The ambitious and endlessly fascinating The Real Jesus Christ attempts to decipher the history and teachings of Jesus that have been hidden from view for well over 2,000 years.
In the years following His death, the believers of Jesus fell into two distinct factions, each one attempting to cement their versions of his teachings into eternal gospel. The faction guided by St. Paul ultimately became the victor in this pursuit. Meanwhile, the other faction, which consisted of family members and disciples who actually knew Jesus, withered into obscurity and left behind no surviving writings.
The film explores how our understanding of Jesus might have been altered had we had access to these discarded testimonies.
The battle for history was waged between Paul and James. Once a persecutor of Christ's followers, Paul became convinced he possessed the right to propagate the story of Christ after experiencing an epiphany on his way to Damascus. This sense of entitled destiny existed within him in spite of the fact that he - unlike James - had never actually known Jesus during His lifetime.
A clash of perspectives ensued, which encompassed differences in views on circumcision, kosher foods and the sanctity of Jesus' Jewish heritage. Unable to meld the minutia of both philosophies, the two split. Paul's version of Christ ultimately informed the Gospels of the New Testament.
An assortment of historians and theologians attempt to piece together the alternative biography of Jesus had it been recorded by James and his supporters. It's a history that relies more on the mundane than the spectacular. In this version of events, Jesus was conceived naturally to Mary and Joseph. This history would have included a more realistic snapshot of the times, more liberal criticism of the Roman values of the day, and a correlation between the politics of the period and the religious teachings of Jesus.
This is just a sampling of the insights offered by The Real Jesus Christ. Whatever your personal beliefs, the journey of the film is sure to be one of intense fascination as it reconsiders a series of events that have shaped the globe like no other.
Directed by: Patrick McGrady