The books of the New Testament are not the infallible words of God. The texts were in a state of flux during the faith s early centuries. We can and should build on that flexible tradition. These are the claims by which this book is guided. In Fictional Religion, Jamie Spencer challenges readers to take a more rational, more scholarly, and a more historical-critical approach to the New Testament. He examines twelve writers who, he posits, allow us to see how thoughtful artists over the last 600 years have taken the Christian doctrine they inherited, and applied both its formal tenets and its spirit to the intellectual needs, social contexts and cultural biases of their age. Throughout the Christian era, playwrights, poets and story writers like Chaucer, Shakespeare and C. S. Lewis have performed the same services for New Testament doctrine that Hebrew Bible prophets and story-tellers provided for Jewish law as laid down in the Pentateuch. Although our creative artists are not allowed official entry into Holy Writ, they shape Christian doctrine and insights in new ways to meet new human conditions. They keep the New Testament new.