This is the conclusion of Melissa Gaudron in her review of the documentary The Life of Jesus (Sydney Morning Herald, ‘The Guide’, Monday 6 April, page 18).
The Life of Jesus is a documentary to be screened on Good Friday at 1pm on Channel 7. It’s produced by Australia’s John Dickson, the director of the Centre for Public Christianity (‘which sounds a little too much like the Ponds Institute’, writes Melissa).
No prizes for guessing what the doco is about – it’s called ‘The Life of Jesus’, which says it all… or does it?
Melissa is seems to appreciate the many random facts about Jesus’ life which the show reveals (and who doesn’t like obscure details about the life of celebrities?). Among the surprising facts about Jesus, she notes that Jesus the carpenter would have been pretty buff, and he had a tendency to hang out with ‘major sinners… a lot’… in fact, she is so surprised by what she learns about the life of Jesus that she concludes ‘if Jesus were alive today, he’d be looking to befriend some bad dudes who had a bit of money and liked physical work. Sounds like a candidate for the NRL to me…’
‘The Life of Jesus’ really is about the life of Jesus – and Melissa finds this appealing. Jesus was a typical bloke who walked the earth. We can identify with him. However, she notes that even though the documentary is ‘couched as historical biography, bits of theological statement and dogma can’t help but creep in. But hey, it’s Easter. Suck it up.’
It’s good to hear that at Easter (even if not the other times of the year), we are allowed to make a link between the historical details about the life of Jesus and our beliefs about him. I suspect that this link often surprises many people – it seems a bit weird that Christianity, a religious belief, can be grounded in historical events and a real live person.
Perhaps the person who compiled the TV program on the very next page of ‘The Guide’ would question a link between history and belief. The programme for Channel 7, at 1pm on Friday lists ‘The Life of Jesus’ with a short blurb: ‘The fictional story of Jesus Christ’s life as told in the bible’ (p19).
The life of Jesus: Historical biography? Theological dogma? Or Fiction?
Jesus was a typical bloke who lived and died. However, the claim that Jesus came back to life (was resurrected) puts him in a totally different category to every other typical bloke in history.
As Melissa Gaudron wondered: what if Jesus were alive today?
The Life of Jesus screens on Channel 7 at 1pm on Good Friday