Jesus’ little-known sidekick stars in ‘Lamb’
June 28, 2007
“Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff” by Christopher Moore
The story of Jesus Christ is one that almost everyone knows. From the tale of Mary and Joseph, the journey of the three wise men to visit the new-born king and the story of the resurrection, to the many pageants, plays, musicals and movies inspired by his life and deeds, Jesus is one of the most influential and well-known people in human history. Yet, there is still very little known about his life as a whole.
Enter author Christopher Moore. With a little research and imagination, Moore has come up with a delightful and heartfelt story to fill all those years the Bible was missing. The book is called “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff,” and is told from the perspective of Levi, who is called Biff, Jesus’ best childhood friend. Jesus, or as Moore calls him, Joshua (as Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Yeshua,” which is Joshua), and Biff grow up together in a small rural community called Nazareth in Galilee. They were the typical boys of the time with one small difference: Joshua was the Son of God, and he knew he was the Son.
As a boy, Joshua performed many miracles, from the healing of his and Biff’s injuries to the raising of a dead Roman soldier, albeit for only about three minutes. Come on, he was just a kid. They grow up to be fine lads, and then one day the angel comes.
Unfortunately for Josh and Biff, the angel was Raziel, and he is not the brightest halo in the Heavenly Host. He arrives about 12 years too late to herald the coming of the messiah, but does get Joshua to realize that he doesn’t know the first thing about being the savior of mankind. Joshua decides to set out on a quest to find the three wise men who were present at his birth and see if, since they knew he was coming and traveled so far to see him, they could teach him what he needed to know to be the messiah and king of the Jews. But Biff is not about to let his best pal face certain peril and adventure alone.
What ensues is one of the greatest buddy stories of all time as the two young lads journey from Galilee to the city of Antioch and then east along the Silk Road all the way to India. Along the way they encounter all manner of strange and exciting things. From bandits on the Silk Road to the demon named Catch in the city of Kabul, to the horrific festival of Kali in India, to using Biff to learn about sin by making him sleep with as many harlots as humanly possible. This epic quest lasts many years, just enough in fact to fill the missing parts of the Bible, and covers their return to Galilee where Joshua and Biff round up the faithful to spread the good word of the Coming of the Kingdom. And the rest is history.
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This was one of the best books I have ever read, and a statement like that is not an easy one for me to make. Moore has done a brilliant job of humanizing Jesus Christ, making him out to be first an overly intelligent and well-informed little boy, to a curious and hesitant adolescent, then to a wise young man, then into the kind of guy you would really want as your messiah.
All the while with his good-natured, foul-mouthed, thick-headed companion and shadow, Biff, this book is a heartwarming look at what it takes to be the eventual redeemer of mankind.
– Samuel McCauley is a sales associate at Neighbors Bookstore.