Alex Csicsek's Reviews > The Gospel According to Jesus Christ

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago
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's review
Jan 16, 2009

it was amazing
Read in November, 2008

Excellent. A profoundly philosophical book with a terrific sense of humor and compassion for human foibles. The interaction and history between God and the Anti-Christ, especially in the scene in the boat, raises some very interesting questions about the interdependent relationship and blurred distinctions between good and evil. His treatment of gnosticism puts some tough questions to believers in most brands of Christianity.

In addition to those broad philosophic topics the book is a great read for anyone interested in Biblical studies. My personal interest has always been source criticism and reading from that prespective was a fun little exercise in reconstructive postulating, but I could also see how textual critics could get alot out of this too. Saramago has basically constructed the story of what the life of Jesus may actually have been like. As such the ministry and passion only constitutes a small percentage of the pages and Jesus's early life, as well as the backstory of Joseph and Mary, forms most of text. He used the Synoptic gospels (or at least I couldn't identify anything found only in John or the apocrypha) and extra-Biblical sources including what modern historians have taught us of the life and times of Jesus. I should also note that Saramago allows for the supernatural and the existence of deities, but he does so in a way that is telling the story on their terms, ie as the events of the life of Jesus the man would be understood by a Jew living in Roman Galilee.

It's really a nice little book, I'd recommend it to people who have given any thought to ethics (by which in this case I mean the study of good and evil) or Christianity.
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