The Last Temptation of Christ-Response paper

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese shows the life of Jesus Christ and his struggle such as fear, reluctance, depression, doubt, and fear. However, the movie departs from the accepted Biblical depiction of the life of Jesus Christ. In other words, the movie is remotely derived from the Gospel of John, Luke, Mark, and Mathew. The movie starts with the renunciation that it is not based on the above gospels. Instead the movie is derived from the book, The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. The book focuses on the dual nature of Christ or his humanity (Greydanus).

It is not a must that the dramatic representation of the humanity of Christ to be compatible with the different articles about Christ (Greydanus). But, it could be valuable as well as worthwhile if any work of art focuses on the truth about Christ. In The Last Temptation of Christ, the movie gives the audiences the ‘human’ Jesus, but then again he is imperfect. The movie has scenes that depict blasphemy. For instance, there is a part where Jesus expounds that he creates the crosses for crucifying his fellow Jews and the Romans thus God will not only hate him, but also abandon him. Other scenes show the persistent confusion and doubts of Jesus regarding the nature of his mission and identity. For instance, Jesus doubts whether he is the Savior or Messiah (Greydanus).

In another scene, Jesus sits all afternoon in an apartment adjacent to Mary Magdalene’s room who is a prostitute. Jesus is able to see as well as hear Mary Magdalene servicing some of her clients. It is argued that Jesus could be moved to lust since he could see and hear. Throughout the film, it is shown that Jesus is obsessed with Mary Magdalene.

In Mark 3:31-35, the crowd of listeners tells Jesus that his brothers and mother want to see him. Jesus tells the crowd that “his brothers and sisters are people who do the will of God”. In the Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus tells his mother that he has “no family and turns his back on Mary” (Greydanus). This makes Mary break down in tears. In Mark 7:10-13, Jesus emphasizes that everyone should respect his/her parents. Therefore, the movie contradicts Jesus’ teaching on love and respect.

The movie is not comparable to the traditional Christian understanding. In the movie, Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus since he is ordered to do so by Jesus. In one of the scenes, Judas tells Jesus to put himself in his position and asks him whether he could let down the beloved master. Jesus tells Judas he cannot do it but he insists he is ready to die on the cross (Greydanus). In addition, Judas Iscariot acts as the conscience of Jesus. For instance, when Jesus starts his ministry, he fears that Judas will kill him if does not complete his mission.

According to the Christian teachings, Christ was not only fully divine, but also fully human. This implies that there is nothing wrong to try to express humanity of Christ in form a novel or film. This brings to the people’s mind the truth of the humanity of Christ as an honorable as well as good thing even though Christ’s divinity is not addressed. It is worthwhile to visualize Jesus being able of experiencing fear and loneliness, having fun with the people, e.g., wedding party, or becoming annoyed with his disciples and not being perfect, i.e., he commits sins.





Works Cited

Greydanus, S. The Last Temptation of Christ: An Essay in Film Criticism and Faith. 2010. 25 April 2012 <>.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Response to “The Last Temptation of Christ-Response paper”

  1.   David Richter Says:

    Scorsese makes it very clear with an intertitle at the start that the film is not an adaptation of the canonical gospels but rather of Nikos Kazantzakis’s 1951 novel (Ho Teleutaios Parasmos).

    Kazantzakis was a thinker very much of his time, when existentialism was in the ascendance and the key question was “what value can humanity make of a universe devoid of supernatural guidance?” Buddhism interested him–Kazantzakis saw the Buddha as one who sought enlightenment outside the religious system of his time–and also Nietzsche, whose Zarathustra is a man on a quest for something beyond himself. So his Jesus is a man searching for transcendance and finding it in self-sacrifice (as Zarathustra goes under, as Buddha returns to the world of maya after attaining nirvana).

    Greydanus’s approach to the film doesn’t go anywhere near there. He is intelligent but he misses the point, and for him there is nothing but a film that distorts the gospels and disturbs the faith of the believers.

Leave a Reply

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar