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Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman’s Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials

Donna Freitas, Author, Jason King, Author
Donna Freitas, Author, Jason King, Author . Jossey-Bass $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7879-8237-9
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Freitas and King believe that Philip Pullman—whom the New Yorker called “one of England’s most outspoken atheists”—is a theologian in spite of himself, and that Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is a religious classic on the order of the Chronicles of Narnia. Here, the authors attempt to show that the Pullman novels are not about killing off God, but rather, annihilating an understanding of God that is antiquated and unimaginative. Analyzing lengthy scenes from the novels, they find Pullman’s views pantheistic, rather than atheistic. Pullman “resurrects a far more sophisticated divinity” and wrestles mightily with theological questions. Freitas and King explore Pullman’s beliefs about God, good and evil, and salvation, seeing the novelist as squarely situated within liberation theology and “surprisingly Greek, indebted nearly as much to Socrates and Plato as to God the Father and God the Son.” Freitas (Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise ) and King clearly know their material and have the requisite passion for their topic. Although this is not light reading, the book release’s timing to coincide with the motion picture, His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass , should give it higher visibility to a popular audience. (Sept. 7)

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