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mollie lamb

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is the sixth novel by absurdist author Christopher Moore, published in 2002. In this work the author seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus through the point of view of Jesus' childhood pal, "Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff".

The original edition of Lamb was issued in hardback and paperback and contains an afterword by the author explaining some of the background of the novel. In 2007 a special gift edition was published, with a second afterword by Moore, recollecting his trip to Israel for research.

According to the author, the producer-director Peter Douglas (with Vincent Pictures) has purchased the film rights to the novel.

Plot summary

Biff has been resurrected in the present day, to complete missing parts of the Bible. Supposedly under the watchful eye of the angel Raziel, who turns out to be more interested in the soap operas on the television in their hotel, Biff is made to write down his account of the decades missing from Jesus' life. During these years he and Joshua (which, as Biff points out, "Jesus" is the Greek version of, and thus in Galilee Jesus was called Joshua Bar Joseph) travel to the East to seek the Three Wise Men who attended Joshua's birth, so that he may learn how to become the Messiah.

Over a span of roughly twenty years, Joshua learns a great deal about human nature, and how he is able to translate that into his teachings. At each point, Joshua surpasses the Wise Men and their philosophy by incorporating his own beliefs into theirs. The story takes a fantastical twist on Joshua's miracles as well: he learns to multiply food from one of the Wise Men and learns to become invisible from another; however, his ability to resurrect the dead figures strongly into his first meeting with Biff when both boys are six years old. Biff, for himself, is sarcastic, practical and endlessly loyal. While it would seem that such traits, as well as the fact that he was the Messiah's best friend nearly thirty years, would ensure his place in the Gospels, there are reasons, as revealed in the final chapter, why Biff was essentially "cut out" of the story.

The recounting of Jesus' human and godlike qualities, combined with Biff's earthy debauchery, leads to its all-too-familiar tragic ending, but humorously explains many things: the origins of judo (a pun that is definitely intended), why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas, and how rabbits became associated with Easter. The Three Wise Men, Mary Magdalene (on whom Biff has a childhood crush), Joseph, and Mary (Joshua's mother, whom Biff plans to marry if anything happens to Joseph) all have their part in the life and times of Joshua. Mary Magdalene, as in The Da Vinci Code, is depicted as harboring love for Joshua, though in Moore's version Joshua remains chaste on Raziel's instructions (This in itself leads to some of Biff's debauchery, as he is literally attempting to go through enough harlots for both of them). Biff himself loves "Maggie" with the same intensity, leading to a revolving love triangle.

When Joshua is facing execution, Biff attempts to cheat the Romans of their victim by having one of the women administer a death-simulating poison to his friend (via a sponge of sour wine), with an antidote to be provided post-burial. Unfortunately, an over-zealous legionnaire ruins everything by stabbing Joshua with a spear. Biff, enraged, chases down Judas and hangs him, and then kills himself in despair. After he finishes penning his Gospel, he is reunited with Maggie, resurrected for the same reason, to start a new life with her.

Literary allusions

The author has cited Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita -- particularly its Biblical scenes told from Pontius Pilate's point of view -- as a partial inspiration to create this novel. Other works referred to within the novel itself are the Kama Sutra, the Torah, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, the Tao Te Ching and, of course, the Gospels of the New Testament.

Relation to Moore's other novels

External links

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