Sunday, March 16, 2008

Reflections on BBC's "Passion" (Updated)

I just finished watching the BBC Passion movie (see Mark Goodacre for news and summaries). My reactions are mixed. Overall, I thought it was okay, very dramatic, good direction, plot moves quickly, and it draws you in. It tries to set the political and religious scene of Judea more than your average Jesus film. I was glad that in the temple cleansing/demonstration someone does raise a legitimate question to Jesus that the money changing was a convenience and not necessarily a con. Also the issue of the Roman possession of the high priestly vestments was a good topic to bring out too for audiences to highlight the kind of non-military influence the Romans had over the High Priest. But I was not impressed by the association of Joseph of Arimathea with the High Priestly family (where did that come from?). The endless references to the "kingdom of God is within you" over emphasizes a minor Lucan theme and the constant "look in your heart" soon became nauseating. Probably most controversial (and I advise Paula Fredriksen not to watch this film as it will only make her mad) is that it sets purity over compassion when it comes to Jesus and the Law. There is an (apocryphal) scene where Jesus goes into the temple and instead of offering a dove in sacrifice he sets it free. He also says that he believes in "sacrifice but a different kind" (the author of the Gospel of Ebionites would have loved it and perhaps also the author Hebrews too, but "it ain't how it was"). On the whole I'd call it's portait of Jesus rather Borgesque. I look forward to the next installment.


Jonathan said...

Hi Mike,

Yes, I was getting fed up with the "within" your heart stuff too. Main strength was how well it brought the historical background into the foreground. I'm looking forward to the rest.

Q.SocNE said...

You're comment about Borg is insightful, I've been trying to remember his name since I watched the programme! Thanks.

Erik Fuller said...

Another (minor) problem is Jesus's hairdo. I don't think there is much in the scripture about him disliking combs.I think someone's got mixed up with John the Baptist and/or St Francis. I know he was born in a stable but they did move out pretty sharpish.

Matthew John said...

When I heard the BBC was doing the Passion, I was over joyed. Only when I saw the first snippets and saw him hanging by his arms from the "T" did I realise this was an attack on the christian faith.

Where was his divinity? where was his power? where were the miracles? Off course the only miracle they can't wipe out is the resurrection however I doubt that the un-enlightened Joe Blogs could see the point in watching the series to the forth episode. After stripping God from Jesus they have left a repressed double minded insecure man unable to fully connect with those around him. It may have been equally effective to have cast Mike Yarwood as Jesus rather than the empty vessel of Joseph Mawle.

The BBC have brought us a different Jesus and an obscured Gospel. As with all the best lies they take elements of the truth and subtly change it. They have perverted the gospel message.

They make out the holy men of the gospels to be liars and fabricators. If the BBC had wanted to do an alternative Passion and Jesus why not chose the Jesus of the Quran. I doubt it would have been little further from the truth.

The most memorable quote so far was from Pilate which went said something like this " The TRUTH is what men make it!!!" this the motto of the BBC and the rest of the media I wonder. I havent yet seen the last episode and dont know if I can bare it. May God have mercy on their soles.