Book and DVD offer different perspectives on Holy Week

By on April 7, 2006

Published just in time for Easter, The Last Week refers to the final seven days of Christ’s life and chronicles “a story everyone thinks they know too well and most do not seem to know at all.” The last would seem to be a bit of a stretch, since people who do not even darken a church door at Easter are familiar with Palm Sunday, the crucifixion and the resurrection. Best-selling authors Marcus Borg and John Crossan set the last week of Jesus’ life within the social context of the times. They focus less on his divinity and on the concept of his sacrifice for the sin of the world and more on what they see as his quest for justice. “The first passion of Jesus was the kingdom of God, namely, to incarnate the justice of God by demanding for all a fair share of a world belonging to and ruled by the covenantal God of Israel,” they state. They ask contemporary Christians whether they are with Jesus as his last week “challenges the domination systems of this world even as it also invites us upon a journey through death to resurrection.”

(The Last Week; Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
HarperCollins; ISBN 13:978-0-06-084539-1)

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The DVD is a new version of an old film, The Passion of Christ. Not to be confused with the Mel Gibson film, this DVD chronicles the paintings of Canadian artist William Kurelek, who illustrated with 160 images the Passion according to St. Matthew. Created over a three-year period beginning in 1960, the series celebrated Mr. Kurelek’s conversion from what he called a “practising atheist” to devout Roman Catholic.

Four years after the painter’s death in 1977 at the age of 50, director and cinematographer Philip Earnshaw filmed the paintings, which have a cinematic feeling through the use of perspectives, cutaways and reverse angles. The 28-minute film was narrated by well-known Canadian actor Len Cariou, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won a Chris Plaque in 1982 at the Columbus International Film Festival.

“It’s the most ambitious series of devotional art of the 20th century. Not too many people know about it. It’s a remarkable body of work and it’s been overlooked for too long. I admired Kurelek and I found the passion of his faith inspiring,” said Mr. Earnshaw.

(The Passion of Christ, DVD
$14.95; www.christfilm.com)

Author

  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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