Devotio Moderna

Devotio Moderna: Ted Neeley’s Passion Play

What is a Passion play? What effect is it meant to have on the viewer? What, if any, effect might it have on the actor who plays Christ? These are the questions that I would like to answer, turning attention towards how the answers to those questions have changed over time—in history and our own modern time.

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Noah’s Rainbow

Noah’s Rainbow: The Development of Human Intellect and Compassion The first book of the Bible, Genesis, recounts the mythic stories of some of our earliest human ancestors. The name Genesis literally means “birth,” or “origin,” and it poetically charts how human beings developed knowledge, society and morality over time. For instance, in Genesis 9—after the … Continue reading

Abba and Amen

Abba and Amen I’ve been reading the book Myths of Religion by Andrew M. Greeley this week. It is a compendium of three of his books written in the Seventies, The Jesus Myth, The Sinai Myth and The Mary Myth. I’m intrigued by Greeley’s definition of myth, one that diverges from Joseph Campbell’s insofar as … Continue reading

Gabriel’s Revelation

Gabriel’s Revelation In today’s NY Times there appeared an article on a controversial first-century BC stone tablet with two columns of painted Hebrew text, the so-called “Gabriel’s Revelation” tablet. This “stone Dead Sea Scroll” recounts an apocalyptic vision revealed by the Angel Gabriel, one that involves a suffering messiah who will redeem Israel through bloody … Continue reading

Finding Ted Neeley

About a month ago I watched Norman Jewison’s 1973 film “Jesus Christ Superstar” for the first time.  The film and musical score date from my childhood, and I was therefore amazed that it has held onto its “freshness” in terms of its music and impact.   To begin with, it seems Rice and Webber’s rock … Continue reading