Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist. Picks up immediately after Barabbas’ release and follows him through despair and self-doubt as he wanders around wondering why he was allowed to live instead of the other guy. He does some research on Jesus until the Christians find out who he is. Short and bleak and pretty awesome.

  5. deadgod

      I thought Toby Olson’s Life of Jesus did the re-telling well. He’s not as well-known a poet or novelist as he could be.

  6. Kathleen Rooney

      It’s maybe not exactly what you’re looking for, but in Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut does a very brief retelling/reinterpretation of the Gospels and their meaning.

  7. Andrew

      I seem to remember Harry Mathews’s story “County Cooking from Central France” having a last supper subtext. I had to look up the subtitle to get it right: “Roast Boned Rolled Stuffed Shoulder of Lamb (Farce Double).

  8. jereme

      this one, yes.

  9. chris moran

      Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock

  10. Lincoln Michel

      Blood Meridian (hint: he’s The Judge)

  11. a.ksjfgsa

      Didn’t Norman Mailer take a crack at that?

  12. Zenithblue

      The Master and Margherita by Bulgakov

  13. jh

      Robert Graves

  14. ael

      How’s it compare to the movie?

  15. Alex

      How do you figure the Judge is Jesus? A Demiurge maybe. Maybe Lucifer, although that is a stretch. But I do not see a lot of Christ in the Judge.

  16. Alex

      A classic.

  17. Frank

      Heather O’Neill’s “The Gospel According to Mary M of Cartier Elementary” …

      Season 4, scroll down to “The Two Mary’s” forward to 11 minutes and 20 seconds.

  18. rk

      That’s the one where Mailer later said he was hiding how smart he was. Not my favorite book.

  19. KTLincoln

      Reynolds Price did two translations, one of Mark and one of John, and also wrote his own apocryphal gospel, “An Honest Account of a Memorable Life.” I took a class with him last semester where we read the translations and then wrote our own gospels, but we didn’t actually read his—I think it hews pretty closely to the canonical gospels in its content, with a different sort of execution. But yeah, I ended up getting to write an 11,000-word apocryphal gospel, which was a pretty wild experience. For credit.

  20. Dreezer

      The Gospel of Corax by Paul Park.

  21. SP

      Lamb by Christopher Moore. It’s funny, but also sort of terrible.

  22. Bill Householder

      The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

  23. Chaplin

      Movie: Jesus of Montreal. Book(play) : The Lizard if Tarsus by Jim Grimsley.

  24. TWS


  25. God

      Philip Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

  26. alexisorgera

      Thanks, everyone! This might have to be a summer project after all, but I’ve got a good reading list…

  27. Rebranding

      I remember thinking Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore was really funny and good when I read it

  28. thom bunn

      Little bit of a tangent: a review I wrote of a Continuum title ‘Contemporary Fiction and Christianity’ which pulls a number of other things into the orbit of Bible-thinking. The review is at the bottom of this page:

      Less of a tangent is Philip Pullman’s ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’, which was a good idea not all that well executed.

  29. Rebranding

      “really funny” and “good”

  30. Matthew Simmons

      Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You.

  31. Brianjamesfoley

      Convoy with Kris Kristofferson.