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1001 book reviews > Barabbas - Lagerkvist

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Kristel (kristelh) | 4116 comments Mod
Read 2012: This story is about Barabbas, the man who was released from prison instead of releasing Jesus. Barabbas was the scapegoat. I never thought about what Barabbas may have thought and how his life may have been affected. This short tale gives us a look at the man Barabbas, the man acquitted. Pär Lagerkvist is a Swedish author. This book was added with the second edition. My guess is because he was Swedish and could represent that country. The story was written in 1951 and Mr Lagerkvist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1951. I don’t think a book like this would be written today and it would never win the Nobel Prize. The author writes this story with historical accuracy especially about Roman rule. The first part takes the reader to the crucifixion and after that switches to the focus on Barabbas. At first Barabbas watches the crucifixion, then he tries to figure out the followers of Jesus. The Christians are not represented well. The author shows them at biased and unloving even though they talk about Jesus taught love. Then Barabbas finally disappears and we find him a slave in mind where he is chained to a man who is a Christian. The slaves have a metal necklace around their necks that identify them as slaves of the Roman government. Barabbas’s partner has ‘Christos Iesus’ on it. Barabbas has ‘Christos Iesus’ scratched unto the back of his metal. Later, when they are brought before the Governor, the partner tells the governor that he is a slave to Jesus, Barabbas tells the governor that he put it on his metal ‘because I want to believe’ but he doesn’t believe. His partner is crucified and Barabbas is released and made a personal slave of the governor and taken back to Rome upon the retirement of the governor. The author reportedly struggled with his own lack of faith. This book is about a crisis of belief. Barabbas feared the realm of the dead and the final pages finds Barabbas in the catacombs looking for the Christians and ends with the great fire of Rome. He is arrested and crucified as a martyr of a faith he doesn’t understand.

Tatjana JP | 293 comments This was a short read. The theme is pretty unusual. It follows Barabbas, who was convicted to death, but released instead of Jesus. It depicts early Christianity among slaves and poor people. Barabbas spends his whole life alone, and dies as a slave who wants to believe, giving at the final moments his soul to Jesus.
Rating: 3 stars.

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