Pullman may feature Jesus in next novel
The children's author Philip Pullman has disclosed that he might introduce the figure of Jesus into his next book, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Mr Pullman's revelation came during a much anticipated debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and caused a ripple of surprise in the audience at the National Theatre in London.
The theatre is producing an acclaimed adaptation of Mr Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials, which ends with the death of an enfeebled, aged God.
Given that his novels have been denounced by some critics as shamelessly blasphemous and anti-Christian propaganda, some might have been expecting a fierce clash.
But last week Dr Williams largely disarmed the confrontation by recommending at a Downing Street seminar that Mr Pullman's novels should be studied as part of religious education in schools.
Despite the affability of their wide ranging and often arcane conversation however, some profound differences remained. Dr Williams was sharply critical of Mr Pullman's fictional portrayal of organised religion as dogmatic and ruthless without such balancing Christian virtues as redemption.
Pressed by Dr Williams to explain what had happened to the teachings of Jesus in his books, Mr Pullman said that he had made one mention of Christ in the context of the idea of human wisdom. He then said that he might return to the subject in his next book but he declined to expand.
However, he said that there was no prospect of an imminent conversion to Christianity as he believed that morality did not rely on the existence of God.
Dr Williams said that Mr Pullman's views were deficient from the point of view of a Christian.
"One of the intriguing things about the Church in your books is that it is a Church without redemption," the Archbishop said. "It's about control. Although that's how a lot of people see the Church here it is not how I see it."
In a wry reference to his own problems in managing the divisions in the Anglican Church, he added: "Chance would be a fine thing."