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Gospel Of Corax [Paperback]

Paul Park
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 17 1997
As seen through the eyes of Corax, a runaway Roman slave skilled in the healing arts, Jeshua is a burly Essene falsely accused of betraying his fellow rebels. Forced to flee Palestine, Jeshua encounters Corax, the real betrayer, on the perilous road east, and the two become unlikely traveling companions. Corax is headed for the source of the sacred Ganges River, whose purifying waters flow through the country of his father's birth. Jeshua is on a different kind of journey altogether-one of spiritual growth and self-discovery. As they cross the chaotic remnants of Alexander's empire, eluding violent Scythians and Huns, encountering Zoroastrian magi and Buddhist sages, Jeshua undergoes a gradual metamorphosis from rebel into mystic. And by the the time the two reach the foothills of the Himalayas, Jeshua is ready to return to Palestine and take up his mission.

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From Amazon

The Gospel of Corax is the autobiography of a young man raised by a Roman apothecary after his father, a mercenary soldier, is captured and sold into slavery. The story opens with Corax fleeing across the Mediterranean, his master dead and his master's house in flames. Wanted for murder, Corax combines his escape with a pilgrimage of sorts to his father's birthplace in the Indian Himalayas. As an outlaw, he meets Jeshua of Nazareth, who accompanies Corax on his journey. The two encounter aristocrats, bandits, caravans plying the silk route, and barbarous Huns. They realize they are not only fleeing the Romans but are doing something more profound. Their quest for survival turns into an insatiable quest for knowledge. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Not many authors have the chutzpah to write an apocryphal gospel, certainly not one told by an engaging gay criminal sidekick of Jesus, but Park has done just that, with great verve and provocativeness, if not much theological good sense. Park's previous novels have been science fiction (Celestis, 1995, etc.); here, he uses his keen imaginative skills to blend historical fact with wild flights of fancy. A runaway Roman slave attempting to dodge his own psyche as well as the men out to capture him, Corax possesses a store of knowledge that runs wide and deep. He is fluent in many languages and is able to perform seemingly any medical procedure, talents that come in handy during his far-ranging and bloody journey. On the run, Corax rescues a still unknown Jesus from a Jewish jail, where he's being held on suspicion of treason. Together, the two trek to the foothills of the Himalayas, where Jesus' embryonic teachings are fully formed by Buddhist and other Eastern masters. This is a dark narrative, full of brutality and misery?so much, in fact, that at times the gruesomeness borders on the cartoonish (as does Corax's medical derring-do). What's more likely to rub some readers raw, though?besides Park's earthy depiction of Jesus?is the novel's claim of Eastern influence on Jesus' teaching (a claim not new with Park, but one with little evidentiary back-up), and its implied favoring of Buddhism over biblical religion. Yet Park is an accomplished storyteller, and through vivid imagery he manages to sweep readers back to rougher times, offering a memorable portrait of one man and a challenging one of the man he calls "rabbi." Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Gospel of Corax Aug. 29 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
2,000 years ago, a Roman-born slave named Corax escapes Rome after either: 1) his master kills himself; or 2) he kills his master (we're never told which one is absolutely true). Corax journeys to Palestine and becomes renowned as a healer and shifty miracle man. He encounters Jesus (known as "Jeshua"), steals his money, escapes from many evil, violent slave-chasers (who are after him for the crime of killing his master), and then journeys with Jeshua towards the area of the Far East, which is now known as the Himilayas. I disliked this book intensely. The writing style is as heavy and gray as boulders, and the author goes to GREAT lengths to describe bodily discharges, to make it sound "honest." About 90% of the story is LENGTHY descriptions of either the land traveled through, or deteriorating broken human bodies, with extensive references to all kinds of ancient "gods," and very little interesting interaction amongst the main characters. Park introduces about 20 vocabulary words of ancient reference, which he never defines, which is frustrating. The author seems to take pride in reversing every single myth about Jesus, just for the sake of doing just that, and gives zero insight into Jesus's character, or growth. I was extremely disappointed and annoyed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting journey through ancient lands Aug. 28 2000
Format:Paperback
I almost threw this book away after about 50 pages, being a Christian and all, because it portrays Jesus, at first, as a hulking member of a gang of murderers and John the Baptist as a degenerate. That's a bit much. But I have an interest in the ancient lands where the story was to unfold, acoording to the flyleaf, and I know that some authors take a while to hit their stride. And indeed the writing gets better and better as one proceeds, as the author takes us through obscure lands of the east at the time of Christ, sprinkling his story with obscure characters from historical writings, for example those of Josephus. Dusty ancient beliefs and philososphies are brought to life through energetic characters we meet along the way. The ending seems a bit arbitrary, but at least there is a lot of action.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative look at life and teachings of Christ Jan. 5 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In Rome, a house burns. From the ruins scurries Corax, an escaped slave fleeing his master and his memories. He boards a ship and journeys to Caesaria, where he learns of a local character named Jeshua. Thus begins The Gospel Of Corax, an historical novel set during the missing years in the life of Jesus Christ.

Corax and Jeshua are forced by circumstances to travel together, and it is this journey that forms the heart of the novel. Two qualities in particular stand out. Park brings the world of the Middle East alive in a way that few historians could match. This is a vibrant culture with a flow of people and ideas from Imperial Rome to the Indian sub-continent and China. Second, as the narrative unfolds, the stories and parables of Christ emerge as from Jeshua's personal experience, gaining fresh meaning in the process. How much more poignant is the story of the good Samaritan if Jesus himself had assaulted someone, and then watched while others passed by, offering no help to the injured man?

Those who insist on a strict adherence to tradition will find it easy to dislike Park's all too human portrayal of the life and teachings of Christ. But those with a taste for speculation will find much to enjoy and think about in this well written, provocative novel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey with Jesus into the religious world of the East July 3 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Paul Park creates a fascinating vision of the spiritual life of the first century b.c. Ostensibly, it is a novel of the journey of an escaped slave, Corax, and Jesus, called by his Hebrew name, Jeshua. Park uses this setup as a vehicle for exploring the religious landscape of the lands through which the two travel. They encounter Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and many other beliefs. Park uses Jeshua's interactions and Corax's commentary to highlight the ideas attributed to Jesus that can also be found in other religions.
Park's book is an excellent, fast read, chock full of information but also managing to not be too ponderous or too preachy. It's an intelligent and unique look at the religious atmosphere of the time of Jesus, highlighting parallels among several different traditions
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review by John Stephen Dwyer Feb. 21 2010
By John Stephen Dwyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Corax is an ex-slave on the lamb in this interesting first-person narrative. He lives in Roman society at a time when professional skills - literacy, chemistry, medicine, surgery and astronomy - were sometimes the province of well-kept slaves rather than free citizens. These same skills serve Corax well in his trek across the ancient Middle East as he plays many roles to keep his freedom and his life. Whether he's acting as a thief and prostitute or a healer and diplomat, Corax's story is sprinkled with satisfying historical, practical, and metaphysical commentary.

His traveling companion is Jeshu of Nazareth, a large bear of a man with more differences than similarities to the biblical Jesus. Drummed out of a band of outcasts, the Nazarene is an eccentric, solitary figure who follows Corax all the way to the Himalayas. Along the way they meet rogue Jewish kings, Zoroastrian mystics, Buddhist and Confucian priests, and other players in the religions revolutions that characterized the age of Augustus.

The Gospel of Corax is a well-detailed blend of historical fiction and euhumerized myth in the tradition of Robert Graves and Mary Renault. Antiquity buffs especially should enjoy this tale of enlightened fugitives in a vibrant, classical mileau.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting journey through ancient lands Aug. 28 2000
By Homer D. Klong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I almost threw this book away after about 50 pages, being a Christian and all, because it portrays Jesus, at first, as a hulking member of a gang of murderers and John the Baptist as a degenerate. That's a bit much. But I have an interest in the ancient lands where the story was to unfold, acoording to the flyleaf, and I know that some authors take a while to hit their stride. And indeed the writing gets better and better as one proceeds, as the author takes us through obscure lands of the east at the time of Christ, sprinkling his story with obscure characters from historical writings, for example those of Josephus. Dusty ancient beliefs and philososphies are brought to life through energetic characters we meet along the way. The ending seems a bit arbitrary, but at least there is a lot of action.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Novel Approach from the Good News of Corax Jan. 11 2001
By william g. condon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
An intriguing and fascinating novel of the spiritual development of two outsiders journeying to salvation beyond the reaches of the Roman Empire. Parks writes a fantastic story of the developing friendship and respect of two outcasts whose inimical paths crossed badly until their hostile relationships began to serve one another's interests.
Corax and Jeshua share their deepest emotions, without much talk, and spiritually advance from their physical and mental clashing as they both elude and endure captivity in their odyssey of faith.
Corax's spiritual quest provides a vehicle for expanding the Essene background of Jeshua, who followed his cousin John into the ascetic fold and who had to flee Judea prior to his public life, due to his being a misfit and an alien Galilean. How wonderful it is to know that Jeshua's humanity and his failing could lead him to such faith and strength. This is the message of Park's novel. That the strenth and toughness of the messenger was required for the strength of the message.
This novel projects the message of the more common gospels, by recounting the actual events (in the novel) which led to Jeshua's spiritual revivfication and revelation.
The Gospel of Corax is highly recommended by a Christian clergyman as a sensitive, insightful, work. Far from being iconoclastic or heretic the novel gives substance, experience and intelligence to the educational and spiritual growth of Jesus during the unrecorded years before his emergence as a spiritual, religious and political force in the Empire of the Caesars.
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