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Het Koninkrijk

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,623 ratings  ·  302 reviews
In Het Koninkrijk vraagt Emmanuel Carrère zich af hoe een kleine Joodse sekte met volgelingen van een gekruisigde profeet kon uitgroeien tot een godsdienst die twee millennia later nog steeds door een kwart van de wereldbevolking wordt beleden. In Carrères wervelende verhaal zijn de apostel Paulus en de evangelist Lucas de protagonisten van een bijzonder avontuur vol kleur ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 15th 2015 by De Bezige Bij (first published March 15th 1998)
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Sandrine Legal He is indeed a real person. At some point in the book Carrère makes a reference to a book written by his friend Hervé Clerc: "Les Choses Comme Elles S…moreHe is indeed a real person. At some point in the book Carrère makes a reference to a book written by his friend Hervé Clerc: "Les Choses Comme Elles Sont".
Akibsi The name of his godmother is Jacqueline; he does not mention her last name and I was not able to find it in the web.
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Bleak Expectations

Part spiritual memoir, part intellectual self-portrait, part textual exegesis, part fictional dramatisation, The Kingdom is of a genre not often encountered in Anglo-Saxon letters. It is a French invention. Fame in France - in politics, in journalism, in the arts - brings with it the opportunity, possibly the obligation, to bare one's beliefs and motivations - or lack of the same. Perhaps this is a sort of rationalist Cartesian cultural legacy. Bernard Henri-Levy writes in the
Adam Dalva
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wild read, and a bold one, combining Carrere's own discovery and loss of Catholic faith in the early 90's with a detailed, lengthy re-imagination (a "non-fiction novel" is not quite accurate, it's more like creative non-fiction with lots of sources) of the life of Luke, and by extension, Paul, and by extension, Jesus.

Before reading THE KINGDOM, I didn't know much about the writers of the gospels - I'd read the works themselves, but a long time ago - and I enjoyed the alignment between Carrere
P-review (ie, Preview)

This book was recently reviewed in the New Yorker by James Wood. One doesn't often see a review of a book that's been something of a best-seller for about three years already. Presumably the English translation (from French) took most of that time to appear. Maybe the thought was that this novel(?), this imaginative history of early Christianity(?), this personal journey of the author from rationalist to believer to ...(?) - well, however it's described, and Wood hints at a
In the last pages of this book, Carrère comments on his experience washing feet at a retreat held at a home for the physically and mentally challenged, in response to the urging of a correspondent.

Still, I wouldn’t like to be touched by grace and return home converted like twenty-four years earlier just because I’ve washed some feet. Thankfully nothing of the sort happens.

This is a thoughtful, engaging, and provocative book. Provocative in a good way, as Carrère invites the reader to participat
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Myth or truth? This genre-defying novel combines speculative fiction, memoir and documentary style to explore testimony versus factual evidence in the New Testament accounts. As a book within a book, written during a crisis of faith, it is as much about the author as his fascinating subject. His intimate conversational approach is witty, engaging and thought-provoking, whilst the topic should be of interest to believers and non-believers alike.

Reviewed for
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, as many reviews have suggested, you have to get past the relentless and overwhelming narcissism of the book before you realize you are reading an absolute masterpiece. Given our times, I suppose that it is somehow suiting that a book so taken with the self like this could become a representative masterpiece and it is interesting that the book functions so well as such. Even the Bible is here to illuminate the hero's self-love. Not what can he say about life and the early church but what can ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to understand how Emmanuel Carrere can be so ego-centric, so completely absorbed with himself, and still produce a book that feels so universal, open to anything, and even wise. Maybe when expanding the self so that it is all encompassing it disappears somehow.

Rachel Cusk has written a series of novels in which she makes every effort to be absent, she has no point of view, no opinions, everything is just a series of observations and conversations - but at the same time she is everywh
Some people are embarrassed by pornography, not me. What embarrasses me, and seems far more delicate a matter to deal with, far more indecent than sexual secrets, has to do with “those things”: the things of the soul, the things involving God. Deep down, I liked to believe I was more familiar with them than my colleagues in the little world of literature, as I spent a significant part of my life holding them in my heart and turning them over in my mind. That was my secret, which I’m discussing h ...more
Emilio Lezama
It is an interesting book, but the author's ego gets in his way. The historical part in which he deals with christianity is very interesting, but when he talks about himself and his life, even when he's trying to be auto-critical, the book becomes unbearable. His ego is too big to let the story flow. ...more
Robert Spencer
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this will attract a lot of controversy for its conjectures on the lives of the early Christians - it seems that most books that attempt to recreate that world from historical sources rather than just the bible always do. I found this fascinating and, for me, Carrere's strategy of intruding his own ego and experiences into the narrative actually enhances the whole experience. As well as being a well-researched speculation on the human story of the first Christians, this is a meditation o ...more
Joe Cross
i found this book to be often fascinating, deeply informative, and consistently entertaining. the premise of "a formerly devout religious man writes an entire history of the religion and gradually becomes terrified he still believes" is really cool too. that being said, this is so incredibly self-indulgent and in love with itself that it's hard to really connect with on more than a superficial level. the blend of nonfiction and fiction also doesn't do anything for me aside from cause confusion; ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m agnostic: the rating isn’t due to any ideological perspectives I hold on the subject matter. I picked up the book after reading a review with Knausgaard where he’d mentioned it.

The Kingdom also received some stellar reviews from various newspapers.

I found this book to be very dull. The first two sections where the most interesting (those regarding his manic depressive tendencies and family life). Thereafter his theological ramblings begin. Oh dear. Quit the mundane scholar we have on our h
Greg Williams
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1990, the French author Emmanuel Carrere, an intellectual and skeptic, was “touched by grace” and became a devout Christian. This happened when he attended mass and the priest read the passage where, after the resurrection, Jesus told Peter “when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go”. That is when the Lord led Emmanuel where he didn’t want to go, from skepticism to faith. For three years, he was a devout Christian un ...more
Andrew Lucas
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's important to read the front cover of 'The Kingdom', because it clearly states under the title "A Novel". I was reminded of Don Delillo's 'Libra', an imagined reconstruction of the Kennedy assassination whilst reading it; it seems like History but imagination fills the gaps and the blending is done so skillfully, you have to remind yourself that it's a novel and not a textbook on nascent Christianity. On top of that, Carrere works himself into the story, much of which is told with analytical ...more
Stefania Schiavi
I thought it was a boring book, since it's about the first Christian communities after Jesus' death. But I was wrong. The author has been able to make it really enjoyable even thanks to his irony and his great ability.
I don't consider myself a Christian, but I think anyone interested in the topic should read this book.
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mix of history, historical fiction, religious fiction and memoir. At times some parts are a bit too long, maybe a lack of structure, but fascinating read nonetheless.
David Small
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kingdom is a novel that reads like nonfiction with few scenes and loads of exposition about the gospels and a good deal of imaginative biography about St Paul, St. Luke and other early church fathers, all elements that figure in the narrator's journey to belief and back again. ...more
Richard Ray
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been curious about the writing and evolution of the Bible. This is a fascinating reflection on the authors / disciples and the birth of Christianity. If you enjoyed "Zealot" by Reza Aslan you'll probably like this. ...more
Ben McFarland
I keep wavering on this book, and I think in the end I’ll take the optimistic, glass-half-full attitude and consider Emmanuel Carrere to be a “Second Friend.” I take this term from how CS Lewis described Owen Barfield:

“But the Second Friend is the man who disagrees with you about everything. … He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one. It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it. How can he be so nearly right and yet, invariably, just not right?”

Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly loses its focus after a blistering opening, with Carrère's own history falling into the background, but a seriously interesting and entertaining work of imagination and research. ...more
The author's spiritual journey, described so compellingly and honestly in the first part of this book, engaged me tremendously. Alas the rest of this work failed to reach the same level and eventually I had to just stop reading. Travelling outside the boundaries of his personal path, Carrere has handed us a mess of a text, blending self-indulgent thought experiments with haphazard synthesizations of a collection of religious scholars. This Frankenstein approach lurches from paragraph to paragrap ...more
Anna Maria Ballester Bohn
At times I was convinced this was going to be a four-star book, but I lost my interest a bit towards the end, which may of course not be the author's fault at all, alas. If you are at all interested in Christianity as a historical phenomenon (and really you should be if you want to understand western civilization), this is a must read. It's full of humor, compassion and really interesting to read, so it shouldn't be too hard to do. Certainly recommended. ...more
Taylor Bryanne
The first 90 pages were some of the best introspective writing I've ever read. After that, it turns into an exploration of Bible stories/figures, which contains enlightening thoughts, sure, but didn't speak to me as much as the first section of the book did. ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Extraordinary book. Perhaps I'll write a blog post about it. ...more
Paul Bergelin
The imaginative ideas that Carrere dreamed up in The Kingdom can never fully dilute his polarizing personality. Carrere’s work has much in common with Reza Aslan’s Zealot in that both authors are former believers who explain the origins of Christianity. But whereas Aslan sought to create a historical Jesus, Carrere focused instead on trying to explain the appeal of early Christianity. This purpose established two interwoven narratives that comprise the core of The Kingdom: one is a personal refl ...more
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From a place of purported unbelief, Emmanuel Carrere has written the most moving memoir of Christian faith I’ve read.* With bemusement, he carefully observes an earlier version of himself, a man so besotted with the Christian God that he hired a visibly unhygienic homeless woman as his children’s nanny because of her faith. (It didn’t end well, but his account of the episode is sad, funny, weird, and fascinating, and addresses the way madness dovetails nicely with religious experience.)

The premi
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is obvious that Mr. Carrere has an abundance of talent and possesses a keen eye for investigation: insofar as his novels explores the Bible through contrasting and intersecting literary and historical lenses. Perhaps this review will end up being just as bias as the novelist’s point of view. After all, we are all inherently bias in one way or another, and art (writing in this case) is the most subjective business in the world. The real problem with Emmanuel Carrere’s narrative is his unorigin ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carrere's brilliant, genre-bending essay is about his coming to terms with the Christian teaching of Kingdom. What does it mean, is it credible? What went on in that early period that so radically changed history? He uses the meager historical record of the Jewish Wars; the Jewish Hellenist culture of the time: statues, buildings, myths, religions, the polity, the laws; his sensibility as a writer and film producer, his life experience, his conversion to belief and then to agnosticism, and his i ...more
David Jacobson
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bible study with a French atheist, part memoir and part history. The memoir is a reflection on the time in the life of the author—a humanist atheist—when he became, for a few years, a devout and believing Catholic. How did he get there? and how did he get back? The history is a well-researched exploration of the gospel, especially the lives of Paul and Luke, in which Carrère has felt free to imagine what might have happened in between the sparse events that are pegged by the record. He is usuall ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An informed and occasionally speculative history of early Christianity with plenty of meta commentary and autobiography. Carrere's a good guide who's done heavy research to make this history interesting and digestible for modern audiences. His voice is engaging, especially when he talks about his own life or speculates on what kind of people Luke, Paul, John, and Jesus were. He's funny, his speculations are enjoyable, he's good to read.

There's also 3 or so casual moments of smooth-brained Islamo
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Emmanuel Carrère is a French author, screenwriter, and director. He is the son of Louis Carrère d'Encausse and French historian Hélène Carrère d'Encausse.

Carrère studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (better known as Sciences Po). Much of his writing, both fiction and nonfiction, centers around the primary themes of the interrogation of identity, the development of illusion, and the

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“Mi vergognavo ad essere affascinato da quella storia e da quel criminale mostruoso, Jean-Claude Romand. A distanza di tempo, credo che ciò che avevo tanta paura di condividere con lui lo condivido, lo condividiamo lui e io, con la maggior parte della gente, anche se per fortuna la maggior parte della gente non arriva al punto di mentire per vent’anni e poi sterminare tutta la famiglia. Penso che anche le persone più sicure di sé percepiscano con angoscia lo scarto che esiste fra l’immagine di sé che bene o male cercano di dare agli altri e quella che hanno di loro stesse nei momenti d’insonnia, o di depressione, quando tutto vacilla e si prendono la testa fra le mani, sedute sulla tazza del cesso. In ciascuno di noi c’è una finestra spalancata sull’inferno; cerchiamo di starne alla larga il più possibile, e io, per una mia precisa scelta, ho passato a quella finestra, ipnotizzato, sette anni della mia vita.” 5 likes
“Je suis devenu celui que j'avais si peur de devenir.
Un sceptique. Un agnostique - même pas assez croyant pour être athée. Un homme qui pense que le contraire de la vérité n'est pas le mensonge, mais la certitude. Et le pire, du point de vue de celui que j'ai été, c'est que je m'en porte plutôt bien. (p. 141)”
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