Ater he collapses in the station, Constance calls for an ambulance and Daniel is now brought to a Jewish hospital. He dies there, but his eyes and his heart are transplanted into a woman in Italy and a man in the us, respectively. Amen Reinhartz: In the literature on Jesus ilms a protagonist like Daniel is oten called a Christ igure.
Denys Arcand incorporated various texts and scenes from the gospels in his movie. But ater the encounter with Daniel she gradually regains her self-respect due to the treatment she receives from Daniel and Constance. It is part of a television series called The Bible, which consists of a num- ber of features, each representing a biblical individual.
Jesus has been broadcast in many countries since Langkau: 46— Its producer was Mel Gibson, a distinguished actor and producer. Ater having gone through a crisis in his life, Gibson decided to make a ilm about Jesus and directed, produced and financed The Passion himself. Gibson structures his feature also around the fourteen Stations of the Cross and is furthermore inluenced by the ive Sorrowful Myster- ies, i.
Finally, he is inluenced by the Good Friday meditations on the seven Last Words of Jesus, all of which he includes in his depiction Tatum: — Gibson was also strongly inluenced by the visions of the German Augustinian nun Anna Katharina Emmerick — What impressed the audience the most was the heavy violence of the ilm. To give one example, Jesus is scourged for a long time and laid down on his back to have his stomach whipped. It is almost unbelievable that any human being would survive such cruel torture. A clear example is the raven picking at the heads of the cruciied criminals.
Many young people who like horror ilms said that they liked The Passion. Furthermore, the ilm also depicts various other miraculous scenes. Just prior to that, the perspective of The Passion was that of heaven: a big tear falls down—it was as if God himself wept because of the death of his Son see also De Bleeckere , And, of course, the last scene in which a victorious Jesus leaves the grave as a beautiful naked Adonis also depicts a miracle.
Nonetheless, it must not be forgotten that Gibson begins his feature with the following quotation from Isaiah —5: He was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; by his wounds we are healed. Already before its release Mel Gibson was accused of making an anti-Semitic ilm Tatum: —; — Nonetheless the accusations of anti-Semitism faded into the background ater the release of The Passion. Already within a few days ater its premiere the ilm had earned back its production costs. It became the biggest box-oice success of all the Jesus ilms.
But over the course of time and through the continuous development of new technological possibilities the cinematic images of Jesus began to vary. At the same time, a certain development will be dis- covered and, inally, it will become clear that, amidst all the diversity, almost all the depictions show a striking similarity. In the meantime, the ilmmakers ran up against the problem that, as a visual medium, ilm is diferent from a text or a book.
When reading a text or a book, the reader must use his own imagination to visualize what he is reading, whereas someone who is watching a motion picture does not need to do so. Here it is the ilmmaker who visualizes everything. Languages are phenomena in the same class, unlike literary texts and ilmic images. While a writer can sketch a situation with only a few pen strokes, a ilmmaker will always show images of which the details are completely illed in.
And even if we imagine that one of the Gospels was written with the mania- cally meticulous style of Proust, no matter how many details are added to the verbal description, it will always be impossible for it to transmit, through words, exactly the same image that the author had in mind while describing the Passion.
Leone: A ilm difers from a theatre play in this respect as well. In a theatre play a director can opt for a very sober design for the stage, whereas a ilmmaker, surely if he is shooting in the open air, will always have to deal with images that are completely illed in. Nothing is let to the imagination of the viewer, even though there are also directors who try to construe a new ilm language in which the imagination of the spectator is stimulated as well.
But this is done in another way, by, for example, a kind of symbolism. Certain details in the image become symbols for something else, so that the viewer has to use his imagina- tion to understand what the director means for more detail on this see Monaco: 44—54, 63—65, — To overcome this problem, the ilmmakers producing Jesus ilms had recourse to the visual arts. Sidney Olcott also used some of his illustrations later as background for the title pictures of his ilm, whereas Cecile B.
DeMille used them as inspiration for many scenes in The King of Kings. But what made this ilm interesting was that it had been shot on location in the Middle East. Furthermore, Sidney Olcott emphasized the congruence of his portrayal of Jesus with the gospels, because the subheadings intersecting the sequences of his ilm were all quotations taken from the King James Version of the gospels.
In this was the version still read in the great majority of the Protestant churches whereas the Roman Catholics still read Latin versions at the time. Olcott quoted from all four gospels, a procedure followed by the great majority of those making movies of Jesus. Olcott seemed to choose the quotations that were best suited to his pictures. In the end, however, not one gospel dominates. Each receives equal attention. Up until that point, Jesus ilms were nothing more than series of images intersected by texts explaining them, whereas the narrative had to be provided by the audience or, as was oten the case as well, told by a narrator.
Furthermore, the image a ilm projects has such a high measure of reality that those in the audience oten have the impression that things happen as they see them on the screen. It is reality. Cecil B. Although angels are absent in the motion picture, the image of Jesus is still very traditional. DeMille went even further by using an actor to play Jesus who was considerably older than Jesus himself at the time. Warner, plays the role well: he is warm and friendly but also stern when necessary. His older age also gives him fatherly traits, with the result that some stated that the motion picture presented God the Father more than it did the Son.
Furthermore, Ray preferred to have many miracles told by people in his picture instead of showing them directly on screen. Nonetheless, the feature also depicts a few healings and ater his resurrection Jesus meets Mary Magdalene. But angels are completely absent. In this movie everyone speaks ordinary English, but Jesus still uses verses taken from the King James Version. Pier Paolo Pasolini started a new procedure.
He chose to follow only the gospel of Matthew but did not use the King James Version. All four ilms try to ofer a plausible representation of the historical situation at the time of Jesus, but they do not do so at the expense of the content of the Bible. But this did not hold the producers back from emphasizing certain things. In fact, this relected the new attitude of the mainline churches towards the Jewish people. In classical narration there is a character-centred causality, unity of time and space and an omnipresent and omniscient narrator Bordwell: — All Hollywood ilms followed this pattern until the s.
It was, in fact, the irst art ilm about Jesus that used what the American ilm theorist David Bordwell b. Peter Hasenberg gives the following description: he new ilmmaking was noted for 1 a dominance of the subjective point of view, 2 a critical view of society sometimes even with a strong political motive, and 3 a conscious and critical use of conventional narrative and genre structures. Unsurprisingly, these caused great unrest, but many were impressed, since to them Jesus had become more human, more like them.
Moreover, Son of Man was also the irst Jesus ilm in which the ilmmaker adapted the ilm completely to the requirements of modern science, since it does not show any angel or any miracle. God was pres- ent only in the ire burning in Jesus himself. Musicals are diferent from ordinary ilms in that, as Lloyd Baugh writes, the development of narrative is secondary: the story is mainly a vehicle for the songs.
Strong character development and precise motiva- tion of characters become very secondary. Baugh: 33 hus, the character of the genre loosens the strong tie many Jesus movies have with the Bible and with historical reality. Unlike other ilms, musicals present impressions. Nonetheless, both of these musical ilms were to a certain extent also faithful to the data of the Gospel. In From the Manger to the Cross the complete opposite occurred. In Jesus Christ Superstar the historical context still played a role, since the picture was shot in Israel and the dress of many of the actors also recalled the historical period.
Nonetheless, both relected a new trend in which the historical background of Jesus as well as his historicity became less important. By using the form of the musical and modern music, their main intention was to give a new contemporary interpretation of Jesus. Whereas their predecessors also intended to ofer a historically correct portrayal of Jesus, the aim of these ilms was only to present Jesus as a model for society. A special case was Il Messia by Roberto Rosselini, which was, in fact, the sole documentary ilm, even though it presented Jesus creating a communal society on the shores of the Sea of Galilee—something for which there is no historical evidence at all.
Following this method, Il Messia gives the impression of being made in agreement with all the requirements for scientiic reliability, although it still keeps open the suggestion that there was something special about Jesus. Nonetheless, this Jesus biopic is the most forthright in not representing angels, healings and other miraculous events. It is the inal point of a trend that was already visible in From the Manger to the Cross, and returned explicitly in King of Kings.
Scorcese and Gibson even added some. In the course of the ilm he becomes increasingly identiied with Jesus and, for his friends, in particular the female ones, he does indeed become someone like Jesus. At the same time, the picture is situated in contemporary, modern life. Furthermore, this picture relected the war the United States and its allies fought against the dictatorships of Hitler and Communist leaders. Jesus and the Other Characters in the Film Before we end this section with some preliminary conclusions, we must look at the efect of the fact that most Jesus ilms are classical ilms following what Bordwell deined as classical narration.
So the focus of this kind of movie is on the interaction between the characters in the picture or on what occurs between Jesus and the other individuals. He is the man who talks with Jesus on an equal level and keeps Jesus faithful to his mission. In particular, it is said that when Jesus is confronted with a strong Judas he is always weak Tatum: ; Baugh: 40 and 71; Stern et al. Some Preliminary Observations he above analysis discloses that the Bible, the visual arts, the results of historical research and the Jewish religion were the main sources for the portrayal of Jesus.
But, in particular, the importance of the Bible in the early Jesus ilms and in The Jesus Film also had its origin in the belief that it is the Word of God. Historical research inluenced all the Jesus ilms but most prominently King of Kings. Visual art was particularly important during the transition of the Jesus ilm from a ilmed passion play into a biography.
In the s the approach based on the Jewish religion became dominant, in particular in Jesus of Nazareth and The Jesus Film. Some ilmmakers attempted to take the views of modern scholarship into account, but ater the release of Il Messia this became less important. Another important development was a more psychological interpretation of Jesus, which was relected in Son of Man and The Last Temptation by the turn from classical narration to art-cinema narration. Here the importance of the historic- ity of Jesus became less and Jesus became a model.
Of course, he was already a model in earlier pictures as well, but in these ilms that he was a historical person as well still remained a crucial factor. A certain trend is visible in the history of Jesus biopics. In this period the ilms were reverential depictions of the Lord. In the s and around there were also some new Jesus ilms released Langkau: 24—35 , but none of them became a great success. Again, the musical ilms form a special case. In Godspell Jesus is a wise and friendly hippy leader, whereas Jesus Christ Superstar is the doubting master in a threatening environment, about whom it remains unclear as to whether he is successful in the end.
It is clear that there is a great variety of images of Jesus. Telford: Which portrayals were the most inluential during this history? Although The Jesus Film and The Passion make these modiications as well, both lay more emphasis on Jesus being victorious in the end. Although the sixteen most important Jesus ilms presented a variety of portrayals, iteen of them shared one remarkable phenomenon: Jesus was a man with dark blond or black, mostly half-length hair and a trimmed beard.
Historical Background his section will explore the attitude of Christians to depicting Jesus. Two things will become clear. First, a great majority of Christians were strongly opposed to depicting Jesus, with the result that there has been a great variety in attitudes throughout the centuries. Second, there was also great diversity in the images of Jesus, visually as well as ideologically or theologically.
Finally, we will look at anti-Semitism, since this issue had also a great impact on the portrayal of Jesus in ilm. Jesus is depicted as a shepherd, a beardless youth with curly hair. According to the Belgian Catholic theologian Peter Schmidt b. He suggests that Christians started by using images of pagan gods that they subsequently accommodated to their own requirements. However, if these irst portrayals were derived from pagan gods, they were also not meant to portray the real historical Jesus. Many other pictures of Jesus were also found in the catacombs and on sarcophagi dating from the 4th century and later.
Many of these show him as a healer or magician, a teacher or a philosopher. In par- ticular, the healing of the woman who was sufering from bleeding Mark —34 , the healing of a blind man and the resurrection of Lazarus John —44 seem to have been popular. Later, large images of Jesus were made in mosaics in the apses of the basilicas Christians built during these centuries. What is striking is the great variety in the outward appearance of Jesus in all these images. In most images Jesus is beardless, but, especially during the course of the 4th century, Christians started depicting him with a beard as well Schmidt: His hair is usually long, which was uncommon at the time, so it made Jesus diferent from others depicted in the images.
But long hair was normal among philosophers. More important, perhaps, is that long, loose hair was also a mark of divinity. Other scholars argue that the depic- tion of a bearded Jesus also bore some similarity to the images of the Roman emperors Brown; Schmidt: In the notation we will be using, the refer- ences in parentheses in the text are to the original source and those in the footnotes to the published editions.
From church to church the Lord would undergo the most radical metamorphoses. Now calmly conversing with a circle of disciples. Staring at the glittering apse must have been like experiencing a series of volatile hallucinations. Mathews: 98 Mathews believes that Christians were certainly interested in the histori- cal appearance of Jesus Mathews: 10—11 , but unfortunately all relevant information is lacking in the New Testament.
Mathews concludes: To [the new Christians] he was still utterly mysterious, undeinable, changeable, polymorphous. In the disparate images they let behind they record their struggle to get a grasp on him; the images were their way of thinking out loud on the problem of Christ. Indeed, the images are the thinking process itself. Mathews: In the 6th century, when Christianity was dominated by the Byzantine empire, one image gradually became standard: the portrayal of Jesus as Pantocrator, which shows Jesus with long dark hair and a trimmed beard.
As stated above, the beard made him resemble Jupiter, the father of the gods. Artists thus tried to give Christ a status equal to his Heavenly Father, thus denouncing the ideas of Arian Christians for whom Christ was subordinate to the Father. As stated above, this portrayal of Jesus also recalled the images of the emperor Brown; Schmidt: Both associations, however, still caused opposition among many Christians because they recalled paganism Mathews: —; Schmidt: , But, apparently, this opposition was not strong enough to prevent this development.
Yet there are also many pictures of Jesus having dark hair—for example, the paintings of the Spanish painter El Greco — and the Dutch painter Rembrandt — He depicts Jesus with a crown of thorns on a bald and beardless head MacGregor and Langmuir: But it is precisely this that makes his statue remark- able, because it deviates from what everyone in the West would have expected. Interestingly, it does not deviate widely from the depiction of Jesus in Eastern Christianity. Tissot did so by placing Jesus in a genuine Jewish context, a synagogue Schmidt: 51 , but his painting is very similar to a photograph and therefore lacks any evocative qualities.
His White Cruciixion of depicts the cruciied Jesus visibly wearing a Jewish prayer rug as loincloth. Around him various scenes show the persecutions the Jews had to undergo from various European movements, including those of the Bolsheviks and the Nazis Pelikan 20, plus p. Telford wrote this in Although it would have been natural to ask a Jewish actor to play the role of Jesus, this did not occur, not even in movies made by pro- ducers claiming that they attempted to present historical or biblical reality as faithfully as possible.
In this case ilm art was no diferent from the other visual arts, thus again revealing a bewildering feature of—primarily—Western Christianity, since there are a great number of paintings and also some ilms with a blond, blue-eyed Jesus, thus suggesting more of a German or Anglo-Saxon background than a Jewish one. Two of the most explicit ilms in this respect are the ones produced by DeMille and Ray. We will return to the issue of anti-Semitism in section 3. Exodus also portrays a leeing Mary with her baby Jesus. Another less common designa- tion is the lamb in the gospel of John John and in Revelation Rev 5.
Two, however, i. Jesus is—to use the words of Chalcedon—vere deus, vere homo, truly God and truly human. These councils took place in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and in two smaller towns in the neighbourhood of this city. It is widely known that the emperors exerted great inluence on the proceedings of the meetings. So it is justiied to state that the Byzantine context had a great impact on the theological or ideological understanding of Jesus as well.
Zeirelli himself relates that something strange occurred during this screen test. Slowly, as the screen test progressed, we all noticed that something remarkable was happening.go here
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Zeirelli: 50 Earlier in his book Zeirelli had already written about Robert Powell: he eyes, which, more than anything else of the human body, are the portals to the spirit, became in Powell two penetrating beams of light. His voice. Everything, every act, every word of Jesus must disclose this double aspect. Zeirelli: 40 he actor who played Jesus had to do justice to the vere deus, vere homo of Chalcedon. Section 1 of this chapter made clear that Zeirelli was not the only one with such a view of Jesus Christ.
In fact, it is well known that the directors or—as in the case of Jesus—the organization behind all four biggest box-oice successes also had a traditional view of Jesus. In two features, Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion of the Christ, there was a second important motif, that of the sufering servant. Opposition to the Depiction of Jesus When reading section 3. Christianity is a religion rooted in Judaism, and the Torah, the most important part of the Tanakh, forbids the making of images: hou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exodus —5 22 Images incurred the risk of being regarded as idols, and the Tanakh abhors the idea of idols and idolatry. Peter Schmidt rightly points out that the refusal to depict God was—and still is—one of the strongest expres- sions of reverence for his transcendent majesty. Other versions use the term idol. God is absolutely without equal. No celestial body, no plant, no animal, no human form can express his essence. Schmidt: 23 In the view of Justin Martyr d. Furthermore, the gospels show that there was also a great deal of dispute concerning the Sabbath regulations.
Nonetheless, the Ten Commandments became imperative, since they were considered to be very similar to natural law. As a consequence, the early church fathers forbade making images of Jesus, because Jesus was God. But symbols were permitted. One of the irst ones was the xp symbol for Christ. In section 3. In later centuries, however, images of Jesus were no longer problematic for Christians, but the confrontation of the Byzan- 23 Translated from Dutch by the present author. Het feit dat men God met niets kan weergeven, drukt zonder woorden uit dat niets in de gehele schepping een adequate weergave van God kan zijn.
God is zonder meer met niets te vergelijken. Geen hemellichaam, geen plant, geen dier, geen menselijke gestalte kan Zijn wezen uitdrukken. De Bijbel drukt met zijn beeldenverbod evenzeer uit dat niets in de gehele schepping een goddelijke dimensie bezit. Het vervaardigen van beelden associeerde de Bijbelse mens steevast met afgo- dendienst en heidendom. MacGregor and Langmuir write: he political situation in the East was grave. Egypt and Syria had been conquered for Islam in In the Balkans religious and educational institutions, more closely identiied with the imperial court than in the Latin empire, were in disarray.
Christianity, as practiced by a demoral- ized population, was in danger of becoming a miscellany of debased superstitions. Many found it intellectually and morally inferior to Islamic monotheism, with its irm insistence on holy writ and a strict taboo on images.
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MacGregor and Langmuir: 85 In Emperor Leo iii issued an edict prohibiting the use of images in public worship and throughout the Eastern empire mosaics and pictures were smashed. In Italy the appearance of these iconoclasts, as they were called, stirred the local population to ferocious opposition, which caused the loss of the Byzantine-held cities to the emperor. In Western Europe everything continued as before.
In the following years the Catholic Church did its utmost to come to a solution. Whenever these repre- sentations are contemplated, they will cause those who look at them to commemorate and love their prototype. We deine also that they should be kissed and that they are an object of veneration and honour timitiki proskynisis , but not of real worship latreia , which is reserved for Him Who is the subject of our faith and is proper for the divine nature.
Website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; for more detail see Denzinger — he struggle lared up again in , but in Empress heodora con- vened a new synod, this time in Constantinople. It is also important to understand that the category of icons include only two-dimensional images, not three-dimensional ones, since the depiction is not a relection of reality but of an ideal.
In Eastern Christianity Christians continued to distinguish between religious images, which were permitted only under the restrictions mentioned above, and other kinds of pictures, whereas Western Christianity enjoyed freedom in this regard. In the 16th century Western Christianity went through a deep crisis, resulting in a new division between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
It was expected that every Christian would read the Bible, and the liturgy in the churches was structured around the reading and exegesis of the Bible. More than before, attention was paid to the Tanakh, includ- ing the Ten Commandments, which from now on structured the life of the faithful, especially in churches of Calvinist background. Although images were permitted outside the church buildings, many Calvinist believers did not feel comfortable with images of bibli- cal characters in general and with those of Jesus Christ in particular.
Nonetheless, although the painter Rembrandt lived in a Calvinist country he was free to make images of Jesus, since illustrated Bibles were permitted for pedagogical reasons, in particular for instruction of the illiterate and children. In church build- ings, however, images were forbidden, because the church building was a place for prayer, so the temptation to direct the prayer to images—if 24 Personal communication by Professor Dr.
As a consequence, icono- clastic mobs also swept parts of Western Europe and many church buildings lost beautiful works of art. But they did it neatly by, for example, hiding the frescoes under white lime and placing the images in other rooms and buildings or selling them to churches in regions of a more liberal climate Kaptein; Kroesen and Steensma: — During the 20th century the attitude of the majority of the Protestants, including the majority of Calvinists, became more positive, but it is still common for Protes- tant church buildings to have no or only very few images.
Opposition is still present. It is important to point out here that the Pentecostals and Evangelicals, a strong current in contemporary Christianity, mainly follow the Protestant tradition in its attitude towards depicting God, Jesus and sacred stories, although these Christians are generally more open towards modern media, including ilms. Nonetheless, the Protestants did have some inluence on them. In their defence of the presence of images in churches, the Catholics now also accentuated their pedagogical function, which put images on a lower level than words in Catholic circles as well Verbeek: Nonetheless, the attitude of the Catholics remained generally positive.
Consequently, a large part of Western Christianity, especially countries where the Roman Catholic Church was predominant, had almost no problem with making images of God, Jesus and other biblical characters and subjects. Of course, it is not necessary to repeat what was already related in Chapter One. Nonetheless, it will come as no surprise that the irst Jesus ilm was released in France, at that time a country with a large Roman Catholic population.
A so-called Production Code was devised in the United States. Chapter One already related how diferently Protestants and Catholics dealt with this code, relect- ing the divergent attitudes of both churches towards their members. In a Protestant church an individual is ultimately responsible for his own moral life, whereas in the Catholic Church the clergy promulgates rules.
In the s censorship lost its inluence, although it still classiies ilms on the basis of the sex and the violence it contains. So more viewers were given the opportunity to see the movie Weldon: Many Protestants, especially those working in mission and among the youth, were even very eager to accept Jesus ilms, in particular the pictures that they appreciated, for use in their missionary work as well as in training youth Bakker —; Eshleman.
Nonetheless W. Catholic reaction to Jesus ilms, at least by reviewers in Catholic publications, has relected less concern for either social relevance or biblical faithfulness. Catholic reviewers seemed more comfortable than Protestants with Jesus on the screen as image—however provocative that moving image may have been. Tatum: — What Tatum does not mention is the importance of morality in the evaluation of Jesus ilms by Christians.
An additional reason for Chris- tians to oppose cinema was that ilm was associated with a lack of morality. Nonetheless, it is good to be aware of the fact that within Christianity many people, in particular the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants, still have great dif- iculties with the idea of depicting the divine in a motion picture, in particular if this divinity is degraded by representations associating it with inhumanity and sex.
Moreover, images are on a lower level than words. However beautiful and faithful to the gospels a ilm may be, for Christians it will never attain the status of the Bible itself. However obvious this may be, for a great number of Christians, espe- cially conservatives and many theologians, a ilmic portrayal will always be imperfect.
Others see a theological challenge in the use of ilm. In his view, they would have had more success if they had produced ilms made in a style stamped by great rigor and anti-naturalism, for this would have been more in accordance with the method followed by the ecclesiastical liturgy and the Byzantine icons for evoking transcendence.
In the course of the centuries these two forms had proven to be successful Ayfre: 84—85 and 91— Working from the ideas of Jozef B. Wissink b. She writes: According to Wissink, the beauty theologians search for and ind in all sorts of creations, including ilm aesthetics, cannot be deined because beauty as well as truth and good are, theologically speaking, transcenden- tals, which means that they are characteristics of God and everything in creation that is ordered toward God.
Beauty, though part of concrete and particular creations, at the same time transcends them and thus escapes deinition. Beauty in creation is what God makes things to be. Beauty, therefore, depends on the human attitude towards his own creation and the creation surrounding him. All creatures are intersubjectively interconnected. For this reason. Verbeek: his creates a common ground between artists and the audience, includ- ing theologians Verbeek: , which at the same time may become an opening for the mercy of God.
It is a mirror of ourselves in our nakedness, but also a mirror of ourselves in the other in whom God can be found. In ilms we are confronted with ourselves, including our failures, but ilm can also be the moment that we see the Eternal face to face. God made Himself tangible in human beings and He is the one who made these images of human beings available to us. Nonetheless, the approaches may be helpful in reconciling the contradictions many Christians still feel with regard to their faith and the world of cinema.
Another but completely diferent approach theologians use with regard to ilms, and in particular Jesus ilms, is followed by Reinhold Zwick and homas Langkau b. Zwick prefers a ilm based on one of the synoptic gospels, if necessary completed with material from one of the others. Furthermore, the ilm has to provide correct information about the historical context as well as about the Jewish religious context.
So miracles must be shown modestly, if possible, including their reference to the Kingdom of God. In any event, Langkau argues for more meditative motion pictures about Jesus Langkau: — According to the ilmmaker this event was the result of intolerance in his time and culture.
DeMille also decided to give in and made some alterations to the original version, which was signalled in a brief news article in he New York Times of 6 January Tatum: Every viewer of The King of Kings can see, however, that the director had done his utmost to prevent the ilm from being accused of being anti-Semitic. One of the most impressive examples25 of his attempts is the following scene not found in any of the gospels.
However, before we continue, we should point out that there were two issues, the irst one of which is the danger of a ilmmaker being accused of anti-Semitism, in particular in the United States, and the second, already discussed in section 3. It transcends the scope of the present study, of course, to present an outline and analysis of anti-Semitism throughout the ages. Only some points that demand attention with regard to the Jesus ilms will be discussed here.
Concerning the irst issue, the threat of a lawsuit, it is good to point out that parts of the New Testament themselves are regarded as anti- Judaist. In particular, the gospel of John uses the very general term 25 For his other attempts see: Barnes Tatum: Examples of this can be found in the works of the church father Origen d. In later times this text was oten the reason for raids on local Jewish communities ater the church services during Holy Week and Easter Graus: — For long a time in Europe Jews were permitted to work only in inancial professions Graus: —; Pawlikowski: 17, Films deal with images—how did they represent the Jews?
A inal issue was the problem that, according to all gospels, the Jew- ish religious leaders, including Caiaphas, were involved in the activities leading to the cruciixion of Jesus. DeMille did so by plac- ing all responsibility for the condemnation of Jesus on the shoulders of Caiaphas.
Furthermore, he mentions the trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin only in an intertitle. It is not shown in visual representa- tions, so the court procedures are omitted almost completely. In these movies Jesus is sentenced to death only by the Romans, by Pilate and in many cases by him only ater a great deal of resistance. In this way these directors conveyed the view that not all Jews wanted to condemn Jesus to death. Of course, this de-emphasized its impact, because, according to the gospel of Matthew, it is the people—or a crowd, at any rate—who say these words.
All the other biopics of the sixteen ilms explored in the present study let the verse out. As stated above, Matthew is a kind of ilm version of the illustrated Bible. If this was the case, all Bible or gospel editions would have to be destroyed. One picture, The Gospel of John by Philip Saville, includes the other ominous verse in the gospels, John , which suggests that the Jews are children of the devil.
In fact, it is only natural that this verse be included since this feature is, as was pointed out earlier in section 2, one of the Jesus ilms based on the text of a gospel. In this picture a person dressed in a black-and-white striped robe takes charge in such a way that Jesus is sentenced to be cruciied.
In The Greatest Story this person is the same as the devil who previously tempts Jesus in the desert. My impression is that exactly this is what Stevens wanted see also Zwick: — , but at the same time people follow- ing a less Jewish-friendly interpretation can regard the sequence as an illustration of what is said in John , because the Jews follow what the devil initiates. Gibson probably had another motive for introducing the devil. Various other factors oten played an important role in the way of selecting actors to play Jesus, such as the dignity of the actor, the way he played his role, his appearance, etc.
Producing a Jesus ilm is a risky enterprise. Millions will be inluenced by the representation given of the material in the gospel. So it is no wonder that the discussions about possible anti-Semitism lare up at the announcement of the release of a new Jesus ilm. Nonetheless, the conclusion is justiied that almost all producers were very careful.
No truly anti-Semitic Jesus ilms are found among the sixteen selected for the present study. His negative depiction is not, however, associated with the Jewish leaders mentioned in the gospels but with the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps this also explains the power of his movie: he shows the harshness and sharpness of the conlict between Jesus and the religious leaders but apparently in such a way that no spectator feels a religious chasm between the two parties.
Jesus and the Jewish leaders belong to the same religious world. Nonetheless, these points of critique are too shallow to justify the conclusion that these two direc- tors created anti-Semitic ilms. Many Images, One Jesus he Jesus ilm originated in the passion plays, but with the release of From the Manger to the Cross in it started to develop into the biopic it became for the irst time in Cecile B. Halfway through the s the Jewish background of Jesus received attention. At the same time there was also a inal attempt to create a historically reliable biopic.
It was a publishing house closely related to the Roman Catholic Church that produced the irst Jesus movie. In , however, Pope Pius x made some restrictions, whereas in this same decade the British censors, probably inluenced by British church leaders, decided that it was not appropriate for the igure of Jesus to be seen fully on-screen. For the most part, Protestants were even more hesitant about the depiction of Jesus than Catholics were. By the end of the s the attitude of the Catholic leaders had become more open, and later, at the end of the s, the great major- ity of the Protestant leaders followed.
Christians, however, had been going to the cinemas for many years already. It was probably not before the 3rd century that the irst pictures of Jesus were made. Although there was a great variety in the way Jesus was portrayed in the irst centuries, a certain uniication developed.
Jesus became depicted usually as a man with dark hair and a trimmed moustache and beard. On the theological front, a similar development was taking place.
Whereas the New Testament includes a certain variety of images of Jesus or christologies, one of them developed into the most important, dominating over even almost excluding all others. It was the ideological or theological image that gradually became manifest at the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Chalcedon. Chalcedon ultimately declared that Jesus was vere deus, vere homo, truly God and truly human.
At least they do not know what else it was. In these ilms more uncommon views of Jesus were given their chance. Strikingly, the role of Jesus was never played by a Jewish man. On the contrary, the appearance of most actors playing Jesus was very Anglo-Saxon or Roman. But the threat of being accused of anti-Semitism made many ilm- makers careful. Pasolini proved to be able to present the sharpness of the conlict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders without creating a religious chasm between the two parties. In conclusion, it may be said that the most popular and most inluen- tial Jesus biopics were those that remained very close to the traditional and orthodox ideas and views of Jesus.
But in Chapter One we mentioned another important reason, namely that it is very expensive to produce a ilm. A ilm has to earn money and must, therefore, be a box-oice success. But to be that means that ilmmakers have to take the expectations of the audiences into account.
So it is, in fact, no surprise that the most successful pictures are those that present a traditional image of Jesus. Only very popular ilmmakers can attempt to take a chance. It is not very clear which Jesus ilm is meant here, but in section 1. Could we, the sons of India, ever be able to see Indian images on the screen?
Rajadhyaksha: 48 So, it is no exaggeration to conclude that the Jesus ilms initiated the production of religious feature ilms by the Indians themselves, in particular the so-called mythologicals, a genre which according to Rachel Dwyer depicts tales of gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines mostly from the large repository of Hindu myths, which are largely found in the Sanskrit Puranas, and the Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
But the information provided by Barnouw and Krishnaswamy suggests that it was the movie by Zecca and Nonguet. Dwyer a: 15 Phalke was not, however, the irst person to produce a religious ilm in India, since R. Torney and N. Chitre released the ilm Pundalik on 18 May , about Pundalik, a Hindu holy man completely devoted to the god Vishnu Dwyer a: 63—64; Gokarn: 8—9. Although certainly a religious picture, Pundalik is not regarded as a mythological but as a devotional. Dwyer a: 63 Dwyer adds, however: Gokarn. Like other cinematic genres in India, the mixing or hybridity factor makes it hard to ascribe a ilm irmly to one category or another.
Some may class mythologicals as devotionals as there is some overlap, especially with later ilms.
From Buddha to Jesus
Dwyer a: 63, see also Gokarn: 3 he mythologicals and devotionals became popular all over the Indian subcontinent and are still produced in almost every important language of the country. Shiva appears in order to save them and the family is restored to the throne. According to Dwyer, mythologicals even stood at the beginning of a pan-Indian non-regional style Dwyer a: Firoze Rangoonwalla writes about the premiere: And appeal it did to all kinds of spectators seeing the big success it proved.
Ater discussing the circumstances of their production, we will summarize their content and their reception, and then analyze and compare the portrayals of Rama in these ilms. In the third section we will discuss the attitude Hindus have towards these ilms and towards depicting divine igures as such. In the last section we will make some preliminary observations. The Films 1. Of course, the pos- sibility of making a great deal of money was not the only motive for producing these features.
For a number of them, their piety and desire to honour their god s by producing motion pictures as beautiful and faithful as possible prevailed over their more material desires Barnouw and Krishnaswamy: 30—31; Ramayan: dvd Nonetheless, many of them became rich through these ilms. During the irst decade of the Indian ilm industry, the mythologicals developed into the largest and most important section of this business. In she stated that she saw an immense potential for the genre not only in the B circuit, where it continued to be popular, but also in the A circuit. In this context she also pointed to the overseas market Dwyer a: As a resident of the Netherlands, a country with an important minority of Hindustani people, the present author can only underscore her argument.
Prominent producers of mythologicals, such as Phalke and Vijayshankar Jagneshwar Bhatt — , were Brahmans themselves Dwyer a: Nonetheless, there were also many ilmmakers from other social backgrounds. Since many ilms about Rama have been produced, but unfor- tunately most of them were lost. Moreover, many of these pictures were not produced in Mumbai but in the regional centres of ilm production in India.
Ater the success of Raja Hari- schandra, Phalke moved to this town and built a studio there, even though he did not shoot his ilms in the studio but in the real world. It was cheaper to operate a studio in Nasik, but there was probably a more religious reason for going to this town. Nasik includes Panchavati, where Rama, Sita and Lakshman lived during their exile in the forest Dwyer a: 24— So Lanka Dahan was shot in a divine environment.
Unfortunately, only a 6-minute fragment feet of this motion picture has been preserved. It is a silent ilm consisting of short ilm sequences alternating with short texts composed by Phalke himself. Salunke Rangoon- walla: 20— Rama is far away and she longs for him.
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A monkey called Hanu- man is sitting on one of the branches of the tree under which Sita is sitting and hears her weeping. In the next sequence, Sita walks around a pedestal and then leans on it, weeping, while Hanuman swings from one tree to another. At the same time a group of female guards are having a party, illing their cups from the jars nearby.
One guard approaches Sita and starts to speak kindly to her. Ravan enters the park accompanied by a group of servants, two of whom are keeping him cool with large fans. He then passes the foun- tain and approaches Sita, followed by servants carrying plates loaded with beautiful presents. Hanuman is watching everything.
Ravan takes a plate and ofers it to Sita, but she turns her back to him when he approaches. He speaks to her in a friendly way, but she only heaps reproaches on him. Meanwhile, Hanuman is watching everything. Leaning on the pedestal, Ravan tries to persuade her by speaking kindly to her. Sita, however, rejects all his advances and is very angry. But the servants return later to surround Sita and dance joyfully around her.
Hanuman moves noisily to and fro in the branches of the tree, jumping down and then climbing back into the tree again. Sita sits down on a stone table and weeps. At that moment Hanuman fetches a ring, examines it long and carefully and then throws it to the ground. Sita is shocked.
She sees the ring, picks it up, and looks carefully at it. Her face brightens and she is illed with great happiness. Rama appears briely in the above let corner of the screen; he looks satisied and then disappears again. In the meantime, a guard passes by with a spear. Sita stands up out of joy and Hanuman jumps down from the tree and attacks the guard, snatching her spear which he then points menacingly at the guard.
Sita is surprised. Using several gestures, Hanuman explains who he is. Phalke had already had a long career in art before he became a ilmmaker, having enrolled in the J. School of Art at the age of He sub- sequently enrolled in a ive-year programme in drawing and painting in Kalabhavan, Baroda, becoming quite proicient in nature studies and still lifes. He bought his irst camera in Phalke then earned a living by painting portraits and taking photographs.
In he went to Lonavala where Raja Ravi Verma had started a litho-press already in to mass print pictures of popular gods and goddesses Rajadhyaksha: 47—48; Dwyer a: Phalke let the press in to start his own press with a partner, but they soon fell out and Phalke resigned. It was at this point in his life that he saw The Life of Jesus Rajadhyaksha: Furthermore, it is known that the monkeys in Lanka Dahan already had clubs Video of the nfai. Indian silent ilm had musical accompani- ment in accordance with the usual practice in the theatre, and it adapted its sets, costumes, performance styles and gestures Dwyer a: From the outset, music was also very important in Indian ilm.
It was already stated above in this chapter that the premiere of Raja Hari- schandra consisted, in fact, of a music and theatre show, of which only 15 minutes were devoted to the screening of the picture. William O. Beeman relates that in Indian ilm music was designed from the very beginning to appeal directly to public taste Beeman: One of the problems with which Phalke had to deal was feminine modesty. The eye of the camera was regarded as a public eye, so he therefore started by asking men to play the female roles.
But in he succeeded in attracting his irst actress for his second ilm, although the role of Sita was again played by a man, Salunke. According to Satish Bahadur, Phalke did not delve deeply into the spiritual meaning of the story material he derived from the Hindu epics.
Rather, he focused on their most obvious ritualistic and supericial level, 5 Dwyer relates that this actress returned to the stage, where she, paradoxically, oten played men Dwyer a: Nonetheless, the appearance of Rama in the remaining part of the feature is interesting. He is present and sees everything when Sita rejoices at having received his ring and is satisied. It is clear that Rama is not a normal human being but an omnipresent god who is still taking care of his wife, even though she is far away and believes that her husband is unaware of her misery.
Beeman asserts that it was the coming of sound that really launched the Indian ilm industry in a big way, since it was largely the fact that this allowed music to be included directly in the ilms that made all the diference. As an element of performance, music is much more of an integral part of the ilm in India than it is in the West. In traditional Indian performance, vocal expression takes many forms, which, according to Beeman, can be exhibited in the fol- lowing continuum: speech, dialogue, poetic recitation, intoned speech and song Beeman: Alam Ara included about a dozen songs, another Hindi ilm is said to have had about a forty songs.
An early Tamil ilm is said to have had over sixty songs. All the sound ilms produced in India in these early years had a profusion of songs. Most also had dances. In doing so, the ilm had tapped a powerful current, one that gave it an extraordinary new impetus. It was a current that went back some two thousand years.
Barnouw and Krishnaswamy: 69 For the present study, it is important to realize that this ancient tradi- tion, which included music and drama, was a religious one, for the larger part of this by far was based on the narratives of the great Hindu epics including the Ramayana, the great story of Rama. Beeman also recalls that music began in Western ilm as an element separate from the ilm itself and was used in a supportive role.
It was only later, with the introduction of the musical in Western cinema, that it became one of the composing elements of the ilm itself.
In Indian ilm, on the contrary, music was designed from the very beginning to appeal directly to public taste: it was placed in the ilm to be heard. Here it occupied a role equal or even superior to all other elements of the ilm. Indian ilm music, which was oten a combina- tion of elements derived from Indian music and elements from the West, went even further. In the course of time, it became one of the most active elements in shaping musical taste Beeman: 85— In other words, songs are oten the word of God Das Gupta: 61— In the course of the s and the s the developments in Indian cinema ended in what is regularly called the classic formula of Indian ilm: a star, six songs and three dances Barnouw and Krishnaswamy: He enrolled in St.
A couple of years later he and his brother, Shri Shankarbhai, chose careers in show business ater they met Ardeshir Irani, the director of Alam Ara, who asked both of them to join his business. In the early s they founded the Royal Film Company so as to produce their own ilms. Vijay Bhatt developed into a noteworthy director. As a result, Prem Adip and Shobhana Samarth d. People took of their shoes and fell on their knees while their ilms were on Das Gupta: — Prasad: xii. Furthermore, many other details were altered.
Although the main line of the story remains basically the same and a great deal of the material of older versions returns in the text, the Manas is, in fact, a completely new version of this ancient epic. So which of these two versions is used as the source for a certain episode can make a diference. Bharat Milap is still a black-and-white ilm, lasting minutes. Many oferings are made to the deities, but Bharat receives many presents as well. He holds it against his cheek, cherishing it. Ater having consulted his priest and counsellor, Vashishtha, he decides to abdicate and to give the throne to his son Rama.
In this delineation only the details are given that are important for receiving a good impression of the portrayal of Rama given in this feature. Alarmed, Kaikeyi asks what is wrong, and Manthara reproaches her for not paying suicient attention to the interests of her own son Bharat. She persuades Kaikeyi, and Kaikeyi in turn asks Dasharath to make Bharat king. Shocked, Dasharath falls on his divan.
His crown falls from his head and lies to Bharat, who at that very moment is waking up from a horrible dream. In the meantime preparations for the coronation ceremony for Rama and Sita have begun. When Dasharath does not come to attend the prepara- tory ceremonies, Vashishtha sends Sumantra, the minister, to ind him. When Rama hears what is going on, he goes to Dasharath, and when Kaikeyi tells him that Bharat is to be made king and that Rama is to go into exile, he is glad. His brother Lakshman, who has accompanied Rama, is very angry, however.
Sita is also angry and takes the crown from her head. Rama attempts to calm everyone, including his mother Kaushalya, who is shocked. Sita now begs Rama to permit her to accompany him into exile and Rama eventually gives in, because she is very insistent. Lakshman will also go with them. When Rama, Sita and Lakshman appear in the streets of the capital the inhabitants cheer Rama.
Just before their departure, Manthara comes to bring the clothes of a sadhu or Hindu ascetic. She wants Sita to wear the simple dress of the ascetics as well. Again, Lakshman becomes angry and, again, Rama calms him down. When they leave the city of Ayodhya Dasharath dies in the presence of his two other consorts, Kaushalya and Sumitra, the mother of Lakshman and Shatrughan.
He decides to go home. In the meantime, Rama and the others come to the Ganges, thus reaching the border of the kingdom. Nishada, who reigns over a small kingdom on the other side, welcomes him and his retinue. Accompanied by Sita and Lakshman, Rama gets into a boat that will bring them to the other side of the Ganges. Full of joy and thankfulness, the ferryman washes the feet of Rama and then he and his wife and some friends sing a song full of devotion. When Bharat and Shatrughan arrive at the palace in Ayodhya, Manthara and Kaikeyi welcome Bharat gladly and shout that he will become king.
He then goes to the balcony of the palace and, when he appears, the people gathered in the square before the building jeer at him. Bharat talks to them and eventually they cheer him up. Ater a long dialogue Kaushalya is able to let Kaikeyi return to the bhakti devotion to Rama. The legacy of some precursors It would be possible, of course, to provide a more detailed description of the contemporary spiritual landscape, but I now would like to try to pinpoint the reasons Christians are moved to search out and explore one or the other Eastern spiritual tradition.
However, while providing useful benchmarks for theological reflection on the plurality of religions and for interreligious dialogue, these statements do not really address the appeal that Asian spiritualities have for some Christians. On the other hand, the personal path, the testimony, and the reflections of several pioneers provide a more detailed analysis of the issues involved as well as specific suggestions about how to proceed.
Asian Christians were among these pioneers, but more often than not, at least in the first phase, the vanguard was made up primarily of Western Christians who were not satisfied by an academic approach to the history of religions, but looked instead for ways to incorporate the patrimony of one or the other spiritual tradition of India or the Far East into their own inner life.
We should also remember that the first generation of pioneers includes a good number of Asian Christians who are often less well known in the West. The paths taken by these precursors, their happy and sometimes less happy experiences, the challenges they faced, the avenues they opened, the impasses they identified, the work of integration they accomplished, whether in terms of spiritual practice or of theological reflection—all constitute a precious heritage that Christians today can receive and examine with gratitude. But there is still much to be discovered, many paths to explore, many puzzles to solve.
Going deeper Let us now consider some of the themes or thrusts of Eastern spirituality that are especially appealing to Westerners and that also highlight the challenges that arise when spiritualities are brought into contact with one another. The area is huge and really needs to be studied by a team of scholars. On the other hand, part of the Chinese world shows an affinity with the sapiential roots of the biblical and Christian tradition.
Because of lack of time and even more, of competence , my comments will be directed mainly to Hinduism and Buddhism. A characteristic that is central to much of the Hindu world and that is also found in Chinese Taoism is the emphasis on interiority. In this context, symbolic space is significant—and no human being, no spiritual tradition, can do without spatial images. What we very often see In the Eastern traditions, especially in those that attract the attention of an increasing number of Westerners, is a centripetal movement, a progressive concentration towards the center that also involves a descent into the depths, towards the source or the root.
This movement is not, in principle, self-centered, because the descent is in the direction of a depth that is much more fundamental than the superficial layers of ego identity. Nor is it—again, in principle—a form of solipsism, because the center or source from which everything springs up is not mine, does not belong to me.
It is unlimited, comprising—or potentially containing—the whole of reality; it has no exteriority. Non-duality and otherness Let us make clear that this concentration toward the center does not prevent one from acknowledging a series of concentric circles. Put more positively, we can identify these concentric layers as a series of successive phases. This is the grand theme of non-duality advaita. In the motionless movement toward the center or the depth, the absolute that becomes manifest is not something added on to me. This One and Only is so evident that, in much of the Indian tradition, atheism is less likely than acosmism: the absolute exists without a doubt, but the existence of the world or of the particular subject that is me is not as evident.
Thus, the One is without a second, and the sage, yogi, or meditator who recognizes this truth participates in its uniqueness and absolute quality. Drawn in broad strokes and formulated in the ancient Upanishads some twenty-five centuries ago, that is what will shape, in varied and subtle ways, countless schools of thought and spiritual pathways. It is there that we have a first orientation, a position—or, if you prefer, a leaning—that sets the course for the developments that have occurred over the span of more than two millennia.
In this regard, we should also take note of a paradox: strict non-duality and the multiplicity of diversity, far from being mutually exclusive, seem to reinforce one another. It may be that the Christian, no less than the Jew or Muslim, is here taken aback, but also enticed. These paradoxes and tensions, these happy discoveries or seductions and dangers , are not confined to the area of doctrinal reflection. They induce different views of the world and society; they permeate sensitivities and the emotions; they suggest other ways of ritual and celebration, prayer and meditation, as well as different ways of engaging in expressions of charitable and political activity.
These are the perspectives and questions that pioneers such as Monchanin or Le Saux set out to explore and that theologians and spiritually-minded Indian Christians continue to explore today. It is not unreasonable to suggest that this work is just beginning. When Western Christians find inspiration in spiritual texts of the East, when they adopt a particular method or style of meditation, when they seek direction from a Hindu or Buddhist spiritual guide, when they practice a form of yoga, a martial art, or the art of calligraphy, they can find light and nourishment without rigorously subscribing to a given philosophical system.
Attentiveness is certainly in order, since the spiritual traditions of the East—much like ours— have their own coherence. But they are not monolithic paradigms that demand an all-or-nothing choice, complete adherence or radical rejection. In fact, most European Christians who look to the East adopt, more or less consciously, a selective approach. Constructing and deconstructing images Let us briefly take note of a particular area in which an encounter with Asian traditions and the adoption of elements from these traditions may represent for the Christian a fruitful discovery as well as a challenge, or even be a cause of disorientation.
The issue I have in mind is our relationship to image or symbol. The multiple traditions of the East know and teach hundreds of ways to make use of an image. The Christian world has been no stranger to impassioned and sometimes violent controversy on this issue; we only need recall the Iconoclastic controversy of the eighth and ninth centuries and the polemics that raged at the time of the Reformation. But on the whole, the Christian world advocates the use of images—be they mental or material—a use that is not unrelated to the humanity of the Savior, his actual incarnation in time, and the representation of evangelical scenes.
On the other hand, the East, at least in the early stages of the spiritual path, sometimes prescribes a total elimination of images, since they are maya , nothing more than fleeting and misleading reflections, illusions that are incapable of signifying anything essential. Indeed, they may be used as grounds for allowing ourselves to be carried away by the endless distraction of craving. Other less radical currents are careful to point out that every image is a construct, a mental creation that is certainly endowed with power, but one that we should not become attached to.
Rather it projects an ideal toward which the meditator is moving, doing so by means of a progressive but provisional identification with the image. To avoid any form of attachment, even to the ideal represented, it is recommended that at the end of the spiritual practice, the image be dissolved or deconstructed the mental visualization or the sand mandala, for example. Moreover—as hardly need be pointed out—when images issuing from Eastern spiritual traditions are used, their symbolic content will obviously be completely different from that of the Bible and Christian tradition.
This is true even when the image or symbol does not involve a real representation, as would be seen by comparing biblical creation in the image and likeness of God with the teachings on Buddha Nature or Buddha Matrix. While each of these themes raises doctrinal issues, it is primarily because of their significance for spiritual experience and practice that I mention them here.
The most frequent instance of this phenomenon is probably found among those individuals who say they are—or at least consider themselves to be—Christian and Buddhist at one and the same time. In some cases, this may have come about because unforeseen circumstances revealed affinities that one had been unaware of previously; in other cases, migration or an interfaith marriage led an individual to recognize in him or herself—if we can put it this way—a double religious identity.
For some, this will be a temporary situation, a transitional phase. Others do not see why—let alone how—they should or could give up one of these affiliations. Sacrificing either of them would be for them an intolerable mutilation. This does not mean that one always feels comfortable living in this kind of situation. The coexistence of doctrines that are incompatible with or simply foreign to one another, or the more or less harmonious integration of practices inspired by convictions or beliefs that have little in common, may be a source of tension and discomfort.
In addition, maintaining ties with one or two active communities or the education of children may pose problems. However, there are those who believe that these difficulties or even tensions are insignificant compared to the richness of doctrinal interactions and the range of spiritual practices that one can experience.
Published studies on this subject are still scarce. To them we can add the writings of witnesses like Henri Le Saux, Raimon Panikkar, Ruben Habito, and Paul Knitter, to mention only those who clearly identify themselves as Christian, but refuse to be satisfied with a simple juxtaposition of two practices, two parallel spiritual paths. How are the persons seeking guidance and those offering this service to come to a common definition of the objectives of their relationship, the guidelines they will follow, the methods of discernment they will employ?
A situation in which the spiritual tradition of the guide or the master does not coincide with that of the disciple is certainly delicate, perhaps even unprecedented. In former times, this might have been the case during a short initial period of conversion and reorientation, but here we are talking about a long-term relationship in which neither the guide nor the disciple is able to foresee what the outcome might be.
We are entering a vast, uncharted territory. I end by simply offering, without comment, four caveats. Basset Jean-Claude ed. Drew Rose, Buddhist and Christian? An exploration of dual belonging coll.