Jewish date: 23 Tammuz 5770 (Parashath Maṭṭoth-Mas‘e).
Today’s holidays: The Three Weeks (Judaism), Feast Day of Anthony Zaccaria (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Christianity), X-Day (approximate) (Church of the SubGenius).
Note: X-Day is supposed to be the day of alien invasion. Considering that the Church of the SubGenius, at least on the surface, is a joke, predictions of impending doom should be taken with a grain of salt.
Topic 1: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). One can debate how great the story of Jesus is, but this telling is dreadfully dull and unimaginative with wooden acting. Most of what happens comes straight from the Gospel texts, without reflection on what the characters are thinking or background research. And I am serious about this movie being poorly researched. The writer did not even know that Christ = Greek khristos = “annointed” = Hebrew mashiaḥ = “Messiah”, a hurdle so low that an ant ought to be able to pass over it without climbing. Whoever put this film together knew little or nothing of Judaism, including the Temple. That altar, for instance, is a total disgrace with steps and no horns that no self-respecting person would ever burn a sacrifice on. Even Satan is boring, depicted as an old man eating dinner, hardly personified evil and no one really able to tempt Jesus. The lack of reflection results in a bizarre emphasis on Herod Antipas as being the main villain, yet (as standard in the Gospels) the Sanhedhrin and Priests put Jesus on trial, the Jewish crowd demands he be killed, Pontius Pilate orders the execution while denying responsibility, and Roman soldiers do the actual crucifixion. The most original thing that happens in this movie is that Judas Iscariot commits suicide by immolating himself on that awful altar, which is ironic since some say that Jesus is supposed to be a sacrifice. Do not bother watching this film unless you have severe insomnia.
Theological rating: / r̼̊/ (Bronx cheer; perfectly orthodox, but shallowly).
Next up: Godspell (1973).
Topic 2: More current anti-Semitism: “CNN's Cheerleader for Hezbollah” discusses CNN correspondent Octavia Nasr’s mourning over Hezbollah terrorist leader Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah’s death. “Abbas Eulogizes Munich Massacre Mastermind” discusses Mahmoud Abbas (chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the guy who is allegedly supposed to be a partner for peace with Israel) mourning Abu Dauod, who participated in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. (And some people somehow have no clue why the “peace process” is hopelessly stalled. “Ongoing Palestinian Terrorism: 5 Dead, 232 Hurt in 6 Months” may also be a clue.) “The banality of Methodist evil” deals with a boycott against Israel by the Methodist Church of Britain, justified with a smorgasbord of bad logic, including double-standards, proof by assertion, and lying.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: “My first owner was Moses…”: