Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Richard Burridge on Life of Brian--Chris Keith
Today The Telegraph has a great interview with Richard Burridge concerning Monty Python's Life of Brian. I love this movie, and any serious student of Jesus should as well. Even better, any serious student of ancient Greek or Latin should love the scene where the centurion corrects Brian's command for the Romans to go home. It's comedic gold for those of us who are nerdy enough to get it. The movie was initially castigated by those in positions of religious authority in the UK for making a mockery of Jesus' life. That discussion also, in my opinion, demonstrates just how bright and thoughtful the Pythons are, particularly on some of these issues. (We should also draw attention to the hilarious spoof of this interview by Not the Nine O'Clock News concerning Python worshippers.) I'm very grateful to read Burridge's interview. I think that Burridge is correct that those original castigations failed not only to seize on an opportunity to discuss Jesus in public discourse but also failed to note that the film didn't actually make light of Jesus himself. I recommend reading the interview. Also, as a bit of a side note, I increasingly think it's weird that in the part of the world where I'm from, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the more famous of their movies. It's funny, but I don't think it can hold a candle to Life of Brian. I'm also going to take this opportunity to plug the forthcoming public talk on Life of Brian at King's College, London, which will feature an absolute all-star cast of Jesus scholars, including Burridge, Ehrman, Bond, Crossley, Fredriksen, Levine et al.: "Jesus and Brian--Or, What Have the Pythons Done For Us?" I'm looking forward to that conference, but until then: ROMANES EUNT DOMUS.