OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 30, 2014, 07:12:22 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Last Temptation of Christ Vs. The Da Vinci Code  (Read 2235 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« on: December 22, 2006, 01:58:09 AM »

When released, The Last Temptation of Christ received almost unanimous praise from film critics, yet bombed at the box office due to protest from religious groups. The Da Vinci Code, released this year, was critically panned, but has earned nearly a billion dollars worldwide.

The Last Temptation of Christ, like Nikos Kazantzakis' book that inspired it, did not intend to rewrite history, but used historical fiction to emphasize the humanity of Christ. Neither did it intend to blaspheme; Kantzakis, director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader considered themselves within the fold of traditional Christianity.

Many protested the film and book's inclusion of Jesus in a love scene, but that was not presented as a literal event, but Christ's final temptation, an illusion created by Satan:

Quote
The film contains many ideas not present in the Scriptures. The main source of controversy stems from a scene near the end of the movie in which Jesus imagines himself marrying Mary Magdalene instead of dying on the cross. A brief scene of the married couple making love is shown in the film, sparking the anger of many protesters.

The rationale behind this scene is that it represents Satan's tempting of Christ with the life of a normal man, free from the burden of being crucified and of being the salvation of mankind. In the guise of a beautiful angel, Satan deceptively brings Christ down from the cross in a dream sequence and gives him the life he has desired, telling him he is in fact not the Messiah. Under Satan’s sham, Jesus marries and raises a family. However, as he is nearing the end of his life, his most devoted disciple, Judas Iscariot, awakens him to the truth of what is happening. As Judas calls him a traitor, Jesus finally realizes he has abandoned his duty to be crucified and to be the salvation of mankind. Seeing that he has been tempted into living a man’s life and dying a peaceful death, Jesus crawls out into the streets of Jerusalem as it burns with the fires of the Jewish Rebellion, and begs God to return him to his crucifixion, finally rejecting Satan’s offering. At that point, he is returned to the cross, awakening from his dream. Jesus has now been tempted as a man, and having survived this temptation utters his dying words, "It is accomplished."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Temptation_of_Christ_%28film%29#Controversial_content

Jesus then dies with a look of relief and satisfaction on His face, knowing that His ultimate destiny has been fulfilled. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, on the other hand, specifically intends to revise history with Brown's neo-Gnostic conspiracy theories, albeit through the device of a fictional novel. Having said that, why was The Last Temptation so despised and commercially unsucessful, while the Da Vinci Code has made so much money?

Peace.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 02:01:19 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2006, 02:27:18 AM »

Well, DaVinci Code was much more of a commercial film, based on a novel that was enormously popular, directed by Ron Howard, a much more commercial director than Martin Scorcese.

So there was a much greater level of audience interest, and it had a very wide release. Scorcese's film, a much more serious, artistic work, played in no more than 123 theaters.

The DaVinci Code was a pulp thriller with big stars. Sure, it stunk, but it had a huge opening weekend before people learned the truth. Most people saw it to be entertained---I did (though I primarily saw it also to be able to debunk it to people who ask me about it---since history is my profession, people hit me with endless questions about the claims of the book and the movie). Ian McKellen (as always) was great fun, and the locations were nice, but otherwise it was pretty mediocre. I laughed at the cheesiest parts.

I would also add that the media frenzy is much more potent in 2006 than it was in 1988.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 02:28:07 AM by lubeltri » Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2006, 05:05:34 AM »

The Last Temptation is one of the greatest films of the 80s and one of my favorites by Scorsese. I made a thread on the Last Temptation over a year before the Da Vinci Code movie came out, and it's relatively mild in its level of "blasphemy" compared to the Da Vinci Code. If the Last Temptation were blasphemous, then one could say the same for Jesus Christ Superstar and Monty Python's The Life of Brian.

This article is rather helpful in understanding Scorsese's film:

The Last Temptation Reconsidered
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9602/iannone.html

Quote
Controversy over this retelling of the Christ tale did not begin with Scorsese. The Last Temptation of Christ almost led to Kazantzakis' excommunication from the Greek Orthodox Church. The novel was placed on the Roman Catholic Index of Forbidden Books, and Protestant fundamentalist groups in the United States tried to have it banned from libraries (thereby helping to make it a bestseller). Yet Kazantzakis was a serious spiritual seeker. His search took him through Bergson, Nietzsche, Buddha, Mussolini, Marx, and Lenin, but ultimately all roads led him back to Christ. The latter part of his career was devoted to an exploration of Christian concepts, not only in The Last Temptation but also in other novels, including The Greek Passion (1951), in which a Greek village under Turkish occupation becomes involved in staging a Passion Play, and St. Francis (1956). The Last Temptation of Christ is prefaced with his remarkable statement of spiritual and artistic purpose, an excerpt of which Scorsese uses to introduce the film, and and some of which appears in a fuller context in Kazantzakis' spiritual memoir, Report to Greco (1961):

"My principal anguish, and the wellspring of all my joys and sorrows, has been the incessant merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh. . . . Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed; it is universal. . . . Struggle between the flesh and the spirit, rebellion and resistance, reconciliation and submission, and finally-the supreme purpose of the struggle-union with God: this was the ascent taken by Christ, the ascent which he invites us to take as well, following in his bloody tracks. . . .
If we are to be able to follow him, we must have a profound knowledge of His conflict, we must relive his anguish. . . . In order to mount to the Cross, the summit of sacrifice, and to God, the summit of immateriality, Christ passed through all the stages which the man who struggles passes through. All-and that is why his suffering is so familiar to us; that is why we pity him, and why his final victory seems to us so much our own future victory. That part of Christ's nature which was profoundly human helps us to understand him and love him and to pursue his Passion as though it were our own. If he had not within him this warm human element, he would never be able to touch our hearts with such assurance and tenderness; he would not be able to become a model for our lives. We struggle, we see him struggle also, and we find strength. We see that we are not all alone in the world; he is fighting at our side. . . . This book was written because I wanted to offer a supreme model to the man who struggles; I wanted to show him that he must not fear pain, temptation, or death-because all three can be conquered, all three have already been conquered."

The Last Temptation of Christ seems to me the effort of an ordinary man to understand Christ's sacrifice from the inside and to experience it as his own. In order to speak to modern man, arriving so late in the ages of belief, Jesus must be made to bear the infirmities of our age-the doubt, the angst, the fear and trembling, the existential dread, and yes, even the sexual obsessiveness. Moreover, in an age of complacent materialism Christ must be tempted not only by extraordinary evil but by the possibility of a life of ordinary pleasure as well-not only by lavish indulgence but also by the life of middle- class satisfactions...
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9602/iannone.html

If Jesus is like us in everything but sin, then it's not farfetched that He would have been tempted by sex, though never giving into such a temptation.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Peace.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 05:30:45 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2006, 05:19:37 PM »

Is it especially shocking that Christ would have been tempted by His own sexuality as a true man?

Peace.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
cothrige
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133

OC.net


« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2006, 06:05:45 PM »

I can't really remember the movie that well, though I do recall thinking it was at best an average movie.  But,I remember the book a bit better, and what I recall is that the "last temptation" was much more than you would be implying.  It lasted an entire lifetime and the Jesus of the book, at a minimum, entertained the temptation.  That is definitely sinful and is therefore impossible.

The scripture depicts Satan's temptations of Jesus and they are given as offers which Christ never so much as considered.  The movie and the book also have these temptations, but the final one on the cross is of an entirely different nature, and would suggest that Christ not only was presented a possibility but desired it greatly and had to repent of it in the end.  I seem to recall that at one point he finally started to realize, as an old man with kids, that this was not right and struggled out of it, and that is far more than an external temptation.  Additionally, we are presented a Christ unaware of his divinity, at least through most of the story, and who was building crosses which were used to kill Jews.  For that reason I would say we are dealing with a blasphemy, and unfortunately we must treat it as such.

Patrick
Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2006, 06:18:37 PM »

The movie and the book also have these temptations, but the final one on the cross is of an entirely different nature, and would suggest that Christ not only was presented a possibility but desired it greatly and had to repent of it in the end.

If He was like us in all things except sin, would such a temptation be impossible?

Additionally, we are presented a Christ unaware of his divinity, at least through most of the story, and who was building crosses which were used to kill Jews.

Throughout the story, He becomes progressively more aware of His indwelling divinity, with this progression climaxing in His death on the cross.

This from the quote by Kazantzakis:

Quote
In order to mount to the Cross, the summit of sacrifice, and to God, the summit of immateriality, Christ passed through all the stages which the man who struggles passes through...

For that reason I would say we are dealing with a blasphemy, and unfortunately we must treat it as such.

Given that neither the film nor book intended to rewrite history nor replace our traditional understanding of Christ, how can that be true?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 06:20:06 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
cothrige
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133

OC.net


« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2006, 12:38:28 AM »

If He was like us in all things except sin, would such a temptation be impossible?

Yes, it would, because it is not just a temptation.  The book did not present a temptation, but a man enjoying and entertaining a temptation.  For instance, if I am walking through Sears (why I would I don't know, but suppose I am) and on the forty TVs there is a wet t-shirt contest with very lovely young ladies.  Now, that is a temptation.  Walking along and being exposed is no sin.  But, if I stop, stare for a while and picture in my mind all the things I could do with these young girls, and then finally stop and wish I hadn't, then I sinned.  That is what we are presented in the Last Temptation.  What is effectively an hour of Christ thinking about how great this would be, and then finally realizing he can't and repenting of the wavering.  Christ did not entertain such ideas, but simply remained obedient and true.

Quote
Throughout the story, He becomes progressively more aware of His indwelling divinity, with this progression climaxing in His death on the cross.

But, he was still living a life contrary to his purpose and who he was.  He was actively assissting in the slaughter and torture of his fellow believers.  Impossible and officious.  Why would you entertain this stuff in the first place?

Quote
Given that neither the film nor book intended to rewrite history nor replace our traditional understanding of Christ, how can that be true?

The book and film present a Christ at odds with revealed truth, and in so doing rewrite history.  They did so just as the DaVinci Code did, only with a smaller audience.  The Last Temptation denied the divinity of Christ regardless of what you are told.  If the Christ in that movie is divine, then God is a sinner, and that is absurd.  Its methodology is just more subtle and that is what makes it more dangerous for a believer.  The DaVinci Code will mostly affect those who already hate the Church and God, but the Last Temptation and its related kind get in the heads of those who otherwise would be believers, but are either poorly catechized or very immature in the faith.  Dangerous indeed.

Patrick
Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2006, 06:35:28 AM »

The book and film present a Christ at odds with revealed truth, and in so doing rewrite history. 

I would agree with you if the book or film were not intended as fiction. While Dan Brown used fiction, his specific intention was to revise history, and therefore I'd consider the Da Vinci Code to be worse. Even though the film is theologically questionable, if one chooses to take it literally, the Last Temptation does have good artistic quality. 
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 06:37:09 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
cothrige
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133

OC.net


« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2006, 11:57:13 AM »

I would agree with you if the book or film were not intended as fiction. While Dan Brown used fiction, his specific intention was to revise history, and therefore I'd consider the Da Vinci Code to be worse. Even though the film is theologically questionable, if one chooses to take it literally, the Last Temptation does have good artistic quality. 


I have always found this an interesting approach to the concept.  During the brouhaha over the DaVinci Code I was watching Scarborough Country and he said something along these lines, that he enjoyed the book as a piece of fiction, but when the author or others tried to place it in non-fiction terms it upset him.  I thought that was a very flawed, and impossible for a Christian, approach.  Let me explain.

Let's say your mother's name is Christine Davidson, and she was a nurse in the small town of Mexia, Texas during the sixties when you were growing up.  She was a good Christian woman who devoted herself to her family and worked hard to provide for everyone in it.  You had two brothers, Phil and Peter, and your dad was a mechanic named Bob.  Now, I write a book, call it fiction, and make the main character Christine Davidson from Mexia, Texas, who is a nurse, is married to Bob the mechanic and has three sons, Matthew, Phil and Peter.  All the particulars are your family and mother, and I use your mailing address for the house and everything.  I sprinkle in details about your family life, broken leg, birthday parties, etc.  I only change one thing, I make your mom a drug addict turned prostitute who is also stealing money from her work and her husband.  Now, if I insist it is fiction, would you buy the book and enjoy it, saying that it was okay because I am not trying to rewrite history?  Somehow, I doubt it.

Let us be honest with ourselves here.  Jesus Christ is not some historical concept.  He is not the Titanic or the Alamo.  He is our Lord God and Saviour.  We are called by the Spirit to love Him, and to love nobody more.  As he said if you love your mother more than him you are unworthy of him.  With that in mind, ask yourself, if  you would read the Last Temptation or the DaVinci Code, which presents a "fictional" Jesus who is an infinite insult to the Divine Jesus of reality, but would not buy and read a book presenting the fictional insult to your own mother, who do you love more?  Ultimately, for us believers, it has nothing to do with rewriting history, it has to do with blaspheming the Lord.

Now, I will admit that I am sure that there are people who will disagree with me.  That is fine, but I would suggest that you look at the above scenario, and unless you would be willing to defend and read a book defaming your mother, or brothers or father or so on, then you are likely taking a bad perspective on the issue.

Patrick
Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2006, 09:09:45 PM »

Now, I will admit that I am sure that there are people who will disagree with me.  That is fine, but I would suggest that you look at the above scenario, and unless you would be willing to defend and read a book defaming your mother, or brothers or father or so on, then you are likely taking a bad perspective on the issue.

I'm just uncertain as to whether the Last Temptation intends to defame Christ. I've presently the explanation by Kazantzakis as to why he wrote the book, and it seems sincere. On the other hand, I understand your point of view.

Peace.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
cothrige
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133

OC.net


« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2006, 10:52:22 PM »

I'm just uncertain as to whether the Last Temptation intends to defame Christ. I've presently the explanation by Kazantzakis as to why he wrote the book, and it seems sincere. On the other hand, I understand your point of view.

Peace.

Please, don't misunderstand me.  I really don't mean to defame or speak ill of Mr. Kazantzakis either, and I really don't doubt that he is very sincere in what he tried to do and why.  However, objectively speaking, in regards to Christian teachings the book does in fact defame the Lord.  It is just a matter of what is true, and what is not.  I could write the book I mentioned above, and if I happen to think it is true or don't think there is anything wrong with being a drug addicted prostitute, I may not intend to defame your mother.  But, will that really change anything about how you feel about the final result?  We as Christians should be as sincere in defending the Lord, more so even, than we would in defending our family members.  I fear that we often think of Christ as a historical or abstract concept rather than remembering that he is our Lord and Saviour, and a real person that we should know.

Patrick
Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2006, 08:11:20 PM »

I fear that we often think of Christ as a historical or abstract concept rather than remembering that he is our Lord and Saviour, and a real person that we should know.

I believe that the author and the film maker would agree that Christ is our Lord and Saviour. Have you seen the film itself? What would you say of its artistic quality, aside from its theology?
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2006, 09:22:59 PM »

Martin Scorcese is an agnostic. He lapsed a long time ago. He retains a Catholic sensibility, if not belief.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 09:27:41 PM by lubeltri » Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2006, 01:08:36 AM »

Martin Scorcese is an agnostic. He lapsed a long time ago.

That may be true, but he's still one of the greatest directors of our time, if not the absolute best.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
cothrige
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 133

OC.net


« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2006, 01:26:48 AM »

That may be true, but he's still one of the greatest directors of our time, if not the absolute best.

Well, I have never really liked Scorcese.  But, as for the film I would say from what I remember that it was perhaps an average production with a poor concept.  The acting seemed okay I suppose, and the soundtrack was brilliant.  Peter Gabriel was by far the best part of the film in my memory.

And as for believing that Christ is our Lord and Saviour, don't Mormons say the same thing?  There are lots of people who can say that and don't believe it the way you or I would.  It is like when Muslims criticize us by saying "We honor and revere Christ and you don't return that with Mohammed."  It doesn't say what they would imply or have us believe.  When they "honor and revere" they actually deny and defame.  But, they call it "honor and revere."  We could return the favor and "honor and revere" Mohammed by saying that he was actually a good Catholic whose message was intercepted by false men later and perverted into the Islam we have today.  We could suggest that he prayed the Little Office every morning and night, but I don't think they would call that "honor and revere" anymore, even though it would be a fair return for how they treat the Lord.

So, it is all about the objective truth of the movie and book.  Do they proclaim the Jesus of the Gospels?  No, good intentions aside, they are heretical.  Does that make the creators evil men?  I don't know, but they are wrong, and their work is not Christian as I see it.

Patrick
Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2006, 01:33:26 AM »

Do they proclaim the Jesus of the Gospels? 
Quote
The Last Temptation of Christ is prefaced with his remarkable statement of spiritual and artistic purpose, an excerpt of which Scorsese uses to introduce the film, and and some of which appears in a fuller context in Kazantzakis' spiritual memoir, Report to Greco (1961):

"My principal anguish, and the wellspring of all my joys and sorrows, has been the incessant merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh. . . . Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed; it is universal. . . . Struggle between the flesh and the spirit, rebellion and resistance, reconciliation and submission, and finally-the supreme purpose of the struggle-union with God: this was the ascent taken by Christ, the ascent which he invites us to take as well, following in his bloody tracks. . . .
If we are to be able to follow him, we must have a profound knowledge of His conflict, we must relive his anguish. . . . In order to mount to the Cross, the summit of sacrifice, and to God, the summit of immateriality, Christ passed through all the stages which the man who struggles passes through. All-and that is why his suffering is so familiar to us; that is why we pity him, and why his final victory seems to us so much our own future victory. That part of Christ's nature which was profoundly human helps us to understand him and love him and to pursue his Passion as though it were our own. If he had not within him this warm human element, he would never be able to touch our hearts with such assurance and tenderness; he would not be able to become a model for our lives. We struggle, we see him struggle also, and we find strength. We see that we are not all alone in the world; he is fighting at our side. . . . This book was written because I wanted to offer a supreme model to the man who struggles; I wanted to show him that he must not fear pain, temptation, or death-because all three can be conquered, all three have already been conquered."
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9602/iannone.html

Kazantzakis fictionalized the life of Christ to emphasize His humanity, to prove a particular point. In the strictest sense this may be "blasphemy," but certainly not on the level of placing an upside down crucifix in a jar of urine and calling it "art."
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 01:34:38 AM by Matthew777 » Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2006, 01:37:58 AM »

That may be true, but he's still one of the greatest directors of our time, if not the absolute best.

I certainly won't argue with that.
Logged
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2006, 01:44:47 AM »

Whatever the film's merits or level of blasphemy, it is certainly not edifying for a Christian to see it. Not when you've got A Man for All Seasons or The Flowers of St. Francis or The Passion of Joan of Arc still to see.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 01:45:55 AM by lubeltri » Logged
Tags: The Da Vinci Code movies Dan Brown 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.092 seconds with 45 queries.