A top priest has been forced to quit a bible teaching job thanks to his work of pulpit fiction which denies the existence of Jesus Christ.

Fr Tom Brodie has been removed from his post in Limerick after the publication of his book ‘Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus.’

The Irish Sun reports that the priest was removed from his post at the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick which he helped set up.

The paper has gained access to documents which confirm that the scholar was also banned from any lecturing, teaching or writing while a probe is underway.

The report says that Father Brodie has questioned the existence of Jesus since the Seventies but has only made his views public now.

The book, which took 12 years to write, came as a shock to his superiors when it was published last October.

Father Brodie claims in the book that many of Jesus’s acts were a rip-off of the Hebrew Bible or, in some cases, of earlier texts.

A well-placed source told the Irish Sun: “Tom’s book has caused quite a stir and some considerable upset.

“The whole premise of his book has been questioned by biblical scholars. He was asked to step aside from his ministry and the Provincial Council unanimously backed that decision.

“A committee is now examining his work and will meet with Fr Brodie to discuss it.”

Another source said: “The theory is a bit strange, a bit out there. He was 12 years researching it and nobody knew he would come out with something like this.”

Fr Gerard Norton, his replacement at the Institute, told the Irish Sun that Fr Brodie had resigned at the end of his term.

He said: “He had reached the end of his term in office, and had served three terms instead of the usual two.

“He said he was not going forward for another one. His resignation was accepted.”

The paper made efforts to contact Fr Brodie through the publishers of his book but these proved unsuccessful.