21st Century Wire says…
Where there is a Jesus debate, controversy is never far behind. One reason for this is the seemingly endless filmed versions and revisions about the story of Jesus.
The films are always big news. Whether it’s Jesus of Nazareth (1977), or The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), or The Passion of the Christ (2004), the debate is normally split between two aspects of presentation – Jesus Christ as the son of god – an eternal being, and Jesus the living, breathing, walking and talking historical figure. Interpretations between sects of Christianity can be markedly different, especially when addressing Jesus the man.
In 2014, we saw the release of the Hollywood production entitled, Son of God, as the latest film depicting the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. Not groundbreaking in itself, what the film did reinvigorate was the debate about how, and why, Jesus is being depicted in certain ways by a legacy of writers, historians and media producers.
Suprisingly and rather unexpectedly, from the media angle of things, by far the most interesting take on this film came via Christianity Today. It’s not the insight anyone was expecting, by very sharp and to the point:
“Watching Son of God is a bit like listening to a pretty good tribute band doing a set list of Top 40 hits you have heard most of your life. The delivery is not bad, and the individual songs carry enough significance for you (both emotional and biographical) that the performance really only needs to remind you of what you already love.
If that comparison feels glib, then watching Son of God could be compared to watching someone else’s professionally filmed wedding video. You understand why it is so precious to the person sharing it with you. But it is a summary of what happened, not a re-creation of the event. Plus you risk offending your hosts if you mention that one of the bridesmaids is wearing slightly different-colored shoes, or that the organist is playing a different song than what was listed in the program they showed you.”
Clearly, Jesus as the Christ represents somewhat different things to different people who consider themselves Christians. The same could be said for different Muslims sects, each of whom may interpret their revered Prophet Jesus differently. For Jews, it’s even more radically different, as they do not recognise Jesus as much more than ‘a son of a carpenter’.
There are plenty of academic and authors on the case as well. Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American writer and scholar and author of the recent book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and his take on Jesus is based primarily on Jesus as a man and historical figure based in a specific time and place – Roman Occupied Palestine.
If you consider the parallels in that story and events of today, then even a different story of the present begins to emerge…
How much do we really know about the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth?
A lot more than you think, but because of “Religion Inc.” it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
Reza Aslan is a historian and professor of religion. Fox News has a lot of trouble grasping this. They and others also have a lot of trouble understanding Jesus the historical figure.
The Council of Nicea which set the course of Christianity was held after the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as the Imperial Religion. After the Council anyone who didn’t agree with the strict party line was either burned at the stake and fled for the hills. Watch…
READ MORE HISTORY NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ancient History Files
A Different Look at Jesus
21st Century Wire says…