Gospel Of Corax Paperback – Oct 15 1997
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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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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.
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
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.
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.