After hearing so much uproar about the movie and how it should be  banned, I figured I'd take a look at it for myself to see what all the talk was about. I bought the movie in 1998 and watched it.

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Subject: Important Film
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001
From: Mark

The Last Temptation of Christ is a challenging, provocative, and important film. The idea of Jesus being human- really human, with all the feelings that our bodies feel- makes some Christians uncomfortable. Christ's humanity is mostly overlooked and disregarded in the Church. It is almost as if Christ's divinity stands out more than his humanity in the minds of some Christians. This is unfortunate because Christianity teaches that Jesus was BOTH God and man equally. How can this be? This is the mystery of the incarnation and it is fully explored in Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ.

Upon viewing this film, that pop song from five years ago comes to mind, "What if God Was One of Us?" This Joan Osborne song talks about God being a "slob like one of us" and being "just a stranger on a bus." The Jesus portrayed in TLTC is one of us and has feelings of doubt, fear, longing, and love. One of the most shocking things about the film is that Jesus experiences- gasp!- sexual thoughts and feelings.

Although I identify with the film's treatment of Christ's humanity, I am still bothered by some of the scenes in the movie. Could the Person of Christ have the heart to assist in crucifying people as Dafoe did in the beginning of this film? Not the One I know and love. As mentioned before, the Baptism scene was extremely bizarre with the naked, head-banging women whooping and hollering. And would Jesus be inclined to practice polygamy as He does in the film's temptation scenes? Also, I didn't like the film promoting the current, popular notion that Paul invented Christianity- that is, he made up everything about Jesus and Jesus was never really divine at all.

Despite these scenes I described above, I still feel that The Last Temptation of Christ is a good film. For Christians, it provides a fresh re-evaluation of the humanity of Christ. Ultimately, the TLTC will make Christians love and appreciate Jesus even more for His decision to die upon the Cross for us.

Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001
From: Gaz Jones, Herts

I am very mad with the fact that The Last Tempation Of Christ was ment to come out to buy on DVD i went all overt town to find it and buy it but it wasnt there, i have come home and tried to see if i can find what it is about but i cant get any real information. its all a puzzle to me i am desperate to see it, is it like a violent film or something like scorsese's other films why has it an 18 certificate and why is it so controversial. It cant be that good can it. I have to find out.
From Gaz Jones, Herts.
can you please not give out my e-mail address.

Subject: A comment on Wagner's Parsifal
Date: 31 Oct 00
From: Yorgos

What Ken Greenwell writes about Wagner's Parsifal (in the message entitled HISTORY OF THE LAST TEMPTATION) is very likely true, but for the life of me I can't see what it has to do with "The Last Temptation." There is absolutely nothing in the movie (or in the original novel) that could could remotely be construed as anti-Semitic, related to "Aryan" mythology, or whatever. In fact it seems to me to be remarkably accurate historically, especially about the atmosphere (around Jesus' time) of zealotry, mysticism, asceticism, and belief that the world was about to end, that has recently been confirmed by the publication of bits of the Dead Sea scrolls (namely about the Essenes). Remember, Christianity started as a Jewish sect, and only later did the movement leaders decide to convert the Gentiles, dropping most of Jewish laws such as kosher along the way (read Acts in the Christian bible if you don't believe me). The only leg this bizzare theory has to stand on is that a light-complexioned, blue eyed ACTOR was used to portray Jesus. By the same token, should we suspect sinister "black power" plots every time an African-American plays a Shakespeare character other than Othello? Willem Dafoe was an excellent choice for the tortured soul he portrayed. It's true that northern Europeans have imagined a Jesus like themselves, but so have Africans and Mexican Indians. Lighten up, Ken, and read the book. There is nothing un-Jewish about Jesus there.

Subject: read the book
Date: 23 Oct 00
From: Yorgos

A few comments from someone born and raised in Greece. Since we've already seen umpteen testimonials about the power and beauty of the movie (not that I disagree, but it gets repetitive), I will concentrate on the novel the film is based on, "The Last Temptation" by Nikos Kazantzakis. It is a wonderfully evocative novel, and you should all read it. It captures the sights, the textures, the smells. It is a heroic work, dwelling on the tortured mind of Jesus, and his reluctance to follow through as the chosen one. I read it as a teenager and I loved it. In essence, the book is about the struggle between the flesh and the spirit, and the agony of those who are seized by a higher purpose and cannot lead a normal life. Even the biblical Jesus was clearly a tortured soul: he went into the desert, was tempted by Satan in his many forms, had many doubts (including in Gethsemane and on the cross). Christian doctrine as far back as the 5th century has struggled with the balance between the divinity and humanity of Christ. As many others have already said, "fully human, fully divine" is the accepted doctrine; nothing else is truly Christian. So where is the blasphemy? That the story (and remember, it's just a story) chooses to concentrate on the human side? That it portrays Jesus as a human being with the usual human weaknesses? That he struggled with sin all his life? Think about it, those of you who rant and rave against the film (the vast majority have never seen it): if Jesus was not fully human, if the passion was easy, if he went meekly to the slaughter without doubts, what was the sacrifice worth? The depiction of Jesus as an ordinary man thust into his calling kicking and screaming is a much more interesting and thought-provoking one than the alternatives: megalomaniac, do-gooder, automaton, daddy's boy, opportunist, hippy. Which one is a better candidate for holiness, Dostoyevsky (who, incidentally, was an epileptic like the movie's Jesus), or Bill Clinton? Joan of Arc or Pat Robertson? As for perhaps the most shocking part of the story, the making of crosses, the author is trying to make a point (DUH!): Jesus commits what he thinks God would consider the worst sin, so God will leave him alone. The truth is that being chosen to turn the world upside down is no bed of roses, and many mystics and prophets were driven nuts by it (or got their calling BECAUSE their minds were way out there in left field, WHO KNOWS?). And finally, the stuff about Judas, who makes absolutely no sense at all in the Gospels: Kazantzakis creates a fictional character far more nuanced than the simple money-grubbing wretch we all grew up with. BTW, "Jesus Christ Superstar" copied the Judas-as-pissed-off-freedom-fighter and the Mary-Magdalen-as-resisted-love-object characterizations, without so much as a nod in Kazantzakis' direction (it could be a coincidence, but...). More bizzarely, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has an episode where Picard experiences a hallucination remarkably similar to the Last Temptation. Not bad for an author hardly anybody knew... Kazantzakis was criticised by the Greek Orthodox church for several of his novels, including this one, and was excommunicated. However, I believe he has been rehabilitated. The bottom line is, IT'S FICTION. Even my Bob Jones graduate super-evangelical colleague agrees that blasphemy only applies if fiction pretends to be reality. So go ahead, read the novel, and while you're at it also read "God's Pauper," a fictional account of St. Francis of Assisi. You will find similar themes of unwillingness to accept a calling, the temptations of power, the heroism of rising above human weakness and doubt. The point again is, if it was easy, we'd all be saints. There is one thing in Kazantzakis' theology that comes through loud and clear in "God's Pauper" which is sure to upset your average hellfire-and-brimstone ranter: that we must do the right thing for neither hope (of reward) nor fear (of punishment). That's what I live my own life by, and it's no accident: belief in heaven and hell never really caught on in Greek culture (but that's another story). Lest you think that I'm a Kazantzakis groupie, let me end with this: as I outgrew my teenage fascination with N.K., I recognized the powerful influence that Nietschean philosophy had on him. That's what makes him such a great writer, but all the stuff about the unending struggle and heroic overcoming of all sorts of obstacles can really get to you in the end. It also made him a real bitter pill for his wives and friends...
Note: please withhold my name and e-mail address--YP will do--I have no time for lengthy e-mail exchanges with fanatics.

Subject: Last Tempation thoughts
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000
From: Casey Stephens

(sorry this is a bit long) I personally loved this movie. I have been a christian for 15+ years and had heard about it, but was warned by my friends/relatives to not watch the "EVIL" movie. Since i love martin scorcese's movies, and i love to watch things that cause(d) controversy, I rented this movie and thought it very good. YEs, it goes against the bible, and No, jesus never got married to Mary Magnelene. And no, Jesus did not take his heart out. but this movie made me think about the things that aren't in the bible, and how the bible clearly states that not everything Jesus did is in the Bible. (man, i'm redundant) Jesus was perfectly human, and perfectly God. Does this mean that he didn't think about getting off the cross? maybe he did...he prayed in the garden for him not to go through with it. And you better thank the lord that Judas did betray Jesus or else he wouldn't have been arrested. Judas set the last days of Jesus' life in motion.

So maybe in that sense Judas is a hero..and he felt sorry for betraying an innocent man. I get so sick of everyone putting down Judas when all us christians probably put Jesus down everyday with our meaningless sinning. (i'm referring to the message by Peter Leone) But anyways..back to the movie. I especially LOVED the scenes of Jesus on the Cross and him being beaten..wierd to love, but it was so REAL. Scorcese actually had him hanging on the cross correctly!! I almost cheered for his lovely directing on that part. Having been to israel myself, I appreciated the movie's realness with the scenery.

And if you think about it, There wasn't much wood in Israel. i have heard that carpenters often worked in Stone and not in maybe Jesus did make never know. It didn't say in the bible what he made. But that's such a little part of the movie that it doesn't make any difference. And if you take the part of Jesus coming down off the cross as him "dreaming" it (since it came back to him on the cross so quickly, i was thinking maybe it was all a dream or something) then he didn't really sin after all, because you can't really control your dreams...hmm? just a stupid thought...but anyways. The soundtrack is beautiful. I really loved the way Peter Gabriel handled the music. i thought the crown of thorns was the most beautiful crown of thorns ive ever seen..And doesn't David Bowie make an awesome Pontius Pilate? and Wow..Willem Defoe made me love Jesus even more, if that sounds crazy. His performance and having read a little bit of the book made me feel closer to Jesus by thinking over about just how human Jesus was/is and how much He really knows what Temptation is. Ok, so the movie made people mad, but hasn't those people ever heard of FICTION? this book was not based on the bible, and neither is the basic Manger scene (the 3 kings didn't come until jesus was older, about 2) so GET OVER IT, and watch the movie as a movie with an open mind and as a Fictional story. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts! :)
Casey Stephens

Subject: Last Temptation
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000


Subject: I have not seen.
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000
From: Allan Nygren

I have not seen the Last Temptation Of Christ, but I was just listening to Passion by Peter Gabriel and it is so beautiful I figure I had better check out the movie. If anyone is willing to provide me with a copy I would be more than appreciative!
Thanks! Allan Nygren

Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000
From: Nikos

After reading everyone's comments, it made me wonder if the Church of Roman Catholics realized that this movie actually brings us closer to Jesus Christ. I'm Catholic, yet I was tempted to watch "The Last Temptation Of Christ". just shows that not only Jesus is the divine, but had doubts of his life at first. He actually went through this for us, fought off the temptations which I would not have done. I don't give a damn if Kazanzkis' book is one of the 'Forbidden books' but I'll give anything to read that book all over again.
You rule, Nikos.....God Bless.

Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000
From: Armando Bayolo

As a Christian who has wrestled with this movie since it was released over ten years ago (and which I have grown to truly love as one of my favorite films ever made), I am encouraged to see that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ posting on this site have reacted favorably to this film. In my opinion it is, with Zeferelli's Jesus of Nazareth, one of the best and most intelligent films made on Jesus.

Scorsese's vision (I cannot speak for Kazantzakis' original vision as I have not yet read his novel. But I will soon) seems to me, more than anything else, a true labor of love. In watching this film every frame is filled with what I sense to be a humble, honest attempt at understanding a man (and deity) Scorsese seems to have a great deal of love for. As a Christian, I am glad to be welcomed on the ride. Though the best source for understanding Christ is the Gospels, one can always learn from the thoughts of others (even if, sometimes, it's what directions are simply erroneous).

I still clearly remember the controversy this film caused in 1989, and was made mindful of it while I watched the recent CBS miniseries Jesus. The portrayal of a non-commital, vapid, vacuous, "washed-up hippie" Jesus in the latter film was far more offensive to me than Scorcese's tortured, tempted, questioning, triumphant, challenging Christ. So some of the theology is sometimes askew; the intelligent Christian should be able to sift through those erroneous moments and arrive at the kernels of truth within. The Last Temptation of Christ remains a triumph of filmmaking and is a sublime attempt at understanding the most sublime, challenging and important figure to ever walk the earth. --Armando Bayolo

Subject: Great movie
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000
From: Jennifer

I belive that this is THE best movie about Jesus ever made. I am very upset that peole wanted it banned. This is a free country. We are supposed to have the freedom of speech. Also, why can't I decide what I want to see and if it is good or bad? I have a brain you know. I can think for myself. One movie will not corrrupt me or anyone else. I think people are just so afraid to realize that someone they hold to be so innocent, so "holy," so much better than ourselves is/was just a mortal man. What would you do if you were nailed to a tree, obviously in great pain? What would you be thinking? I know I would be questioning my motives, my reason for being there. I would definately ask, "What if?" What if I had just taken the easy route? What if I had just lived my life the way I wanted to? I think we all would.

Subject: For Shannon
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000
From: Ryan

I just wanted to let Shannon know that I can send her a copy of The Last Temptation of Christ on VHS if she's interested (I don't have her e-mail address).
Thanks, Ryan

Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000
From: DJ Landa

This is in reference to Robert's comment. Yes, Judas and Jesus sounded like they may have come from New York. And that, I'm sure, was a conscious decision on the part of the filmmakers. I suppose they could have had British accents, like every other Bible film. But would that be more accurate? No, only conformist... and conservative. Unles the actors spoke in ancient Hebrew, any English accent may be defended. In fact, Jesus and his followers came from the streets of Israel, not the houses of aristocrats. They were craftsmen, fishermen, shepherds and the like. The rough and common Brooklyn accents may well be more fitting than the stereotypically "proper" delivery of Shakespearean plays. Defoe and Keitel make Jesus and the disciples seem like real people who have come from the ranks of the Israeli underpriveledged. What's more, for a ground-breaking, controversial story like this, a new approach to the characters would only bolster the feel of the film. Jesus is human. We are looking at him in a different way.

And a quick reaction to your other Bulletin Board: yes, Jesus looked pretty caucasion in this film, but Israel is a Mediterranean country, as is Greece, Italy and Lebanon. Anthropologically speaking, physical characteristics tend to be similar in a relatively close regions, especially with the kind of trade traffic the Mediterranean has seen. Jesus may not have looked like Wilem Defoe, but it is possible that he had similar features. And remember, this film isn't completely accurate to the Bible (which tends to gloss over many of the realities of the day with the disciples' devotional rhetoric). We see many outlandish religions sects today. Who's to say that the Baptist wasn't a charismatic leader with untraditional practices?

I think the thing to remember most about this film is that it tries to provoke questions within all Christians and all audiences. None of us know the realities. We only know what the devout and the imaginative have interpreted for us.... the morals are moving, the stories are true, but keep an open mind...

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000
From: shannon

back when the movie first came out, i was working for a small town, southern newspaper. it never came anywhere close to us to view it for ourselves. i wasn't that interested back then anyway, so it didn't make much difference to me. i did buy the soundtrack as purely an impulse purchase. it is, without a doubt, one of my all time favorite cd's. i can' honestly say i never tire of listening to it, the emotion is most obviously there, enough to bring tears to your eyes. i caught probably the last half of the movie a few months ago on some movie channel. i wish so much i had seen it from the beginning, because i think i will never find it. i've called around, but naturally it still isn't allowed to grace the shelves in video rental stores, next to other "high quality" movies of our time, which is sad.

i loved the film, totally loved it. like everyone said, it showed Jesus as a real man, struggling with the life he was dealt, struggling to find out where he belonged on earth. he knew he belonged in heaven, that was a given. but finding your place on earth is no easy feat for any human, and that is exactly what he was. that was the whole point! the "what if" part at the end was confusing to me at first, since i saw only half of the movie. at first i thought, "was i sick that day in sunday school when this was covered?" but that very last scene when he realizes he is on the cross, he is HAPPY to die for us, gave me chills. i can honesty say it drew me closer to Jesus than any other film portraying his life. if only the close minded people who contine to ban this excellent film would just try to understand what Jesus did wasn't always biblical and pretty...maybe i could rent or buy it somewhere and see it from the beginning. if anything, i highly reccommend the soundtrack, definitely one of peter gabriel's best efforts.
shannon peace, luv & :)

Subject: An accurate depiction: Is this Bad?
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000
From: Ephraim Brown

I seek spiritual fullfillment from God, and I also seek truth. Though this movie goes against the flow of traditional teachings, I believe that it depicts a very truthful and meanful side of Jesus as a human being. Though he was the son of God and the savior of mankind, traditional teachings have overlooked the fact that he was a real man, with real problems just like any other human being. Why is it considered so bad by so many people to depict him in this manner? I beleive that in order to truly know God and understand the message and teachings of Jesus Christ, we must first approach them with an open mind, and then we must never be affraid to question. My question of Christ of the years has brought me closer to him. And many Christians, though faithful, seem to follow blindly saying only: "Jesus was the son of God, he was perfect and sinless, and you have to believe that he died on the cross in order to get to heaven". But instead of simply following blindly, I prefer to ask two questions about the nature of Jesus: "how" and "why". I think the "hows and whys" are important for the spiritual growth of an individual. If we do not question, than how are we to learn? This film is a wonderful piece of work that isn't affraid to ask the questions that have been disregarded by so many for so long. It makes us realize that like us, Jesus was human. And in realizing this, we can see a greater connection between him and us. The film depicts him as a man who was constantly filled with temptation, but he defeated the temptation. As human being constantly in search of a greater understand of God and Christ, I find this depiction very uplifting and hopefull. I also found this movie to be the most accurate depiction of Jesus' time. Instead of the traditional "Jesus" movie with a mostly white cast all dressed in unrealisticly tastefull costumes walking around unrealistically "pretty" sets, this movie depects an Isreal that is most complacent with Jesus time: full of shabilly dressed, hungry and politically oppressed people who had dark skin, middle-eastern features living in broken down and shanty homes that were barely adaquet for living. This was quite an amazing achievement considering the low-budget that Scorsese had to work with. Now whenever I think of what Israel must have been like durring Jesus' time, the first thing I think of is wonderful sets of the Last Temptation. But for me, one of the most enthralling attributes of this film was the utterly AMAZING musical score by Peter Gabriel. He takes all of the stunningly realistic atmospheres, settings and situations that Scorsese so wonderfully put together and created a BRILLIANT musical backdrop that added even more more beauty and fascination to them. I see Peter Gabriels composition here as possibly one of the finest musical scores ever composed in the history of modern film. I would strongly recommend this movie to all, believer and non-believer.
Ephraim Brown
ps, feel free to post my email http://www.ephraimbrown/

Subject: further discussion
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000
From: Robert

I think the thing to focus on in this movie was that Judas had a Brooklyn accent. Didn't anyone think it was kind of corny that they all had regional dialects? Jesus was again portrayed as a blond haired blue eyed Caucasian, so it wasn't that "blasphemous" right? lol I am apt to believe, that from all the depictions of Jesus, that he must have surfed. This movie was a corny, far reaching pipe dream of the origin of Christianity. It was mediocre, at best, and is my least favorite Scorcese film. What was with the crazy John the Baptist, and the head banging naked chics? This movie was just ridiculous.

By the way, the e-mail that says "whoever says this movie isn't the greatest ever made is just plain stupid", contained 9 grammatical errors. That is just morbidly funny.

Subject: Response to Chazz
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000
From: Xavier

Chazz: I read your comments aobut the movie, and it is obvious to all of us that you are definetly christian, but let me tell you the point of view of a non believer (at least in the part of Christ that is divine). I consider myself a follower of the Jesus doctrine (at least in the love and share part), thats why I dont think this movie is blasphmeous, in fact the Jesus that I can see in the movie is more like you and me. You say that if he sinned he is no better than we are, I don´t think sin makes any difference, I think that the real difference is that he loved even his enemies, he lived in love, with love, for love and to love, can we do that? anyway that is what he told us to be better, wiser, healthier and bigger. I think that is the difference. :

Subject: Let's Get Real...
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000
From: Royce

Scorsese is a genius and did the best job of portraying the Jesus of faith and the historical Jesus combined that has ever been captured on film. The story itself is probably the closest to what ACTUALLY happened: that Jesus was HUMAN and was raised to BECOME the Messiah to fulfill the Jewish prophesies. Now, the Christians are not going to want to hear or read this, but the exchange between Paul and Jesus in the film was probably the clearest explanation of what ACTUALLY HAPPENED when Paul literally INVENTED Christianity. Jesus did not, nor did he ever want something called "Christianity" or ANY "religion" to come out of anything he said or did. Did you know that this Jesus was only one of over 800 so-called Messiahs along the way? Did you know that Jesus followed John the Baptist as one of HIS disciples? That the Baptist was thought to be THE Messiah? Jesus was not a "Christian" he was a JEW. Gentiles (non-Jews) needed something to believe in. Paul was an opportunist. Paul simply gave the people what they NEEDED to hear to give them hope. The disciples and apostles were a complete failure to carry the "good news" (which clearly is LOVE, NOT "salvation") so Paul took up the "story" and embellished it to include sensationalism and unbelieveable "miracles" that could not be verified or proved, traveled to far-away lands, and told it with "enthusiasm" (Greek for "inspired by God"). Paul was a SALESMAN and was very egotistical, as all salesmen are, and did all this for his own agenda in getting ahead and famous. Back to Jesus: in all probability, Jesus may have never made it TO the cross, much less, made it OFF the cross...if he made it off the cross, he was probably alive, heavily sedated. Good historical evidence from many sources states that Jesus' crucifiction took place over 900 YARDS from the nearest human observer other than the Marys and the key player, Joseph of Arithemaea, whole LAND it was upon, and into whose tomb Jesus would supposedly be laid. The tomb never had a body in it to begin with. Good evidence also states that Jesus was probably MARRIED. He was a Rabbi, and all Rabbis were REQUIRED to be married, and his wife was none other than The Magdelen, who was probably one of the original disciples, and was depicted on Jesus' right hand in Leonardo's "Last Supper" (the figure clearly has BREASTS). Jesus probably lived a long life, had 4-5 children and is probably buried in France. Thus, he has a LINEAGE, which is the subject of MANY books which takes this back to Free Masonry, The Holy Grail, "Camelot," Arthur, Parsifal, Galahad, and the Knights Templar. It is common knowledge that Mary (Mother) and Joseph of Arithemaea took the "Grail" to England. MANY, MANY scholarly works are written about all I say here, as well as documented on the Web; Baigent ("Holy Blood, Holy Grail"), the Jesus Seminar, John Dominic Crossan, Robt. Funk, et al. No need here to discuss whether or not the Gospels are the "inspired" word of God or who actually wrote them or if they are authenic. They are all highly controversial, to say the very least, and all written at least one full generation AFTER Jesus was in Galilee (IF he actually was...Josephus, the best historian of the day only gave "a" Jesus, the most COMMON name in those days, THREE LINES in all his work), and written by only GOD knows who. Nor will the Catholic Church's aganda be discussed, the number of changes in the Bible itself, nor the lost and secret Gospels NOT included in the Bible (Thomas, Mark II, Mary, Q, etc.). What REALLY matters about all this is what Jesus REALLY said and DID. He was a wise man, a prophet, and A son of God...just like he told us that WE all are ("Is it not written in your law that 'I said ye are all gods' and the scripture cannot be broken?" John 10:34)...that the things he did, we can do, and greater things than those. God, or this Jesus, had or has no NEED to be worshiped or deified. Only MAN has the need for "religion" and to be SAVED from something OUTSIDE himself or OUTSIDE GOD. The Kingdom of God is within us...within us ALL. There is no "ONLY" way to God. Many paths, ONE GOD...and by the way, another guy walked the earth some 700 years BEFORE this Jesus, and said EXACTLY the SAME THINGS that he did...Buddha. And another walks the earth TODAY and says the SAME THINGS that THEY BOTH did...Sathya Sai Baba...and the list will go on until we "get it"...GET IT ???---Royce


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