Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Independent praises "surprisingly gripping" Passion -- and other links

I omitted to refer to The Independent's very positive review of The Passion. As usual, I'll quote a section, but it's all worth reading:

The Weekend's TV: The Passion, BBC1
Gavin & Stacey, BBC3

Don't pass over this Easter treat
By Thomas Sutcliffe
Monday, 17 March 2008
. . . . The Moroccan location and the dusty hugger-mugger of some of the street scenes mean that it is fleetingly haunted by the spirit of The Life of Brian, but only the most zealously dogmatic Christian could complain that it was irreverent.

Naturally, at least one dogmatic Christian has already volunteered his services. Stephen Green, the self-appointed pharisee who speaks for Christian Voice, has expressed disquiet at the fact that Deasy's account of Christ's last days should have been at pains to round out the motivations and character of two other notable players in the drama – Caiaphas, the High Priest, and Pilate, the Roman Governor. Mr Green wouldn't be satisfied, I suspect, unless both men appeared on screen accompanied by sulphurous gusts of smoke and a blast of the Carmina Burana. But for the rest of us, religiously minded or not, the prospect of a series diplomatically poised between revealed truth and historical speculation must be something of a relief. If you believe that Christ is your redeemer I can't so far see anything in The Passion that would have affronted that faith. And if you don't, its account of the politics of a week that was critical in world history proved surprisingly gripping.
If you missed the first two episodes and live in the UK, the Passion website has placed each one online so that you don't even have to go to the iPlayer:

The Passion: Episode Guide

Also on the BBC site, there are lots of comments from viewers, some of which make interesting reading to get a sketch of a range of reactions.

Digital Spy has viewing figures for the first episode, a slightly disappointing 4.1 million, a 15% share of the audience, apparently losing out to Dancing on Ice, almost 12 million (44% of the audience). As for the second episode, Doug Chaplin (Metacatholic) and Michael Bird (Euangelion) are bang up to date, with their episode 2 reviews going online within hours of last night's broadcast.

Also yesterday, Simon Mayo's TV Panel reviewed The Passion; you can listen again; fast forward to about 3.35pm for discussion of The Passion.

More comments and links later.


Geoff Hudson said...

There is a heavy reliance for 'historical accuracy' of The Passion on the writings attributed to Josephus. But a distinct possibility is that there was collusion between the editors of these writings and the editors of the gospel texts so that the former appears to support the latter. This seems particularly true about Pilate. Undoubtedly, much of what we read about Pilate in the writings attributed to Josephus is the garbled product of completely different real events obfuscated in the extant texts.

Christopher Shell said...

The so-called 'Independent' needs (on this admittedly limited evidence) to learn more about independent thought, ie (a) not indulge in mindless stereotyping, (b) not capitulate to the presuppositions of one's own highly specific and relative culture. I would guess that the writer needs Stephen Green to be as he claims him to be, in order that (on the basis of one single person) the wished-for stereotype of Christians can be spread. But what are the facts about Green? (1) He speaks and writes with a decent amount of intelligence and nuance; (2) he can think for himself, ie does not just follow the crowd - this alone arguably puts one in the top 10% intelligence bracket; (3) he will speak out to a degree appropriate to the seriousness of the cause in a country where a lot of people are (inappropriately) doing nothing to counter some present unchristian trends; (4) his views are approx. those of the majority of Christians worldwide, and of the majority of Christians who have ever lived in any age in Britain too. They aren't/weren't all ignorant.
In the Veggie Tales series, there's a funny story of a rather stiff asparagus who beomes rumoured (because he says 'I must recharge my batteries') to be a robot, then a dangerous robot, then a robot intent on world domination. In the next clip we see him admiring his geraniums. Likewise we see SG rhapsodising over favourite hymnody and its history ('The Day Thou Gavest' etc). Clearly: a dangerous robot intent on world domination.

Justin Lewis-Anthony said...

What a disappointing discussion on the Simon Mayo show: a particularly grating display of unknowledgeable prejudice (the haircuts! the accents! the religion!), only enlivened by Mayo's cutting remark "I suppose if you are the Son of God then you can afford to be holier than thou" (!)