Book Review: ‘Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal’


Author: Christopher Moore
This is a book that you will either be repulsed by or completely adore. When it was first published in 2002, there was much controversy among some Christians, as to its potentially blasphemous content. It is fiction, but Moore applies himself diligently to his biblical research, so that the story fits cleverly in and around the Bible stories of Christ. Most of this yarn is about the years of Jesus’ youth, which is not recorded. Moore weaves his tale with Bible stories, as well as with fables from other faiths and with countries other than Israel, such as Tibet and India. Most of this story is pure fantasy and yet there is a plausibility that captures the imagination.

The narrative is through the eyes of Biff, Jesus’ young friend. They meet as six year olds while Jesus is taking care of one of His younger brothers. When the brother responds to a lizard’s bite by smashing in its head, he
passes the dead creature to his older brother to be restored back to life and health. Biff is impressed with this game and asks to be allowed to do that too. Jesus responds, “Which part?” This interplay of innocence and
six year old trickery becomes the cornerstone of Biff and Jesus’ friendship. As they play Moses and the Pharaoh, arguments ensue about who gets to play Moses, with Jesus winning as He “has the stick.” Jesus, as a young boy, is clearly unaware that He is the Son of God. As He learns this about Himself and begins to recognize the responsibilities and impact of that truth, His mindset changes and the story become even more engaging.
I was captured by the first page of this story. It is such an engrossing tale that putting it down was almost impossible, and I often laughed so loudly that others in the house would come to find out what fictional Jesus
was up to. If nothing else, Christopher Moore truly understands the minds and souls of small boys and young men, and he does a brilliant job of conveying that to the reader with humor and insight. And though you might feel aghast at some of the twists and turns of his tale, by the time the book is over, nothing about the real story of Jesus is harmed in the telling. There is sexual content, though never by Jesus, since Moore remains true to the idea of a celibate Christ. However as Jesus wants to understand His Father’s world, He routinely sends Biff out to
experience what is forbidden to the Son of God and to come back with detailed descriptions. This book is hilarious if you are someone who can suspend reality and allow imagination about Christ to wash over you. I found that when I was finished, my love and admiration of Christ was not just intact, but somehow deeper for having imagined Him as a human being who went through the same childhood journey we all do, from innocence to a more
adult vision of life and humanity.
Juanita Marshall,, © 2007