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A Jew’s Take on Jesus Movies

One thing Jews and Christians should agree on.

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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March 30, 2014 - 11:00 am
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BiblememeAcculturated‘s R.J. Moeller has penned an excellent commentary on faith-based films in light of the Christian controversy surrounding Noah:

…no one who doesn’t already believe in God will go see Son of God. And many who do believe in God and who do go see it are, like me, plopping down $14 or $15 purely from a sense of solidarity with the well-intentioned creators of such projects. There are other, better “Jesus movies.” A dramatic reading of some of the more risqué and exciting parts of the Bible by the likes of Morgan Freeman would interest me more than sitting through Son of God again.

And while neither option likely interests your secular, non-religious co-worker, neighbor, or relative, all of them will go see something like Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. This is why I, as a Christian, am infinitely more excited about Noah than any other “faith-based” film in a long time – regardless of the theology or worldview found in it. I can actually talk to my non-Christian friends about it because they will actually pay U.S. currency (or BitCoin) to go see it.

…what I am suggesting is that while we work to inspire and equip new generations of artists who share our values to boldly venture into the pop-culture fray, we must not miss opportunities to introduce our worldview into the cultural conversation. … Art has the power to transcend and speak to the soul. But it must be able to meet people on their level before pointing them upward.

Upon first read I knew Moeller went out on a limb with his commentary, precisely because what he says is the truth. And truth doesn’t always gel with religious dogma; I’m a Jew, I should know. One advantage I do have over my Christian brothers when it comes to faith is that my Jewish culture encourages — and is built on — wrestling with God’s word. These matches stray far from the polite scenarios common to gentile Christian faith. However, they have resulted in a similarity between us, in that they have developed and sustained a religious culture that reveres commentary as much as the actual Word of God.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Actually, the whole point of Christianity is that God changed."

You could not be more wrong. You, quite obviously, know nothing of the totality of the identity of God clearly presented in the Bible.

Worse yet, you have fallen prey to the PC version of Jesus and the NT.

For shame.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
" If a filmmaker dared to make a “Jesus movie” that embraced the Hebrew reality of Jesus’s life, audiences would be amazed. "

Gee, I seem to remember a film like that, which was actually made in Aramaic. The rest of us were told that this movie was anti-Semitic, and that pogroms were shortly to follow (we're still waiting for them by the way).

Before you comment on things like this, you might want to actually learn about other people's traditions rather than basing your opinions 100% on your prejudices. Its really embarrassing actually.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a tenet of Christianity that God is unchanging.

He is and, was always, love. With Christ, God definitely reveals his nature -- which was always there for those who could find it in the OT.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (50)
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Well, I read it twice, and lady, I got no idea what the hell your'e talking about.

Please try again. Too wordy.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Great Flood occurred where and when an isthmus, which joined the Apennine Mountains of Europe and the Atlas Mountains of Africa, collapsed and sank.

PatrickofAtlantis.com
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jesus the Jew was not the founder of Christianity. See Geza Vermez, Jesus the Jew.
Christianity is a Greek mystery religion, and, as open to anyone without payment, it appealed to women and slaves in Rome.
The account of the Last Supper shows that this story has nothing to do with Jesus: he is said to have distributed wine, saying that it was his blood, and the matzos, saying it was his body. Jews have never been cannibals, so this is impossible. Moreover, one of the dietary laws prohibits the drinking of blood, so for Jesus to have said that the wine was metaphorically his blood was as likely as for him to have said "eat pork in honour of me.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geza Vermes was a Jewish convert to Christianity who left the faith following an adulterous affair and then marriage. He was a reputable scholar and well known for his work with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Jewish context of the Gospels.

On the other hand, he was also well known for his close-mindedness and inability to debate other scholars and recognize weaknesses in his own scholarship.

The account of Jesus portrayed by the Gospels is actually very Jewish. For example, it is generally believed by scholars that Jesus was at least trained by the Pharisees, or possibly a former Pharisaic rabbi. e..g. He used similar teaching methods, including use of parables, hyperbole and vitriol.

Regarding Jews not being cannibals... this is a meaningless point. No advanced civilization has practiced cannibalism. And this actually supports the validity of the Gospel narratives within their Jewish context. If the Gospels were created to show their Messiah in a good light in order to attract new believers, they would never have had Jesus tell his followers they had to eat His "body" and drink His "blood."

But the Gospels record that not only did Jesus speak of this, and institute it symbolically in the Lord's Supper/Eucharist, but they also record how offended His followers and the general public were by it. The Gospels record that many of Jesus' followers left Him because of this teaching.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
This isn't actually germane to the article. But, it's worthy to mention. There is One God; God reveals Himself in Three Persons; There is One God. In Christianity, God is described as a Trinity; It's a Christian 'mystery.' The word 'mystery' is used by Catholics to describe things about God, that the Church does not fully understand, just yet.

Jesus Christ is both True God and true man. Jesus has a ~Jewish mother. In the historical Christian Churches, the tradition is Mary, His mother, was raised in the Temple in Jerusalem, where she was educated. The Virgin Mary taught her son, Jesus, His ABCs.

The Catholic encyclopedia has an excellent article on the "The Blessed Virgin Mary." Also, on Wikipedia are articles about the veneration of Mary in Christian Churches. = The Catholic and Orthodox Churches comprise about 75% of the Christians in the world.

In the New Testament, the Pharisee's question, where did Jesus received his knowledge about the Scriptures. Also, Jesus began is his ministry by reading the scriptures in a Synagogue. To paraphrase the Bible, the Pharisee's thought Jesus Christ was a 'yokel from the sticks,' when he arrived preaching the word of God. A person would think, the Pharisee's would know if a Pharisee had taught Jesus. As said earlier, Jesus learned his ABCs from his Jewish mother. = That's the tradition in the historical Christian Churches.

This portion is also NOT germane to the Article written by Susan Goldberg, either, except for the fact that Jesus Christ, as true man and True God, came into this world as a Jew, with a Jewish mother.

The Virgin Mary is called "the Blessed Mother" in Christianity. The Bible: Luke 1: 48, in part, "...behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed..." The Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat, is a real-good prayer in the Catholic Church; It's possible to receive a partial Indulgence by praying the Magnificat.

The Protestants in the USA seem to greatly influence the understanding of Christianity. Some Protestants question The Virgin Mary's role, in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Here's a few answers, for people that may have questions about the role of His Jewish mother.

1. Mary is venerated, NOT worshipped. It's possible to read about the veneration of Mary on the Internet, in the articles from the historical Churches. "The Blessed Mother, and Theotokos (God-bearer).

2. 'Ever Virgin' = Jesus Christ, as true man, was conceived by the Holy Spirit. A theological statement: Jesus Christ passed from Mary's womb like light passes through glass. We know from reading the Bible, where Jesus entered the upper room; He has the ability to pass through molecules like light passes through glass.

3. Mary was conceived without sin; this is the Immaculate Conception. This is a 'theological statement' by the historical Christian Churches: the Virgin Mary was redeemed by God ~before she was conceived.

God Commands people to 'Honor your father and ~mother.' A theological question and ~test.
A. You are walking along with ~your mother. You spot a mud puddle in her path. What would you do?
B. Allow your mother to fall into the mud puddle (sin). And after she fell, you would ~then pull her out of the mud-puddle (sin). You would 'save' your mother.
C. Historical Christianity presents this theological idea based on 'Honoring your mother.' Jesus Christ put out His arm and 'saved' His mother, from the mud puddle (sin), ~before she fell into the mud puddle (sin).
D. It's a theological test for all Christians, and it's about Honoring our mother. ~Jesus Christ redeemed His mother before she was conceived.~

Some Protestants, on television and the radio, when they get tired of asking for your money, call the Virgin Mary a sinner, just like the rest of us. The Protestants, also, call Jesus 'their best friend.' Judgment Day is going to be an interesting day, when we all stand before The Judgment Throne of God. I wonder what Jesus Christ will say to the people that called His mother a big sinner. About Jew-hating: that comes under the Commandment, "Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus Christ, as true man, was born as a Jew, with a Jewish mother.

4. Little kids will come to church and ask, "Where's mommy? Doesn't Jesus have a mommy like me?" In the historical Christian Churches, Jesus has a Jewish mother. = She is honored as the 'Blessed Mother.'

5. About the canard of 'idols' in the historical Christian Churches. The statues are part of the heritage of ~Art in our European-Western Culture (the heritage exists in the Orthodox, Eastern Churches, too, as part of our common culture).

The Protestants preach about how everyone "rests from our works; we rest in Jesus Christ." The Great Reverend Billy Graham explains how he came to Jesus Christ. Reverend Graham said, he came home one night and knelt by his bedside and prayed. He turned his life and heart com
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Part of my comment disappeared.
The rest of comment went like this: The Great Reverend Billy Graham came home one night, and knelt by his bedside and ~prayed. He turned his life and heart completely over to Jesus Christ. Protestants believe we, "rest from out works; we rest in Jesus Christ."
Even though the Reverend Billy Graham is praying, while kneeling next to his bed, Catholics do NOT accuse Reverend Billy Graham of worshipping his bed, as an idol.
Catholics kneel in a place that may contain artwork, it's no more an idol than Reverend Billy Graham's bed. It's a place to pray. It's a canard to accuse members of the historical Christian Churches of creating idols. ~It's artwork, and a method to focus our attention on a prayer life. It's part of Western-Culture. Statues and paintings are part of our common heritage. = An example = The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

Peace - 'Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself.'

21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jesus made one comparison after another. He would use metaphors and personifications all the time. Do you think when Jesus talked about a "log" being in someone's eye he meant and actual LOG? Did Jesus think He was a loaf of bread, a road, or a bucket of water? Jesus provoked the religious people of his day with one story after another. Jesus' words are meant to challenge and draw in. He spoke in parables and comparisons so that we would listen closer and pay better attention.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"One advantage I do have over my Christian brothers when it comes to faith is that my Jewish culture encourages — and is built on — wrestling with God’s word."

How is it that American Jews, brought up in an overwhelmingly Christian culture, have little to no understanding of Christians and their doctrines outside of stereotypes and cliches?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
" One advantage I do have over my Christian brothers when it comes to faith is that my Jewish culture encourages — and is built on — wrestling with God’s word."

Uh, no...Christianity also encourages wrestling with God's word. Always has.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know Glenn Beck was given a preview and I just can't wait to see the Rock People. Uh, yeah. The. Rock. People. Didn't see them in the Old Testament. Are they in the Torah before we ripped it off? Silly bits like this example of 'artistic license' are one of the reasons people can't take this movie seriously. Like special effects? Wait for the next Captain America.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Captain America is serious stuff.

The character was the creation of a collaboration between Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The comics were intentionaly political at a time when the US was divided over WWII. The authors were on the side of the US entering the war while Republican isolationists and pacifists from the left bitterly opposed it.

At one point Simon and Kirby needed police protection from angry mobs who were convinced that the image of Captain America slugging Adolph Hitler was unnecessary provocation. A sentiment still echoed by Pat Buchannon today.

Captain America was unabashedly an American patriotic superhero. That will not sit well with the Obama wing from the left, nor the Rand Paul wing from the right, both of which are convinced that conflict originates from American power.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Using only the historical data which is undisputed among the current experts, be they atheist, agnostic, or even muslim - we can still know quite a lot about Jesus, who was also a Jew.

http://goo.gl/X2R51y
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All this fuss about a movie.

In the early 60s a very talented comedian was breaking into the mainstream in the USA. One of his iconic skits was the story of Noah.

You can still bring it up on you tube and it has to be watched to be appreciated. Still cracks me up after I don't know how many times.

Right....what's an Ark?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bputeFGXEjA'

I don't remember any fuss about Bill Cosby's Noah routines. Maybe because they were just so darn good.

C'mon this was a Black man in America playing Noah in 1963, armed with only a microphone in front of a live audience, and the bit is as much a classic as anything in our cultural lexicon.

It is just a movie, not bible study, Sunday school or church service. We still have those things when we need to be more serious about it.

Looking forward to the movie version with a bag of popcorn and few hours to kill. Why expect anything more?





22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
We had all of Cosby's comedy records as kids in the 60's. Knew the routines by heart.
One Thanksgiving, Mom was trying to slice the pie, and the graham cracker crust was rock hard. . . she was sawing away at it, and we kids started up the chorus: "voobah, voobah, voobah". It became a family tag line.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the link.
Absolutely hilarious.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
This the Commandment for entry into Heaven: 'Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself.' A lot of people talk about the ~road to Heaven. For example: people can describe the ~road to Susan Goldberg's home, BUT she will decide, when to open the door, and let people inside.

Jesus Christ, as True God and true man, walked the Holy Lands. Jesus Christ did NOT carry a bag of Bibles, to hand out, saying, "Here read this Bible, and argue about it!" God is a Church builder, first in Israel for the Jews, and then a bigger Church, for everyone ~gentile and Jew. (It's in the Bible.)

It's in the Bible, about actually making it into Heaven; the good thief on the cross makes an appeal to God, and in Matthew 25: 31-36, where it says, God is looking for ~good works and NOT just a lot of talk.

God looks into the human-heart; no one can lie to God. To sin against God requires, Willfulness and Full Knowledge. (What does that mean?) God gives ~everyone in the world sufficient Grace to enter ~into Heaven. The Commandment is coded on all hearts. = "Love God above all things, and Love your neighbor as yourself."

In the column is a reference to 'Passion Plays' in medieval Europe. Many people in the world reject Christianity, because of actions by ~some Christians. God looks into the human heart for 'Willfulness and Full Knowledge.' That's why God wrote the Law on ALL hearts. "Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself." Reading the Bible, God obligates everyone to participate in good works. God is just; God will decide the reason people did NOT go to Church. (Is the heart partially formed by the actions of Christians, or by being complicit in the works of beelzebub.)

Remember, God gives sufficient Grace to ~everyone to make it through the Gates of Heaven. We all have free will: without God I can't; without me, He will not.

Why a Bible? Why a Church? God makes the road to Heaven easier through scriptural teaching and a Church. Hmmm? What does that mean? Jesus Christ promises: ~suffering.~ Through suffering God can bring about a greater good. A promise of suffering is found in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Walk into a Catholic Church; there will be an image of Jesus Christ, suffering on the Cross. Jesus Christ gives us our Cross. = There's NO free ride in Christianity. God promises suffering.

To find the Church created by Jesus Christ, it would have these qualities, one, catholic (universal), holy and apostolic. It's possible to read about it on the Internet.

There are numerous Christians that preach a variation of the 'Prosperity Gospel.' = You're a child of God. As you love your children, God loves you. Some ministers say (usually on television), "Send me your money to help spread the Word. God is in charge of making sure you are paid back a hundred fold with prosperity. If good things don't happen, it means you didn't send me enough money!"

We all suffer; it's a promise from God. Good questions to ask All Christians: 'Don't you think the Church created by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago would be a real big Church by now. Would not that Church, by now, be all over the world? Isn't it possible, if there is One big Church, the man in charge of the big Church would wear a BIG hat?"

About Bible movies, An appeal to human reason: = I walk into a courtroom anywhere in the world, and speak to an earthly judge, about the law of the land. The earthly judge asks, 'Where did you learn about your interpretation, of the law of the land?" ~What would be the earthly judges response, if I said, "I've seen a bunch of movies, about courtrooms and laws."~ What a Hoot!!!





22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"everyone in the world sufficient Grace to enter ~into Heaven". Dead wrong. If you think that the Lord was going to leave your salvation up to your free will, you're mistaken. Read Ephesians, Romans, and many quote from Jesus about saving all those the Father gave him. OR look up Calvin's five points with biblical proofs.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the Bible: 1Timothy2: 3-4, "This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who ~wills everyone to be saved~ and come to the knowledge of truth." When a Christian prays the 'Lord's Prayer' = these words should be taken to heart, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us." It's a conditional promise in the prayer. We have to do our part through free will, and then God will fulfill his promises.

God does not create human beings that are solely destined to hell. God is just, and desires the salvation of everyone. In the Old and New Testament, God tells people, >you have to do these things; if you fail in your part, there will be dire consequences.

This is an appeal to human reason. Jesus Christ builds a Church. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches can trace their histories back to the Apostles of Jesus Church. These Churches have been teaching free will in terms of salvation for >2,000 years.

John Calvin and his erroneous theory of predestination and limited atonement came >1500 years later. Also there are about 2 billion Christians in the world. The vast majority of Christians believe in free will. The legal systems through the world are based on 'free will' and responsibility for actions.

John 6: 37, "Everything that the Father gives will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who come to me. Protestants, may say, "All that the Father gives me..." This verse does NOT say limited atonement. John Calvin simply made something up >1500 years after Jesus Christ created his Church. In terms of 'All' is the suffering and death on the Cross. There is also the promise that gates of hell will not prevail against the Church created by Jesus Christ.

I'm a Catholic. Anything I say about Christianity can be verified by the Catholic Catechism, or else simply ask a Priest.
pandainc = May I ask, 'What church do you attend?' All to often on the Internet, I end up having a conversation with a Protestant, that is literally just a pope of his own armchair church. It's the church of me, myself and I.
The Bible interpretation depends on 'whatever the notion is at the moment.'

The Commandment from God, "Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself." Please read about the Good Thief on the cross and Matthew 25. = God lets ~everyone know, what He wants. God speaks to everyone through the conscience and all of creation.

Here's the 'question and answer' that will open the gate to Heaven: God asks, 'Do you love me?' The right answer is, 'Yes, Lord you know I do!' The hard part to the 'final exam' is: No one can lie to God.

Peace, pandainc. I also wrote this comment for non-Christians, because they often receive incorrect information from Christians. Here's an example: A Christian will appear on television dancing around, while holding a living rattlesnake in each hand. The man will later say, 'It's in the Bible, You have to dance with the poisonous snakes!' It's both comical and serious disinformation. All Christians do NOT speak with equal authority.

The man that wears the BIG hat in the big Church has a 2,000 year record as being the Vicar of Jesus Christ. All the old time Churches, tell us, Salvation is open to ~everyone in the world. God is looking for a godly heart, and NOT membership in a particular church. God gives everyone free will and sufficient Grace.
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22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Once you start telling me the "correct interpretation of the Word", I stop listening. You've totally strayed from the topic of the article.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hopefully, you'll listen to the word of God written on your heart, "Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself."

A quote from Susan Goldberg in the article: "One advantage I do have over my Christian brothers when it comes to faith is that my Jewish culture encourages — and is built on — wrestling with God’s word. These matches stray far from the polite scenarios common to gentile Christian faith. However, they have resulted in a similarity between us, in that they have developed and sustained a religious culture that reveres commentary as much as the actual Word of God."

That seems to be one of the topics in the article, = 'The correct interpretation of the Word.' In the Bible, Jesus Christ created a Church. He did NOT hand out Bibles and say, "Read about the Word and argue about it." Until 1054AD, there was basically ONE Christian Church in the world. Now days, there are millions and millions of people saying, "Believe in me, as the person that correctly interprets the Word."

When Christians offer different 'interpretations of the Word,' they become more like clanging gongs, without harmony or proper tuning.

I thought the allegory of an 'earth judge and court' would help explain: Christianity is NOT properly understood by watching movies. I happen to think Susan Goldberg used an allegory too, when she said, "wrestling with God's word."

With all apologies to Susan Goldberg and God, I find it appealing; the idea of Susan Goldberg putting on a wrestling outfit and going to the mat against an opponent known as 'The Rabbi (teacher).' = It's WWW, Wrestling With the Word. As a note: Bill Goldberg is a ~very famous wrestling champion.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
" If a filmmaker dared to make a “Jesus movie” that embraced the Hebrew reality of Jesus’s life, audiences would be amazed. "

Gee, I seem to remember a film like that, which was actually made in Aramaic. The rest of us were told that this movie was anti-Semitic, and that pogroms were shortly to follow (we're still waiting for them by the way).

Before you comment on things like this, you might want to actually learn about other people's traditions rather than basing your opinions 100% on your prejudices. Its really embarrassing actually.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I did not join in in the chorus of concern about Mel Gibson's unwatchable film, and still have no problem with it. Tough job that and I still think the original book is better.

There have been some issues about Mel Gibson and his views, though he has mellowed out recently.

Abe Foxman might have been over the top but nobody wants to be referred to as a "Hebe", or "oven dodger" as Mel did in his public drunken harangues.

So Mel is a jerk, what else is new? So this is who the movie studio picked to represent Jesus? A Jew hater, representing the Christian Messiah, Yeshua, himself and all of his early followers were Jews.

Anyway, that road is over and nobody remembers the film so much.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seriously? Nobody I know has forgotten that wonderful film - which, by the way, was Mel Gibson's from start to finish; he wasn't 'picked' by a 'movie studio'.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Before you comment on things like this, you might want to actually learn about other people's traditions rather than basing your opinions 100% on your prejudices. Its really embarrassing actually.

Based on what?

Gee, I seem to remember a film like that, which was actually made in Aramaic.

Regardless of my "prejudices" I would never see that movie, because I don't speak Aramaic and I hate subtitles. Twit.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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