I Don’t Care If It Rains or Freezes

Who is your favorite Jesus? No, I don’t mean who is your favorite Bible Jesus. That’s obvious. It’s Jesus busting heads at the temple, doing what any good action hero does when he discovers a den of thieves in his father’s house. Then later he says, “Ah’ll be back.”

I mean, who is your favorite film Jesus? Mine is Willem Dafoe. You gotta like a Jesus with a flat Midwestern accent, the kind of Jesus who, if you got turned around in Beloit, can get you back on 90/94 and on your way to see the Tommy Bartlett Water Show.

Gahd loves me. I know he does. I wahnt him to stahp.

I really liked The Last Temptation of Christ (follow me now). It’s right up there with Jim Crace’s book Quarantine and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in its depiction of the powerful alienness of Roman-occupied Judea. If their literature and customs are anything to go by, that world and those people were very different from us. The idea that whole continents would become so preoccupied with the mutterings and incantations of this little tribe of desert people that it would form the bedrock of societies sounds like science fiction. Trying to get into their heads of the ancients, even if you’re not related to them, is a fun exercise.

Despite the fact that it is a very eighties-sounding album, full of whooshy synthesizers, I liked the soundtrack to the film by Peter Gabriel, Passion (getting closer). And even more still than the soundtrack (almost there), I loved the music that was the inspiration for the soundtrack, which is collected in an album called Passion – Sources (arrival!). It was a daily listen for me when it came out in 1989 and it still holds up. World music was, I recall, at its zenith in popularity at the time and seemed to come in two flavors: soporific wind-chime music to calm jangled hippie nerves or traditional songs that actually rocked. The Passion – Sources collection is all rockers. The music sounds untamed and a little dangerous. The YouTube collection below omits a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song. Be sure to listen to that one too if you are inclined. It’s a jam.

Now that the sermon is over, it’s time to pass the plate. Here fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

134 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Speaking of famous celebrities, BCrack was retweeted by Joy Reid.

    Joy Reid Retweeted
    Betty Cracker
    ‏ @bettycrackerfl
    7h7 hours ago

    Comic book villain Roger Stone trying to ratfuck FL GOP gubernatorial race on behalf of Big Sugar? Root canals all around!

    Here’s a very sweet reason Roger Stone has it in for Ron DeSantis.

  2. 2

    links or it didn’t happen.

  3. 3
    RepubAnon says:

    Last millennium, the Austin Lounge Lizards recorded “Jesus Loves Me, but He Can’t Stand You.” The Kristians* haven’t changed.

    *Christians follow Christ’s teachings – Kristians pretend to believe in Christ, but hold all his teachings in contempt, and are likely worshippers of the Anti-Christ.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Claude Heater.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Not much of a fan of Jesus movies, just too much mythology, but anything by Peter Gabriel is good with me.

  6. 6
    zhena gogolia says:

    Not a movie, but Ian Gillan on the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar.

    We tried to watch The Greatest Story Ever Told last night, but it was just too boring despite sterling work by Claude Rains in the first 15 minutes. We never made it to Max von Sydow.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    David Haskell in Godspell. I’ve seen few broadway musicals but that was one of them, so of course, I fell in love. Unfortunately google tells me he died in 2000.

  8. 8
    prostratedragon says:

    Felicitations of the season.

    Thanks for the sources album. I also like the movie/portrayal/soundtrack very much, but had never chased down the sources. FYI, I’m getting the first track, the one posted here, blocked, but when I opened it at youtube, the playlist as a whole seems mostly available, as is the Nusrat.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    frosty fred says:

    Got to know a family in England in the late 70s-early 80s. Three sons around my age one of whom referred, probably once on each visit, to “my cousin’s band.” I thought the cousin had a band, as mine did or anyone’s might. Years later I learned the cousin was Peter Gabriel.

  11. 11

    I had a moment of author panic yesterday after seeing the cover for THE WIND READER. What if it doesn’t sell after people put in all this effort and money? I’ll feel like I let people down.

    Deep breath.

    Sorry for the off topic. Maybe I should say “Jesus, take the wheel”?

  12. 12
    germy says:

    I remember reading many years ago a biography of Don Marquis. He wrote a play about Jesus, but apparently back then it was considered bad form for an actor to actually portray Jesus on stage. So usually he’d be an offstage presence, with other characters talking about him.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    Best movie with Jesus in it is the 1959 Ben Hur.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    TriassicSands says:

    My favorite film Jesus had to be Jeffrey Hunter who played Jesus as the fair-skinned, blue-eyed Aryan he undoubtedly was. Historical accuracy is so important in films.

  16. 16

    @WereBear: I sent out a short story, which did make me feel better.

    How are you feeling? I think your book will appeal to a lot of cat owners.

  17. 17
    Mike J says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The movies are usually better than the book.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WereBear: Name that actor!

  19. 19
    Citizen_X says:

    @zhena gogolia: I agree. The best Movie Jesus is the original Vinyl Jesus from JCS. I’m kind of disappointed that JS didn’t pick the lead singer of Deep Purple as a frontrunner Jesus. Especially since he went on to front Black Sabbath!

  20. 20
    scav says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): I think you better choose your jesus before handing the wheel over: some of them seem more determinedly headed for golgotha than others, and that might not coincide with your personal authorial destination. Deep breath, maybe a spot of meditation as you carefully unwrap a chocolate egg and let it melt in your mouth.

  21. 21
    SenyorDave says:

    @TriassicSands: Hey, Megyn Kelly ended that debate. Not only was Santa Claus definitively white, but so was Jesus.

  22. 22
    TriassicSands says:

    The only thing better than Dafoe’s Jesus (after Hunter’s, of course) was Harvey Keitel’s Judas. The one thing missing from The Last Temptation of Christ was Joe Pesci as Peter (denying he knew Jesus) yelling “You tawkin’ to me?…Are you tawkin’ to me?”

    Apparently, Scorsese somehow got the idea that the whole “Christ thing” took place in Northern New Jersey and da Bronx.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Best movie with Jesus in it is the 1959 Ben Hur.

    Indeed! Hence my recommendation @ #4.


    (Claude Heater, whose face was never actually seen in the film, was uncredited in the role. He went on to become a respected, if not terribly famous, Wagnerian opera singer.)

  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike J: The book has too many contradictions with totally unbelievable characters performing feats of daring that no human could ever accomplish. Movies are far more realistic.

  25. 25
    germy says:

    John Legend will be Jesus tonight.

    Live on NBC.

  26. 26
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    I Don’t Care If It Rains or Freezes

    As long as I got my plastic Jesus riding on the dashboard of my car!

  27. 27
    Schlemazel says:

    We don’t really know how much impact the Christs words made in his home world or the larger one either. What we know today stems almost entirely from the work of Paul who had his own thoughts and plans. He clashed with Jesus family and followers in Israel and they had an acrimonious split with Paul getting the outside world and the holy land remaining with the family. I believe those morphed into the Copitics but really have no noticeable effect on the modern world.

    Meanwhile Paul drew from a lot of unreliable sources and edited things to fit his stilted view of the Roman world. His work was mangled by early Popes & then Kings to fit their political view.

    As for movie Jesus, the guy who sang in JC Superstar would get my vote.

  28. 28
    germy says:


    Apparently, Scorsese somehow got the idea that the whole “Christ thing” took place in Northern New Jersey and da Bronx.

    How absurd. Everyone knows they all had British accents.

  29. 29
    Citizen_X says:

    @Citizen_X: Ted Neeley, the hippie Jesus from the 1973 movie version, was good, but he was overshadowed by Carl Anderson as Judas.

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Ask an impossible question and some jackal somewhere will answer it, maybe even correctly,

  31. 31
    germy says:

    I remember a slide show during a Unitarian service, showing Jesus’s portrayals in paintings over the centuries. The slide show started with present day and then went backwards to the earliest depictions.

    I couldn’t help but notice Jesus getting darker and darker the older the paintings. In the oldest painting, Jesus looked like someone the LAPD would pull over and search.

  32. 32

    @scav: Chocolate is always good, but I’m having an afternoon glass of wine at the moment. :-)

  33. 33
    debit says:

    My favorite Jesus, back from the old X Play days on G4 TV.

  34. 34
    piratedan says:

    in the spirit of the thread, I offer you The Beat Farmers


  35. 35
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    And this is my favorite Jesus song, ever.

  36. 36
    Jewish Steel says:

    @TriassicSands: Hey, we update Shakespeare all the time!

  37. 37
    zhena gogolia says:


    I’m so mad I have to miss it. And I don’t know how to DVR or whatever the kids do nowadays.

  38. 38
    WereBear says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): Think I’m still fighting off this winter’s flu, The Thing That Will Not Die.

    Thank you! I’ve been getting such lovely feedback.

  39. 39
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    I’m not sure I’ve actually seen too many Jesus depictions. The only one that came to mind was Ben-Hur, which people have mentioned, and all you see of Jesus in that one is, IIRC a pair of feet and a hand handing Ben-Hur a dipper of water. I love Dafoe though. His FBI agent in Boondock Saints is one of my favorite quirky movie characters ever.

    This reminds me that there’s a non-fiction book which I purchased but haven’t got around to reading (sadly, too many of those in my house. I’m trying to catch up.) This one is called “How Jesus Became God” by Bart Ehrman. Here’s some text from the back cover.

    As a historian — not a believer — Ehrman answers the questions: How did this transformation of Jesus occur? How did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? The dramatic shifts throughout history reveal not only why Jesus’s followers began to claim that he was God, but also how they came to understand this claim in so many different ways.

  40. 40
    Schlemazel says:

    Imagine a guy that looked like that named “Jesus” trying to enter the country at Brownsville.

  41. 41
    germy says:

    @zhena gogolia: Perhaps it can be seen on the NBC website. Or youtube.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): Better still: alas, the sun is still miles from the local yardarm here, but I’ll catch up as soon as I can.

  43. 43
    zhena gogolia says:


    Yes, I’m hoping. And they’re definitely doing a CD.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Even the crookedest pot may find a lid to fit it.

  45. 45
    WereBear says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: She beat me to it with more accuracy. All i knew was “opera singer.” And for a non-speaking role!

  46. 46
    James E. Powell says:

    Trying to get into their heads of the ancients, even if you’re not related to them, is a fun exercise.

    It’s fun and fascinating and often humbling. At times we can just about put ourselves in their place & time, but it’s always just about because some part of their world and worldview remains out of reach. “For it is vain and foolish to talk of knowing Greek . . . ” Woolf.

  47. 47
    germy says:

    The “Family Guy” Jesus made lots of appearances. In one of them, he’s very short, and has to tell the crowd that people in his day were much shorter than present day. And then he has to scold someine in the crowd for giggling at him.

  48. 48
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: By some miracle I found my wife. By an even bigger miracle she didn’t run away screaming. Might have had something to do with being out in the woods a hundred miles from civilization and she had no idea which way was camp.

    @WereBear: I knew nothing beyond a relative sureness that he was not in the film credits.

  49. 49
    Another Scott says:

    @Schlemazel: Paul was a jerk.


  50. 50
    TriassicSands says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    “The Last Temptation of Joey Christ.”

    Experience the Passion. Live the Betrayal. Get to know the Real Joey!

  51. 51
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks for the Peter Gabriel pointers, JS. For some reason, I didn’t know he did the music for TLToC. I’ve been a fan of PG for years (but not an obsessive one). Add it to The List.


  52. 52
    Schlemazel says:

    @Another Scott:
    Much worse than a jerk. There is some belief he liked young men which certainly would be a foundation tradition for a religion that preaches against homosexuality while participating.

  53. 53
    TriassicSands says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Hey, we update Shakespeare all the time!

    It’s one thing to update the Bard, and quite another to update the word of God.

  54. 54
    debbie says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Is that the movie where they don’t really show Jesus at all? Just mostly people’s reactions or back views?

  55. 55
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Another Scott: I think PG was made to do soundtracks. Looks like he’s done about four. He should have done more!

  56. 56
    James E. Powell says:

    My favorite is Ted Neely, but only because Ian Gillian isn’t in the film.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Speaking of Easter classics — and whatever your beliefs, you will acknowledge that Jesus is most definitely right up there among Easter classics — do others here love the 1939 children’s book The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes as passionately as I do? It’s a delightful and heartwarming story for young kids, and I used to read it incessantly; but it wasn’t until I rediscovered it as an adult that I realized it’s something of a statement for racial and gender equality. In 1939, imagine.

    It was written by DuBose Heyward, author of the novel Porgy and, with his wife, librettist (book, not lyrics) of the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess. The Country Bunny illustrations are gorgeous drawings by Marjorie Flack. The whole thing is a treasure.

  58. 58
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Help! I’ve fallen down a Youtube hole and I can’t get out!

    John Hiatt – Since His P3nis Came Between Us.

  59. 59
    Mike J says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The contradictions etc in the book are perfectly fine as long as you read it as a bunch of stories told by many different people, each with different points of view and audiences. If you think it is a monolithic slice of TRUTH I don’t think it’s going to make much sense.

  60. 60
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: Ehrman has some lectures on youtube. I think at least 1 is on this topic.

  61. 61
    debbie says:


    I think maybe I’m thinking of Barabbas.

  62. 62
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Robert Powell, from the Jesus of Nazareth mini-series in 1977. Dude speaks RP and never blinks. It’s kind of creepy.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Death Panel Truck: Well, there’s no mention in scripture of Jesus blinking so…

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    By some miracle I found my wife.

    That’s a nice story. But I wasn’t implying anything about you or Mrs OH, and I’ve long been convinced that you both are lovely people. My comment, despite its common meaning, was less about marital partnerships and more about the “impossible-question-here’s-a-jackal-with-an-answer” dynamic.

  66. 66
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Another Scott: There’s a theological movement called New Perspectivss on Paul. IIRC they contend the church has misinterpreted Paul because it has lived in the same world Paul was actually rebeling against – an all-controlling empire.

    I believe the movement has a webpage. NC Wright may be connected with it

  67. 67
    Eural Joiner says:

    Peter Gabriel has been one of those life defining artists for me since I picked up “Plays Live” when I was a kid. “The Passion” is one of my all time favorites. And DeFoe is the best dancing Jesus on film!

  68. 68
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    You picked a fine time to be a dumb ass
    Watching Rush Limbaugh ‘stead of going to class
    When your country needs you
    You tell them that you’re through
    ‘Cause you don’t like the bill they just passed
    You picked a fine time to be a dumb ass.

  69. 69
    Immanentize says:

    @WereBear: @SiubhanDuinne:
    Which is where that great George Clooney scene in Hail Caesar from whence was ripped.

  70. 70
    dnfree says:

    I appreciate the shout-out to flat Midwestern accents. Back when Scott Walker became the governor of Wisconsin, and Democratic legislators fled to hide out in a motel in northern Illinois, some news sites, including TalkingPointsMemo, came up with mocking caricatures of Midwesterners–depths of the darkest Midwest and all that, unknown foreign and exotic people. Reporters were sent here to enlighten coastal people on our quaint ways.

  71. 71
    Bex says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: N.T. Wright’s new book is “Paul: A Biography.”

  72. 72
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike J: I’d be fine with that but way too many Christians treat it as the Incontrovertible Word of GOD.

  73. 73
    JPL says:

    Who is your favorite Jesus?
    All of them Katie.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    Immanentize says:

    I loved eady Nikos Kazantzakis in college. Novels, travel essays. Whatever. Last Temptation of Christ was one of those books that changed my life outlook. I was so looking forward to the film…. Ugh.

  76. 76
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Paul Thorn: Joanie, the Jehovah’s Witness Stripper

    He’s a funny guy. “I like Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sometimes they’re the only people who want to talk to you.”

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    If you want a less Hollywoodized version of the story, there’s Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew, in which he cast a bunch of Italian and Sicilian non-professionals in the roles.

    St. Matthew’s gospel is the one most commonly used for retellings in plays, movies, etc. because it has the strongest narrative. The other three gospels wander around almost as much as Jesus and his disciples did.

  78. 78
    Another Scott says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: I’m not surprised. I came across this while doing a quick search for my earlier comment.

    I’m no expert and haven’t done much reading on this stuff in a long time. But it seems really clear to me that Christ’s teachings were hijacked by Paul and his followers. It’s not even debatable if you take things at face value, IMHO. Of course, people have been arguing and debating this stuff for 1900+ years, so I’m sure that a case can be made for any position. But it seems to me that going from “love your neighbor as yourself” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and “the kingdom of God is at hand” and “good works” to “Jesus died and was resurrected for your sins” and “faith alone” all the rest (as outlined here) is a huge change.

    My $0.02.

    (“Of course, there’s a Simpsons clip for this too (especially the end).”)

  79. 79
    Immanentize says:

    My favorite film Jesus (called Simon to appease censors) was Claudio Brook in Simon of the Dessert directed by Luis Bunuel

  80. 80
    Immanentize says:

    That was a great film

  81. 81
    JPL says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: After you read it, please share your feelings. It’s been my understanding that some Jewish people recognize his existence as a good person, but that’s about it. The crazies are attacking the students of Stoneman Douglas High School, so can’t imagine what they would say about Jesus.

  82. 82
    Jewish Steel says:

    @dnfree: I remember Kurt Vonnegut describing the Indiana accent as the sound of “a bandsaw on sheet metal.”

  83. 83
    Immanentize says:


    If you were born today
    We’d kill you by age eight
    Never get the chance to say:
    Joy to the world and
    Peace on the earth
    Forgive them for they know not what they do

    Low, If You Were Born Today

  84. 84
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think I’ve seen this, but I can’t imagine how or where.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:


    There’s actually quite a huge debate among scholars about the position of women in the early church right now. Some paintings of the early church “fathers” turned out to be paintings of women that were altered later on to conceal the fact that the early church was led by both men and women.

    One wonders if this ongoing struggle was the origin of Paul’s “women should not speak in church” proclamation — he may have been battling it out with older factions that were still following the original tradition of gender equality.

  86. 86

    @Another Scott: Do keep in mind that if weren’t for Paul, we wouldn’t be talking about Easter.

  87. 87
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: @Bex:
    I’m getting banner ads for that new movie Paul, Apostle of Christ.

  88. 88
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I don’t know, Ringo might have filled in!

  89. 89
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Hahahahaha! Well played.

  90. 90
    Ninedragonspot says:

    I quite enjoyed Peter O’Toole’s turn as the Fourteenth Earl of Gurney, aka Jesus Christ, aka Jack the Ripper in ”The Ruling Class”

  91. 91
    Another Scott says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Maybe, maybe not:

    In one religion, Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. He was “Attis,” and was said to have died and been resurrected each year during the period MAR-22 to MAR-25; i.e. at the approximate time of the vernal equinox in the Julian calendar.

    Wherever Christian worship of Jesus and Pagan worship of Attis were active in the same geographical area during ancient times, Christians “used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation.” Since the worship of Cybele was brought to Rome in 204 BCE, about two and a half centuries before Christianity, it is would appear that if any copying occurred, it was the Christians who copied the traditions of the Pagans, rather than vice-versa.

    Everything old is new again. Especially after the Vernal Equinox! :-)


  92. 92

    @raven: That’s Sir Ringo to you.😎

  93. 93

    I love Lenny Bruce’s Barabbas:

    “Hey, buddy, do me a favor, tell these guys that I’m not with you…….they think I conspired with you or something. I’m in here for checks, you know, petty theft…………..”

    Jesus: “……………yes, yes, my son, you’ll be with me………………………”

    B: “Look, stop sayin’ that! I’m not WITH you, okay? I mean I like you an’ all, but come on! We’re goin’ up the hill here……..!”

  94. 94
    Tim in SF says:

    My favorite Jesus is plural: all the various Jesi walking around Ostara’s plantation in the season finale of American Gods. Every Jesus you can imagine was there.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Ouch.

  97. 97

    Guatemalan genocidaire Efrain Ríos Montt has gone to Hell. Let’s hope he doesn’t come back to life by Wednesday.

  98. 98
    Ninedragonspot says:

    ”The Ruling Class”, once more. Peter O’Toole’s Jesus sings and dances The Varsity Drag.

  99. 99

    @Mnemosyne: Some of the churches were indeed lead by women. Many of the early churches had problems with organization as well as doctrine. Paul’s letters were to address those issues. Folk over the last two centuries have tended to lose sight of that and focus on individual passages in his letters.

  100. 100
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Robert Powell in “Jesus of Nazareth” is my favorite movie Jesus.

  101. 101
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m sorry to admit that I never even heard of Hail, Caesar! The googles and wikis suggest that it’s a good, watchable comedy with a fine cast* but for whatever reason it never even made it onto my radar. Sounds worth tracking down; I’ll check with my bright, shiny, beautiful, newly-expanded public library.

    *Another thing I must admit is that I’ve never seen Channing Tatum in anything, so whenever I come across a reference to him I’m always shocked that he’s a dude. Probably I’m conflating the names of some of my favorite female entertainers — Carol Channing, Stockard Channing, Tatum O’Neal — and trying mentally to rob him of his Y chromosome.

  102. 102

    @BillinGlendaleCA: FYWP! “Two Centuries” should be “Two Millennia”. FYWP!

  103. 103
    zhena gogolia says:


    Yeah, he is definitely a mashup of Carol Channing and Tatum O’Neal. I only know who he is because they interview him in Vanity Fair every other month.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sister Golden Bear:

    Someone should have told Tiffany that her dress was too small before she left Mar-A-Loco this morning.

  105. 105
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne: poor Tiffany

    somebody should’ve asked trump, “Without turning around, what’s the name of the building you’re about to enter?”

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:


    if weren’t for Paul, we wouldn’t be talking about Easter.

    With all respect, you cannot know that. I think paulism destroyed the actual teachings of the christ by teaching things Paul approved of that are not in the words of Jesus as they have been passed down to us. Much as someone above said about kristians who tell us they are christian but who really worship Mammon, there is a group of teachings that we can make a strong argument are more directly from Jesus and then there is what Paul made up, on the other hand.

    Personally, I think the philosophical teaching of Jesus are interesting and worthy, while the religion Paul built with that source material is unworthy of even historical interest. Paul was a hateful misogynistic bigot, and worse, a hypocrite. Jesus probably not so much, thought it’s hard to be sure about anything in the fog of myth and superstition.

    Hope I’m not raining on anyone’s Easter Spring Festival !! But I don’t care for Paul nor his fables and prescriptions.

  107. 107
    condorcet runner-up says:

    My favorite on screen Jesus is in The Big Lebowski.

  108. 108
    Gemina13 says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Mine as well. The miniseries was well-cast, although the British accents most of them have is a bit disconcerting. The script was amazing. And Robert Powell made a mesmerizing Jesus, although again, it’s another white blue-eyed guy in the chief role. Still good, though.

    And my lifelong love of Ian McShane was born from this series; his Judas Iscariot is the typical young man of privilege, trying desperately to get on the Man from Nazareth’s good side while becoming disillusioned because Jesus wasn’t what he wanted him to be. In his mind, he’s going to provide the impetus for Jesus to take control of Israel and the whole Roman Empire. Instead, he sees him handed off to the Romans for execution and realizes just how badly he fucked up and was used. Every time I watched McShane play Al Swearingen in Deadwood, I’d imagine that Swearingen was what Judas would’ve become if he hadn’t committed suicide.

    The script also yielded one of my favorite scenes of any series. The little village of Nazareth is having its supplies confiscated by a Roman cohort under the quartermaster. One of the villagers protests, “But Judaea isn’t Roman territory!” The legionary retorts, “The whole world is Roman territory!” That sparked another lifelong love for me – Roman history.

  109. 109

    @J R in WV: Actually we do have a pretty good idea that without Paul, we’d not be talking about Easter. Without Paul, Christianity would have been a small Jewish sect that would have probably died out over the subsequent centuries. There was a big debate in the very early church on whether you needed to be Jewish(and observe the Law) or whether you didn’t. That’s the message of Peter’s vision in Acts.

  110. 110
    Immanentize says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Cohen Brothers — Always big fun (except when it’s horror….)

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:


    Sadly, that’s probably one of the most misused and misunderstood stories in the Bible, and deliberately so. Peter gets a vision of non-kosher food that leads him to understand that everyone, including gentiles, should be allowed to join the church (and that he’s supposed to heal a male Roman’s male lover/slave, also, too), and what fundamentalists get out of the story is that it’s okay for them to eat shrimp? Really?

  112. 112
    Tony J says:

    All you (by which I mean me) can really say about Paul with any certainty is that he went from hardcore anti-Nazarene zealot to hardcore pro-Christ zealot in one big flip, declared himself an Apostle and turned a dynastically organised Judaic sect into the seedbed of a new religion via making the Jewish idea of an Anointed Priest-King palatable to the Romano-Hellenic world by calling him a demigod. That wasn’t an easy thing to do, and by the end Paul’s root-and-branch reinvention only became the ‘Christian Church’ because the rest of Jesus’ family got caught up in the Roman Empire’s latest effort to subdue Palestine by depopulating vast chunks of it. With no credible doctrinal opposition to the Pauline vision of a Romanised Jesus that’s what the Church became, and the clear fault lines running through the collected scriptural texts underlying it all took centuries to bury under layer after layer of ‘Church Father’ sophistry.

    Then Constantine took it all mainstream and the oppressed became the oppressors, crippling the Roman Empire and making it’s fall inevitable.

    tldr: Paul? Cheeky shit said Jesus just ‘forgot’ to make him
    an Apostle. As if.

  113. 113

    @Mnemosyne: As I said, Christianity would have been a small Jewish sect that no-one would now know of. Oh, and if you have a different interpretation, please elaborate.

  114. 114
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    So I went down a couple of little rabbit holes (how appropriate on this day!) and discovered a couple of things probably everyone except me had known for years: (1) that one of the Coen Brothers, Joel I think, is married to Frances McDormand, and (2) that Frances McDormand’s undergrad education was at Bethany College!

  115. 115
    low-tech cyclist says:

    What, no mention of the Jesus of “DJesus Uncrossed“?

    “The ‘H’ is silent.”

  116. 116
    Tony J says:

    Oh and favourite Jesus has to be Patrick Tilley’s omni-chilled Space Secret Agent version from his novel ‘The Mission’. It’s been years since I’ve read it but my over-riding impression is of him shrugging at the expression of horrified disbelief on the faces of his human hosts as he relates the true history of the universe and basically saying “Yeah, the Gnostics totally had it right, except for the bits they didn’t”

    Plus he wrote the Amtrak Wars novels, which are awesome.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:


    As is my custom when it comes to complicated theological matters, I will farm the answer out to Fred Clark at Slacktivist, who explains these things way better than I can.

  118. 118
    Tehanu says:

    Channing Tatum became my personal deity in Hail, Caesar! because of the “No Dames” dance sequence. Trust me, you’ll love it!

  119. 119
    stinger says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I have the same problem remembering that Channing Tatum is male, and for the same reasons!

  120. 120

    @Mnemosyne: You missed my point by a country mile. I agree with Fred, it’s about people, but it allowed for spread of the church to people that didn’t follow Jewish Law(unclean people).

  121. 121
    jackmac says:

    “The Tommy Bartlett Water Show”. You have to be of a certain age (and Midwest residency) to appreciate that one.

  122. 122
    Tokyokie says:

    My favorite Jesus has always been Jesus Alou.

  123. 123
    oatler. says:

    “Godspell” was pretty freaky with John the Baptist morphing into Judas. RIP David Haskell.

  124. 124
    Jewish Steel says:

    @jackmac: Maybe regional humor is low hanging fruit, but there’s a lot about the Midwest that I find very funny.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @J R in WV:

    I think paulism destroyed the actual teachings of the christ by teaching things Paul approved of that are not in the words of Jesus as they have been passed down to us.

    Although I tend to agree with you that Paul was a huge re-interpreter of Christianity, there is still no solid evidence of what Christ’s words were, or that his earliest teachings were any consistent or coherent theology. The Gospels are contradictory, and in some places clearly demonstrate where things were made up to reinforce Jesus’ connections to prophetic tradition, for example his supposed connections to the House of David.

  126. 126
    evodevo says:

    @Schlemazel: Yes. This. Very few evangelicals, and not many mainline Xtians, actually know how their religious sect started. The first schism was between Paul and the original Xtian followers of Jesus, i.e. his brother and the disciples. Most mainline ministers learn this stuff in seminary, as do Catholic priests, but almost all of them keep it quiet, since they would probably be fired by their congregations if they broadcast the actual story… quite a few atheists don’t know the facts or the exegesis either …

  127. 127
    karl says:

    @Immanentize: I hate to play the “someone’s wrong on the internet” game, but… Bunuel’s Simon is modeled more after Simeon Stylites — the first of many pole-sitting Simons. His (Bunuel’s) more Jesus-like character might be Nazarin, my favorite of his films. No Sylvia Pinal, though. Darn.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:


    ”The Ruling Class”, once more. Peter O’Toole’s Jesus sings and dances The Varsity Drag.

    Probably my favorite Jesus movie. Love Peter O’Toole’s over-the-top performance.

  129. 129

    Late to the game and apologies if already mentioned:

    Buddy Jesus/Christ in Kevin Smiths’ “Dogma.”

  130. 130
    Joeg says:

    Probably mentioned up thread, but best movie Jesus is Jesus Quintana from Big Lebowski, of course!

    “Don’t f### wid da jezzus”

  131. 131
    Tata says:

    This thread is totally me. I used to be a Biblical revisionary performance poet, and Ian Gillan and Ian McShane and I have the Jesus Christ Superstar angels tattooed on my back. But tonight, when the actor playing Judas started singing, I burst into tears. Jesus’s songs are so complex when sung by a Black man.

    So much to talk about. Can we have a thread about this tomorrow?

  132. 132
    Shell says:

    My favorite film Jesus had to be Jeffrey Hunter who played Jesus as the fair-skinned, blue-eyed Aryan he undoubtedly was

    At the time, the industry nickname for it was “I Was A Teenage Jesus.”

    Not a movie, but my favorite Jesus is Phil Hartman in an old SNL skit. He;s trying to dissuade Sally Fields character from praying for every little thing. ” ‘Dear Jesus, please keep the rice from getting sticky.’ Do you really need my help for things like that?”

  133. 133
    The Lodger says:

    @Immanentize: I think Simon of the Dessert used to comment here. As I recall, he got pied a lot.

  134. 134
    Matt says:

    I want Tommy Wiseau to do a remake of Mel Gibson’s movie, starring himself as Jesus.

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