Monday, November 19, 2007

What's Aramaic for 'get a job'?

Given the confused, fragmentary, lost-in-translation and sometimes downright contradictory nature of the Gospels, it's not surprising that from the time of St Paul onwards people have been projecting their own ideas onto the life and teachings of Jesus.

After all this is, according to some of the legends of his life, a man who lived at home with his parents until he was 30, preferred hanging around with his reprobrate chums and cocking a snook at the conventions of the day to getting a proper job. A hippie, in other words.

And now a film is going to take that to the next level: an interest in Eastern mysticism.

The result is the Aquarian Gospel, a $20m movie, which portrays Jesus as a holy man and teacher inspired by a myriad of eastern religions in India. The Aquarian Gospel takes its name from a century-old book that examined Christianity's eastern roots and is in its 53rd reprint.

Oh dear it sounds pretty awful, doesn't it?

The film's producers say the movie will be shot using actors and computer animation like 300, the retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, and will follow the travels of Yeshua, believed to be the name for Jesus in Aramaic, from the Middle East to India. Casting for suitable Bollywood and Hollywood actors has begun.

It seems a bit unlikely to me. Given the whole "render unto Caesar" ideal to respecting the authorities and the fact that Jesus is not recorded as have uttered any condemnation of slavery, I think the idea of him as "a wandering mystic who travelled across India, living in Buddhist monasteries and speaking out against the iniquities of the country's caste system" is pretty implausible. But, it's all a bit of a laugh, isn't it?

Thankfully, I can't imagine anyone will be terribly upset by this. I concede that the Catholic church has the idea that since you can't really rely on the Gospels, God has given it the power to decide what Jesus really meant to say and do (even if it takes a while to work out whether or not Limbo exists), but the Vatican didn't get to where it is today by over-reacting to any trifling disagreement about theology.

And as for all those Protestants – that religious tradition founded on the basis that since the meaning of the Bible is so unclear, everyone should try and work it out for themselves – from Nigeria to the US, I am sure they will display their characteristic restraint and unwillingness to impose their own interpretations on everyone else.



Blogger Quink said...

Dunno about the Aramaic for "get a job" but this might do:

Baseem, ellaa saabar naa d-etstebeeth yateer b-Lebeh d-Gabaaraa!
(Not bad, but I think I preferred Braveheart.)

10:51 pm  
Blogger bill said...

Very good, Quink. Where did you pick that up?

10:55 pm  
Blogger Quink said...


10:59 pm  
Anonymous Venich said...

Stop pissing about Bill, we expect greater insight (and provocation) from you. C'mon and write yer filmscript for an approximately similar take on the founder of another monotheistic region in the broadly same area of the world to that which Yeshua lived in.

1:39 pm  

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