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The Prophet Hardcover – Sep 12 1923

174 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (September 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394404289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394404288
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.5 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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In a distant, timeless place, a mysterious prophet walks the sands. At the moment of his departure, he wishes to offer the people gifts but possesses nothing. The people gather round, each asks a question of the heart, and the man's wisdom is his gift. It is Gibran's gift to us, as well, for Gibran's prophet is rivaled in his wisdom only by the founders of the world's great religions. On the most basic topics--marriage, children, friendship, work, pleasure--his words have a power and lucidity that in another era would surely have provoked the description "divinely inspired." Free of dogma, free of power structures and metaphysics, consider these poetic, moving aphorisms a 20th-century supplement to all sacred traditions--as millions of other readers already have. --Brian Bruya


"Cadenced and vibrant with feeling, the words of Kahlil Gibran bring to one's ears the majestic rhythm of Ecclesiastes... If there is a man or woman who can read this book without a quiet acceptance of a great man's philosophy and a singing in the heart as of music born within, that man or woman is indeed dead to life and truth." --Chicago Post

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Inkhorn HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 16 2009
Format: Hardcover
A prophet has waited twelve years in a coastal town for the ship that will bear him back to his homeland, which he misses.

Why he is there, why he is waiting, how he knows what he knows, and who he is is a mystery. As he departs the townspeople gather to wish him well. A local seeress who knows him best asks him to share his wisdom so that it will endure for generations to come.

So, he reveals his wisdom on love, birth, marriage, children, pain, talking, pleasure, death any so much more.

It is a profound work, and here is his advice on marriage so you may judge for yourself:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Its not a little similar to the Tao Te Ching, where a border guard recognises Lao Tzu, and asks him to share his wisdom as he goes into exile.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Priscilla Johnson on July 4 2004
Format: Hardcover
If I have ever read a book that is timeless, other than the Word of God, it would have to be this one. Although I may not have agreed with every word written, so many of the words of wisdom within these pages brought peace and comfort to me.
I read this book many, many years ago. I quoted from it at times and thought of it often. The words seemed to wrap themselves around your heart and spring out in times of need. There are not many books that can stake that claim, and I have read many.
A classic in my opinion and a book that will never be outdated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Sean McLaughlin on June 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
Khalil Gibran's The Prophet is a truly awe inspiring work of prosaic poetry. Despite being a native-born Arabic speaker, Gibran wrote The Prophet in English, ensuring that his powerful words lost nothing in translation.
The work's 28 short chapters recount the words of a prophet as he leaves his home to depart on a new journey. The words that flow from the prophet's mouth and onto the pages are philosophical and spiritual treatises on all aspects of life. Chapters discuss the range of human experiences and include discussions such as "On Friendship", "On Pain" and "On Death." What unites the 28 chapters is Gibran's thought provoking and probing literary style as Gibran's prophet invokes his listeners to live life to the fullest. The book is not overtly religious but every word and sentence is filled with a spiritual clarity.
The book is eminently quotable with every chapter providing a nugget of truth worthy of repeating. Amazingly, Gibran packs his masterpiece into less than 100 pages, making it a very quick and easy read. Readers will find themselves returning to The Prophet again and again to recapture the beauty of Gibran's words.
The Prophet, which Gibran himself recognized as his greatest masterpiece, is a timeless literary classic. Its truth has touched generations of readers and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Shay on July 14 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
The Prophet is one of my all-time favorite books. Gibran's writing is ingenious and The Prophet has definitely earned it's place in the canon of spiritual classics and masterpieces of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the audiobook version does not live up to the original text. Sparer's reading is blase' at best: uninteresting, uninspired and uninspiring ... plain dull. He merely read the words but put no heart or soul into them. I whole-heartedly recommend the book to everyone but the audiobook, no....I was very disappointed; I couldn't even finish listening. I wish someone would resurrect the Richard Harris recording -- that one was excellent!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christina on Nov. 15 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful piece of literature. It is in the top five of my favorite books. I have read it over and over again and each time I find new wisdom. Kahlil's words will strike your heart.
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By SnowPharoah TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 15 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I came to the prophet with mixed expectations. Khalil Gibran has been compared with different 20th century philosophers, Nietsche for one, and I was under the impression that he might be one of those oriental writers who was part of the same zeitgeist as that wave of writers who gave way to nihilism and the search for meaninglessness. Not so.

I also was under the impression that there would be a simplicity to Gibran's writing, a kind of moralizing tone that would take one away from autonomous thought. Again, mistaken.

The prophet recounts the story of a religious/spiritual figure who has been waiting for a ship for 12 years, waiting to leave a place where he has lived not of his own will. As he leaves, a woman who seems to be well acquainted with him asks him to impart wisdom on a number of very practical subjects: marriage, talking, working, pleasure, etc. The counsel of the prophet are simple, but not simplistic. There is definite morality, but it is not moralizing. Rather, there is a depth that surpasses the spirit of disregard for meaning that the early 20th century proposed. There is also a respect for life, for the value of individuals, which is manifested in the manner in which the prophet proposes that people be treated, that they treat each other, a quality of thought regarding others that is refreshing. There is value in human life. The prophet shows this.

This short book teaches a number of ideas that are in stark contrast to the manner in which our disposable society functions. Now, here, we do what we want. We look for instant gratification, and while we propose that we should not hurt others, it is only in our ignorance that this is so. Perhaps the prophet hearkens back to a time where values of individuality and autonomy were not what they are now.
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