The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis

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This provocative 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—a holy figure who was nonetheless only a man like any other, subject to fear, doubt, and pain. In elegant, thoughtful prose Nikos Kazantzakis follows this Christ 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. The basis for Martin Scorcese’s 1988 film of the same name, The Last Temptation of Christ stands alongside other frequently banned classics like The Satanic Verses as a brave and incisive reckoning between a religion’s founding tenets and their more difficult implications.

About Nikos Kazantzakis

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This distinguished novelist, poet, and translator was born in Crete and educated in Athens, Germany, Italy, and Paris, where he studied philosophy. He found time to write some 30 novels, plays, and books on philosophy, to serve his government, and to travel widely. He ran the Greek ministry of welfare from 1919 to 1921 and was minister of state briefly in 1945. A political activist, he spent his last years in France and died in Germany. Kazantzakis's character Zorba has been called "one of the great characters of modern fiction," in a novel that "reflects Greek exhilaration at its best" (TLS). A film version of 1965, starring Anthony Quinn, made Kazantzakis widely known in the West. Intensely religious, he imbued his novels with the passion of his own restless spirit, "torn between the active and the contemplative, between the sensual and the aesthetic, between nihilism and commitment" (Columbia Encyclopedia). Judas, the hero of The Last Temptation of Christ (1951) is asked by Christ to betray him so that he can fulfill his mission through the crucifixion. For this book Kazantzakis was excommunicated from the Greek Orthodox Church. The Fratricides, Kazantzakis's last novel, portrays yet another religious hero, a priest caught between Communists and Royalists in the Greek Civil War.
Published March 20, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 514 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Last Temptation of Christ

The New York Times

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''That part of Christ's nature which was profoundly human,'' Mr. Kazantzakis wrote in his introduction to this startling volume, ''helps us to understand him and love him and to pursue his Passion as though it were our own.'' Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of this 1951 novel, which opens today...

Aug 12 1988 | Read Full Review of The Last Temptation of Christ


The Last Temptation of Christ continues to be a highly philosophical, terribly misunderstood film to this very day, a film which explores the dual nature of Christ;

Feb 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Last Temptation of Christ

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