Faber, Michel "The Fire Gospel" - 2008
This is considered a fantasy book though I would probably describe it as alternative historical fiction.
Anyway, a scientist visits a museum in Iraq that was looted. He discovers the "fifth gospel" and finds that it is difficult to share with the modern world.
I thought this was an easy read - easy doesn't necessarily say without any background. I loved the story and the writing. This was my first book by the author and it certainly will not be the last.
I didn't think about religion in this book. I mean, anyone can come up with something ancient that was found just recently and thereby try to go back in time. There are enough "fifth gospels" already and we can discuss about whether the ones that did make it into the bible should have been the ones or not. But that is not the point in this book.
I enjoyed reading it. And the amazon reviews were hilarious.
From the back cover:
"Theo Griepenkerl is a modest academic with an Olympian ego. When he visits a looted museum in Iraq, looking for treasures he can ship back to Canada, he finds nine papyrus scrolls that have lain hidden for two thousand years. Once translated from Aramaic, these prove to be a fifth Gospel, written by an eye-witness of Jesus Christ's last days. But when Theo decides to share this sensational discovery with the world, he fails to imagine the impact the new Gospel will have on Christians, Arabs, homicidal maniacs and Amazon customers. Like Prometheus's gift of fire, it has incendiary consequences.
The Fire Gospel is an enthralling novel about the power of words to resonate across centuries, and inspire and disrupt in equal measure. Wickedly provocative, hilarious and shocking by turns, it is a revelatory piece of storytelling. "