The Moment of Truth — April 9, 2004
A Passion For Historical Accuracy
Welcome to the Moment of Truth, the red hot Saturday night in a month of Sundays.
In honor of Easter weekend, I thought I’d rudely point out a few glaring gaffs in “The Passion,” the movie that the holiday, Easter, is based on.
- First of all, Jesus was black. Also, he didn’t speak Aramaic with a Canadian accent.
- Both Luke and John were lazy note-takers. They filled in gaps after the fact by making stuff up or cribbing it from Isaiah.
- Not all the seats at the right hand of God are desirable. Several of them are directly behind a big column.
- Peter and Thomas colluded in betraying Jesus to the Romans, then covered it up by framing Judas. The other apostles already didn’t like Judas because of his habit of leaving just before everyone put in for the pizza. By the time of the Last Supper their antagonism had grown all out of proportion, and Judas’ attempt to cheese out on the check that evening was more than enough to sway the group against him.
- Judas didn’t hang himself. The apostles chased him down and lynched him. It is from this act by the “apostles” that we get the word “posse.”
- Jesus complained later, “The apostles never really ‘got’ me, y’know? They were just along for the ride.”
- The actual, historical Mary Magdalene was a hot Asian chick.
- John’s gospel was originally titled, “God Junior.”
- Jesus’ suffering: More accurate recent translations have the phrase “in his thirty-third year” rendered “in his thirty-third day.” This is well within the first trimester, and would suggest that Jesus underwent his so-called “ordeal” when he was still a fetus. And of course, fetuses at that stage can’t whine about anything. So the whole suffering thing is quite overblown in the movie. Recently unearthed Greek texts have the fetal Jesus being flogged across an air-hockey table with a wet noodle. The crucifixion itself came later in Jesus’ life, for an unrelated matter of delinquent parking tickets.
- In the book, George Peppard’s character is gay.
- Simon Zealotes’ mother invented white-out.
- The Jews loved Jesus. They just hated his sins.
- Jesus’ clothing was considered by the standards of the time to be scandalously tight and shear.
- Most of the multitude only pretended to get enough of the loaves and fishes. They didn’t want to be rude. In Luke’s original draft, the apostle himself admitted hurrying home afterward and eating a big bowl of raisin bran.
- The so-called “Tonkin Gulf Incident” was fabricated by the Pentagon and the Johnson administration.
- The soldiers who played dice for Jesus’ clothes were compulsive gamblers and so, in their own way, also victims.
- Matthew remained a tax collector even after deciding to follow Jesus, and kept the account books for the organization. Scholars are still divided over whether a deduction for “myrrh and other lubricants” might not have been the red flag item that finally led to the only charge against Jesus the Romans could make stick: tax evasion.
- Jesus and his crowd referred to themselves as “The Unjudgables.”
- Mark was always haunted by the feeling that his gospel was considered the least of the four in literary quality. He had better critical success with his follow-up novel about a reunion of the apostles years after the crucifixion called, “The Return of the Galilee Dozen.” It eventually served as the basis for the hit movie, “The Big Chill.”
- Jesus was among the last to be crucified before the Romans switched over from nails to glue.
- Thomas didn’t really doubt so much as try to get the others to think outside the box.
- Jesus’ brother James had dreams of being a great gladiator. He came to look back bitterly on the time he wasted bumming around with a gang of freaky, unemployed bohemians, and even at the crucifixion was heard to complain, “I coulda been a contender.”
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin. And so was her husband Joseph. Not counting oral.
In conclusion I would just like to say that, whatever the shortcomings of the movie, it’s still the funniest thing Mel Brooks has done in years.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!