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Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman's Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials Paperback – September 17, 2007

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Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman's Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials + His Dark Materials Illuminated: Critical Essays on Philip Pullman's Trilogy (Landscapes of Childhood Series)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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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Review

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) (Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2007)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787982377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787982379
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Donna Freitas is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. Over the years she has written for national newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal,The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Newsweek. Donna has been a professor at Boston University in the Department of Religion and also at Hofstra University in their Honors College. She writes children's novels for Scholastic, Harper Collins, and FSG, and she loves it very much! Donna splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain.

Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/donnafreitas
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donnafreitasofficial

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jesse K. Richards on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was skeptical before reading this, but it ended up being great and really enhanced my appreciation for the novels. After a slow start, it picks up and is really good by the end. The book also has short plot summaries of the novels, which were very helpful as I read them 2 years ago now. However, it also has an interview with Gregory Maguire which I thought was pointless. I was also unsure of the authors' "agenda" - are they Christian? Regardless, their views were well-thought-out and riveting. I would recommend buying all 4 books and reading this after the trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Stallman on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Freitas and King have created, what I consider to be, the best theological engagement with Pullman's His Dark Materials to date. Whilst the appeal to Liberation theology and feminist theology may not be everyone's cup of tea, the theological analysis is none the less consistent and thorough. This is an insightful analysis of the way in which God has been communicated and envisioned throughout history, culminating in the desire to move beyond restrictive, ancient images of a tyrannical God, as has been accepted from the Middle Ages onwards. Instead, they propose that Liberation and Feminist theology, just like Pullman's text, is challenging these notion of the very way in which we perceive God and communicate our understanding of God to others. They support the idea that Pullman's 'death of the Authority/God' should not be feared or shunned or condemned, but embraced as an opportunity for a new understanding and a new progression forward in contemporary Christianity.
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