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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    More on Islamic Jesus Film(s)

    About a year ago, I made a couple of posts about a possible Muslim-made film about the life of Jesus called The Messiah (official site?). At the time, Peter Chattaway also reported on the story. Now, he's picked it up again linked to an article at Breitbart which discusses what appears to be the same film only with the (new?) title - Jesus, the Spirit of God.

    Both Mesih and Jesus, the Spirit of God are by Iranian director Nader Talebzadeh, and were released around some point last year. Indeed Jesus, the Spirit of God won an award in Italy's "Religion Today Film Festival" in 2007. It's also about to be expanded into a 20 part series to run on Iranian national TV.

    The same article has been used wholesale in a number of different publications originating with Agence France-Presse, so I'll only reproduce the bit that most caught my eye.
    Talebzadeh insists it aims to bridge differences between Christianity and Islam, despite the stark divergence from Christian doctrine about Christ's final hours on earth.

    "It is fascinating for Christians to know that Islam gives such devotion to and has so much knowledge about Jesus," Talebzadeh told AFP.

    "By making this film I wanted to make a bridge between Christianity and Islam, to open the door for dialogue since there is much common ground between Islam and Christianity," he said.

    The director is also keen to emphasise the links between Jesus and one of the most important figures in Shiite Islam, the Imam Mahdi, said to have disappeared 12 centuries ago but whose "return" to earth has been a key tenet of the Ahmadinejad presidency.


    The bulk of "Jesus, the Spirit of God", which won an award at the 2007 Religion Today Film Festival in Italy, faithfully follows the traditional tale of Jesus as recounted in the New Testament Gospels, a narrative reproduced in the Koran and accepted by Muslims.

    But in Talebzadeh's movie, God saves Jesus, depicted as a fair-complexioned man with long hair and a beard, from crucifixion and takes him straight to heaven.

    "It is frankly said in the Koran that the person who was crucified was not Jesus" but Judas, one of the 12 Apostles and the one the Bible holds betrayed Jesus to the Romans, he said. In his film, it is Judas who is crucified.

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    • At 3:30 am, January 21, 2008, Blogger Kevin C. Neece said…

      This is fantastic. Thanks to you and Peter for keeping us posted on this one. I look forward to seeing it with great anticipation. On a technical note, your link to Breitbart goes to a video interview with the director about Aljazeera, not (that I can find) the aforementioned article. Again, great stuff. Thanks for the information!


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