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King Jesus (FSG Classics) Paperback – 1 Oct 1981

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc (1 Oct. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780374516642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374516642
  • ASIN: 0374516642
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 746,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The knowledge of a scholar and the imagination of a poet are brought to bear upon Jesus as a child, boy and man (Guardian)

Written with simplicity and reverence (Time) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, translator, and critic. His many books include the historical novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God, the autobiography Good-bye to All That, and the mythic/literary studies The White Goddess and The Greek Myths.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading this book is a rewarding challenge. It's weird, esoteric, and somehow simultaneously iconoclastic and reverent. As is often the case with Graves, it's clear that he's done a lot of serious research, and from there has gone off on his own curious tangents. (It looks like he got some material from Robert Eisler's book from the '20s, "The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist"). Graves's methods drive some scholars crazy, because they want a clear line drawn between the research and the tangents. "King Jesus" is clearly more propaganda for Graves's "White Goddess" theology, but as propaganda it's great fun. Indulge Graves early on in the book--material that may seem pointless eventually does inform what follows. With few exceptions, the book is sympathetic to Judaism, but the exceptions should not be read as anti-Semitism; rather, the reader should recognize that Graves is equally discriminatory towards all religions where they don't gibe with his White Goddess-ism.
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By A Customer on 6 Jun. 1997
Format: Paperback
It is doubtful if there is any man alive today who could write a book which equaled "King Jesus" as
an intellectual virtuoso performance. The work is a dazzling display of esoteric scholarship, poerty and imagination which leaves the reader breathless at the sheer audacity of its mystical logic. This is a most important book which should be read by anyone interested in looking beyond stock theology.
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Format: Paperback
I am quite surprised no-one else has commented on how Robert Graves explored the issue of Jesus' supposed marriage to Mary Magdelene and its connection to the more ancient cult of Goddess Worship long before Dan Brown. It isn't just Nag Hammadi and the Gnostics who should be credited for the Da Vinci Code.
On both a literary and mythological level King Jesus is by far superior to the Da Vinci Code and infinitely more controversial and thought provoking.
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Format: Paperback
Published in 1946 - but never mentioned. Roots Christianity in Jewish and Hellenistic traditions. Like most of Graves' work, a monumental reconstruction that resonates with scholarship. Totally ignored by other biblical and cultural commentators. Never assimilated because he is too challenging, his knowledge of poetry and myth is too deep and encyclopaedic and makes other 'scholars' look like frauds. Try his 'White Goddess' or 'The Nazarene Gospel Restored' - if you can get hold of the latter at all.
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Format: Paperback
In King Jesus, Graves returns to the genre of historical fiction that he had mined so effectively with the Claudius novels and Count Belisarius and writes a near contemporaneous companion to the former. There are immediate similarities to his other novels in that he takes a fairly radical, revisionist approach to an historical figure. In this instance, he posits that Jesus was not only the spiritual King of the Jews but also the heir to the Herodic throne, consequentially the familiar story of the New Testament plays out through a largely political prism, with many of the miracles explained through metaphor, slander or Gentile propaganda.

There are, however, differences from the other historical recreations. Graves' writes in a purposefully archaic approach, evoking the Tyndale translations of the Gospels. This particular medium makes the novel dense with information and undertakes long, meandering tangents that only eventually integrate with the core plot. The result of this is a somewhat disjointed book with characters that are difficult to empathise with, not least the prophetic Jesus who is steeped in Judaic law and theology.

Further compounding the challenge is the sheer volume of research evident on every page. Graves' command of 1st Century religious minutiae is breath taking but this does not make it easy for the reader less steeped in the subject. The difficulty is compounded by Graves' use of his own White Goddess philosophy to help fill in the gaps left by the passing of two millennia.

King Jesus is a bit of an oddity; as much an intellectual exercise in historical research and hypothesis as it is a novel. Clearly huge passion and reams of research have gone into constructing it, making it an interesting but fairly challenging book to read.
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By A Customer on 27 Nov. 1997
Format: Paperback
Robert Graves' writings are all fascinating, but this one is unique. You do not have to be a biblical scholar or history fan to enjoy this presentation of Mr. Graves' ideas. Well researched and provacative - not for the easily offended. Read it and form YOUR opinion!
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Format: Paperback
Easy reading this ain't, especially while you're first trying to get into it, but it's hard to think of a more rewarding way to spend your time and intellectual effort. The research is astonishing, the hypothesis is brilliant and revelatory, the theology flawless and the narrative lucid and inspiring. Moreover despite Graves' atheism the novel remains utterly respectful of Jesus Christ. A riveting book which I expect to continue to bore my friends by quoting for probably the rest of my life.
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Format: Paperback
We can name it an historical novel of Jesus Christ. Graves rejects plainly the myth of the Jesus' birth from a virgin and build a plot of mistery, murder and superstition that is readable 100%.
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