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Crucifixion’s a Doddle
by Julian Doyle
(Clink House, £13)

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MONTY Python fans will recognise this book’s title as one of the best-known quotes from the film A Life of Brian says PETER FROST..

Really keen fans will know its author Julian Doyle (below) as film editor and special-effects director on the Monty Python team.

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Doyle spent hours at the editing desk watching in remarkable detail the accurately recreated crucifixion scenes for the film and, during this detailed study, he began to notice important contradictions with the conventional biblical understanding about the life, and more importantly the death, of Jesus.

Two thousand years of Christian understanding and dogma seemed to be based on some rather weak foundations and he decided to investigate in more detail.

Doyle’s studies brought him to some interesting — some will no doubt say heretical — conclusions. Maybe it wasn’t Pontius Pilate that killed Christ after all and perhaps Jesus actually lived for a decade or more longer than previously thought. Did he actually marry and even have children?

The book contains much evidence, sometimes in what gets near to obsessive detail, but those who enjoy religious conspiracy books will be used to that.

Unlike a lot of them, Doyle’s case can be persuasive. Did you know that no illustration of Jesus on the cross appeared for three or more centuries after the actual events?

Doyle explains much more about some biblical characters and even gospel authors than conventional bible study has suggested in the past and this level of detailed evidence and the many diverse arguments might make for heavy going if the whole book wasn’t done in such an amusing and Pythonesque style.

What we end up with is a well-based atheist argument laced with humorous anecdote and Python team wisdom, all put together from a very naughty boy indeed.

It is certainly well worth reading.

This book review first appeared in the Morning Star 10 October 2016.

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