Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years On

Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years On

by Darren J. N. Middleton (Editor)


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2005 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Nikos Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ. Since Kazantzakis ranks as one of the twentieth century's most important European writers, and given that this particular work of his has garnered so much publicity, this collection of essays re-assesses the novel, though not forgetting the movie, in light of one half century's worth of criticism and reception history.
Clergy and laity alike have denounced this novel. When it first appeared, the Greek Orthodox Church condemned it, the Vatican placed it on its Index of Forbidden Texts, and conservative-evangelicals around the world protested its allegedly blasphemous portrayal of a human, struggling Messiah who "succumbs" to the devil's final snare while on the Cross: the temptation to happiness. Assuredly, the sentiments surrounding this novel, at least in the first thirty years or so, were very strong.
When Martin Scorcese decided in the early 1980s to adapt the novel for the silver screen, even stronger feelings were expressed. Even today his works are seldom studied in Greece, largely because the Greek government is unable or unwilling to anthologize his material for the national curriculum. After fifty years, however, the time seems right to re-examine the novel, the man, and the film, locating Kazantzakis and his work within an important debate about the relationship between religion and art (literary and cinematic).
Until now a book-length assessment of Kazantzakis' novel, and the film it inspired, has not appeared. No such volume is planned to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the novel's publication. For those who work in Kazantzakis studies, a focused anthology like this one is missing from library collections.
The volume contains original essays by Martin Scorcese, the film critic Peter Chattaway, and Kazantzakis' translator, Peter A. Bien.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826416070
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 11/03/2005
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Darren J. N. Middleton (Ph.D., The University of Glasgow, Scotland) is Professor of Literature and Theology at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. He is the author of three books, including Theology after Reading: Christian Imagination and the Power of Fiction (Baylor University Press, 2008), as well as four edited volumes on religion, literature and film.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii Note on Titles ixContents xForewordDon Cupitt xiiiIntroduction: Literary Lord, Screen SaviorDarren J. N. Middleton 1PART I: LITERARY LORD1: Renan's Vie de Jésus as a Primary Source for The Last Temptation Peter A. Bien 132: The Novel, the Four Gospels, and the Continuing Historical Quest W. Barnes Tatum 433:Pontius Pilate: Modern Man in Search of a SoulLewis Owens 704:Kazantzakis, Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, and MonophysitismDaniel A. Dombrowski 915:Reading Kazantzakis Through Gregory of Nyssa: Some CommonAnthropological ThemesPamela J. Francis 1156:The Unreality of Repressed Desires in The Last TemptationVrasidas Karalis 1337:The Temptation That Never Was: Kazantzakis and BorgesRoderick Beaton 1528:"This Clay Bird is the Soul of Man": A Platonic Reading of Kazantzakis's The Last TemptationC. D. Gounelas 1719:In-the-Name-of-the-Father: The Semiotic Threat Over the Symbolic Logos Charitini Christodolou 19510:An Unholy Trinity: Women in Pre-Easter Patriarchy Jen Harrison 21611:Distant Flutter of a Butterfly: The Indian Response to The Last Temptation Mini Chandran 230PART II: SCREEN SAVIOR12:Satan and the Curious: Texas Evangelicals Read The Last Temptation of Christ Darren J. N. Middleton and Elizabeth H. Flowers 24713:Battling the Flesh: Sexuality and Spirituality in The Last Temptation of ChristPeter T. Chattaway 26214:Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ: A Critical Reassessmentof Its Sources, Its Theological Problems, and Its Impact on the PublicLloyd C. Baugh, S. J. 28715:Teaching the Temptation: Seminarians Viewing The Last Temptation of Christ Melody D. Knowles and Allison Whitney 32416:The Dual Substance of Cinema: What Kazantzakis's Christ Can TeachUs About Sound/Image Relationship in FilmRandolph Jordan34217:Identity and Ethnicity in Peter Gabriel's Soundtrack for The LastTemptation of ChristEftychia Papanikolaou36518:On Reappreciating KazantzakisMartin Scorsese386WebliographyAustin S. Lingerfelt389Bibliography399Contributors Index

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