Religious Fanaticism in The Book of Dust

Think Christian | 2/8/2018 | Staff
sheenabeanna (Posted by) Level 3
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Philip Pullman's latest series continues to critique religion. Might he have a point worth considering?

In La Belle Sauvage, the first volume of his new fantasy trilogy The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman holds a surprisingly realistic mirror to a parallel universe of intertwining politics, worldviews, and morality.

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La Belle Sauvage describes a Miltonesque world of magical realism set in present-day London. The story begins: “Three miles up the river Thames from the center of Oxford, some distance from where the great colleges of Jordan, Gabriel, Balliol, and two dozen others contended for mastery in the boat races…” The scene is familiar and eloquently described, yet at the same time it is on this very river that the protagonist, Malcolm Polstead, later embarks on a dangerous adventure and meets mermaids, water fairies, and a figure that looks much like Poseidon. Drawing his inspiration from Homer to Keats and everywhere in between, Pullman imaginatively creates a novel with resonances to our own world, while still reminding readers that things are not the same.

The narrative, packed with drama and suspense from beginning to end, follows the rise of a theocratic government called the Magisterium (also commonly called “The Church”). This regime takes over England and enforces a strict code of law that eerily resembles our own American political climate: an extreme form of conservative religion pervades the land; differing opinions on any subject, but especially those that relate to God, are punished; intellectual inquiry is discouraged; and even scientific discovery that does not conform to the Magisterium’s religious doctrines is banned.

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Some Christians will not want to touch this book after the controversies surrounding Pullman’s last trilogy, His Dark Materials. When the first installment of that trilogy was published and subsequently produced as a film, titled The Golden Compass, Christian groups across the nation, from...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Think Christian
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