The conceit is this: In 2001, Jesus decides that someone should write the missing gospel of his childhood, and he selects Levi-called Biff-the wisecracking companion and alter ego of his youth. “It’s all right, Biff. iTunes Lamb is precisely that: FICTION. It’s hilarious, but it grapples in a real way with the fact and mystery that humans live their lives, knowing they will die. "[5], Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, Michael Dirda on 'Fool' By Christopher Moore, Comic horror author writes of Death's antics in S.F. Healed. Kathryn Tiede Healed him. They’ll say, ‘Well, it was good, but not as good as Lamb.’ Why would I want to try to outdo Lamb and then fail and ruin it for everyone? It’s Greek for the Hebrew word messiah, meaning anointed. 651.641.3508 In this work the author seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus through the eyes of Jesus' childhood pal, "Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff".[2]. But you won’t come away from Lamb without feeling sad. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is a novel by American writer Christopher Moore, published in 2002.In this work the author seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus through the eyes of Jesus' childhood pal, "Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff".. Biff goes on: In between epistolary moments where he marvels about modern life, Biff pens his gospel, filling in a lot of the blanks. a prophet inside a whale? Email Us at, Facebook Less silly, but also funny, are moments seeded into the story in which Joshua hears or experiences something that, the reader knows, will later pop up in the Gospels, such as: Hearing Biff’s construction foreman father talk about the stupidity of one of his clients in building on sand, Joshua says, “I’ll have to remember that.”, After knocking at the door of a Buddhist monastery and being forced to wait three days in the cold, Joshua decides, “When I’m in charge, if someone knocks, they will be able to come in. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal is a novel by American writer Christopher Moore, published in 2002. At one point, Biff admonishes Maggie, “You shouldn’t make fun of him. In some of his novels, Moore approaches his task with the sole aim of having zany fun. From each of them Joshua garners skills and talents and insights which he later incorporates into his public ministry in Galilee. “We don’t talk about it.”. In one particularly marvelous scene, for instance, Biff and Joshua find themselves in a market in Antioch. by Thomas G. Long, Preaching from Matthew’s Gospel: Major Themes and Forms of Teaching. Biff goes on: Joshua had put the lamb he’d been carrying on the ground, but it didn’t run away. Sign up for email news about Working Preacher resources. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, is the story of the life of history’s most famous person told by his best friend and sidekick. It's the Greek for messiah, a Hebrew word meaning anointed. Also, Christ isn’t his last name. | Get 3 for the price of 2. In 2015, Moore said of writing a sequel to Lamb, "...I am bound and determined not to do it. Christopher Moore's insightful and creative look into the life of Jesus has become one of my "top ten all-time favorites" in the fiction category. As Biff notes at the beginning of Christopher Moore’s comic 2002 novel Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, his friend’s name was Joshua. You can read Lamb for Christopher Moore’s wit and wackiness. So as not to spoil the conclusion, allow this to suffice: Moore's astonishing creativity applies even to areas which are difficult and distasteful, not just to the clever or off-colored. All the wit in the world wouldn’t erase that, and I don’t think Biff (or Moore) would want it to. As Biff notes at the beginning of Christopher Moore’s comic 2002 novel Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, his friend’s name was Joshua. It’s a re-telling — a randy and raucous re-telling — of Shakespeare’s King Lear, and, like Lear, Moore rages at the deterioration that comes with age and the death that follows. And then they die. Joshua’s middle name. As Joshua is fond of saying, “It’s God’s will.”. Healed. No middle initial. Stopped her suffering. He’s trying very hard.”, At another, Joshua says somewhat plaintively to Biff, “I think I understand hope. For instance, Joshua remains celibate throughout their journeyings. 27 offers from $4.44. Amid and within the humor in Lamb is a kind of aching for Joshua, a recognition by Biff (and Moore) that life as the messiah couldn’t have been all that easy. Comforted him. Saturday, November 21, 2009 12:00 AM Required fields are marked *. — randy smart alecks with a heart of gold. Better just to leave it alone. It’s very funny and outrageous and in the worst possible taste, as in this scene: The new guy…noticed some flowers growing where Joshua had just relieved himself. The original edition of Lamb was issued in hardback and paperback and contains an afterword by the author explaining some background of the novel. Patrick T Reardon | Writer, Essayist, Poet, Chicago Historian, Book review: “The Hunted” by Elmore Leonard, Book review: “Gislebertus: Sculptor of Autun” by Denis Grivot and George Zarnecki, Absurdist/Fantasy novels — 3 — Book review: “Coyote Blue” by Christopher Moore – Patrick T. Reardon, Book review: “Fluke, Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings” by Christopher Moore – Patrick T. Reardon. It contains all manner of "adult" themes: graphic sexual passages, brutal violence, frightening political scenes, and so forth. Jesus, he explains, is a Greek translation of the Hebrew name Yeshua. Joshua can be witty now and again, but Biff takes those bon mots as invasions of his personal territory because, if nothing else, Levi who is known as Biff is always ready with a wisecrack. Twitter Find out more. It is by turns historically accurate and anachronistic, biblically reliable and remarkably imaginative, and always a rollicking ride. In the scene in which Joshua and Biff are departing from Melchior's house, for instance, the wise man makes his bold confession: "We were seekers. I suppose I should have known right then. RSS According to Biff, the untold years of Jesus' boyhood and young adulthood were rich with adventures and filled with insights into the person and the character of the Messiah. Whoops, missed. Another scene will sound familiar to those familiar with the Gospels, but not exactly as you may remember it. The end is divinity, in the beginning is the word. The author cited Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita—particularly the Biblical scenes told from Pontius Pilate's point of view—as a partial inspiration to create this novel. Healed her. Biff is resurrected and locked in a hotel suite in St. Louis with the angel Raziel, who is there to insure that he gets the writing job done. Joshua is talking with a prostitute and tells her, “Go, and sin no more.”, “Right,” she says, and what do I do for a living then, shovel shit?”. Christ is not a last name. Unknown Binding. A look at what's current -- how films, books, happenings relate to the preaching life. Lush blossoms of a half dozen vibrant colors stood surrounded by the deadest landscape on the planet. “Hey, were those there yesterday?”, “That always happens,” I said. Biff is the sort of best friend of a goody-two-shoes guy who gets into trouble so the goody-two-shoes guy doesn’t have to. $11.99. In his 2009 novel Fool, Moore tackles a related subject, the pain and terror of growing old. You can read it as a clever way of bringing a modern sensibility to a story told over and over again for thousands of years. Often, when he says something truly off the wall and Joshua looks at him with a raised eyebrow, Biff will cite chapter and verse from the Bible — although it’s a Bible no one else has read: (One does wonder what a biblical book of Amphibians might feature — a land swarming with frogs? At Raziel's behest, they are united immediately. By the way, his name was Joshua. Through Moore's astonishing imagination and keen sense of Jesus (here called Joshua), the reader encounters the Messiah as a young man who is searching for his way in the world, deciphering his unusual vocation, and always bearing God's heart of love and compassion for the world. "Joshua was bumping people in the crowd as he passed, seemingly on purpose, and murmuring just loud enough so I could hear him each time he hit someone with a shoulder or an elbow. Joshua decides to practice his healing skills on the unsuspecting crowd, and ends up running haphazardly through the throng of people, healing them as he goes, and finding extraordinary joy in the experience. At every book signing, somebody will tell me it’s his favorite book. When Biff admonishes Joshua to stop this behavior due to the risk of his being found out, Joshua replies with a mixture of bliss and helplessness: "But I love these people," Josh said. Here, for instance, is how Biff summarizes the gist of virtually every sermon he ever heard Joshua give: “You should be nice to people, even creeps.”. He ends up in the United States in the late twentieth century, being watched over by the angel Raziel in a hotel room. The recounting of Jesus' human and godlike qualities, combined with Biff's earthy debauchery, humorously explains the origins of judo and cappuccino; reasons that Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas; and how rabbits became associated with Easter. Making someone who is seeking comfort stand out in the cold is a crock of rancid yak butter.” To which, Biff adds, “Amen.”, A yeti is so happy to have Joshua as a friend that he licks Joshua’s cheek again and again. Calmed.'". (What a surprise!). The book ends with a couple of rather shocking surprises, one at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, and another two thousand years later. Me? I cannot recommend this book to my confirmation students or to members of my parish for whom some portions of the content might present a "stumbling block" for faith. The story of Jesus is a sad story, even if you factor the resurrection into the narrative. In his love for the world, Joshua simply cannot bear to see suffering, and ultimately decides that he must take it on himself. When the two boys are at the Temple with their families to sacrifice a lamb, Biff has a panic attack thinking of the innocent creature going to the slaughter. The premise of the book: two thousand years after Jesus' crucifixion, his best friend from childhood, a man named Levi, called "Biff," has been brought back to life in order to tell the story of Jesus as only his closest companion would know it. This book is sure to offend. Cheap Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore | Summary & Study Guide,You can get more details about Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore | Summary & Study Guide:Shopping Guide on