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  #1  
Old 25th August 2005, 10:12 PM
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Jesus Christ Superstar--beautiful or blasphemous?

Since this is a Christian board, I thought I try and find out what people's thoughts are on Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera treatment of the "greatest story ever told".

It portrays Jesus as very human and not very divine. He has a powerfully emotional solo called "Gethsemane", in which he questions the idea of dying on the cross. In the end, he agrees to do his Father's will, but ends the song with the challenge, "Take me now before I change my mind!" I agree it's not terribly biblical, but it is powerful and shows Christ in his fear and pain. He asks the same question any of us would ask if we were in that position, "Why, Lord, why?"

The show also centers not around Jesus, but rather his betrayer. This is the "Gospel according to Judas". The whole thing is taken from Judas' point of view and sees into his feelings, portraying him--like Jesus--as very human.

Mary Magdalene is also a figure of some controversy. Her big song, "I don't know how to love him", indicates some sort of wish on her part for a relationship with Jesus. It's never really defined though as a hope for a romantic realtionship or a platonic one. I personally never found her offensive.

I personally love this show, but I have a Pentacostal friend who hates it, calling it blasphemy. What do you all think?
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  #2  
Old 26th August 2005, 05:30 PM
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I haven't seen the show yet, but it looks like I might be in it or doing tech for it soon (one of the theatres around here are going to do it). In fact, I don't really know much about the show except what I'm about to say.

If I remember right the show was released a little after Godspell was. Godspell portrayed Jesus as a great pal and everything but didn't show much of the side of him that was tempted or the side that was wrestling with himself in the garden. From what I remember from my talks with one of my directors, Jesus Christ Superstar was written as a response to Godspell showing the more human side of him.
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Old 28th August 2005, 03:01 PM
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Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. I don't know about Godspell, but I would be careful with any show that denies Jesus' Godhood. I believe I sorta saw the movie, but I don't really rememeber it.
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Old 28th August 2005, 03:05 PM
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I saw the movie....

To me is kind of blasphemous!
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Old 29th August 2005, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by romaneagle13
Since this is a Christian board, I thought I try and find out what people's thoughts are on Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera treatment of the "greatest story ever told".

It portrays Jesus as very human and not very divine. He has a powerfully emotional solo called "Gethsemane", in which he questions the idea of dying on the cross. In the end, he agrees to do his Father's will, but ends the song with the challenge, "Take me now before I change my mind!" I agree it's not terribly biblical, but it is powerful and shows Christ in his fear and pain. He asks the same question any of us would ask if we were in that position, "Why, Lord, why?"

The show also centers not around Jesus, but rather his betrayer. This is the "Gospel according to Judas". The whole thing is taken from Judas' point of view and sees into his feelings, portraying him--like Jesus--as very human.

Mary Magdalene is also a figure of some controversy. Her big song, "I don't know how to love him", indicates some sort of wish on her part for a relationship with Jesus. It's never really defined though as a hope for a romantic realtionship or a platonic one. I personally never found her offensive.

I personally love this show, but I have a Pentacostal friend who hates it, calling it blasphemy. What do you all think?
I don't know how it could be blasphemous, while I don't know what Webber and Rice believe personally it never denies Jesus as Christ. I was a little kid when I saw the play in the early 70's (I think I was 5.. so it must have been released in '71?) While my parents definitely allowed plenty of open communication in the way we learned our faith they didn't indulge in anything that indicated that Christ was anything BUT Christ.

Like you I never saw the I Don't Know How to Love Him song as definitely romantic or platonic... looking at it as an adult when I saw the remake a few years ago I saw it as the confused longing of a woman who never knew any other way to relate to men other than in a sexual way. She wouldn't know how to love him,... she's not sure how he loves her.... how does a man love her and not be looking for sexual satisfaction? Wouldn't that be confusion MANY women would face if they were seen in their community as a prostitute? If the only way anyone had ever cared for them had been as a tool for sexual gratification?

There are things that make people uncomfortable... and seeing more of human Christ than the Savior Christ is probably one of them.
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Old 29th August 2005, 06:30 PM
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I haven't ever seen "Jesus Christ Superstar" but I've seen "Godspell." I would classify both of these in the genre of docudrama. There is quite a bit of poetic license in the script and lyrics, I'm sure.

I don't even know if the playwrights and composers of these two works are even Christian.

Steven Schwartz, a gifted lyricist and composer, is Jewish. His Judaism inspired him to write the music for "The Prince of Egypt" and to use his clout in Hollywood to get it produced. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on a Mass.

Steven Schwartz is one of my favorite composers. His lyrics are thought-provoking, insightful, and witty. His insights into the life of Jesus in "Godspell" probably gave all of us a different perspective of Jesus, but, as a non-Christian, I'm sure his perspective was different from what a Christian's would be.
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Old 29th August 2005, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by romaneagle13
It portrays Jesus as very human and not very divine. He has a powerfully emotional solo called "Gethsemane", in which he questions the idea of dying on the cross.
I don't remember him questioning it, just asking if there was another way. I believe that this is biblical. In that song the actor portraying Christ says "I will drink your cup of poison" or some similar line which is biblical as well, I think.

In the end, he agrees to do his Father's will, but ends the song with the challenge, "Take me now before I change my mind!" I agree it's not terribly biblical, but it is powerful and shows Christ in his fear and pain. He asks the same question any of us would ask if we were in that position, "Why, Lord, why?"
Can't say I remember the line 'why Lord, why?.' I'm not sure it was in there. While I agree that the line "take me now before I change my mind" is not accurate, the entire Gethsemane scene was just to capture the anguish which he must (might) have felt at the time. It's purely a work of art.

The show also centers not around Jesus, but rather his betrayer. This is the "Gospel according to Judas". The whole thing is taken from Judas' point of view and sees into his feelings, portraying him--like Jesus--as very human.
And Judas was only human. What's the problem?

Mary Magdalene is also a figure of some controversy. Her big song, "I don't know how to love him", indicates some sort of wish on her part for a relationship with Jesus. It's never really defined though as a hope for a romantic realtionship or a platonic one. I personally never found her offensive.
I love Jesus too. Is this blasphemy?

I personally love this show, but I have a Pentacostal friend who hates it, calling it blasphemy. What do you all think?
Not blasphemy, IMO. I think too many people these days gather their opinions from what their pastors tell them rather than personal experience.
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Old 4th September 2005, 12:14 AM
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Andrew Lloyd is Anglican, and as far as i am aware, he is a devout Christian. Look at his body of work and you will see biblical themes throughout. Two of his plays are taken right FROM the Bible.

I agree that JCS does not emphasize the diety of Christ, but it does not deny it.

And I think we benefit from remembering that Jesus was also a human, with all the same struggles and temptations.
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Old 5th September 2005, 05:56 PM
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I think JCS is a wonderful peice of Theatre. But thats all. You cant take whats there as Biblical fact. Though the majority is accurate.

I think its a great Idea dooing it from Judas point of veiw. It shows an entirely different side to the Gospel. How it may have looked to the Pharisees and Sagisees.

Very Entertaining
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Old 9th September 2005, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by crawforb
Andrew Lloyd is Anglican, and as far as i am aware, he is a devout Christian. Look at his body of work and you will see biblical themes throughout. Two of his plays are taken right FROM the Bible.

I agree that JCS does not emphasize the diety of Christ, but it does not deny it.

And I think we benefit from remembering that Jesus was also a human, with all the same struggles and temptations.
Actually, ALW is the son of an Anglican minister. He has been quoted in the past as saying he is agnostic. Maybe he has changed his world view, but I do find it fascinating that he is drawn to Christian themes...

-Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
-Jesus Christ Superstar
-Requiem
-Whistle Down the Wind

BTW, I think it's all in how you approach "Superstar." I've seen it done powerfully, and come away with a deeper understanding of Jesus and who He was, and who others thought He was. I've also seen it done very badly, in which I was so offended, I almost got up and walked out. It's all in the hands of the director and actors, IMHO!!
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