I have to admit that I am not a fan of Philip Pullman's fiction, mainly because of its derivative nature based on christian symbolism, and will not be buying his new fable "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ". However, I've been going the rounds of the reviews, by the christian illuminati, for whom he is their kind of cuddly atheist, which make interesting and varied reading:
Rowan Williams, Guardian
Richard Holloway, Observer
Alan Wilson (Bishop of Buckingham) Blog
Bryan Appleyard, Times
George Pitcher, Telegraph
My own preferred take on the Jesus story is that it is a myth refined from many previous god-man myths based ultimately on sun worship and the renewal of the seasons, and there is little evidence that anyone called Jesus actually lived. All of the more sensible humanist teachings attributed to Jesus are not original but derive from earlier sources. The christ-the-messiah religion was developed by Paul of Tarsus and institutionalised in the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine.