Monty Python’s Life of Brian ‘extraordinary tribute to Jesus’, says theologian decorated by Pope Francis
by John Bingham, Telegraph
Life of Brian is more historically accurate in parts than some films about Jesus, says first non-Roman Catholic to receive the Papal award dubbed the theological ‘Nobel Prize’
It was once denounced as blasphemous and an insult to Christians, but one of Britain’s most respected theologians insists that Monty Python’s Life of Brian, is in fact a “remarkable tribute to the life of Jesus”.
The Rev Prof Richard Burridge, Dean of King’s College London, and a member of the Church of England's General Synod, said that those who called for the satire to be banned after its release in 1979 were “embarrassingly” ill-informed and missed a major opportunity to promote the Christian message.
Prof Burridge, whom Pope Francis recently presented with the Vatican’s top theological award, the first non-Roman Catholic to receive it, said that the film’s depiction of faction-ridden messianic movements in First Century Judea was probably a more accurate portrayal of the historical context than many Hollywood films about Jesus.
He was speaking as Michael Palin devoted a slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, which he was invited to guest edit, to reliving the controversy over the film.
Palin and John Cleese were publicly castigated by the then Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Mervyn Stockwood, and the Catholic journalist Malcolm Muggeridge in a high profile televised confrontation over the film. The bishop remarked that they would receive their "30 pieces of silver" for it.
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