Roger Ebert Remembers “The Last Temptation of Christ”

Congratulations to my friend Steven D. Greydanus. His review of The Passion of the Christ was persuasive for Roger Ebert when that film was released. Now, his review of The Last Temptation has proven useful to Ebert as well. There’s a reason that Greydanus is my favorite writer among Christians who review movies. He’s really, really good.

Ebert:

The film is indeed technically blasphemous. I have been persuaded of this by a thoughtful essay by Steven D. Greydanus of the National Catholic Register, a mainstream writer who simply and concisely explains why. I mention this only to argue that a film can be blasphemous, or anything else that the director desires, and we should only hope that it be as good as the filmmaker can make it, and convincing in its interior purpose. Certainly useful things can be said about Jesus Christ by presenting him in a non-orthodox way. There is a long tradition of such revisionism, including the foolishness of The Da Vinci Code. The story by Kazantzakis, Scorsese and Schrader grapples with the central mystery of Jesus, that he was both God and man, and uses the freedom of fiction to explore the implications of such a paradox.

Thanks to Joseph Hollies for bringing this to my attention!

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • http://lookingcloser.org Jeffrey Overstreet

    Sorry, Victor.

    I thought I’d included a link, and I’ve corrected that.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081029/REVIEWS08/810309993/1023

    I didn’t know it was in the book. Thanks for that!

    Jeffrey

  • http://vjmorton.wordpress.com vjmorton

    You may want to make clear where Ebert says this (best I can tell, you don’t). It’s in Ebert’s new book “Scorsese,” though he may have excerpted it somewhere else. I read the passage last week while grazing at Barnes & Noble and thought “hmmm … wonder if Steve knows,” but I decided he probably did because books have to be pretty thoroughly fact-checked.


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