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The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by…

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991)

by José Saramago

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English (21)  Spanish (5)  Italian (5)  Dutch (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  Slovenian (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This book presented the life story of Jesus in a very unconventional way. The style of writing, like that in another of Saramago's novels, Blindness, is at times very difficult to follow. It consists of very long paragraphs with little punctuation and no quotation marks. It is also a somewhat rambling stream of consciousness style.
With that said, I still liked the book, or maybe I should say that I was fascinated by the narration. Jesus is human, very human. In fact, I am not sure that he ever completely understood or accepted his divinity. He "knew" that he was divine, but I do not think that he comprehended what that really meant. There were some very interesting twists on the Scripture stories that we all know so well. One example, without giving too much away - Joseph experienced extreme and long-lasting guilt after he saved his own family but did not warn others that Herod was going to kill all the baby boys. The novel presents many Scriptural stories from a very different perspective. This probably should be a 3.5 instead of a 3. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
José Saramago is an atheist, but his version of the story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus is written with compassion and respect for the historic characters. This is not as blasphemous as it might apprear. I don't know what to make of everything I read, though. It is a fascinating tale of Jesus' birth and early upbringing, half realistic half mythical, but with a believable realism at heart. Joseph's dilemma of whether to save his son or save all little boys in Bethlehem is among the most potent parts of the novel, pondering if sin, guilt and shame can be inherited. Mary is not much of a goddess in Saramago's version, but nevertheless a believable character, as is Mary Magdalene, who is Jesus' lover and most loyal companion. Jesus' rebellion against the Jewish God and Devil is weird, but also where it gets most interesting. The conversation between God, Satan and Jesus out on the Genesaret sea, gives a chilling description of everything that later happens in the name of religion, particularly the Christian religion, but also Islam, an important reminder for contemporary readers of how religion has stolen so many lives and created so much misery, so many wars, and is still the main reason why this world is being torn apart even today. I believe Saramaga's fascination with the setting and the story, is because this is where it all started, the nucleus of the troubles. In a kind of contrafactual way he at leas indicates what could have been avoided. For me, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, is Saramago's most complicated book, still very readable. ( )
  petterw | Jul 7, 2015 |
Uma visão isenta sobre a vida do homem Jesus, baseada nos relatos bíblicos.

José Saramago apresenta um Jesus mais humano, passível de erros, culpas e conflitos interiores. Continua sendo o iluminado, o fazedor de milagres mas hesita e até questiona suas próprias capacidades e os motivos pelos quais as tem. As principais passagens bíblicas referentes a Jesus são retratadas aqui, mas sem a aura de exaltação e deslumbramento comuns de textos religiosos.

Alguns personagens do livro e suas características: José, pai de Jesus, carrega por toda a sua vida a culpa por ter salvo apenas o seu filho no dia em que todos os primogênitos foram assassinados brutalmente. Madalena é a companheira de Jesus, fiel até o momento em que percebem que não é possível viver de milagres. Jesus, um homem inteligente e bondoso, , aceita resignado a volta de Madalena a sua profissão e aguenta as humilhações sofridas devido a sua vida pouco ortodoxa. Um excelente livro que não tem a pretensão de fazer alguém perder sua fé, mas a de mostrar como teria sido a vida deste homem extraordinário de um ponto de vista humano e não divino. ( )
  Binderman | Aug 16, 2014 |
The life of Jesus re-created with the “blank spaces left by the other gospels filled in”, so Saramago. The guilt of Joseph is inherited by his son. The son is a tool in the hands of God, the father, who claims him, a merciless God of the Old Testament, determined to extend his power beyond the small tribe of the Israelites. God and the Devil barter like they did over Job, but also the Devil benefits from the extension of God’s power: one needs the other. The Devil appears often more compassionate than God. God is the God of the past, the present, the future: nobody can escape their destiny determined by God, neither Mary, neither Joseph, neither Jesus, neither the apostles including Judas, who is sacrificing himself by offering to carry out Jesus’ wish: one of them has to do it after all.
It is a brilliant novel! I like the way Saramago writes: the gospel is told by description, by dialog, by thoughts, interlaced with wry comments of the narrator.
You need to count yourself among Nietzsche’s ‘freie Geister’ to appreciate this book. This can neither be said of the Catholic Church nor the 1992 Government of Portugal. (VI-14) ( )
1 vote MeisterPfriem | Jun 26, 2014 |
A somewhat annoying read given Saramago's stylistic choice of long paragraphs with little punctuation, it still moves surprisingly quick, and there are strikingly beautiful passages and meditations spread liberally throughout. The very concept of the book is ingenious, and he pulls it off in a satisfying way, creating a vivid and realistic portrait of Jesus' life. I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of some of the famous miracles and apparitions, which he often paints in a more mundane (though equally miraculous) light. The narrative is awkward at times, partly because Saramago chooses to vacillate between present and past tense almost inexplicably, partly because he makes anachronistic asides to the reader. But it works wonderfully when he stays true to Jesus' own time period.

SPOILER -- The ending was disappointing. The conversation between Jesus, God and the Devil on the boat (which I consider the climax) struck me as a rather childish criticism of Christianity -- that God is a power-hungry egomaniac who created Jesus only to bring him more followers. Ballsy maybe, given Saramago's Catholic environment, but I had the same thoughts in high school and have since moved on. Jesus' inner rebellion against God is interesting to be sure, but I wish it had been developed further, and the ending explained a little more fully. As it is, the ending confirmed what I had suspected in the beginning after various subtle satiric jabs: Saramago is in many ways a more lyrical and elegant version of Mark Twain. Or would that just be Mark Twain, Romance Language Edition? ( )
  blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156001411, Paperback)

A wry, fictional account of the life of Christ by Nobel laureate José Saramago


A brilliant skeptic, José Saramago envisions the life of Jesus Christ and the story of his Passion as things of this earth: A child crying, the caress of a woman half asleep, the bleat of a goat, a prayer uttered in the grayish morning light. His idea of the Holy Family reflects the real complexities of any family, and—as only Saramago can—he imagines them with tinges of vision, dream, and omen. The result is a deft psychological portrait that moves between poetry and irony, spirituality and irreverence of a savior who is at once the Son of God and a young man. In this provocative, tender novel, the subject of wide critical discussion and wonder, Saramago questions the meaning of God, the foundations of the Church, and human existence itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:14 -0400)

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Fictional life of Jesus mixes magic, myth and reality.

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