Tuesday, 26 July 2011

learning from history

i've seen very little commentary anywhere about the documentary that screened on sunday night, tv1, regarding the cold case investigation into the death of Jesus (AS). i thought there would be a lot more noise about it or objection to it than there has been. of course this may well be because of other tragic events around the world.

i found it really interesting, though quite a bit of it was familiar. muslims have always believed that the bible wasn't an accurate account of the life of Jesus - that the gospels were changed & didn't reflect actual events. we've always believed that Jesus wasn't crucified (and i guess that ties into the fact that we don't believe in the whole atonement thing). i'd read about the council of nicea and the destruction of all other gospels back in my teenage years.

bryan bruce made a good case, with the nub of the issue being that jews have been unfairly blamed for the death of jesus, or at least that the gospels were deliberately changed to give a better impression of pontius pilate than he deserved, and to place more blame on jews than they deserved. even if none of that is true, it seems inconceivable that a people would be collectively punished for an alleged crime committed by some few of their ancestors. collectively punished for centuries.

i have to say i enjoyed the bit about the physical appearance of Jesus, of whom there is actually no physical description nor any accurate drawing. though it's quite common for the features of religious figures to be depicted based on the cultural and physical characteristics of the local population. this is especially common with the depictions of buddha who was indian, but is often depicted with very non-indian features. i guess the depictions are made to increase the accessability of the religious figure in question, so it's hardly surprising that so many depictions of Jesus are often more closely resembling europeans than arabic jews.

regardless of one's viewpoint, i think this documentary is essential viewing. the historical lessons are pretty universal.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

There's a long tradition among Chinese christians of drawing Jesus looking extremely East Asian, too.

But I think we can all agree that even if Jesus wasn't literally black (as in he was not of African descent) he wouldn't look very white to modern day eyes, either.