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Christ Recrucified: A Novel Paperback – January 3, 1998
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About the Author
Nikos Kazantzakis was born in 1883 in Herakleion on the island of Crete. During the Cretan revolt of 1897 his family was sent to the island of Naxos, where he attended the French School of the Holy Cross. From 1902 to 1906 he studied law at Athens University. He worked first as a journalist and throughout a long career wrote several plays, travel journals and translations. His remarkable travels began in 1907 and there were few countries in Europe or Asia that he didn't visit. He studied Buddhism in Vienna and later belonged to a group of radical intellectuals in Berlin, where he began his great epic The Odyssey, which he completed in 1938. He didn't start writing novels until he was almost 60 and completed his most famous work, Zorba the Greek, in 1946. Other novels include Freedom and Death (1953) and The Last Temptation (1954), which the Vatican placed on the Index. Return to Greco, an autobiographical novel, was published in 1961.Nikos Kazantzakis finally settled in Antibes with his second wife, and died there from leukaemia in October 1957. He is buried at Herakleion, where the epitaph on his tomb reads: 'I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free'.
Top Customer Reviews
This novel is set in a little Greek village during the time of the Turkish occupation. Starting with the assignment of roles of villagers to play in the annual passion play, the novel turns into a real passion play.
The village elders, a dismal lot of overfed, oppressive, back- biting types, pick various villagers to play roles in the once- every-seven-years passion play. However, Manolios (chosen to be Christ for his gentle looks) and three friends, chosen as apostles, are humbled by the honor and inspired to begin to struggle with God's will. The crisis is provided by a band of refugees from another village. Run out by the Turks, they seek sanctuary in this village only to be refused both land and food by the village elders who fear their corrupting influence and the loss of revenue. The contradiction between the words of Christ, and the actions of those who claim leadership of the church and the village lead Manolios and his friends to ask dangerous questions. The elders, as elders tend to do, are reluctant to give up any power, and not inclined to accept theological analysis from those who they command. Eventually, the passion is acted out for real, with Manolios accused of treason and the sleepy Turkish overlord acting the part of Pilate to perfection.
Liberation Theology is a term we associate with the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America, but I would suggest that this work, dating from 1953, has anticipated the movement in amazing detail. Such standard concepts of Liberation Theology as "the preferential option for the poor," "base communities," reading the Bible out of experience rather than theology, and so forth, are portrayed here as Manolios and his friends struggle with what God has to say to them.
Profound, harrowing, and bursting with the fullness of the human heart-- also boisterous, merry, and bitingly satiric.
And Unceasingly Entertaining.
The year leading up to Easter week and the performance of the town's Passion Play finds the people of this Ottoman-occupied Greek village becoming transformed by Christ's story, as author Kazantzakis' novel encapsules the very history of the Christian Church.
His is a fiercely nature-centric vision of Man's rude and clamorous confrontation with the struggle for right-ness, for rightousness in the face of smothering societal hypocrisy.
Funny and sardonic, shocking and brutal, and often deeply beautiful, Christ Recrucified get's my highest recommendation.