The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ


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The internationally renowned novel about the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Hailed as a masterpiece by critics worldwide, The Last Temptation of Christ is a monumental reinterpretation of the Gospels that brilliantly fleshes out Christ’s Passion. 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.

In elegant, thoughtful prose Nikos Kazantzakis, one of the greats of modern literature, follows this Jesus as he struggles to live out God’s will for him, powerfully suggesting that it was Christ’s ultimate triumph over his flawed humanity, when he gave up the temptation to run from the cross and willingly laid down his life for mankind, that truly made him the venerable redeemer of men.

“Spiritual dynamite.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A searing, soaring, shocking novel.” —Time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684852560
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/28/1998
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 95,227
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Nikos Kazantzakis was born in Crete in 1883. He studied literature and art in Germany and Italy, philosophy under Henri Bergson in Paris and received his law degree from the University of Athens. The Greek Minster of Education in 1945, Kazantzakis was also a dramatist, translator, poet, and travel writer. Among his most famous works are, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Saviors of God. He died in October 1957.

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The Last Temptation of Christ 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
N.K writes a beautiful and compeling story of Christ. That this novel evoked such furor in some sectors is a total mystery to me. The devil tells Jesus in the desert that he is not finished with him, yet no where else in the New Testament does the devil appear. Unless, he appears to Jesus on the cross. What greater temptation could Satan offer Christ than mortality at the moment of his agonizing death. That Jesus chooses death on the cross over the pleasant mortality of Satan only reaffirms the miracle of the cross. I found this story reaffirmed my Christianity by challenging me to think about it. Surely, Jesus was not openly received where ever he went. That the human side of Jesus may have been attracted to Mary Magdeline doesn't detract from who and what he was. Jesus Christ Superstar suffered the same criticism yet Christ as man is more meaningful to me than Christ diety alone. Finally, N.K. suggest that perhaps Judas was not the apostle that loved Christ least but loved him most. Who else should be chosen as the person who betrays Christ. Without the betrayal, Christ can never fulfill his destiny. Christ knew what must be done. Would he choose his strongest or weakest to fulfill his desiny? This is one of the great books I have ever read. It made me a better Christian, brought me closer to my religion and taught me to view my religion with an open mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a work of pure art. It stirs the soul and makes the reader see the gospel stories in a new light. This book makes it easier to relate to the awesome figure that is Jesus Christ. Being a Christian, I felt that this book provoked me to rethink my views of myself. It is a truly inspirational journey into the life of Christ from the human point of view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kazantzakis paints a wonderful picture of the life of a man whose teachings have changed the history of the world more than any other. As an open-minded Christian, I found that the book strengthed my faith by revealing the humanity behind the Christ that has become such a central figure in history. The fact that fundamentalist Christians hate this book is even more reason to read it : ).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book proves that Kazantzakis was a genius. The images are powerful; the story poignant. A struggling, tormented and misunderstood Jesus realizes his destiny. I would give this 10 stars if I could. The best of what religious fiction can be. There are only a few books like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I truly read, it was the most enlighting material ever!Everyone's reviews seem to find more integrity in their religion, me on the other hand found that the book clearly states that Jesus is the study of every man not a new rendition of a holistic figure. This book is truly inspirational and should be a 'bible' to anyone who fears their own potential and fights with their conscience!!
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kazantzakis¿ controversial story of Jesus Christ is humanistic in the sense that Christ is portrayed as a man, struggling with real temptations of the flesh, and dealing with real emotions. It¿s also Nietzschean in the sense that Christ transcends those temptations through force of will, and in the process, achieves true freedom.Despite those that would ban or burn the book, Kazantzakis was not trying to tear Christ down or cause controversy with the Church, he was trying to uplift Christ. It¿s a spiritual story told by profound author. Kazantzakis was trying to illustrate the struggles that we all face between the flesh and the spirit, and by making Christ human, subject to all of our foibles, make him more powerful, and a source of greater strength to us.Quotes:On brotherhood:¿They are all brothers, every one of them, but they do not know it ¿ and that is why they suffer.¿On death:¿Whoever has no fear of death is immortal.¿And:¿The two friends have parted and returned to their homes¿the flesh to the soil and the soul to God.¿On eating animals:¿Good Lord, just think what poor old God must go through also,¿ he said with a laugh. ¿He certainly got himself in hot water when he created the world. The fish screams, Don¿t blind me, Lord; don¿t let me enter the nets! The fisherman screams, Blind the fish, Lord; make him enter the nets! Which one is God supposed to listen to? Sometimes he listens to the fish, sometimes to the fisherman ¿ and that¿s the way the world goes round!¿On God:¿He looked down and saw a preoccupied swarm of fat yellow-black ants filing hurriedly under his arches. Working in groups of twos or threes, they were carrying away the wheat in their roomy mandibles, one grain at a time. They had stolen it from the plain, right out of the mouths of men, and were transporting it now to their anthill, all the while praising God the Great Ant, who ever solicitous for his Chosen People the ants, sent floods to the plain at precisely the right moment, just when the wheat was stacked upon the threshing floors.¿On love, I love this one:¿If I were fire, I would burn; if I were a woodcutter, I would strike. But I am a heart, and I love.¿On temptation:¿Within me are the dark immemorial forces of the Evil One, human and pre-human; within me too are the luminous forces, human and pre-human, of God ¿ and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.¿
RJRutstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nikos Kazantzakis is the greatest of the 20th century Greek writers, best known for his work Zorba the Greek, and is profoundly interested in the passions and emotions of human beings and how they relate spiritually to each other and to God. Kazantzakis writes about such great spiritual leaders and St. Francis and Christ, but when he writes about them, and their spiritual experiences and teachings, he understands them first as human beings rather than as spiritual beings, and he understands their spirituality as coming from their humanity, and the crises they face must be understood from a human perspective; because it is only from the human perspective that we can truly begin to understand them.I first read Kazantzakis novel St. Francis about 10 years ago, and it was through this novel that I was able to understand Francis¿s relationship to God and to the world around him. St. Francis's spiritual search became something I could relate to and understand, and possibly even emulate to some extent. Here was a human being living a life he could no longer accept and taking action to change not only himself but hopefully those around him. It is also a novel about the development of a spiritual community dedicated to the service of others and service of God. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who is interested in spirituality, St. Francis, or the works of Kazantzakis.The novel The Greek Passion is about a Greek village preparing to put on an Easter passion play. As the roles are handed out amongst the villagers everyone has a different role which they wish to play, and no one wishes to take on the role of Judas. However, once the roles are assigned, each individual begins to take on characteristics of the roles they are assigned. Their lives are changed in unforeseen ways as they begin to interact with each other based not so much on who they are, but on who they will be playing in the Passion. Eventually, as the story unfolds, the passion plays itself out in the community, as history repeats itself in the life of the village.The Kazantzakis novel that I read over the holidays is the Last Temptation of Christ. Here too as Kazantzakis tells the story of a carpenter who become a spiritual leader, he is interested in how the human Christ accepts and takes on the role of teacher, prophet, Messiah. The two main characters of the novel are Christ and Judas. Christ is a teacher of peace, love, forgiveness; Judas is a man in search of a military Messiah, one who will lead Israel out from under the yoke of the Roman Empire. The human Christ knows and understands the role he is destined to play, and clearly foresees the pain and suffering that he will go through, and, understanding that, the temptation he feels is to avoid it. He understands the weaknesses of his followers and how in the end their own fears will lead them at least temporarily away from his side. From the beginning Christ senses the strength of Judas as a man of action and keeps him at his side. When Judas first meets up with Christ he finds his message of peace and love offensive; he even finds this message dangerous to his own goal of ridding Israel of the Romans. He decides to follow Christ and if necessary kill him to prevent his message from spreading. In the beginning of their journeys he vacillates between wanting to kill Christ and wanting to understand what he is teaching; and in the end he decides that Christ's teachings are what will ultimately free mankind. As the time for the passion draws near Jesus tells Judas that he must betray him. But Judas has come to love Jesus and begs him saying there must be another way. Christ tells him not to worry that he will rise again in three days. Judas tells Jesus that he will not have the strength to endure, but Jesus tells him that he does have the strength. Judas, bowing his head says, ¿if you had to betray your master would you do it?" And Jesus replies "No, I do not think I would be able to. T
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. It's one of my all-time favorites. It was interesting the way Mr. Kazantzakis portrayed Mary Magdalene and Jesus. His "last temptation" seemed, to me, totally plausible.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Temptation of Christ is a seminal and challenging work, which pushes readers to identify with Jesus on a human level, not just the divine and distant way in which most people are used to thinking about him. This can be uncomfortable for believers, to think of Jesus as having doubt or second thoughts. But without them, Jesus is in some ways only a puppet; having a Christ with whom readers can relate allows for a deeper and more meaningful Christianity.And even stepping back from matters of faith, The Last Temptation is still a good story. The historical background of Judaism in first-century Israel is really well-done and gives the book an interesting atmosphere. The characters are dynamic and fleshed-out, much more than in the Bible, and I know that's going to color how I read the gospels from now on.
Atomicmutant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here's a book that people have certainly heard a lot about, and I was cautioned to approach carefully. Well, not to be too glib about it, but this is one case where the "remake" of the original stands up quite well. Although it is said that the original Greek version of this is quite a bit more effective than the English, I was quite taken by the prose and style nevertheless. The overall meditation on faith and the human condition is compelling and definitely devout and sincere. By imbuing the gospels with fleshed out minor characters and vivid place descriptions, Kazantzakis has also rendered them more vivid in a contemporary sense; you can really get a sense of what it could have been like to be there at the time, and feel the humanity behind what is obviously the ultimate symbolic tale.
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Truly thought provoking. I felt glued to the book. Loved it.
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Bridget4291 More than 1 year ago
One of the most significant books of all time, in my view. I am reading James Frey's 'Last New Testament' and it is on the same would Christ have been viewed in his own time. Biblical scholars tell us that there wer several christ-like men trying to preach the new religion at the end of the Roman Empire. Why did one 'stick' and the other not. A powerful topic. As well, since it is so important, could we please have it as and ebook?? It is too heavy to carry around no matter how meaty the contents. thank you. Bridget4291
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