A lot of people don’t know this about me, but between laughing hysterically at shit and cum jokes I obsess over the historicity a man named Jesus of Nazareth, aka our Lord and Savior.
I even read the New Testament in Koine Greek (it’s a lot easier than you think).
For the record, I’m not a “mythicist”-or those that believe Jesus was a myth that the Romans or later believers fabricated. That’s stupid. Modern archeology and scholarship affirm that Jesus almost certainly existed.
Sure, some of my opinions my be a little bit outside the mainstream. I tend to agree with John Dominic Crossan’s assessment that perhaps Jesus’s ministry needs to be viewed in light of Roman authority. The Roman’s notoriously ruled with an iron fist. Jesus, by contrast, appeared more as a pacifist that appealed to neighborly love. His “Kingdom of God”, which Jesus almost certainly believed was going to be on earth rather than in some supernatural realm, directly challenged Roman Rule. So in many ways, Jesus was more than just a religious figure-he was a political one (not that anyone distinguished between the two in those days). Could this be wrong? Sure. But I think this view is worth taking seriously.
When viewed in this light, Jesus’s message remains just as radical today as it was in the first century AD: it was a direct challenge to the violence of the era.
But another interesting perspective on early Christianity is how it provides insight into the nature of radical politics: it starts off as fringe then branches off into rivaling sects before becoming mainstream. Once it becomes mainstream, it becomes orthodox and therefore conservative-if not authoritarian-in nature.
I’ve always thought that this subject, the “real” Jesus, would make an excellent film.
Unfortunately no such film has been made.
So the next best thing is Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis.
Is it a perfect film? No. I can appreciate some of the modern characterizations of Jesus, the Apostles, Judas Iscariot, and so on. But Paul Schrader’s dialogue comes across as academic, which at times undermines the effectiveness of the story.
But Scorsese’s frenzied take on a familiar story is refreshing. Of course Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack might be one of the best in film history (a hill I’m willing to die on).
What I love most about this movie though is it’s influence on my favorite film franchise: the James Bond series.
“The fuck are you talking about?” you might ask.
Think I’m crazy? Well you’re right. But I’m also correct.
Watch the final act of The Last Temptation of Christ. Then go watch the final act of Casino Royale.
Coincidence? I think not.