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DOI 10.12887/29-2016-4-116-14

Sławomir BOBOWSKI – A Demythologization of Jesus? The Anti-Gospel According to José Saramago

Cena brutto: 7,00 PLN

The dispute over Jesus, which is also a dispute over the existence of the sacred reality, has continued since the age of Enlightenment. The very first works intended to demonstrate that Jesus was a merely historical figure were created in the early nineteenth century. Until now, thousands of books have been published all over the world proving the validity of this claim, and other thousands in order to abolish it. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the ‘debate’ in question was transferred to the domain of literary fiction. Side by side with novels intended to evangelize the readers, such as Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died (1957), there appeared several novels engaging in a polemic with the Gospel tradition, some of them even meant to compromise it. Among them is José Saramago’s The Gospel According To Jesus Christ (1991), an openly secular novel, only subtly, however, undermining the sacred tradition. The author succeeds in pointing to some of its weaknesses (or quasi-weaknesses), such as: (1) the inaccuracy of the message of the Gospel, (2) the overtly oppressive attitude of Christianity towards sexuality, hindering the recognition of one’s own identity (in the case of the novel the person suffering this oppression is Jesus), (3) too rigid a separation of good and evil, which is perceived from the secular, rational-empirical perspective as artificial and incompatible with the liquid, free-floating reality lacking sharp boundaries. The fictional Jesus rebels against God, the Father, and, discouraged by numerous ‘fallibilities’ of the divine project, refuses to carry his yoke. However, having focused on the personal growth of his protagonist, on his quest for freedom and self-fulfillment, the author ignores the most significant elements of the story of Jesus, namely, the call for mercy, the commandment to love one’s neighbor, and the call not to be focused on oneself.

Keywords: historical Jesus, Jesus of the Gospels, the sacred, atheism, theism, novel, freedom, self-fulfillment, mercy, love

Contact: Zakład Teorii Kultury i Sztuk Widowiskowych,
Instytut Filologii Polskiej, Wydział Filologiczny, Uniwersytet Wrocławski,
pl. Nankiera 15, 50-149 Wrocław, Poland

E-mail: slawbob@wp.pl; slawomir.bobowski@uwr.edu.pl
Phone: + 48 71 7945033

Pliki do pobrania:

» 116_Bobowski.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887