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The Last Temptation of Christ

a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis

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A Quick Tip by voilodion2012

  • Jun 3, 2013
  • by
I thought it was a powerful novel.  Out of all the modern artistic efforts that have been made to humanize Christ, this is probably one of the most notable (infamous?). Taking inspiration from Kazantzakis' own life; the Christ of this story is really human; at war with, not only society, but with himself as well. He goes through several phases, from a whimpering madman to an all-compassionate being to a raging zealot. At the end, he is finally reconciled with his true purpose and finds relief. I guess you could argue that with Kazantzakis' Jesus, the bulk of his struggles revolved around everything leading up to the crucifixion instead of the fatal act itself. For at the end, it is only on the cross that he truly is free and discovers pure bliss: "It is accomplished!" But that's just a minor observation. If anyone here is a Kazantzakis scholar, I would love to hear their opinion. :)

My only problem with the novel was that the language, while beautiful, can get a little overwhelming at times with its endless metaphors, which can make it a little difficult to figure out what's going on in the narrative. This is obviously a consequence of the translation unfortunately.

I am no Christian, but I have always been fascinated by the story of Christ for its romantic qualities. It is one myth that has endured because it truly speaks to the human condition, I think, and this novel certainly reinforces that feeling. If you read this novel, knowledge of Christianity would certainly be helpful, although I gather a lot of people will already have that foundation.  I wouldn't advise you to actually bring it to a Christian gathering unless you want some trouble though. ;)

NOTE: Yes, I did see the Scorsese film, but that was a long time ago and I had trouble following it apart from the ending.  I think the film suffered from some compression problems as moments that seemed minor there really came alive in the novel.  I would recommend the book first and film after, but that's just me.
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June 06, 2013
my bro had always talked about this one a lot....
June 06, 2013
Was it through the movie? I'm surprised at how much more well known the film is over the book given that Nikos Kazantzakis is one of Greece's most well known authors. But I guess that since it was the Scorsese production that caused a ton of controversy, that makes more sense.
 
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