In Kazantzakis’ lively version of Christ’s life, Jesus’ mother wishes only that his spiritual struggles don’t get in the way of his marrying a nice girl and giving her grandchildren she can parade in the Biblical equivalent of the park.  She never quite comes to terms with her off-beat son let alone his messianic pretensions.

I laughed when I read this attempt by her brother-in-law, the wise rabbi of Nazareth, to reason with her.  He is one of the first to have an inkling that Jesus may be the Messiah and not just delusional.

“Mary,” he said severely, “if God listened to mothers we would all rot away in a bog of security and easy living …”

See also another such exchange between the fretful mother and the wise rabbi.

Source: Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation, trans. P.A. Bien (London: Faber and Faber, 1983), p. 69

Photo credit: WolfBlur at


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