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These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Peter A. Bien Translator. The internationally renowned novel about the life and death of Jesus Christ.
This literary rendering of the life of Jesus Christ has courted controversy since its publication by depicting a Christ far more The internationally renowned novel about the life and death of Jesus Christ. This literary rendering of the life of Jesus Christ has courted controversy since its publication by depicting a Christ far more human than the one seen in the Bible.
He is a figure who is gloriously divine but earthy and human, a man like any other—subject to fear, doubt, and pain. Get A Copy. Paperbackpages. Published March 1st by Simon Schuster first published More Details Original Title, Γύρισε Πίσω - Various - Heaven 2008 (CD). Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Last Temptation of Christplease sign up. Shawn For me, this was incredibly interesting and extremely well written.
As a fictional work, the author has the liberty to entertain you along the way. Ha …more For me, this was incredibly interesting and extremely well written.
Happy reading! Isn't it better than the Bible? At least every one of those so called books that were "approved" based on political expediency and that make up the Bible?
Maria It is a very tricky thing to compare it with the Bible Here it is an alternative look of events, much more humane. It contradicts the surface of pe …more It is a very tricky thing to compare it with the Bible It contradicts the surface of perfection that religion creates for the holy people, so that's why the book was banned.
The purpose of the author was to highlight this sacrifice, as you will read in the introduction. Whether this alternative version is better, it is up to you. Thank you, my friend, for your insteresting question. See all 5 questions about The Last Temptation of Christ….
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Last Temptation of Christ. Aug 31, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: fictionclassicsnobel-litgreekth-c. This book was scandalous when it was published by Kazantzakis in and the reason that he - despite being a fervent Orthodox Christian - was refused an Orthodox burial.
It was of course the source of the similarly scandalous movie of with Willem Dafoe as Jesus. Why the scandal? Well, like when Rushdie imagined in The Satanic Verses that perhaps Satan sat on Mohammed's shoulder and dictated parts of the Qu'ran, Kazantzakis looks at the human side of Christ as depicted in the Gospel of Ma This book was scandalous when it was published by Kazantzakis in and the reason that he - despite being a fervent Orthodox Christian - was refused Γύρισε Πίσω - Various - Heaven 2008 (CD) Orthodox burial.
Well, like when Rushdie imagined in The Satanic Verses that perhaps Satan sat on Mohammed's shoulder and dictated parts of the Qu'ran, Kazantzakis looks at the human side of Christ as depicted in the Gospel of Mark where his is more of a man than a man-godhe allows Jesus to have sexual fantasies about Mary Magdalene and he experiences the guilt of these fantasies and works through them.
I found the plot quite plausible and challenging to my imagination and my belief system - but in a positive way. I read it after the Christians went ape-shit crazy in when the film came out and I can say that the book is far better than the film. I ended up breaking with my belief system - not because of the book but more because of what I perceived as the hypocrisy of a religion that calls Islam closed minded but that could not accept the slightest interrogation into the psyche of its founding figure.
Perhaps you should read it and judge for yourselves. View all 9 comments. Nikos Kazantzakis - was one of the greatest Greek writers of the last century. Inhe lost the Nobel prize to Albert Camus by one vote. One vote. Most people who hear about "The last temptation of Christ" immediately think of the Scorsese movie with Willem Dafoe as Jesus - and other equally atrociously miscast actors - a film that was meant to come across as scandalous and provocative, in the typical Hollywood low-brow fashion.
I never saw the movie and probably never Nikos Kazantzakis - was one of the greatest Greek writers of the last century. I never saw the movie and probably never will. That is a very good thing if you're going to read the book, because this is a very complex and beautiful work, that Hollywood would never be able to do justice to. I loved many parts of the book.
The language is very poetic, and I found that NK was great at reproducing the spiritual fervor of the time in Palestine, the social acceptance of visions, miracles, prophecies, and overall a very intense and palpable spiritual reality. In short, all that we have lost today in the West. Someone will argue "for good and for bad", but my opinion is that it is only for the bad.
Our loss. We have shrunk from a large, human dimension to the dimension of things. Anyway, that's a different topic see some modern scientist who states that everyone in ancient times suffered from a form of schizofrenia. Fascinating theory, although probably wrong. Sounds more like a way to formalize the mental state of modern westerners as "healthy and better", which is obviously extremely arguable. Back to the book.
Is NK's Jesus a credible, authentic, realistic Jesus? No, he is not. I will summarize here the opinion of Lord Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and one of my intellectual heroes.
Lord Williams says: "One of the things that makes us human is that we can allow the divine light to flood us and fill us, or as some theologians say, we can grow into the divine image.
So I think Kazantzakis is right in saying that it's not a question of just one eccentric individual who lived centuries ago, but it is about the destiny of humanity, it is about how humanity itself grows into that divine image. Where NK. Still Lord Williams about this book: "They said NK tried to portray a Jesus Γύρισε Πίσω - Various - Heaven 2008 (CD) was more human and relatable than the one in the Gospel.
I think for a Christian Jesus must be "like us" enough to understand what he meant, what he was all about, and "different enough" to spring from the trap of a humanity that's turned on itself. However, the paradox in NK's narrative is that Jesus is this extraordinarily unusual, tormented and unique individual. To try and make out his psychology in the novel is very hard work, I'm not at all sure if I understand quite what the enormous gear shifts in the story are all about.
In some ways, in trying so hard to make Jesus more "human", he created a Jesus at least as difficult and remote as the Jesus of the classical theology". And this: "The notion that Jesus is in a state of constant inner flux about his identity and mission I'm not so sure. In the gospel, the tension comes from someone who knows who he is and again and again he needs to confront the cost and the consequences of that.
But that's very different from the unceasing struggle of NK's Jesus to find a place to stand. In this book, Jesus is not just someone who has a doubt here and there, and therefore is more relatable. He is a man in constant, unceasing spiritual pain, scared of his own shadow and insecure about pretty much everything. He lives a life of torment, and even during his short public career, he is constantly shocked in front of the miracles he can make, always reluctant with regards to his mission.
The communion of Jesus with God is portrayed as a curse almost a mental illness rather than a loving relationship. Rather than Jesus being highly educated in the Scriptures as he must have been, and a confident leader, God seems to be using this poor, sickly and bizarre fool as a mere instrument for his plans.
Meanwhile, Jesus as a person comes across as a mentally unstable man who's gifted with deep sensitivity and extraordinary intuition, but has no confidence at all about what he is doing and no real idea where he is going.
Despite what the Hollywood movie tried to imply, the real "last temptation" of Christ in this narrative is not sex, but domesticity. While on the cross, Jesus dreams of being old, married and with kids and grandkids, as his final temptation. Another issue I have with this work is that Mary is presented as a very embittered woman, a mother with a heart closed on itself, constantly thinking about her own misfortunes rather than the good of Joseph and Jesus.
Such a huge difference between this Mary and the one shown in Mel Gibson's "The Passion", who unflinchingly supports her son until the very last moments of his life. Also, while Jesus of the gospels simply warned the rich about the fact that it will be difficult for them to enter the kingdom of God, NK's Jesus keeps referring to them as enemies, as people without any hope.
As for the movie, Scorsese wanted to bring this peculiar Christ to his audience in his modern guise, as an unsettling, tortured Jesus, unsure whether his inner voices are divine or demonic, and torn between his love of the flesh and his need for the spirit.
Like he demonstrated with his latest movie "Silence" as well, Scorsese seems to be drawn towards extremely contrived versions of Christianity, that seem to lack spontaneity and heart. And, of course, for him there needs to be sex and violence. In any case, if you are accustomed to Jesus as he is portrayed in the gospels, Kazantzakis' Jesus will be shocking.
He is a troubled young man, attacked by pains that mimic bird's claws, nagged by his mother, and disappointed in his father. But most striking is how passive and inept he is and how constantly unsure he is of Γύρισε Πίσω - Various - Heaven 2008 (CD) divine calling.
And without Judas he would be lost?! Yes, one of the many inventions of NK is the role of Judas in the story of Jesus. Judas is the strongest apostle, the only one who is able to give strength and courage to Jesus, and in many instances he turns out to be the one who actually leads Jesus. Quite a weird, interesting take.
Don't get me wrong - this is a powerful, poetic, wonderful novel. There are many scenes that draw you in with their sheer power and intensity, and I think anyone can enjoy this work, no matter where their heart is in terms of spiritual matters. NK did not believe in any traditional God, nor did he believe in a spiritual afterlife. As a catholic reader, I think I could feel that this book was written by someone who was not religious. This transpires especially from NK's incredible effort to build this monument of a novel to the "historic man" Jesus of Nazareth, and to squeeze all the layers of meaning of the Gospel into the life of an individual using the tools of historical research.
This effort does not make sense, and it shouldn't make a lot of sense to a catholic. Like Joseph Ratzinger said, "Jesus was entirely man, but he was also one thing with God. Starting with the 's, in many writings the hiatus between the "historic Jesus" and the "Jesus Christ of Catholicism" became wider and wider.
But what meaning can Faith have, if the "real" Jesus was in fact so different from how he is described in the gospels? In trying to study and analyze in the most subtle ways the "historic Jesus", scholars ended up in a foggy mist, losing sight of Jesus Christ as he is proclaimed by the Church.
Christian faith is based upon an intimate relationship with God and with Jesus. If you limit Jesus only to the historic perspective, which is quite vague because we don't have a lot of available data, you risk undermining this relationship and having the faithful reach for something that is very elusive. The reality of Jesus Christ, his presence in the Church today, goes beyond and is much broader than the life of the "historic" Jesus.
View all 6 comments. May 20, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. Back in October of my parents had the wacky idea to take a family vacation in Florida. I wasn't too keen on the idea, but I went along with it because none of the excuses I could come up with sounded good. I started thinking about this book because the it was something I read while on this vacation, and this vacation was the scene for one of my big anxiety induced breakdowns, where I acted out in very undesirable ways, made everyone around me really uncomfortable and probably baffled my fam Back in October of my parents had the wacky idea to take a family vacation in Florida.
And then this book. And to get my mind out of the anxiety ghetto I thought maybe I'd write a review to help move my brain back to it's usual state. The flight down was a horrific ordeal. I hate to fly under the best circumstances.
Flying for me is physically painful the pressure of taking off and landing feels like needles are being stuck into my head. I can barely hear anything while I'm in the air or for a couple of hours once I landmy sinuses generally feel like they are filled with expanding balloons and I find the seats in airplanes to be really uncomfortable with not inadequate legroom so my knees are usually jammed into the seat in front of me. That is my situation in the best possible conditions for flying.
On this particular flight I was flying on Jet Blue, which was the equivalent inat least for flights from NYC to Orlando, as being about as white trash as riding the Greyhound bus between rural area A and rural area B.
This flight was all the pain of flying coupled with all the worst parts of any bus ride I'd ever taken. This is going somewhere. At the time I took my awful flight to Florida I was reading this book. My plan had been to bring the book, read it on the plane and hopefully make the two hour flight go by really quickly. That didn't work.
I succeeded in getting my seat and started to read the book while the rest of the cretins were boarding. And I was reading my book, minding my own business when the person sitting next to me sat down. It was a woman, and she probably weighed close to three hundred pounds. She didn't fit into her own seat and spilled out liberally into my personal space.
I don't like having physical contact with strangers so I wedged myself as far from her as possible, but still couldn't really escape some physical contact. She loudly complained to her equally large husband that she didn't have enough room and about the rudeness of other people who take up too much space I guess that would be meshe then proceeded to dig through a large paper shopping back filled with snacks and began eating.
I was feeling disgusted by my neighbor. It was after I began to think, what a disgusting and loud person this is she was loudly commenting on what she was eating with her husband who sat across the aisle, who was also eating from his own big paper bag of snacks that she turned her attention briefly away from her feeding to notice what I was reading.
She then loudly told her husband that I was reading a disgusting book and how could anyone read something like that. She may have gone on about my book for a while longer but her attention returned to her feeding. Once the plane started to take off my ears and sinuses did their thing and I couldn't read anymore.
I spent the rest of the flight staring at the little TV screen, watching the progress of where the plane was on a map. I'm amazed that a person had the kind of reaction she had to this book. It had been quite a while since the movie had pissed off Christians and caused a sensation.
But she remembered and probably lots of other people did too, but what they thought of the book and movie didn't necessarily have anything to do with what was actually in either. I remember when the movie came out all the uproar, and what passed into my young teenage mind was that Jesus has fantasies of graphic sex with Mary Magdalene while he's on the cross. This isn't what the last temptation of Jesus is in either the book or movie.
The temptation that the devil gives to Jesus is the possibility of living a regular life. Marrying Mary Magdalene, having a family, not being crucified, not having the weight of being a savior on his shoulders.
Having a happy life. Being a man instead of the son of God so yes in the temptation he would have had sex, but it would be like the sex people normally have who are married and have kids.
I don't understand what the problem Christians have with this. Personally, after reading the book and seeing the movie I'd be more willing to take the Jesus story seriously. It adds a humanity to the figure of Christ and creates a sort of existential hero out of Jesus, as opposed to a rather boring story of a thing that knows it's a God and goes through with an ordeal of pain knowing full well that it can't really hurt him since he is more divine than human.
The story in this book is almost a reverse of Pascal's Wager. Jesus could be divine, but he's uncertain. The Devil offers him the choice of taking the consolation prize, grabbing the sure thing of a happy life. Not taking the Devil's offer is taking the old Kierkegaard leap, trusting with faith and knowing somewhere in the back of your mind that all the suffering could be in vain.
What I find disgusting is the idea that Christians would be so disturbed with the humanity and doubts of Jesus. I'd get it if they found the whole Jesus was a man thing disgusting, but they have no trouble with knowing he was man enough to be die.
What sick fucks! The only humanity that they will give to the guy who they claim to worship is the human condition to die. To live, to be human, is an outrage to them.
I loved this book and the movie. There is a high probability you will be offended. I do not have pleasant views regarding religion and I'd hate to hurt your feelings without warning you first. If you choose to discuss Christianity in the comment section, by all means, go ahead. Know that I am an atheist and that I will respect you as long as you're respectful.
However, I do not respect religion in any form and do not wish to be converted. I've had more than enough religion thrust upon me. My view is that religion is like herpes; it's easy to catch but everyone is better off without it. The Last Temptation of Christ reads like any good fan fiction. It's faithful to the original characters while adding enough twists and turns to piss off any avid fan of the source material.
This book has been upsetting Christians since it was published because it supposes that Christ had a choice. So much of a choice that when the time came for him to be tempted one last time, he jumped off the cross to answer Mary and Martha's booty call. Not his mother Mary If it was But that's only the last four chapters. Suffice it to say, I was disappointed. I was hoping for more Naughty Christ shenanigans. Example: "Jesus jerked himself erect.
I approached this read differently, deciding to take on a chapter a day until the book was finished, which came out to be thirty-three days. I looked at it as an assignment. While the concept of this book has always interested me, I've never actually wanted to read it. I suppose I could have watched the film adaptation, but I prefer the original over someone else's interpretation whenever possible.
And since I do not know Greek, I had to resort to the English translation. What interested me was the promise of a Christ that was not perfect. If Jesus Christ was real, I suspect this is what actually happened: He was a magician an illusionist, if you prefer who was deified because the era and area in which he was born was waiting on a messiah.
After his tricks were outed as illusions more than likely by his homedude Judashe was crucified for lying about being the son of God. His crew wrote down their version of events, and that became the Bible. I would much rather hear something like the Santa Claus Speech from believers: "Kids, Christ is more of a feeling than he is a real person. People use him to make children and some adults behave properly in the hopes that he will bring them gifts ranging from their favorite sports team winning the super-series-pennant-cup-race playoffs all the way up to eternal life, if you can dig it.
Of course your religion is the right one. All these other fools are just barking up the wrong invisible man. Religion is a reward system that dictates behavior.
This author understood that. There are several quotes I highlighted, but my favorite is: "True or false - what do I care! It's enough if the world is saved. If you want to believe in God so that he keeps bringing you gifts year after year, that's fine by me.
If it helps you be a better person, awesomesauce. If religion makes you want to do good deeds, by all means, do 'em up! What I have a problem with is the vilification of nonbelievers. What also annoys me is the idea that nonbelievers are somehow in danger. Point in fact: I saw someone on Facebook reply to an atheist's post with: "I know you won't take me seriously, but if I don't say something it would be like me watching a good friend stuck in a burning building and not trying to save them.
Who wants to burn alive? Not me! Religion is the only acceptable form of insanity and mob mentality. If you hear voices, you're mad. If you hear God, you're a prophet. Dig it: Hearing from God is so acceptable by the religious right that politicians use "God told me to run" in their campaigns, as if that isn't the wackiest shit. Imagine the results of a politician saying "The Easter Bunny told me to ask for your vote! My question to them is: How do you know you picked the right religion?
Wouldn't it suck to pop into the afterlife only to find Cthulhu instead of Saint Peter? In summation: Yes, I have used this review as a soapbox. Not pleasant, is it? Now, if you would like to proclaim how you'll be praying for me in the comment section, pray on, Christian soldier. I've been ostracized by half of my family for not believing, because that's what Christians are good at. Making everyone else feel wrong by being passive-aggressively right.
As far as the book is concerned, read it or don't. It won't make a difference in your life. Final Judgment: Made me jerk myself erect. View all 18 comments. Nov 10, Peycho Kanev rated it it was amazing. This book is a scream.
Pure scream made out of love and pain. And it will sound until the end of time. That is all I can say. Maybe because of this book Nikos Kazantzakis is buried on the wall surrounding the city of Heraklion near the Chania Gate, because the Orthodox Church ruled out his being buried in a cemetery. His epitaph reads "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free. In one of the rare times that fanatical religious and atheists agree, both are absolutely convinced that this is a blasphemous and anti-Christian book.
So the first use this book to denounce the author and in his person everyone else, and they do not use it as a weapon to offend Christians, claiming the second use the book as a weapon against them, claiming that it reveals hidden truths that the church would like not to be revealed.
Of course, none of this is true, on the contrary, in my opinion In one of the rare times that fanatical religious and atheists agree, both are absolutely convinced that this is a blasphemous and anti-Christian book. Of course, none of this is true, on the contrary, in my opinion, it is a deeply Christian book, which penetrates deep into the Christian truth and deals with issues that are at the heart of it. Of course, while reading it, a Christian will certainly face various problems and will have to bypass several things to get to the heart of what the author wants to Γύρισε Πίσω - Various - Heaven 2008 (CD).
There are certainly a lot of heretical views, several points in the story seen with a different eye, some annoying images and of course you have to get used to the fact that the pious protagonists of the gospels are sounding and behaved like Zorba the Greek. He should, however, show a little leniency and look behind all and focus on what the author wants to say, not on the way he says it. You see, the author did not intend to write a new Gospel that would reveal the true story of Christ that some have hidden for centuries.
In fact, he follows the Gospels of the New Testament quite faithfully, without significant differences in events and situations, what changes are the interpretation of these events. Following the ideas expressed in several of his novels and other works, the author sees the story of Christ as a repetition of the classic pattern of the struggle between flesh and spirit. Kazantzakis' Christ is not the sure god-man, that has overcome his doubts, he has subjugated his human nature and he confidently takes the road to heaven.
On the contrary, he is a man who fights with his divine nature, who resists his destiny, who has fears and doubts. Of course, the heavenly calling is stronger than anything and in the end it prevails but this prevalence of the spirit towards the flesh is anything but easy and peaceful.
To use the language of the author, the spirit and the flesh are two beasts struggling to tear each other apart and in the middle are all of us and this struggle is at the heart of human existence. Using the person of Christ, the author talks about this struggle in a truly staggering way, making this book particularly important.
Of course, there are many other things in the book that may not be directly related to the story of Christ. The search for a way to deal with injustice, the issue of violence, the Church's relationship with power, the need for revolution but also more theological things such as sin, punishment, and forgiveness. All of these are given in the author's special way, which, as I said above, may seem strange, but in the end the reader who approaches this book with a free mind will discover a lot and get into the process of thinking even more.
That's why it's a really great book. It has been almost 25 years since I read this and I really ought to re-read it, for I SO loved it the first time encountered it. Two stories I recommended it to a friend of long standing who is a devout Orthodox Christian, thinking he might enjoy the "mind-game" Kazantzakis played. But he declined because his priest disapproved of the author and because of the brouhaha in Kazantzakis' native Greece involving the Orthodox clergy. Pity - My friend's loss.
Just after I finished reading it, I rec It has been almost 25 years since I read this and I really ought to re-read it, for I SO loved it the first time encountered it. Just after I finished reading it, I received a visit from an acquaintance who was an Orthodox rabbi. He saw the book on my desk and went over and picked it up.
The rabbi turned to me and with his eyes brimming he choked out the words, "Is this not one of the the most incredibly beautiful books you have ever read? I never saw the movie. I felt then - and still do - that the book was self-sufficient As I said, this is a book I need to re-visit.
View 2 comments. Jan 08, K. Absolutely rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Nenette. Recommended to K. Shelves: retellingcore. According to the imagination of this Greek writer who was 1 vote away to grab the Nobel Prize for Literature, Nikos Kazantzakisthe last temptation of Christ happened while he was hanging on the cross.
In the book, at that point that he was about to be nailed, the sunny heaven suddenly turned dark, the earth shook and Simon of Cyrene the innkeeper saw angels coming down from heaven, were the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross and took him away upon his death.
This book regularly appears According to the imagination of this Greek writer who was 1 vote away to grab the Nobel Prize for Literature, Nikos Kazantzakisthe last temptation of Christ happened while he was hanging on the cross. This book regularly appears in various lists of banned novels. Not surprising because it deviates, horribly or brilliantly depending on your perspectivefrom the story as narrated in the Holy Bible.
For somebody like me who is fond of reading good fiction novels, I would say that the non-Bible based parts of the story are just too provocative to pass up. These parts are also critical to the story because what Kazantzakis would like to impart to the readers: that we, as human beings, should not despair and lose hope in trying to stay away from sins and temptations. Kazantzakis successfully did this by showing the "more human" nature of Jesus not only during the ministerial part of his life but most especially during his trial and crucifixion.
A very apt book for Lenten read. I admit that the controversial non-Bible entries could turn off some conservative or traditional-minded people. I read that when the film of Martin Sorcese was shown in the UK, the movie, shown in parts, got the most number of complaints ever from viewers.
I have not seen that movie and I am not raring to. I am a regular church goer and I finished several units of religion courses in college but I am not disturb in any way by these non-Bible entries courtesy of Kazantzakis: 1 Jesus had a hard time following the will of the father because he is in love with Mary Magdalene, a prostitute. He was the one making crosses used for crucifying criminals.
No mention if he was the one who created his own cross though. In fact, both Jesus and Mary referred to their "assignment" as curse from God. Jesus even instructed Judas every step of the way, i. Judas struggled with this role as he was also very close to Jesus. When they were recruited, they thought that the promised "kingdom" of Jesus is similar to that of Roman kings and the promise of "eternal life" is by Jesus making them like mythological immortal gods.
Then Jesus became Lazarus and had many, many children with the sisters, Martha and Mary although it was only Mary who Jesus "married. However, I took them as just part of the fiction part and for Kazantzakis to drive home his point: that Jesus, like his mother and disciples are just but human. As human, they are like us: encountering temptations every day of our lives and trying to raise up from sins during our stay here on earth. With this novel, I feel closer to Jesus as I know that he also felt what I feel during times of despair from failing to be good.
I also cried a tear this morning. It is this part where Simon of Cyrene was berating Jesus disciplines from not coming out and help Jesus carry his cross. The apostles did not move.
So, Simon of Cyrene went out by himself and saw Jesus. Simon waved at him. Jesus's heart rejoiced. Jesus started to nod his head to say goodbye to him but tripped on a stone and collapsed to the ground, the cross over his back.
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