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Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

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What if Jesus had a crass best friend? What if they went to the East and learned kung fu and Zen Buddhism? What happened to Jesus when he was growing up, anyway?

The title of this book caught my eye when I first read it. I wasn’t quite sure if the book was a satire or a religious tract, and it turns out that it’s a little of both. Lamb asks the question, “What if…” and then proceeds to answer it page after page.

The story is told from the perspective of Biff, who was raised from the dead in the present time by an angel (with a directive from God, it seems) to write his gospel. The angel gives him the ability to speak in tongues, so the gospel is written with modern American idioms and informal language. If this book had been written now instead of a few years ago, one might imagine that the author would turn the Gospel of Biff into a blog.

There’s a lot in this book that is sure to rile the righteous. Although Joshua (Jesus) remains chaste throughout the story, Biff makes up for it by sleeping with almost every woman he meets. If the sex isn’t enough to make biblical literalists squirm, I’m sure that Joshua’s insistence than there should be a beatitude for the dumbfucks will do the trick. Clearly Moore had a great deal of irreverent fun filling in the gaps of Jesus’ life left by the other gospels. And, as he notes, if this book is enough to shake your faith, then perhaps you need to do a little more praying.

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About Anna Creech

  • John Slattery

    I was somewhat baffled by this review, since the author seems to have done little or no research into Moore’s previous and later works. This quote from the article is what first gave me pause:

    “I wasn’t quite sure if the book was a satire or a religious tract, and it turns out that it’s a little of both. Lamb asks the question, “What if…” and then proceeds to answer it page after page.”

    Anyone who could pick up a novel by Christopher Moore and ask him/herself THAT question clearly has NO prior acquaintance with the author. But what’s really scary is that this reviewer could
    entertain the same question AFTER having read the book.
    Mr. Moore has been penning off-the-wall fantasies for many years now, much to the delight of his addicted readers (such as myself.) If you’re interested in him or his work, I’d suggest a visit to his web site:

    http://www.chrismoore.com/

    If you like the work of Tom Robbins,

    http://www.rain.org/~da5e/tom_robbins.html

    chances are you’ll thoroughly enjoy Mr. Moore’s novels, which, in my opinion, are even funnier.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Is Biff any friend of Brian?

  • http://www.eclecticlibrarian.net/blog/ Anna

    John, I haven’t read any other of Moore’s books. However, I was surprised to find that one of my reactions to the book was that I gained a better insight into Jesus as a human. I also feel a desire to refresh my memory of the original gospels. Whether this was Moore’s intention or not, that is the result.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    I was thoroughly familiar with Moore’s work when I read this book, and mainly worried that my mother (who is religious, as I am not) would be offended by it.

    I wrote in my brief review

    Christopher Moore is not known for treading lightly or preserving proprieties, so I was impressed at the way he manages to let Biff tell his story without ever really undermining anything essential about Jesus’ known life. We are left with a humorous idea of what it might have been like to be the best buddy of the teenage Christ. [Emphasis added.]

  • John Slattery

    Dear Anna,
    Mysterious indeed are the ways of the Lord. I have to admit I’d never have suspected that Mr. Moore’s book would lead a reader back to the New Testament. But then, perhaps that was, at least in part, the author’s intention:

    http://www.chrismoore.com/author_note.asp?PB_ISBN=0380813815

    The human nature of Jesus, the historical figure, has been largely obscured (among many believers) by his divinity. By pushing so hard in the opposite direction, by portraying Jesus as so very human, Moore is, I’d say, reminding us of the fact that Christ, Supreme Being, Creator of the Universe, not only assumed mortal form, but all the attributes that form includes, that he shared (and shares) all of our physical, mental, psychological and spiritual essence.
    I think that perhaps many of us, when we consider the humanity of Jesus (if we do at all) tend to think of it more as some kind of “masquerade” rather than a reality, a sort of “divine pretense.”
    We don’t dwell of the particulars of what
    God’s having true human nature would entail. We are likely to gloss over all the more “negative” or “earthly” aspects .
    And yet, how much more of a miracle it is that Jesus (if you do believe) was actually “one of us” in every respect.
    I’m reminded of Joan Osbourne’s song:

    “If God had a name, what would it be
    And would you call it to his face
    If you were faced with him in all his glory
    What would you ask if you had just one question
    And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
    yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
    What if God was one of us
    Just a slob like one of us
    Just a stranger on the bus
    Trying to make his way home
    If God had a face what would it look like
    And would you want to see
    If seeing meant that you would have to believe
    In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets
    And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
    yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
    What if God was one of us
    Just a slob like one of us
    Just a stranger on the bus
    Trying to make his way home
    He’s trying to make his way home
    Back up to heaven all alone
    Nobody calling on the phone
    Except for the pope maybe in rome

    And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
    yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

    What if god was one of us
    Just a slob like one of us
    Just a stranger on the bus
    Trying to make his way home
    Just trying to make his way home
    Like a holy rolling stone
    Back up to heaven all alone
    Just trying to make his way home
    Nobody calling on the phone
    Except for the pope maybe in rome”

  • http://www.vaspersthegrate.blogspot.com steven streight aka vaspers the grate

    More BS from those who wish to turn the life of Christ into a bawdy joke.

    If this book “helps” someone “understand” the humanity of Jesus, I feel deep pity for that person.

    Satires and distortions don’t help us gain insight into a mystical phenomenon.

    I can do without such non-intellectual garbage.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    My, aren’t you the humorless fount of self-righteousness. Jesus could tell a good joke. One wonders why his followers can’t take one.

    Dave

  • http://www.eclecticlibrarian.net/blog/ Anna

    Steven: Thank you so much for your valuable insights into my soul.

    Dave: Thank you for being a rational human being.

  • John Slattery

    Regarding religion and humor, I’ve always enjoyed the writing of G.K. Chesterton for his lightness and wit. He was a great man for a pun or a paradox, and his statement that “Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one’s self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. It is much easier to write a good Times leading article than a good joke in Punch. For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity.”
    seems right to me, along with his coment about how “the test of a good religion is whether or not it can laugh at itself.”

    Lighten up.

  • http://www.pippensqueak.blogspot.com gypsyman

    My personal favourite Chris Moore book will always be Coyote Blue, but then again I’ve always had a thing for the trickster.
    That is a clue to the rest of his books folks…don’t go chasing your tails over his tales.

  • Mike

    Well, the first quote in the book from Voltaire sums it up. “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh.” The mystery of God includes, laughter, music, sex, good food, and a number of other things that got left out of the religion of the Puritans and persists today. I’d rather laugh, which is maybe Gods greatest gift to man. Hafiz said, “God and I are like two fat people in a small boat. We keep bumping into each other and laughing.”

  • Gin

    I am a complete Jesus freak, I love my Lord with all my heart, and I thought this book was HILARIOUS and great. Come on people. I mean, you can be born again, go to church every Sunday and still have a sense of humor. you can still laugh at sarcasm and satire, for crying out loud. God himself would laugh at that book. I honestly think that some people are under the impression that when you sign up for salvation they schedule you for the two for one stick up the butt/humorectomy surgery special. Lighten up people. God wants us to enjoy our lives with Him, not spend our days miserable, afraid to laugh, and shaking our finger at every new fantasy movie, novel and rock song that comes out. Yes we have certain lifestyle guidelines that we are to follow to honor Him, but we are also supposed to remember that this is the day the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it :)

  • Lady

    This be spicy !!!!! ;D

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