The Gospel according to Mel

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I do not much like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Now that I think about it, I don’t think I know a single scholar of the historical Jesus, or of the New Testament, or – well of any academic topic taught at universities whom I’ve ever spoken with – who liked the movie. Most of the objections raised to it have involved its portrayals of Jews and its apparent embrace of ...

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Jesus’ Passion in the Movies

So, once my students have done a comparative study of the accounts of Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection in the four Gospels, we then watch several clips of movies to see what directors do about the problems. How does a director handle the fact that each Gospel tells its own story, that the stories are different in many ways, and that in some instances there are discrepancies between the accounts (as laid out in yesterday’s post)?

The short answer is that ...

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Jesus at the Movies: Infancy Narratives

I’m having a terrific time with my undergraduate course this semester, a first-year seminar that I call “Jesus in Scholarship and Film.” Last month I posted my syllabus for the class on the blog. This past week was the first time we’ve done any film in the class, and it was very interesting.

For the class I had the students do a writing assignment, in which they compared the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke in detail (Mark and John, of ...

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Doing a TV Interview

On a side note, or no relevance to any of the recent threads or to much of anything, I just now got back from a rather grueling interview for a two-hour National Geographic Channel documentary dealing with — ready for this? — Jesus. It’s amazing how many of these things get made. People love them, they sell well, the film company and its employees, the TV channel, everyone concerned (well, except the persons being interviewed!) make money, they spread knowledge ...

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