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Barabbas

por Pär Lagerkvist

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1,2472411,577 (3.94)117
Barabbas is the acquitted; the man whose life was exchanged for that of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified upon the hill of Golgotha. Barabbas is a man condemned to have no god. "Christos Iesus" is carved on the disk suspended from his neck, but he cannot affirm his faith. He cannot pray. He can only say, "I want to believe." Translated from the Swedish by Alan Blair… (mais)
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A fictional account of Barabbas, the thief and probable murderer who was freed after Jesus Christ was condemned to be crucified, the brief novel, translated by one Alan Blair from the original Swedish into English, won its author the 1951 Nobel prize for literature. It's a powerful book about the search for life's meaning and the hatreds based on who you are rather than on what you've done. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
Pär Lagerkvist's "Barabbas," translated to English by Alan Blair, is truly epic, despite being short and concise. It is the imagined story of Barabbas, a criminal who was granted amnesty by Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus. As he ages, Barabbas never comes to terms with the guilt created by his amnesty because he is constantly confronted by early Christians who are ambivalent to him.

Barabbas travels between Jerusalem and the countryside, where he earns a living as a hunter and bandit. He may be a zealot as well, which led to the crowd demanding his amnesty, something that happens before the open of the book. Barabbas witnesses Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, an event that Barabbas is able to explain away. While living with a prostitute and spending time with "the Hare-Lipped Woman," a believer in Christ, Barabbas meets Peter, who confides that he feels guilty for not witnessing the resurrection and for denying Jesus. The book then jumps to Barabbas' hypothetical enslavement on Cyprus, where he is chained to a tall early Christian who eventually achieves partial abolition for Barabbas. Barabbas discovers more believers but he is never able to understand or realize their faith. In fact, he scorns them in the climax.

Lagerkvist's "Barabbas" is about a character, a man whose ideas are indefinable, like many of our ideas. He can't quite accept the proposition that Jesus is the Messiah, but he doesn't reject it outright either. He is not passive or indifferent, but curious. This turmoil and conflict drive the book.

As in "The Dwarf," Lagerkvist is scant on details. He doesn't need to describe the culture or architecture of Jerusalem or Rome to accomplish the narrative goal. "Barabbas" is neither proselytizing nor pedantic. It is immensely philosophical. Most readers, like myself I believe, will probably see their own inner struggle in Barabbas. ( )
  mvblair | Oct 19, 2020 |
The main focus of Barabbas is of course Barabbas himself, but ever since I put the book down over a month ago, I haven't stopped thinking about one particular side character, a small girl with a cleft lip.

Despite being a genuine, good-hearted person, the girl with the cleft lip was kicked out of her house by her mother at a very young age for being "cursed." She lived the rest of her life on the streets of Jerusalem. At one point she entered into a very one-sided relationship with Barabbas, who frequently took advantage of her desperate desire to be told by someone, anyone, just once, that they loved her, even if they didn't mean it. She once encountered Jesus, who she firmly believed could heal her. "She might well have asked him to cure her of her deformity, but she didn't want to. It would have been easy for him to do so, but she didn't want to ask him. He helped those who really needed help; his were the very great deeds. She would not trouble him with so little." Jesus then approached her and said to her, "You shall bear witness for me."

That was no easy task. After Jesus' death, the girl with the cleft lip attempted to speak at a gathering of a group of disciples, but because she was a little nervous and hard to understand, she made the men uncomfortable and they ignored her. She tried instead to preach to those who had been rejected by society in the same way she had. She spoke to lepers and cripples about the healing power of Christ, and how they, too, would be allowed to enter the house of the Lord. She was overheard by a local blind man, who reported her to the Sanhedrin. She was condemned to death, and she was stoned. Her last words were, "Lord, how can I witness for thee? Forgive me. forgive..."

I don't have a good answer for how to consider such a life. A life filled with unimaginable suffering, and at the end she was still convinced that she had done wrong, or hadn't done enough. Despite spending my entire life within the Church, I couldn't help but read her last words and think that, rather than asking the Lord for forgiveness, it should be the other way around. Jesus should be on his knees, begging to be forgiven for all the torment he put her through. And if that's my reaction, then what could we possibly expect from Barabbas?

This is a man who watched Jesus die on the cross for his sins, in a more direct way than any of the rest of us can claim. At the same time, he saw the purest human being he knew suffer the same fate, all because she believed in Jesus. How does a man in that position come to terms with it all?

Lagerkvist explores this question brilliantly. I won't say any more about it, but I'll be reading this book every Lenten season for the rest of my life. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
My kids love churches, but not having been brought up religiously, they don't understand any of the iconography. Trying to explain to a six-year-old why they all have statues of this beardy guy slowly dying on a stick has really brought home to me what a hideous and morbid idea Christianity is built on. I understand that some people find it very touching and beautiful, but I find it difficult to see it that way. Telling people that this man went through agony, and then died, on your behalf, whether you like it or not, is a heavy load to lay on someone and entails a serious amount of what I suppose psychologists would call guilt.

What's very clever about this book is that Pär Lagerkvist has found a way to examine this idea which works whether or not you believe in the metaphysics: Barabbas, the man acquitted in Jesus's place, is someone in whom the central myth of Christianity is literally true.

They spoke of his having died for them. That might be. But he really had died for Barabbas, no one could deny it!

So the reactions of Barabbas – relief, disbelief, morbid curiosity, survivor's guilt – become a kind of study in what Christian dogma might imply for the human mind. Barabbas can never quite bring himself to believe in Jesus as a divine figure, but, as he says in the novel's most famous passage: ‘I want to believe.’ That conflict is the essence of the book.

Barabbas is a great figure to expand upon, since in the source material he is both crucial and barely mentioned. The Bible gives very few details about him, though there's some suggestion in Luke that he took part in riots in Jerusalem. John, usually the most poetic of the gospels, is disappointingly brief: it simply says, ‘Barabbas was a bandit [λῃστής].’ This gives Lagerkvist great freedom to construct a suitably rough past for him, and the scope to imagine how this one act of being freed might have affected the rest of his life.

In some versions of the Biblical text, Barabbas's full name is ‘Jesus Barabbas’ (which would make sense of Pilate's question to the crowd in Luke – ‘Who would you have me free, [Jesus] Barabbas or the Jesus that is called Christ?’). This may reflect a later mythological tradition, but even so, it points to a deep sense in which the two are equated – indeed, there are serious Biblical scholars who believe that they are one and the same person. This duality is fully explored in Lagerkvist's story, which sees Barabbas go through similar ordeals and, for that matter, end up nailed in the same place.

His state of mind and his state of belief at that point are open to interpretation. It's a very incisive way of looking at the challenges and mysteries of such big topics as atonement, the crucifixtion, and faith – and one which goes to the heart of them in a way that theological texts generally do not. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Feb 12, 2019 |
This is a book which rose in esteem, for me, upon a re-reading. The premise: Barabbas is saved by Jesus indirectly (chosen by the crowd to live and be released). He is haunted by Jesus and his followers but despite being one who was 'saved' he cannot bring himself to believe any of the stories of Jesus or believe the doctrines of Christianity. He is a man tortured, never at peace until he dies.

This is a book chronicling existential doubt. In Lagerkvist's re-telling there is no aspect of the crucifixion and resurrection that do not also have a naturalistic explanation. There is no faith-trump-card, even for eye-witnesses. Still faith and doubt co-mingle in Lagerkvist's pages.

( )
1 vote Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Pär Lagerkvistautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Blair, AlanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gide, AndréLetterautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Llovet, RamonIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Maury, LucienPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sales, NúriaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Everyone knows how they hung there on the crosses, and who they were that stood gathered around him: Mary his mother and Mary Magdalene, Veronica, Simon of Cyrene, who carried the cross, and Joseph of Arimathea, who shrouded him.
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Barabbas is the acquitted; the man whose life was exchanged for that of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified upon the hill of Golgotha. Barabbas is a man condemned to have no god. "Christos Iesus" is carved on the disk suspended from his neck, but he cannot affirm his faith. He cannot pray. He can only say, "I want to believe." Translated from the Swedish by Alan Blair

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Ediciones Encuentro

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Edições: 8474903386, 8474908736

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