The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ

Book - 1960
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Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, 1960
Branch Call Number: FIC Kazantzakis, N 1960
Characteristics: 506 pages ; 22 cm


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One of the best novels i have ever read, up there on a par with the best of Flannery O' Connor, and Ernest Hemingway, Herman Hesse and DeBalzac.

Aug 21, 2015

This is a truly spetacular book, the work of a devout believer who, despite his deep faith or perhaps because of it, feels compelled to explore the "story behind the story" of Christ's adult life, to worm his way inside the events leading up to the crucifixtion. It is by no means an easy read at the beginning, coming across somewhat like a protracted, confusing nightmare. The darkness begins to clear after a couple of chapters and the story takes over.
I first read it in my late teens, at a time when I was trying to get my head around this business of religious faith, what & whom to believe, what it might mean to me personally, or whether any of it mattered at all. The book didn't answer any of those questions but I'm quite certain it contributed to my youthful, frivolous mind a measure of intellectual maturity that had been absent up to that point. That alone is a lot to say for any book.
When I read it again after many years and a good deal of living, the book struck me very differently, every bit as disturbing but a great deal more hopeful. That's an even more remarkable thing for the book to have achieved, given the fact that I personally no longer hold any religious beliefs at all, regarding it all as pure mythology of no consequence. Despite that, the book is still enthralling. Kazantzakis is without doubt one of the greatest writers of the past hundred years.

Oct 13, 2014

Like a lot of people, I first heard of this book when Martin Scorsese turned it into a film and a bunch of Christians protested without ever seeing it. I grew up Christian and assiduously avoided the film until college when I realized the real controversy is that the movie is more boring than offensive. The book, however, is excellent and one of the great spiritual novels of the 20th century. Yes, Kanzantzakis has the audacity to imagine the humanity of Christ, but his gambit pays off. If you've seen the film, you owe it to yourself to read this.

JCLScottS Apr 25, 2013

A compelling story about one man's spiritual journey and coming to terms with a spiritual commitment in light of personal, political, and relational upheaval. It is noot a historical drama based on the Gospels but rather a novel-long allegory illustrating the challenges and (ultimately) the succeses of choosing to lead a spiritual life. Truly an exceptional and life-enriching work that transcends religion and dogma and proves capable of inspiring one to grow an myriad ways, whether it is spiritual, emotional, or intellectual. It was also the basis for an incredibly moving (yet controverisal) film directed by Martin Scorcese.

crankylibrarian Sep 19, 2011

Intriguing though not totally original idea: did Jesus really say what we've been taught he said? What would he think of modern Christianity, and how it is used to justify bigotry, warfare and greed? We've seen this in _The Last Temptation of Christ_ (Kazantzakis) and _The Gospel According to the Son_(Mailer); Pullman's twist is to split him into two distinct people: Jesus the lovable human teacher and leader, and Christ his twin brother, scribe and eventual betrayer. It is Christ who seems closest to angelic (or is it demonic?) revelation, yet he is a deeply ambivalent character. Devoted to his brother, and determined to preserve his legacy for posterity, Christ can not resist "improving" on certain events in order to draw truth from history. Pullman's legendary distaste for the Catholic church is under better control here than in his _Dark Materials_ saga; he wrestles thoughtfully with some of the more challenging aspects of the gospels. Though the results are not strikingly profound, the struggle is a worthy one.


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