Following my trip to Greece I am still reading up on the acquisitions I made in Greece. Nikos Kazantzakis' Christ Recrucified (or The Greek Passion it seems) provides a wonderful insight into Greek history and culture I found. It addresses at once Greek nationalism shaped against the backdrop of Ottoman colonialism and the role of the church in going against Christ's teachings and perpetuating the social caste system of the day.
The novel starts out with a number of villagers being named by the local notables to play Jesus, John, Peter, James, Maria Magdalena and Judas Iscariot in a reenactment of the crucification and following rise of Jesus Christ. The six chosen ones soon start taking their roles as laid out in the scripture a bit too seriously as far as the local aristocracy is concerned. Things deteriorate from there.
An interesting and gripping book with one downside to it. Much of the interior dialogue, characters' debate amongst each other as well as within each individual one is concentrated on issues of faith, I am undoubtedly far too cynic and atheist (or maybe: agnostic?) to be much drawn to these kind of topics. Kazantzakis reminded me of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in that sense, another novel of quality despite of its insistence on religion as the topic of choice.