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Reviews of the Movie “Risen”

I am of two minds about whether I should see the movie Risen. On the one hand, I love when biblical epics come out since it gives me material to discuss with my students in class. On the other hand, this movie sounds just as cheesy as the televised version of “AD: The Bible Continues” and adds all of the Hollywood hype. I imagine that the Romans’ initial attitude to the early Jesus movement was bewilderment and something like what is reported in Acts 25:19: “they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.” Anyways, there are two reviews of the movie by Sarah Rollens and Daniel Ullacci up at the Marginalia website. I might quibble about the authors’ characterization of the genre and anti-Judaic character of the Gospels, but overall they seem to present an excellent assessment of the problematic portrayal of the Jewish leadership and the disciples (e.g. Mary Magdalene) and of the “content-less” Jesus presented in the movie. Definitely check it out. Professor Rollens, who is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College, received her Masters degree at the University of Alberta around the same time that I was working on mine at that University!

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