Origins of Christianity Series

Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader are getting the band back together for a three-year series that will explore the origins of Christianity. Religion has played a big part in both Scorsese and Schrader’s careers, and the two worked together on what is arguably the best religious-themed movie of all time – The Last Temptation of Christ. So the prospect of them reuniting for something like this is incredibly exciting and promising. Per Schrader, the show will be dramatized – not a docuseries – and will be called The Apostles and Apocrypha.

Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader have worked together on several stone-cold masterpieces – Taxi DriverRaging BullThe Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead – and now they’re working together again. Speaking with The New Yorker, Schrader revealed that he and Scorsese are planning “a three-year series about the origins of Christianity.” Schrader added it would be “dramatized” like The Last Temptation of Christ, and added: “It’s based on the Apostles and on the Apocrypha. It’s called The Apostles and Apocrypha. Because people sort of know the New Testament, but nobody knows the Apocrypha. And back in the first century, there was no New Testament, there’s just these stories. And some were true, and some weren’t, and some were forgeries.”

The Apocrypha is described as “the biblical books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews from their canon. Their position in Christian usage has been ambiguous,” per Wikipedia. But Schrader could also be referring to non-canonical gospels like The Gospel of Thomas.

This sort of thing obviously won’t appeal to everyone, but to me, this is the equivalent of Avengers: Endgame. The prospect of Scorsese and Schrader working again, and working on something religious, is incredible. I was raised Catholic, and while I consider myself an atheist these days, I remain fascinated with the origins of Christianity, and with the stories of the Bible. Religion – and Catholic guilt – play a huge part in Scorsese’s filmography, so he’s more than qualified to tackle this sort of material again.

“Faith is a continual process,” Scorsese said during an interview for Silence, another of his great religious-themed movies. “You lose it; you gain it. There is no catharsis. That’s why we like to read a book, or listen to music, or see a really interesting film, where you feel a catharsis: it is play-acting, in a way, for us. But in life, there is none of that. The moment you try to grasp the moment, it’s gone.”

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