iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for 05/04/2010

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player


45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 05 April 2010

In a special edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace, Andrew Marr talks to the Archbishop of Canterbury about his role combining the history and structure of the church with personal belief. They are joined by Philip Pullman who was inspired by Dr Rowan Williams to write his new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ about religion, truth and interpretation; by Professor Mona Siddiqui who'll be discussing her new role trying to marry religious values with economic growth and by author and comedian David Baddiel who'll be talking about religious identity and his new film The Infidel, a comedy about a Muslim who realises he's Jewish.


    When Dr Rowan Williams became the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, he took on a role that goes back more than a thousand years. As the leader of the Church of England, the Archbishop is responsible for maintaining traditions but also for negotiating the Church’s place in an increasingly diverse world. Recent debates about the role of women and gay rights have threatened to split the Anglican Communion. Dr Rowan Williams talks about combining his role as leader of the Church with personal belief.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury

    After reading the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, Archbishop Rowan Williams asked author Philip Pullman ‘where was Jesus?’ in the book’s anti-religion story. Inspired, Philip Pullman has written ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’, exploring the Bible, the Church and the nature of storytelling. The novel follows Jesus, the charismatic preacher, and his brother Christ, his increasingly unfaithful scribe, in their journey towards Jerusalem. It looks at how history and truth are written and the role of the structure of the Church in belief.

    'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' is published by Canongate Books.

    Philip Pullman

    The World Economic Forum is concerned with financial affairs, but in recent years the forum has turned to religious leaders to shed light on pressing economic issues. Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow, has been invited to sit on the Global Agenda Council on Faith. She argues that the recent financial crisis is a sign not only of a failing banking system but of a wider failure of values and ethics. Mona Siddiqui talks about how religion can help to solve practical concerns like the economic crisis.

    Mona Siddiqui

    In his new film The Infidel, writer and comedian David Baddiel asks if it's inappropriate to joke about religion. His main character, Mahmud Nasir, is a Muslim family man who discovers that he is adopted and was born to Jewish parents. The identity crisis that ensues explores pre-conceptions about Islam and Judaism from the perspective of Mahmud, a Muslim “Homer Simpson”. David Baddiel talks about religion, humour and heresy.

    The Infidel is on nationwide release on 9 April.

    The Infidel


Arts & Culture selection

Damian Lewis on reading A Delicate Truth

A selection of highlights from our arts and culture programmes.


  1. Image for Start the Week

    Start the Week

    Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss