The Leftovers: “The birth of religion in the face of mystery.”

The Leftovers — the HBO series about a community coping with the Rapture-like disappearance of many of its members — premieres this coming weekend, and while I haven’t been scouring the internet for coverage of this series the way I sometimes do for films like Noah etc., a few things have popped up in my regular news feeds, including a new video, a new interview with the show’s creators, and a handful of reviews.

The interview, with novelist Tom Perrotta and series producer Damon Lindelof, is up at The Daily Beast, and it’s a bit of a frustrating read for me, as I find myself nodding along at some points and wanting to argue with the interviewees at others. Here’s a sample:
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Pontius Pilate is ready for his close-up.

Deadline reports that Warner Brothers has acquired a script about Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator who condemned Jesus to the cross. No director is attached yet, but the script was written by Vera Blasi and the movie is set to be produced by Mark Johnson, whose credits include the TV show Breaking Bad and all three movies in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Deadline’s Mike Fleming, who has seen a draft of the screenplay, says it depicts Pilate as “a ferocious soldier” whose military exploits put him on “the political fast track” until the Roman emperor Tiberius assigns him to a position in Judea, rather than in Egypt as Pilate had expected. [Read more...]

Review: The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions

• Marcus Borg & N.T. Wright: The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.

Four years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright for this newspaper when they met for a dialogue — no one wanted to call it a debate — at Regent College. Both men are members of the Anglican church and historians who specialize in ‘the historical Jesus,’ but they have very different understandings of who and what Jesus was, and they spent the better part of six hours fleshing out their many disagreements.

But I was particularly struck by what took place after the seminar was over. Bidding farewell in the atrium, the two men hugged, and Wright said to Borg, “We’ll have to do this again sometime.”

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The Late Great Planet Earth as a document of its own time and of events that have not yet happened

FILM 432
February 27, 1996

Robert Amram’s film The Late Great Planet Earth, a 1979 documentary based on the 1970 book of the same name by Hal Lindsey, tries to act as a bridge of sorts between time periods. It purports to predict the future based on writings from the past, and it relies on an eclectic array of stock footage, dramatic recreations, interviews with “experts”, and “voice of God” narration to establish a link between the unseen future and the obscured past. Simultaneously, it is very much a product of its own time, and it acts as a record of sorts of the paranoias and social movements that typified the 1970s. It also represents, in some tangential way, a key aspect of the rise of Christian pop culture.

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