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Behold the Man

(Karl Glogauer)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  6,763 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Alternate cover edition for this ISBN is here.

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 me
Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 28th 1978 by Avon Books (first published 1969)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,763 ratings  ·  435 reviews

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Glenn Russell

Oh, those New Wave SF novels written in the 60s and 70s - experimental, boundary pushing and out-and-out weird. We can think of such classics as The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick, The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard, Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch and Inverted World by Christopher Priest. Michael Moorcock's 1969 Behold the Man is right up there, a 110-pager dripping with flaky, mind-bending weirdness, published as part of the SF Masterworks series - and for good reason
The Question of a Personal Ethic

Acting into a new way of thinking is always more effective than trying to think into a new way of acting. Perhaps this is the secret Jesus wanted to convey. If so, it’s to be expected that he ended up where he did, on a gibbet. His actions created a new mode of thought. Unfortunately his followers went back to thinking instead of acting. This led, of course, to the same old rationalised actions.

Karl Glogauer is a devotee of Carl Jung. He knows the drill about act
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
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dan Schwent
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: moorcock
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom LA
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Perkins
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author knows the Bible, and the setting in first century Palestine, better than most Christians I’m acquainted with.

I find the one-star reviews for this book ironic, given that the Bible is one of the greatest works of fantasy lit ever----dinosaurs on the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, walking on water, four conflicting Gospel accounts of the final days of Jesus---what other book claiming to be true requires any greater suspension of disbelief than the Bible?
[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
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.
A. Dawes
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has a very retro feel about it. It's the 60s, man, a time of beatnik philosophy. People psychologically grappling with their own sanity as they explore ideas about what it means to be human.

This work won't be for everyone. The protagonist, Karl, is an unsettled philosophical wanderer of the era. He brings so much intensity and insecurity to his relationships that he inevitably ensures they devolve into crappy self-destructive states.

Karl's world takes a dramatic turn though when he finds
Kate Sherrod
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Josephine (Jo)
I do not know if Mr. Moorcock is of the Jewish faith but I would assume so as he tries to completely destroy the whole story of the life of Jesus and his teaching. I am a Christian but I am very tolerant of other people’s beliefs and would never try to mock or disrespect what they believe ‘if you can’t say something nice then say nothing’.

The book was written in 1969 but I found the part about the time travel machine so farfetched and it seemed as though it was was simply added as a means to get
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this novella years ago, in a used paperback copy of a Year's Best Science Fiction anthology. A coworker/friend recently read this novella.

The protagonist, Karl Glogauer, is from our current time. Presented with the opportunity to go back in time, he decides to go to the time of Jesus. In this story, Jesus and Mary are drastically unlike what is presented in Bible. Karl Glogauer takes up the role of Jesus in the Gospels.

I've read the negative reviews of the book. Yes, Christians, and come
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karl Glogauer goes back in time from 1970 to 28 A.D to see if the story of Jesus Christ is true. His time machine is destroyed on arrival and he is saved by John the Baptist and his followers. The story switches back to Karl’s unhappy childhood, failed love affairs and Monica who he had a love hate relationship.

Karl descends into madness and through himself creates the story of Christ. Interesting story and written well with extracts of the Bible. Worth a read.
The blurb is kind of spoilery, so all you need to know is that this book is about someone time traveling to see Jesus while his time there is paralleled with pieces of his earlier life that showcase his relationship to religion and his self-esteem issues.
The design of the time mashine is very original and makes me want to read more of Moorcocks books just for his futuristic ideas. The book itself focuses more on Glogauer's psychology and moments that had shaped him, which makes it uncomfortable
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
Ben Loory
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
kind of brilliant, even though it's obviously (and actually) a much-pumped-up short story (which also feels like it was written in about two or three weeks (probably so moorcock could pay for a shitload more books to read on a ton of various esoteric subjects)). never less than fun and often actually truly shocking, which i always find amazing-- almost never happens. it also has a chapter which begins "The madman came stumbling into the town" which is such a great line i am now going to steal it ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jon Nakapalau
A very original time travel story...but some Christians may be offended by the "Jesus" that is found. ...more
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
Ethan Miller
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Behold the Man was quite the sensation when it appeared; it won the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, and people either loved it or hated it. (I note that the ratings here on Goodreads are almost all either very high or very low, all these years later.) Moorcock, at the time, was mostly known for his adventure fantasy works featuring Elric and Hawkmoon and like folks, as well as for being the editor of New Worlds and being the father of the New Wave in the field with his Jerry Cornelius s ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for the SF Masterworks Challenge and the Science Fiction Masterworks Book Club.

This was amazingly subversive at the time that it was written. And I suppose that a person who was raised Christian or Jewish might find it mind-blowingly subversive even now. That's worth commending, and it's probably why this book is one of the SF Masterworks.

But that's not why it's a great book.

So don't read the rest of this review if you really don't want spoilers! But it's not hard to figure out.

Karl is an u
Roddy Williams
Popular music went through its punk phase in the mid Nineteen Seventies. It was almost an extinction event for some of the pop and rock establishment of the time and heralded a brief new era of musical diversity and experimentation.
SF had experienced its own punk revolution in the late Sixties, The New Wave movement, at the forefront of which, along with Judith Merrill, JG Ballard, MJ Harrison and others, was Michael Moorcock. The New Wave was an attempt to invigorate the SF genre and produce a
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have previously read one book by Michael Moorcock, that being The Warlord of the Air, a book I enjoyed very much (as I recall). It will be a reread someday son. There was a lot to like about Behold the Man. The premise, a man, Karl travels back in time to try and meet Jesus. Karl is lost, has spent his life trying to find out something, who he is, what he believes, and it this dissatisfaction that leads him to take this journey.

The time travel machine breaks, leaving him trapped at the beginni
Stephen Curran
"'Why do I destroy everything I love?'
'Oh, God! Don't give me that maudlin teenage stuff, Karl, please!'"

Well, quite.

There's nothing wrong with a bit of deliberate provocation but this is as crude as drawing cocks on paintings. Having the time traveller in this story fuck an adulterous Mary while her disabled son Jesus looks on is the kind of thing that only a moody fourteen year old could mistake for depth, especially if the text is peppered with quotes from Milton and the Bible and anguished
Jo Sé
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It isn't very often a novel so blatantly religious can do much as get my attention, but the premise of Behold The Man intrigued me, man of the future uses time machine to go back in time to prove once and for all of the Jesus myth is just that, or is actually based on fact.

The protagonist of the piece, Karl Glogauer, in his efforts to prove said myth, discovers that the real Jesus is a dribbling half wit, Joseph a bitter, henpecked husband and Mary an over weight, sexually frustrated wife, who's
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Goodreads Librari...: Same ISBN but 2 different covers. 4 76 Jan 02, 2015 04:04AM  

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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,

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