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The Last Temptation of Christ

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  11,360 ratings  ·  746 reviews
The internationally renowned novel about the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Hailed as a masterpiece by critics worldwide, The Last Temptation of Christ is a monumental reinterpretation of the Gospels that brilliantly fleshes out Christ’s Passion. This literary rendering of the life of Jesus Christ has courted controversy since its publication by depicting a Chr
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Paperback, 506 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Simon Schuster (first published 1951)
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Shawn For me, this was incredibly interesting and extremely well written. As a fictional work, the author has the liberty to entertain you along the way.…moreFor me, this was incredibly interesting and extremely well written. As a fictional work, the author has the liberty to entertain you along the way. Happy reading!(less)
Shawn This book is probably much more entertaining and better understood by one who is already familiar with all the Bible stories, particularly the New…moreThis book is probably much more entertaining and better understood by one who is already familiar with all the Bible stories, particularly the New Testament ones. But nonetheless, it reads very much like a novel; and for me it was a rapid read, a real page turner!(less)

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Michael Finocchiaro
This book was scandalous when it was published by Kazantzakis in 1955 and the reason that he - despite being a fervent Orthodox Christian - was refused an Orthodox burial. It was of course the source of the similarly scandalous movie of 1988 with Willem Dafoe as Jesus. Why the scandal? Well, like when Rushdie imagined in The Satanic Verses that perhaps Satan sat on Mohammed's shoulder and dictated parts of the Qu'ran, Kazantzakis looks at the human side of Christ (as depicted in the Gospel of Ma ...more
Greg
May 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Back in October of 2002 my parents had the wacky idea to take a family vacation in Florida. I wasn't too keen on the idea, but I went along with it because none of the excuses I could come up with sounded good.

I started thinking about this book because the it was something I read while on this vacation, and this vacation was the scene for one of my big anxiety induced breakdowns, where I acted out in very undesirable ways, made everyone around me really uncomfortable and probably baffled my fam
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Tom LA
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nikos Kazantzakis (1883 - 1957) was one of the greatest Greek writers of the last century. In 1957, he lost the Nobel prize to Albert Camus by one vote. One vote. Ugh!

Most people who hear about "The last temptation of Christ" immediately think of the 1988 Scorsese movie with Willem Dafoe as Jesus - and other equally atrociously miscast actors - a film that was meant to come across as scandalous and provocative, in the typical Hollywood low-brow fashion.

I never saw the movie and probably never
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Edward Lorn
WARNING: If you do not like your faith being questioned or dissected, I suggest you stop reading now. There is a high probability you will be offended. I do not have pleasant views regarding religion and I'd hate to hurt your feelings without warning you first. If you choose to discuss Christianity in the comment section, by all means, go ahead. Know that I am an atheist and that I will respect you as long as you're respectful. However, I do not respect religion in any form and do not wish to be ...more
DROPPING OUT
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Carol, Seth, B
It has been almost 25 years since I read this and I really ought to re-read it, for I SO loved it the first time encountered it. Two stories... I recommended it to a friend of long standing who is a devout Orthodox Christian, thinking he might enjoy the "mind-game" Kazantzakis played. But he declined because his priest disapproved of the author and because of the brouhaha in Kazantzakis' native Greece involving the Orthodox clergy. Pity - My friend's loss. Just after I finished reading it, I rec ...more
Peycho Kanev
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a scream. Pure scream made out of love and pain. And it will sound until the end of time. That is all I can say.
Maybe because of this book Nikos Kazantzakis is buried on the wall surrounding the city of Heraklion near the Chania Gate, because the Orthodox Church ruled out his being buried in a cemetery.

His epitaph reads "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nenette
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-core, retelling
According to the imagination of this Greek writer who was 1 vote away to grab the 1952 Nobel Prize for Literature, Nikos Kazantzakis, the last temptation of Christ happened while he was hanging on the cross. In the book, at that point that he was about to be nailed, the sunny heaven suddenly turned dark, the earth shook and Simon of Cyrene (the innkeeper) saw angels coming down from heaven, were the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross and took him away upon his death.

This book regularly appears in various l
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Jeffrey
May 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind

This is not your grandparent’s gospel. That’s the first thing you must accept if you are going to make it through this novel.

Nikos Kazantzakis states in the introduction to The Last Temptation of Christ, “This book is not a biography; it is the confession of every man who struggles.” He explains that the book explores the “dual substance of Christ,” the struggle between his flesh and spirit - the stronger the struggle the richer the final harmony, a union with God. A struggle that he claims al
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Brad
Once again, I've destroyed my love for a book (although I do still like it). I first read The Last Temptation of Christ in '88, just before Martin Scorsese turned it into a movie, and I remember being blown away. Unfortunately, my literary concerns were different back then; the me who read The Last Temptation of Christ over the last couple of weeks doesn't match the me who read it twenty-two years ago.

I care more about consistency today. I care more about character, theme and message. And beautiful prose..
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Clark S
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Temptation is my very favorite book of all time.

I believe this is my edition, translated by P.A. Bien.

Although not particularly religious, I was so moved by this book that I seriously looked into trying to learn Greek so that I could see if I had lost anything in the translation.

There was a passage early in the book, a series of three or four paragraphs only, where Kazantzakis, (through a translator) was able to evoke the perfume of a garden with only a handful of ty
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Christopher
This book (along with its film adaptation) is infamously controversial. That's the one thing I knew about it before reading it. I speculated upon its possible blasphemies: might it propose a conspiracy between Jesus and his followers to fake Jesus's death and resurrection? Or connect dots between Christianity and Eastern mystical traditions? Or even place Jesus in a sexual relationship with one of his female groupies?

But the most surprising thing about this book is its utterly devout
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Moon Rose
THE POWER OF SUFFERING

As the wheel of life turns, sometimes one finds oneself at the very bottom. These are moments in one's life when emptiness engulfs it. As it devours the flesh, it plunges one's existence into an abysmal darkness, weakening the already wounded BODY thereby propelling the SPIRIT to awaken from its deep slumber...

Usually prompted by such inevitable events in life like an incurable disease, an excruciating physical or emotional pain, an utter loneliness or a self-imposed i
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David K. Lemons
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book at a very interesting time: I was working in Jeddah, about 600 hundred miles south of Judea, training Saudi soldiers on the Raytheon Hawk Missile program. I had just visited Greece the month before with a Greek colleague where we had to be discreet in discussing politics, for on April 21st the military staged a coup. Two months later Nasser of Egypt would attack Israel which caused his defeat and reversals all over the Middle East.
In 1965-66 I had visited Nazareth, Jerusalem, B
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Andrés Franco Medina-Mora
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
Kazantzakis at his best! This book is simply a master class of storytelling that shows why this author is one of the very few true masters of narrative.

This book has raised great controversy among the Christian and particularly the Catholic Church and devotees. However the way faith driven men and women interpret this book's message is a good indicator of those who read the scriptures and those who study the scriptures. The book frightens the God-fearing people who are intimidated by
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Amy Neftzger
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written fiction of the life of Christ that focuses on the human aspect of the savior. Rather than assuming that Jesus knew what would happen through the course of time, Kazantzakis shows how Jesus struggles with events and temptations and still manages to triumph. Aside from the beautifully written prose, what I liked most about this book is how it makes the person of Jesus more accessible to the average person by focusing on His struggles. In addition, the author does a wo ...more
Fede
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"This book is not a biography", wrote Kazantzakis in his introduction. "It is the confession of every man who (...) struggled, was much embittered in his life, and had many hopes."
His version of the synoptic Gospels is a masterpiece of literary expressionism indeed, a masterful display of writing skills ranging from a classical, old-school technique (reminding of the great 19th century novel) to an often modernist approach. What strikes the most here is obviously not the narrative; it's Kazantz
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Stacey
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had bought this book years ago, but after sitting on a bookshelf for years, I finally gave it away when I moved. Though I'd seen the movie and liked it, I just couldn't get myself to read it. When the banned book theme was added to this year's Goodreads challenge, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally sit down and read this masterpiece and I'm glad I did.

First of all, as a non-Christian and non-bible reader, I found the book extremely easy to read and the story o
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Kathryn
Mar 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who was raised catholic/christian
This book singlehandedly restored my faith in the historical Jesus and is absolutely the most spiritually affirming novel I have ever read. What better figure to explore the theme of sacrifice with other than Jesus? By the end of the book, you truly empathize with the burden this man carried as "God's chosen," frought with self-doubt and at times feeling like he was losing his mind; wanting desparately to live the "normal" life of a husband and father. A very sophisticated take on "torment" of d ...more
Tatiana
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I loved this book! It puzzles me deeply why some Christians didn't like it. Perhaps a statement such as "Christ is both fully divine and fully human" can sometimes sound fine to people as an idea, but we don't want to think through what that means in actuality. We still want to think of Christ as 100% divine and maybe 10, maybe 20% human. Heaven forbid that he be actually, you know, human!

I was raised Catholic, but was in my high school religious exploration phase, and was actually Buddhist a
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Logan
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book. I grew up Catholic and Jesus is always hitting me in the back of the head, but this book is good for all non-religious types (of which I definitely am despite the upbringing). I'm not sure how many translations into English are out there of this, or which one I read, but this book reads a lot of the time like prose poetry. Seriously beautiful. I remember wishing the Jesus in this book was the Jesus I was brought up with. That sort of response is why he got booted from the Orthodo ...more
Nicole Nardone
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ALL
this is a fantastic book! if you haven't concieved that the Gospels within the Bible and the stories taught in Sunday schools are just that--stories told & retold by humans, just as The Last Temptation of Christ is a story--this book will open your eyes to the idea that history and religion are not facts but interpretations of experience retold by human. The Last Temptation of Christ is more fictional than historical, but it forces you to question your paradigm through which you see and what ...more
J.M. Hushour
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What business do you have here? Why weren't you crucified? Coward! Deserter! Traitor! Was that all you accomplished? Have you no shame? I lift my fist and ask you: Why, why weren't you crucified?"

A fantastic novel made famous/infamous by the American Taliban's vehement and often violent protesting of its film version, "Last" is a stunning, beautiful, vehement, and emotionally violent look at the greatest What-If? of all.
But the titular last temptation, what if Christ decided t
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Smarti
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anybody having a personal or scholarly interest in christianity
This was a difficult book for me to tackle - I finally finished it yesterday and I am glad I stuck with it. In essence, this is a retelling of the life of Jesus Christ and of the ultimate necessity of his death. For me, for the most part of the book, Kazantzakis wrote a very spiritual novel, faithful to the gospels. As I am not really religious, some parts were really hard to get through, hence, I had to stop several times in order to read something in between. In the end, though, Kazantzakis do ...more
Virginia
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I told my mother (who is Catholic and protested the movie's release in the 80s) that if I had seen the movie or read the book when I was a kid, I would probably be a Christian today.

This book made Jesus more real to me than anything else ever did.

Additionally, it started a huge obsession with reading all of the biographies and historical accounts of Jesus that I could find, including about 15 different versions of the bible.

It is an amazing book.
Terence
I remember going to see the Willem Defoe version of Kazantzakis' novel when it first came out.

I have never quite understood why a certain strain of Christian condemns this book. In the end, the author affirms Christ's divinity and messianic mission.

I'm not a Christian myself (though raised Catholic and wanted to be a priest when I was 8 :-) but I enjoyed this book, and found it an intelligent consideration of what it means to be both God and Man.
Danny Tyran
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! And the movie was great too. Finally, a true living Jesus. Not just a metaphysical lie.
Eslam Abd Elghany
TILL WE MEET AGAIN...
CHris.T.o.S
KAZANTZAKI'S CHRIST IS A CHRIST I AM NOT FOND OF!!!I DONT EVEN WANNA REVIEW IT ALL BEEN SAID BEFORE,man what a waste of time.I dont feel less christian for reading it either way u can believe in whatever u want to.The issue with this book wasn't blasphemy it was stupidity.Anyway besides the retailing of the new testament it is not smthng special except Christ's final vision which i found extremely interesting.kazantzakis is a great writer his whole work is magnificent but u know what? whoever wr ...more
Erinn
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Banned by the Church? It's got to be good. AMAZING! Explores what would have happened if Christ had taken the temptation to end the crucifixion. It also gave an incredible perspective on Judas and his motivation to betray Christ. Fascinating.
Ade Bailey
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The most wonderful climax of Christ's temptation on the cross - a reverie on the temptations of respectability, status, wealth, human love, happy families..... and the tempting dreams of psychological security.
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Nikos Kazantzakis (Greek: Νίκος Καζαντζάκης ) was a prolific Greek writer, whose works include essays, novels, poems, tragedies, travel books, and translations of such classics as Dante's The Divine Comedy and J.W. von Goethe's Faust.

Like his hero, Odysseus, Kazantzakis lived most of his artistic life outside Greece-except for the years of World War II. "I am a mariner of Odysseus with heart of fire but wi
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“You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary—it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me."

Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?"

Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.”
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“When everyone drowns and I'm the only one to escape, God is protecting me. When everyone else is saved and I'm the only one to drown, God is protecting me then too.” 46 likes
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