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The Gospel According To Jesus Christ (Panther) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (2 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860466842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860466847
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Profound and poignant" (Independent)

Book Description

A reissue of Saramago's fictionalized account of the life of Jesus

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book draws your attention the minute you start reading the first few pages, a description of a medieval painting of a crucifixion scene. From thereon, you are embroiled in a clever mixture of fiction and biblical myth, masterfully conjoining a beautiful story with shards proferred by the gospels.
Saramago has developed a velvet like way of writing which is often difficult to read over prolonged periods. The absence of standard punctuation and paragraphs make it reminiscent of Beckett, and his use of language is comparable to that other winner of the Nobel prize. Read this book just for its beautiful descriptive passages, the delicate love story, the distrust of power and its groundedness in humanity.
It will linger with you for months after.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By "apollovilaji" on 14 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a magnificent novel, worthy of comparison with that other great Jesus novel, Kazantzakis' "The Last Temptation". Saramago's theme is fairly common, one that has worried theologians for centuries: how can a loving god permit so much evil and suffering to exist in the world? The real villain of the book is not the devil, who seems almost sympathetic, a reluctant accomplice in the divine scheme, but the old testament Jehovah, a tyrant willing to sacrifice no end of martyrs, beginning with his own son, to achieve his ends. Saramago has faith in the goodness of people, perhaps indicative of his communist sympathies; there are several instances in the narrative where strangers come to the aid of the young Jesus as he goes in search of his ancestry and his destiny; he is sympathetic too with Joseph, whose guilt about not warning the parents of the murdered innocents results in an untimely death. All but the most liberal Christians will be offended by this book, and many will dismiss it as a communist indictment of religion. If, however, you can accept the book's didactic purpose, its passionate disavowal of the idea that there is any kind of divine grace or love, you will be enchanted by Saramago's wordy, often unpunctuated style, his wry, ironical tone, and his brilliant weaving of realist and mythical elements, complete with lengthy "evangelical" glosses. The best novel I have read since "One Hundred Years Of Solitude".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Howells on 3 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese writer Saramago is at his best in this novel. Typical of his style, a well-known event is an opportunity for a fictional work where the fragility of our beliefs is exposed with humour and empathy - there isn't an unconditional truth, it all can change depending on the way we look at it. In this deep and controversial story we meet a Jesus Christ who is altruistic and giving but more human than divine - a religious truth looked at from a different angle. From a literary point of view, this is a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Marsden on 14 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"It's your parents that mess you up" is a well known maxim, or more accurately, "It's your upbringing that messes you up" and in the case of Saramago's The Gospel According To Jesus it's the fault of his two fathers.

Jesus' biblical story is re-told by an unnamed `evangelist' at pains to detail his early life so that the reader can understand his subsequent actions. The guilt suffered by Joseph by not warning the parents of Bethlehem of Herod's intended massacre of the innocents drives and haunts him throughout his life and becomes Jesus' inheritance. The angst of Jesus continues through much of the book and is later replaced by the demands of his second Father, God. These demands are transmuted into guilt for the future deaths and sufferings of many thousands of people when Jesus begins to understand God's plan to start a world encompassing religion using his son's life and death.

If God made man in his image, then God must be made in man's image - and if this is so, then he must act with all the faults and errors of a man though with more power. This logic informs the final third of the novel once God has made his divine plan known.

The narrator also picks at the many holes in the Gospels' accounts using logic and reasoning. But this is not the real purpose of this novel - after all many other writers from Thomas Paine to Christopher Hitchens have obliterated any claim the Bible may have had to be either a true account of a divinely written text. The central aim in this book is to answer the question "Who is God and why does he allow such evil, misery and suffering in the world?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Negulescu on 23 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read this book a couple of years ago, and it still stays with me, bits of it flash by in my mind every day at one point or another. For those who can digest a less than dogmatic view of God, Jesus and the Fallen Angel, and have a good sense of humour , then this book is an absolute delight!
Nothing is absolute, nothing is black and white, and it all just alters depending on the perspective you're looking at it. We all know that, nothing new there, but Jose Saramago does it beautifully and boldly to a subject that is so divisive in human history, you hear the sharp intakes of breath and murmurs of - `how dares he?'
I loved every minute of it, even some of the more long drawn passages.
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