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The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ
First UK trans. edition cover - titled
1st UK edition
Author Nikos Kazantzakis
Original title O Teleutaios Peirasmos
Translator Peter A. Bien (US)
Country Greece
Language Greek
Genre Religion, Historical novel
Publisher Simon and Schuster (USA) & Bruno Cassirer (UK)
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 506 pp (first edition, hardback)
ISBN ISBN 0-684-85256-X
OCLC 38925790

The Last Temptation of Christ (or The Last Temptation) is a historical novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1955.[1] It was first published in English in 1960.[2] It follows the life of Jesus Christ from Jesus's own perspective. The novel has been the subject of a great deal of controversy due to its subject matter, and appears regularly on lists of banned books.[3]

The central thesis of the book is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. Kazantzakis argues in the novel's preface that by facing and conquering all of man's weaknesses, Jesus struggled to do God's will without ever giving into the temptations of the flesh. The novel advances the argument that, had Jesus succumbed to any such temptation, especially the opportunity to save himself from the cross, his life would have held no more significance than that of any other philosopher.


  • Film version 1
  • In popular culture 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Film version

In 1988, an equally controversial film adaptation by Martin Scorsese was released, which starred Willem Dafoe as Jesus and Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot.[4]

In popular culture

It is discussed in The Da Vinci Code when in a flashback Sophie remembers her grandfather defending the film version.[5]

In The X Files episode "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati", Fox Mulder has a hallucination that Earth has been colonized by the aliens. His hallucination of the colonization bears a resemblance to the intended theme of the novel.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Athenai: Diphros, 1955.
  2. ^ New York: Simon Schuster Inc., 1960.
  3. ^ Bald, Margaret (2006). Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds. Banned Books Volume 2 (revised ed.). New York: Facts on File. pp. 179–181.  
  4. ^ Deans, Jason (17 December 2003). "Scorsese movie tops TV complaints list".  
  5. ^ Miesel, Sandra (31 August 2003). "Dismantling the Da Vinci Code". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  6. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (1 December 2012). "'The Sixth Extinction'/'The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati'".  

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