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Gospel of Corax Hardcover – June 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; First Edition edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569470618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569470619
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,064,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The Gospel of Corax is the autobiography of a young man raised by a Roman apothecary after his father, a mercenary soldier, is captured and sold into slavery. The story opens with Corax fleeing across the Mediterranean, his master dead and his master's house in flames. Wanted for murder, Corax combines his escape with a pilgrimage of sorts to his father's birthplace in the Indian Himalayas. As an outlaw, he meets Jeshua of Nazareth, who accompanies Corax on his journey. The two encounter aristocrats, bandits, caravans plying the silk route, and barbarous Huns. They realize they are not only fleeing the Romans but are doing something more profound. Their quest for survival turns into an insatiable quest for knowledge.

From Publishers Weekly

Not many authors have the chutzpah to write an apocryphal gospel, certainly not one told by an engaging gay criminal sidekick of Jesus, but Park has done just that, with great verve and provocativeness, if not much theological good sense. Park's previous novels have been science fiction (Celestis, 1995, etc.); here, he uses his keen imaginative skills to blend historical fact with wild flights of fancy. A runaway Roman slave attempting to dodge his own psyche as well as the men out to capture him, Corax possesses a store of knowledge that runs wide and deep. He is fluent in many languages and is able to perform seemingly any medical procedure, talents that come in handy during his far-ranging and bloody journey. On the run, Corax rescues a still unknown Jesus from a Jewish jail, where he's being held on suspicion of treason. Together, the two trek to the foothills of the Himalayas, where Jesus' embryonic teachings are fully formed by Buddhist and other Eastern masters. This is a dark narrative, full of brutality and misery?so much, in fact, that at times the gruesomeness borders on the cartoonish (as does Corax's medical derring-do). What's more likely to rub some readers raw, though?besides Park's earthy depiction of Jesus?is the novel's claim of Eastern influence on Jesus' teaching (a claim not new with Park, but one with little evidentiary back-up), and its implied favoring of Buddhism over biblical religion. Yet Park is an accomplished storyteller, and through vivid imagery he manages to sweep readers back to rougher times, offering a memorable portrait of one man and a challenging one of the man he calls "rabbi." Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In Rome, a house burns. From the ruins scurries Corax, an escaped slave fleeing his master and his memories. He boards a ship and journeys to Caesaria, where he learns of a local character named Jeshua. Thus begins The Gospel Of Corax, an historical novel set during the missing years in the life of Jesus Christ.

Corax and Jeshua are forced by circumstances to travel together, and it is this journey that forms the heart of the novel. Two qualities in particular stand out. Park brings the world of the Middle East alive in a way that few historians could match. This is a vibrant culture with a flow of people and ideas from Imperial Rome to the Indian sub-continent and China. Second, as the narrative unfolds, the stories and parables of Christ emerge as from Jeshua's personal experience, gaining fresh meaning in the process. How much more poignant is the story of the good Samaritan if Jesus himself had assaulted someone, and then watched while others passed by, offering no help to the injured man?

Those who insist on a strict adherence to tradition will find it easy to dislike Park's all too human portrayal of the life and teachings of Christ. But those with a taste for speculation will find much to enjoy and think about in this well written, provocative novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Paul Park creates a fascinating vision of the spiritual life of the first century b.c. Ostensibly, it is a novel of the journey of an escaped slave, Corax, and Jesus, called by his Hebrew name, Jeshua. Park uses this setup as a vehicle for exploring the religious landscape of the lands through which the two travel. They encounter Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and many other beliefs. Park uses Jeshua's interactions and Corax's commentary to highlight the ideas attributed to Jesus that can also be found in other religions.
Park's book is an excellent, fast read, chock full of information but also managing to not be too ponderous or too preachy. It's an intelligent and unique look at the religious atmosphere of the time of Jesus, highlighting parallels among several different traditions
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Stephen Dwyer on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Corax is an ex-slave on the lamb in this interesting first-person narrative. He lives in Roman society at a time when professional skills - literacy, chemistry, medicine, surgery and astronomy - were sometimes the province of well-kept slaves rather than free citizens. These same skills serve Corax well in his trek across the ancient Middle East as he plays many roles to keep his freedom and his life. Whether he's acting as a thief and prostitute or a healer and diplomat, Corax's story is sprinkled with satisfying historical, practical, and metaphysical commentary.

His traveling companion is Jeshu of Nazareth, a large bear of a man with more differences than similarities to the biblical Jesus. Drummed out of a band of outcasts, the Nazarene is an eccentric, solitary figure who follows Corax all the way to the Himalayas. Along the way they meet rogue Jewish kings, Zoroastrian mystics, Buddhist and Confucian priests, and other players in the religions revolutions that characterized the age of Augustus.

The Gospel of Corax is a well-detailed blend of historical fiction and euhumerized myth in the tradition of Robert Graves and Mary Renault. Antiquity buffs especially should enjoy this tale of enlightened fugitives in a vibrant, classical mileau.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Homer D. Klong on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I almost threw this book away after about 50 pages, being a Christian and all, because it portrays Jesus, at first, as a hulking member of a gang of murderers and John the Baptist as a degenerate. That's a bit much. But I have an interest in the ancient lands where the story was to unfold, acoording to the flyleaf, and I know that some authors take a while to hit their stride. And indeed the writing gets better and better as one proceeds, as the author takes us through obscure lands of the east at the time of Christ, sprinkling his story with obscure characters from historical writings, for example those of Josephus. Dusty ancient beliefs and philososphies are brought to life through energetic characters we meet along the way. The ending seems a bit arbitrary, but at least there is a lot of action.
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