Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cringe corner

Dark Horizons reports that in the tradition of The Da Vinci Code, comes The Aquarian Gospel. It will be directed by Drew Heriot, whose previous credit was the DVD of the best-selling self-help book, The Secret. Described as a spiritual fantasy/adventure, the film will allegedly tell the story of what Jesus did between the ages of 12 and 30, and sees him travelling his journeys from his homeland of Judea to India, Tibet, Persia, Greece and Egypt, encountering people of various backgrounds along the way. Casting is under way and modern-day spiritual leaders are being sought for cameo roles as prominent historical and religious figures that Jesus encountered.

Versions of this fanciful story have been floating around for years in New Age and spiritualist circles, and I'm guessing that this film will be adapted from them. On his travels Jesus is supposed to have studied under various spiritual masters, It was these spiritual masters who taught him how to pray, teach the Scriptures, and drive evil spirits from people. His travels over, he returned to Judea to preach all that he had learned. While the Gospels don't clearly state how Jesus spent his adolescence and early adulthood, these stories are imaginative attempts to "fill in the gaps" in the Gospel accounts.

The story of these unaccounted for years was first told in 1894 by Russian journalist Nicholas Notovitch, in his book, The Life of Saint Issa. He falsely claimed to have discovered a manuscript in a Tibetan monastery, which he had translated and published. Occultist Levi Dowling's (1844-1911) The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ makes similar claims to Notovich's work, as did 20th century spiritualist Edgar Cayce in his writings.

The 2006 release of the film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code was greeted with a torrent of refutations by numerous Christian apologists, who took issue with its historical innacuracies and theological distortions, and no doubt the response to this film will be similar. Fortunately there are already numerous books by Christian apologists addressing these issues, and the publicity accompanying the release of this film will probably prompt their publishers to release new editions of their work.

In short, these stories have no historical basis, and Jesus had the same upbringing as his Jewish contemporaries. His formative years were spent being schooled in Judaism and learning the carpentry trade from Joseph, his earthly father. He had no reason or need to travel outside of his homeland. To find out exactly why these stories don't hold water, I can highly recommend Ron Rhodes book, The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement (ISBN 08041077575). Articles on his website cover similar ground.

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Miss Eagle said...

Hi Ross, I recently saw The Da Vinci Code on Foxtel's Showtime. It was an interesting yarn. I love a bit of a mystery. And I'm an ABC/UKTV crime additct. But it wasn't anything out of the box nor was the theme highly original. I had read Holy Blood, Holy Grail more than 20 years ago. Above all, I wondered what all the darn fuss was about. Has the general populace become thoroughly illiterate; ignorant of history - and art; and unable to exercise reason and discernment? Perhaps, the church rather than exercising its apologia muscles would be better off putting energy into education and intellectual enrichment.

Blessings and bliss

Ross McPhee said...

Even though it's an entertaining book, I didn't think the Da Vinci Code was very well written. The problem I have is that so many people are being taken in by this elaborate story, including some Christians.