Journal Article

Crucified by God: Kazantzakis and the Last <i>Anfechtung</i> of Christ*

Simon D. Podmore

in Literature and Theology

Volume 22, issue 4, pages 419-435
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Crucified by God: Kazantzakis and the Last Anfechtung of Christ*

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Christ's struggles in Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation against temptations of the flesh and trials of the spirit can be read as a post/modern analogy of the differentiation—as formulated by Martin Luther and reaffirmed by Søren Kierkegaard—between earthly ‘temptation’ [Versuchung] and divinely instigated spiritual trial [Anfechtung]. Moreover, Kazantzakis's novel enriches previous literature on Anfechtung by vividly and appositely illustrating how Anfechtung and temptation may coexist antagonistically within the same trial of Christ. Through this Kierkegaardian-Lutheran lens, Kazantzakis's novel may thus be read as evocatively transcribing a humanistic rendition of the angefochtene Christus which implicitly collapses the ‘infinite qualitative difference’ between humanity and divinity so essential to Kierkegaard's own modern rehabilitation of the archaic notion of Anfechtung.

‘God himself is crucifying him!’1

Journal Article.  7576 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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