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Live from Golgotha

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  1,197 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, a TV crew will record the Crucifixion, live from Golgotha, in order to boost NBC in the ratings war. In this iconoclastic novel, Vidal japes at the expense of religion, history and taste, mixing Hollywood tough talk with biblical jargon and camp.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 23rd 1993 by Little Brown and Company (first published 1992)
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Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary, pop
Vidal is devilishly clever (pun intended, though, irreverently withdrawn...) with this book, a postmodern, post-theist, post-omni masterpiece that has its slow points where it gets a little clever for its own good (perhaps intentionly). I forgive him, though like a Judas must, I still remove a star.

The novel is about the nature of belief and its relationship with narrative structure. It uses Christianity as its model, but one gets the sense that it could have used any Grand Narrative. It's inte
Seth Reeves
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gore Vidal was, based on my experience so far, incapable of writing a bad book. This book is a bit strange and definitely ties a knot with the normal narrative timeline but I like a book that can surprise me with it's creativity and originality while still crafting interesting characters that make me laugh and think at the same time.

I love Roman history and how it represents and then runs into Christian history. Much like his books about America's founding fathers, I like the notion of being a
Oct 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I'm only marking this book 'read' because I don't want to see it in my "currently reading". This book will officially be the only book that I've started and not finished. I'll quote a reviewer below me, "a stream of consciousness that should never have been put to paper." This thing is impossible to read if you aren't 1) used to stream of consciousness, 2) time travel (which I am but,) 3) familiar with the lives of the Saints in the New Testament. I know who they are, who's the favorite, etc, bu ...more
Takový jedovatě ironický pohled na některé příběhy biblické. Pobavilo mě to.
Mel Bossa
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0006-lgbtq
Here's the thing: this is very smart, witty, full of real knowledge about the period and quirky humor.

But, it takes more than a fast tongue and phenomenal vocabulary to sweep me off my feet.

I mean, yes, Vidal is highly intelligent in this little novel, rewriting the gospel, dropping names, calling people out on the shit they do in the name of God, giving his own little twist to the Judas kiss of betrayal, and even laughing at the "art" of writing itself. It takes some solid balls to do this an
Finally, well in 1992 anyway, we get the answer to WWJD?.
Gore Vidal's gospel (good news) comes at us through the lips of St Timothy (aka Timaximus, Timinimus, Timikens, Timmy or just plain Tim) the first century Bishop of Ephesus who was 'a top'...but only sometimes. Timmy was St Paul's confident (that according to biblical history) and may have been the author of many of the Pauline letters. He was born shortly before Good Friday (the original) in CE 17 and died in 97 CE. He apparently was a ha
Aug 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Per me che non ho fede religiosa, l'idea di una dissacrazione, fatta con ironia intelligente, poteva essere buona. Peccato che, in pratica, l'idea si sia tradotta in una insopportabile serie di scemenze che non fanno nemmeno ridere, degna del peggior cabaret.
I. Merey
Gore Vidal (like Salman Rushdie) is one of those writers whose been hanging in the outskirts of my writers' consciousness my whole adulthood without me having read a single one of his books. I picked up 'Golgotha' at some cheapo booksale, thinking finally. I'm going to Read Something by Gore Vidal.

Obviously, he is a talented, witty writer, but I could not get into it and I'm jumping ship.
Fuck, maybe I'll just have to die, never having finished a novel of Gore Vidal. : /
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is funny with just the right amount of irreverence to interest me. I honestly think it comes kind of close to a bizarro work. It's not as free and scrapes bottom at some points due to other goals, but I think the bizarro people I know should check this out. I think they'll be as surprised as me that Vidal wrote this.
May 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My writing professor in college knew Gore Vidal, so I picked up this title based on his general endorsement. I picked the wrong Vidal book as my first. This is a ridiculous story; meant as satire, but it comes off like a bad Monty Python skit.
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
Blasphemous, Vulgar, Witty, Pure Vidal
Jan 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Timothy--Bishop of Macedonia and Ephesus. Maryred in 97AD Killed by a mob of pagans at the Katagogia, a festival for the god Dionysus. Born just after crusifixtion

Gossolalia--speaking in tongues
No such word as Jewish

The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian (the Second Triumvirate) against the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, weird, and very camp, which is what I was led to expect from Vidal. It is long on imagination, medium on erudition, short on credibility, but as this is a farce, that too is to be expected. It has some great moments and one-liners, and the central dilemma of whether the salvation of Jesus is for the Jews only (the James camp) or all humankind (the Pauline camp) is interesting reading, as much as the switcharoo from Jesus to Judas on the cross is fun, but in the end, if you want laughs at ...more
Margaret McCulloch-Keeble
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is a wonderfully outrageously camp exercise in total blasphemy and for that it's to be commended. Nothing is sacred. No-one is sacred. Whether its Jesus and his weight gain, Saint Paul and his predilection for young men, James' jealousy of his big brother, modern media moguls out for a quick buck or new religions and their gurus like Mary Eddy Baker. It's bawdy and funny enough to make me glad I wasn't drinking my tea when I read it.
This book is an interesting idea dragged out for a bit too long. I think it'd be an excellent novella or longer short story. When the writing is on, it's ON - absolutely prescient and hilarious. It predicts an awful lot about reality TV culture and speaks well to the principle of "an object observed changes because of the observation." Overall, an insightful, clever, fun book with a few two many boring literary potholes.
Jeffy Joseph
A while back I read 'Behold the man' by Michael Moorcock and though the concept of Jesus as a time traveler was interesting. But it's nowhere as interesting as Vidal's take on probably the most influential myth. All I can say is that, if Bible did get it right then I am going to be roasted for giving this five stars.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When describing Live From Golgotha by Gore Vidal, the word iconoclastic would represent extreme under-statement. This novel, a hotch-potch of fantasy, history, science fiction, theology, politics, philosophy and sheer nonsense, is nothing less than a full-frontal bombardment of Christian myth. The ruins of what originally existed, whatever that might have been, become the skeleton that two thousand years of re-mythologising have fleshed out. They began as an unlikely mistake, according to Gore V ...more
Saint always adjusted his grammar to the audience and never the audience to the grammar. But then we saints are born knowing the tricks of the trade except that Saint had one trick that nobody else has ever mastered. When we have to go into all that endless rap about how J.C. is descended from King David and so on, the result is not only deeply boring but absolutely mystifying for a Gentile audience that doesn't know the difference between a Jew and a Chinaman. So how did Saint get through the d ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I picked this one up, but I generally enjoy fictional accounts of Christ’s life. There wasn’t much on the actual life of Jesus, but more of the ministry following his death. The narrator, Timothy, focuses mainly on the life of St. Paul aka Sol aka The Saint. So, Saint fudges a few facts, embellishes his relationship with Christ, has a taste for young men, is in conflict with Jesus’ brother James, and annoys the hell out of St. Peter. It is a satiric ...more
a great read for the Christmas season. Vidal uses his usual wit and unblinking irreverence to turn the story of St. Paul on its head and into a funky dark satire reminiscent of Christopher Moore’s Lamb.

or did he tell the Real Story? quo vademus?

we can never be sure because of the presence of one or more hackers who may or may not be erasing and changing the course of history by altering history “tapes.” St. Timothy begins seeing and receiving visitors (he calls them “kibitzers”) and visions from
David Mckinnon
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farce. Satire. Comedy. Black comedy. Irreligious. Sacrilegious. Gore Vidal has written a novel that is all of these and yet none of these by themselves. Even the non-believer may shudder at times, expecting the visitation of thunderbolts hurled by an angry God.
Vidal has taken the early days of Christianity and turned them up-side down. The events and the people who were a part of them are no longer recognizable. What were the roles of Peter and Paul in this fictional interlude? How does a Judas
Irene Soldatos
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't know what to write. It's simply a masterpiece. This book contains a paragraph -- and resulting mental image -- that I will never, ever forget, and which makes me laugh every, single time I think of it. In fact, when I first read the paragraph in question, it almost killed me. I was ill, I had a terrible cough, I started laughing uncontrollably, then coughing uncontrollably, but I couldn't stop laughing, or coughing, which resulted in me running out of breath. I won't tell you what the pa ...more
Hasso von Moltke
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vidal
While not my favorite of Vidal's works Golgotha is certainly entertaining. It is a relatively short working focusing on Saint Timothy being chosen to anchor a live filming of Golgotha for NBC and record his version of the Gospels in response to all other versions being corrupted by a hacker.

As one might guess the plot is a bit convoluted and chaotic but still enjoyably sacrilegious. It delves into the confusion and infighting of the early church as they try to solidify "Jesus'" message, as well
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gore Vidal is a very clever and intelligent man, and his novel is also clever and intelligent. However, I think Vidal is a bit too clever for his own good this time. This short novel is packed so tightly with satire, blasphemy, insanity, and mind-bending time-travel physics that it's all a bit too much to take in. It's a funny idea about how NBC executives of the future time-travel to a few weeks before the crucifixion of Jesus to set up a new gospel to be written by a commoner and to film the a ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
a meta' tra fantascienza e libello anticristiano (antipaolino in particolare: Paolo di Tarso e` la vittima prediletta di Vidal, che lo ha - a mio avviso giustamente - ridicolizzato anche altrove, V. anche il suo "Giuliano"). Irriverente, scanzonato, divertente, a tratti molto volgare, il libro gioca sulla linea dell'assurdo, ma coglie nel segno - a mio avviso - nell'individuare in Paolo di Tarso l'artefice del passaggio del cristianesimo da un messaggio inteso per il solo popolo ebraico (in cont ...more
Pierre A Renaud
Aug 03, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pierre A by: MadgeUK
"What would Jesus do? "select all" then "delete" ("The book is first and foremost a lampoon of Christianity, more specifically, the early years of the church. St. Timothy is a first hand observer [of] St. Paul's effort to expand the market for Christianity. Other Vidal books have documented his cynicism of Christianity and the religious right, but "Live from Golgotha" clearly sets out to satire Christianity from its source: St. Paul. (...)")
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Както знаете Голгота е хълмът, на който е разпнат Исус Христос. Но този акт явно е бил видян от много хора и от много различни ъгли. Гор Видал използва своето въображение, тънък хумор и безкомпромисна критична ръка за да пренапише библейската история, видяна през погледа на св. Томофей Ефески. Тимофей, заедно със св. Павел, започват да преследват дошъл от бъдещето мистериозен хакер, който има наглостта да трие християнските исторически следи и доказателства. Или накратко - това е Евангелието нап ...more
Morris Nelms
It reminded me of the quote "This isn't writing, it's typing."
Vidal is clearly enjoying himself, and that's the only thing that kept me reading.
It wasn't convincing, and when I read it I was not a believer. I was not shocked at the blasphemous content, though I got the feeling Vidal wanted me to be. I had high hopes for this book after Creation, but I think he put a lot more effort into Creation than this one.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sacrilegious, punk, scathing, sharp, but ultimately forgettable, and pointless. The perfect book to read on the beach in the summer or when you really want to piss off a Catholic on your Goodreads list.

No, that's not totally fair. Parts of the story are rather clever and memorable. The polished obsidian stone, for example.
Jul 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent most of this book thinking it was interesting, but not very sure of it otherwise. It pulled together at the very end, though, so I think that ultimately, I liked it more than I was ambivalent. I do wonder, however, if I would have gotten more out of it had I been older in the early 90s when it was written as there seemed to be references, etc, that I wasn't entirely sure about.
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Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi
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