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G.B. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why is The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis written in 1953 included in
    the Index of Prohibited Books?

The Last Temptation of Christ film in 1988 was based on it and we watched it in class.

I liked how it made Jesus actually appear as human as I am, then in the back of your mind you need to remember he is also God's manifestation.

Thanks for the time to review my question!


  { Why is The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis included in the Index of Prohibited Books? }

Eric replied:

Dear G.B.,

I'm not sure whether you're more interested in:

  • the book
  • the movie, or
  • both.

I haven't read the book. I believe I saw the movie over 20 years ago and I have read many reviews based on it. It portrays Christ as a deeply flawed person. At one point he says, in the movie, Lucifer is inside of me. The real Jesus would not say that!

Here is just a brief but damning criticism of the film:

Chapter 125 — The Media: Anti-Christian Propaganda Corps by the American Life League.

Look under the following sections in the above web page:

  • Examples Of Anti-Christian Statements Made By Media Representatives, and
  • Anti-Christian Bias of the Motion Picture Industry > Autobiographical Idiocy.

Martin Scorsese's ballyhooed film failure "The Last Temptation of Christ" portrayed Jesus as a weak, waffling sinner who leans on Judas for strength.

Jesus is portrayed as a sado-masochist, a collaborator/quisling, a voyeur, a bigamist, and an indecisive wimp. One of his conversations with Judas (significantly the hero of the film) goes as follows:

"Where's your pride?"
"I don't have any pride. I disobey the Commandments."
"And who will pay for your sins?"
"With my life. I don't have anything else. I don't know. I'm struggling."

After he retreats into the desert, Jesus says:

"I'm a liar, a hypocrite, I'm afraid of everything. I don't ever tell the truth; I don't have the courage. I don't steal and kill, not because I don't want to, but because I'm afraid. My god is fear, look inside me and that's all you'll find. Lucifer is inside me."

  • This should be offensive to everyone who loves Christ, don't you agree?
  • What is it that makes you feel it portrays Jesus as human as I am, specifically?

Orthodox Christianity definitely holds that Jesus is human, in all things but sin, as Scripture says.

Perhaps it's useful to look at things this way:

To sin is really to be less than human, and Jesus, being human yet without sin, was the most fully human being who ever lived. We who believe and persevere to the end in salvation will likewise be transformed into fully human beings in the life to come, leaving our imperfections and sinfulness behind. So Jesus, in being without sin, is more human than we are! — and the more we sin, the less human — the more inhuman — we become.

I note that you said that Jesus is God's manifestation.

This is not really correct from a Catholic perspective; Jesus is not just a manifestation of God.

He is fully God, so much so that we can say that God died on the Cross.


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