Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What have the Romans done for us? - Life of Brian and Jesus of Nazareth

One of the legendary scenes in Life of Brian features Judean rebels, led by Reg (John Cleese), asking, "What have the Romans done for us?"  I have been re-watching Jesus of Nazareth (dir. Franco Zeffirelli, 1977) this week and I have been struck by several Brian - Jesus of Nazareth parallels. One of these occurs at about thirty minutes into the film.

The location is Nazareth in about 4 BCE, and the Galileans Jews are discussing oppression by Rome before they are interrupted by Joseph.

"What does Rome give us?" they ask.  Here's the clip:


And in case you need a reminder, here's the famous clip from Life of Brian:


Update (Saturday 31 January): Many thanks to Matt Page who has commented over on Bible Films Blog. Among other things, he corrects my reading of the line.  It is "What does Rome give us?" and not "What do the Romans give us?"  It's interesting that I had harmonized a little to Life of Brian in my transcription, just as scribes of Mark often harmonize to the more familiar Matthean versions of Jesus' sayings!


Matt Page said...

Hi Mark,

Can you remember any of the others? I might write something on this.


Mark Goodacre said...

Yes, hoping to write something else on this later today. Thanks very much for your post, Matt. I'll correct the line of dialogue above and add a link to your post.