The latest attempt to film all four gospels word-for-word

Every now and then, someone embarks on a quixotic quest to film the entire Bible, word for word. In the 1970s, the Genesis Project got as far as filming the books of Genesis and Luke, the latter of which was condensed into the Jesus film that is now distributed by Campus Crusade. More recently, there was the Visual Bible, which produced adaptations of Matthew and Acts in the 1990s and then, after a change of ownership, an adaptation of The Gospel of John in 2003.

Yesterday I came across what seems like a more modest project: an attempt to film all four gospels under the collective title the Lumo Project.

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The death, resurrection, and second death of Lazarus

One of the recurring themes in the Gospel of John is that the people who were healed by Jesus faced ostracism and worse from some of their fellow Jews. You see it in the story of the man who was born blind; after Jesus healed him, he was thrown out of the synagogue for refusing to deny that Jesus was the Messiah. And you see it in the story of Lazarus; after Jesus raised him from the dead, he became such a celebrity that the chief priests plotted to have him killed.

This last detail is often forgotten in dramatic depictions of the raising of Lazarus — possibly because John’s gospel never tells us whether the plot succeeded — but a few films have acknowledged it. Three come to mind.

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History and tradition in movie depictions of the Cross.

Western Easter came and went last week, but the Eastern churches are currently only half-way through the Lenten season, so yesterday was, for us, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Precious Cross.

Thinking about this, I inevitably started thinking about Jesus movies, and I began to think about the fact that the recent mini-series The Bible has joined Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in taking a step back from recent “historically accurate” depictions of the Crucifixion towards a more traditional sort of iconography.

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The Bible: fourth episode, first impressions

Alas, there was no Transfiguration in this episode. But there was quite a bit of other stuff that I found interesting, for better and for worse, so here again, as before, are my first impressions.

The pacing, redux. It says something about this show that, when it finally devotes an entire two-hour episode to a single protagonist, it still feels kind of rushed, like it’s over far too quickly and we haven’t had a chance to really get to know anyone.

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Comment: Passion ‘softened’, and John comes to the screen

IS MEL Gibson yielding to criticism over his death-of-Christ movie The Passion? In some ways, it seems he might be.

Earlier this year, Gibson told reporters Holly McClure and Raymond Arroyo in on-the-set interviews that his film made significant use of the visions of Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich, a 19th-century stigmatic nun. He even cited his seemingly accidental discovery of The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a published record of her visions, as a sign that he had been specially called to make his film.

But after Jewish and Catholic scholars expressed concern over the allegedly anti-Semitic contents of Emmerich’s visions, Paul Lauer, the director of marketing for Gibson’s production company, denied that Gibson had based his film on them.

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