Baker Academic

Friday, January 4, 2013

Question: What is the Best Film about the Life of Jesus?

Okay, the ground rules are:

1. Jesus has to be main character; if not The Life of Brian will win every time.

2. You must give a rationale for your vote.

3. If you cannot think of a film, you are allowed to simply quote your favorite line from Life of Brian.

-anthony

22 comments:

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    1. It's not meant to be taken literally, it refers to any manufacturer of diary products.

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  2. Who said Life of Brian didn't REALLY have Jesus, the historical Jesus at that, as its main character??

    http://www.relegere.org/index.php/relegere/article/view/10

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    1. You mean that it was Jesus and not Graham Chapman who acted the lead role? ...totally plausible.

      -anthony

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  3. If the main character is Barabbas, does that count? If so, I'm quite partial to the film Barabbas.

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  4. I know this will make me unpopular among fellow academics, but I absolutely adore the film, "The Last Temptation of Christ." I know that it is far from historically accurate, but it is the only Jesus movie I have ever seen that captures the revolutionary essence of Jesus's life and ministry without submitting to sappy sentimentalism. I love the scene between Jesus and Pilate in which Jesus explains his purpose in terms of Daniel's vision of the clay-footed statue of empires.

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    1. You're dead on about the revolutionary aspect... no other film I know has attempted this. It really is a great film if you can look past the poor acting, the terrible direction, and the ridiculous costume design.

      It would have made a better book.

      -anthony

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    2. It made a fantastic book. Nikos Kazantzakis was surprisingly perceptive of the first-century Palestinian worldview for someone with no formal education on the subject.

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    3. Book > Film (without question)... Jesus didn't have a Brooklyn accent in the book.

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    4. Re Kazantzakis' ability to understand the first-century Palestinian worldview, this is from the translator's note in my (ancient) paperback copy of Last Temptation: "...his native Crete remained his true spiritual home, and his devotion to it and to the peasantry into which he was born...gave his writings that sense of the "spirit of place" which is such an important ingredient of great literature. It was in Crete that he first came to know the shepherds, farmers, fishermen, innkeepers and peasant entrepreneurs who people his novels..."

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  5. The Son of Man (Mark Dornford-May, 2006). Visually stunning, the film's recontextualization of the life of Jesus in modern day South Africa is pitch perfect, incarnating the central figure of the biblical texts in a new social setting in a way that provokes fresh questions, especially with regard to why he was executed and how his followers continued his movement.

    Eric

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  6. I have used Jesus of Nazareth for years while teaching Life of Christ classes, it humanizes Judas in a way that makes some uncomfortable, but if you teach it along side of the gospel accounts and The Case for Christ by Strobel it creates great conversation in my humble opinion.

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  7. For me it was The Miracle Maker hands down. While some might paint this as a kids' film because it involved claymation and other animation, it is still better than the rest in my opinion.

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    1. Definitely... Those puppets can really act.

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  8. Your death will stand as a landmark in the continuing struggle to liberate the parent land from the hands of the Roman imperialist aggressors, excluding those concerned with drainage, medicine, roads, housing, education, viniculture and any other Romans contributing to the welfare of Jews of both sexes and hermaphrodites. Signed, on behalf of the P. F. J. , etc. " And I'd just like to add, on a personal note, my own admiration, for what you're doing for us, Brian, on what must be, after all, for you a very difficult time

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  9. The musical Godspell. It's the only film I've seen that comes close to capturing Jesus's love for God and for people. For example, God Save the People.

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  10. I like Jesus Christ Super Star. It is set in Israel and has some great music.

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  11. I'm still partial to The Jesus of Montreal. Watching itt was 'one of those experiences' for me; it moved me to something more than I was before.

    And, by the by, the soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ TOTALLY makes up for the dreck that is the rest of the film.

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    1. I fully agree. I listen to the Peter Gabriel soundtrack while writing papers. It makes everything feel so much more intense.

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