Dedicated to classics and hits.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Book Review: The Last Temptation of Christ (1955) by Nikos Kazantzakis

Book Review:
The Last Temptation of Christ (1955)
 by  Nikos Kazantzakis

  First things first, the last temptation of Christ is to NOT go through with the crucifixion.   While he's actually being crucified at the end of the book he has a little dream state where he has faked, or not gone through with, his plan to be crucified and if living out life as a normal guy.  That episode right before the end of the book, which has him dying on the cross.  So that is the last temptation of Christ, and it has nothing to do with Mary Magdalene, although she does show up a fair amount in this book, which treats Jesus as a real historical figure and places him in the Roman Near East setting that is similar to the area in Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

  Although I'm not a Christian or Catholic, I can see how one might be offended with the depiction of Christ as very much a man, one who is arguably schizophrenic and certainly clinically depressed and probably manic depressive.  He also spends a lot of time thinking about Mary Magdalene and the book is explicit about her whorishness.    While the subject matter might be racy for some elements of the reading public, the writing style is strictly conventional.  Other than the fact that the plot explicitly deals with the life of Jesus Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ reads like a book written and publish in the early days of the 20th century, or even the late 19th.

   Besides the explicit treatment of Mary Magdalene's sexuality, Kazantzakis adopts a gnostic approach to the role of Judas Iscariot in the execution of Jesus.  Here, Judas is asked by Jesus to set up the crucifixion after Jesus has a vision that his sacrifice is required to save humanity (or something to that effect.)   In the New Testament, Judas famously betrays Jesus for a payment of silver, later he commits suicide in remorse.   It was a rapid rise and fall for Jesus- the whole of The Last Temptation of Christ takes place in one take, so to speak, with brief dreams, reveries and flashbacks.   

No comments:

Blog Archive