Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Behold the Man” as Want to Read:
Behold the Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Behold the Man (Karl Glogauer)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,573 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Karl Glogauer is a disaffected modern professional casting about for meaning in a series of half-hearted relationships, a dead-end job, and a personal struggle. His questions of faith surrounding his father's run-of-the-mill Christianity and his mother's suppressed Judaism lead him to a bizarre obsession with the idea of the messiah. After the collapse of his latest affair ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 22nd 2007 by Overlook TP (first published 1969)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Behold the Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Behold the Man

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTimeline by Michael CrichtonSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Best Time Travel Fiction
76th out of 1,022 books — 3,295 voters
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.Tagged by Joseph M. ChironThe Sparrow by Mary Doria RussellThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisHis Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
SF & Theology
27th out of 182 books — 255 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dan Schwent
Karl Glogauer, lonely misunderstood misfit, reaches the end of his rope and volunteers to man an experimental time machine for a friend. Glogauer goes to A.D. 28 to witness the crucifixion of Jesus. Only, nothing is quite the way he remembers it from the Bible. John the Baptist is a revolutionary, Mary and Joseph's marriage isn't the way it should be, and as for Jesus...

While most people know Michael Moorcock from the Elric stories, for my money, the best Moorcock stories are the ones only tang
What’s the most logical thing a man of faith should do when he suffers a crisis of faith? Hop in his time machine and go back to the time period that inspired said faith, of course.

Which is what Karl Glogauer does. Disenchanted with his life, and driven by a crisis of faith, he agrees to test a friend’s time machine, using it to travel back to biblical times and face the issues behind his crisis head on. But what’s in the Bible is far from what he encounters as reality. John the Baptist is a ro
3.0 to 3.5 stars. A short book, but filled with emotion and some extremely controversial subjects. I thought Moorcock handled the main character well. Good use of SF to explore issues of faith, religion and personal discovery.
Mike (the Paladin)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moorcock's Behold the Man is entirely different to his Elric books, or Gloriana, or anything else of his I've come across so far. Certain people might find it offensive because it undermines the sanctity of Jesus Christ, and tangles that story up in a lot of sexual and mental health hangups. Worse, the figure who becomes Jesus is not altruistic, but self-absorbed and narcissistic.

Still, I think it's a very interesting way of looking at the story, even if I don't like the way it portrays Christi
[Name Redacted]
This felt like a childish attempt to do what Kazantzakis and Graves did far better. I love many of Moorcock's books, but this one was hamfisted, pedantic and hopelessly adolescent in its approach to what could have been a very fascinating story. It felt less like a real literary work and more like a teenager's attempt to vent his spleen, the sort of thing you can imagine a youth scribbling furiously in his binder and then leaning back to admire with a smug, self-satisfied smirk because he believ ...more
This was a re-read of one of my favorite science fiction novels. It's been a while so I forgot a lot. This re-read did not disappoint me. Moorcock's seminal time travel novel is part theological inquiry and part psychological novel. The plot is about a man who goes back in time to discover the real Jesus. However our "hero" is not altogether together and has a bit of a Messiah complex himself. Where this leads is part of the genius of Moorcock's tale. It is about identity and finding meaning in ...more
You know those science-fiction novels where they go back in time, and discover they've become some well-known historical character? Like Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where the hero finds out he's become the Person from Porlock. This novel takes the idea pretty much to its logical conclusion... not sure it's possible to trump becoming Jesus Christ.

It's well worth reading. Science-fiction writers are notorious for having great ideas and then blowing the execution (the Trout Complex, a
Kate Sherrod
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Jungian meets girl. Jungian loses religious/philosophical argument with girl. Jungian jumps into Time Machine to prove girl wrong about Jebus. Jungian blunders into being accepted as Jebus by denizens of the time to which he has traveled. Jungian further blunders by trying to reenact what he knows about Jebus. You know, to preserve history and biblical truth. Jungian gets crucified. Jungian never sees girl again.

I'm sure this was all very shocking back in
Ethan Miller
A classic! What a gem of a little novel this is. A synopsis of the book even in its most basic and vague form is a spoiler so let me tip toe around the plot in my review. It is a classic. Moorcock explores the nature of our need, desire and construction of religion, guilt and ultimately faith as a human invention so that we may have humanity. At the same time he does this while skating wildly on the edge of great blasphemy, black humor, everyday dark psychology in a compact blend of parable and ...more
Mark Lawrence
I read this shortly before reading Moorcock's 'The Shores of Death" (sidenote: I just typoed this 'The Shoes of Death' - which would be a cool title.) In the three years between Behold the Man and The Shores of Death Moorcock's work seems to have gained an order of magnitude in sophistication. This is actually one of his better written books - no small thing given that Moorcock's more serious efforts are quite something.

My 2* isn't the 'not quite as crap as 1*' kind of 2*, it's taken off the Goo
One of Moorcock's earlier works, I picked this novel up primarily because of its brevity (I was looking for a quick read) and, almost just as importantly, its intriguing premise.

Behold the Man is all about Karl Glogauer's life-long search for God and Christ, and his sense of disconnection from the rest of the world. The style is rather disjointed and fluctuates between tenses and perspectives (first-person versus third-person), and the story is told in non-chronological fragments. This is actual
I love subversive art, although this is probably a lot less shocking and subversive now - inundated as we are by graphic and potentially offensive content available at the merest keystroke - than it was when it was first published. Indeed, judging by online reviews, it seems that one of the more common reactions to this SF classic isn't shock at the blasphemy of the story, but instead a sort of blase boredom and cynical dismissiveness. Damn, the kids these days are hard to impress!

The book tackl
Aug 13, 2011 Lisa added it
Someone really should read this 'classic of science fiction' through a critical disability studies lens, but I don't have the energy to do it. I was pretty perturbed by the description of disability in this book, the way language and situation were used to curate and heighten a feeling of disgust towards a dehumanized disabled body.

I also felt a little ill during basically every depiction of sex in this novel, but my sense is that the author was deliberately trying to invoke that feeling (for r
Capolavoro mancato? I passaggi migliori del romanzo sono quelli che assumono carattere allucinatorio, flussionale, dove l’esperienza del protagonista nel passato, così aliena per poter essere accettata completamente in modo razionale, si mischia e sovrappone con i suoi ricordi. Ma i difetti del libro emergono in modo più prepotente: la trama è già scritta, facilmente intuibile, e scorre senza il minimo colpo di scena. I personaggi del tempo di Gesù sono scarsamente caratterizzati, e si comportan ...more
Jan 27, 2008 R. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I almost rated this 1 star, but I decided it did have a few redeeming qualities and settled on 2. Even so, I'm in the minority. It's a highly-acclaimed science fiction classic, supposedly, an insightful look at the meaning of faith and religion. I simply didn't find it so. Perhaps I might have been more impressed if I'd read it when it was published, in 1969.

Karl Glogauer, the protagonist, travels in a time machine to the time of Christ, and finds nothing the way he expected to be. The story re
Assigned reading in a Science Fiction class in college (We also watched Terminator 2--very cool class. Filled my English 2 GE requirement.)

Anyway, I remember this book blew my young, innocent mind. I also remember lending it to someone and not getting it back.

Posting this book inspired me to re-read it (it being only 144p didn't hurt either) and I have to say it's held up. Actually more multi-layered than I remembered--obviously the high concept sticks with you, but it's really an i
Erik Graff
Sep 15, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I don't generally like Moorcock, particularly his fantasy novels, but this novella is an excellent story on at least two levels. First, it draws on the image of the Christ, both as portrayed in the gospels and as interpreted by scholarship. Here, Moorcock has done credible homework. Second, it is a fair psychological study, not only of the ostensible protagonist, a tortured modern, but also on who he becomes, namely, Jesus, the Anointed. As such, the novel is virtually an extended gloss on Jesus ...more
This was originally reviewed at my blog "Relentless Reading". Check it out for more reviews.

Nothing like a little blasphemy to round out Christmas week.

Michael Moorcock's Nebula award-winning novella follows a time-traveler seeking to prove the truth behind the story of Christ, discovering it is not as it seems and seeking to make it right. Originally published in New Worlds magazine in 1966, Moorcock expanded the story and republished it as a standalone novella in 1969.

For Moorcock fans, Behol
Jesus, what a story. I mean that literally. A man gives his friend's new time machine a whirl and goes back 2000 years in the hopes of meeting Jesus Christ. What follows is disturbing, depressing, and funny.
It's bound to offend any fundamentalist. It's a quick read, although hard to find. I had to order it at my local bookstore and it was well worth the wait. If you have a problem with sacrilige, read the Bible instead.
Luke Burrage
Fun little story about someone going back in time to see Jesus. Kinda fell between time travel rules, and didn't really keep up with its early promise. It gave the game away too soon and then it felt like a joke going on too long with no punchline. Some clever nods to one or two issues with gospel problems, but of course way behind moderns critical scholarship. Still, a quick and thought provoking read.
Judy S
Unsympathetic protagonist Karl, self-absorbed cry-baby searching for meaning, goes back in time to meet Jesus. Distressed to find it's all a lie, Karl takes on the role of Jesus in order to perpetuate the myth. Talk about a messiah complex! Spooky believable - except for the part about the time machine, a minor plot line. Very strange read.
I really don't have a problem with the fundamental premise of this book. It was probably even more daring upon its first publication. My problem is with the main character's motivations for going back in time to observe Christ--to get back at his shrewish, emasculating, psychoanalyzing girlfriend, who is often shown being that special 60/70s-woman-written-by-a-man harpy with no real purpose but to drive KG to manfully prove himself by proving that God is real? I appreciate the protag having a "h ...more
This book is something of a cross between Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five and something like one of those popular attempts to show that Christianity is based on bupkis, like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable read.

I love Moorcock's fantasy stories and this was the first sci-fi tale of his that I've ever read. Like most of Moorcock's works, Behold the Man was very interesting and enjoyable. Moorcock is excellent at propelling plot and developing character in economic b
The flaws in Michael Moorcock’s protagonists was the main thing that drew me to his books, and add interest to each story. Elric, and the rest of his core characters, all had noble intentions, but each was weighted down by a tragic flaw. ‘Behold the Man’ is more intelligent than his other fantasy novels, and less of a Edgar Rice Burroughs knock off (who he sites as an influence). The outcome of this novel is predictable, and instead of being uninteresting, it’s the journey and evolution of the m ...more
The only Moorcock book I've ever read. It's time travel: guy travels back in time, meets Jesus (who turns out not to be at all what he expected), and then takes Jesus' place. A fascinating idea, pretty well executed.
Paul Hancock
I just didn't get it.

This book is rather quirky and sort of hints at something deep and interesting but in the end it's just an idiotic hero, surrounded by other idiots, plus some time travel. I didn't like the protagonist at all, I didn't really understand him, and the the only one who disliked him more than me was himself. The random flash-back style was done rather poorly and didn't work. The last part of the book is a culmination of many random bits of information, but it culminates in a big
I found this a struggle, full as it is of guilt and wanking, and dreaded the inevitable conclusion even as I longed to get it over with.
I read this along time ago, but it has always stuck with me as a great time-travel story and as a worthy meditation on sacrifice, the beginnings of religions, and how a person can create meaning in a world that otherwise seems meaningless. Still begs the question of how the story began in the original timeline, but isn't that true of most time-travel paradoxes? Best for those who aren't squeamish about truly speculative fiction dealing with something you might hold dear to your heart; the story ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Same ISBN but 2 different covers. 4 21 Jan 02, 2015 04:04AM  
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • Emphyrio
  • Pavane
  • The Book of Skulls
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Complete Roderick
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • The Centauri Device
  • Life During Wartime
  • Jem
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Non-Stop
  • Last and First Men
  • The Child Garden
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • A Maze of Death
  • Mockingbird
  • Timescape
Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,
More about Michael Moorcock...

Other Books in the Series

Karl Glogauer (2 books)
  • Breakfast in the Ruins
Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1) Stormbringer (Elric, #6) The Vanishing Tower (Elric, #4) The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3) The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2)

Share This Book

“Trapped. Sinking. Can't be myself. Made into what other people expect. Is that everyone's fate? Were the great individualists the products of their friends who wanted a great individualist as a friend?” 7 likes
More quotes…