'You'll probably get away with crucifixion': Laughing at the cross in Brian and the ancient world

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

There’s nothing funny about crucifixion – or is there? Certainly some of the funniest scenes in the Life of Brian are when the hero is on the cross. Whether it’s the wealthy couple demanding execution in a ‘purely Jewish area’, the ineffectual efforts of the Suicide Squad, or the film’s final rousing chorus, it’s difficult (like Pilate’s soldiers) to keep an entirely straight face. But it was particularly the fact that the film made fun of crucifixion that so disturbed the Bishop of Southwark in the now infamous Friday Night, Saturday Morning discussion. ‘Why lampoon death? ’ the Bishop asked, clearly supposing that all good people must agree with him. But was he right? Is the cross, and the suffering and death associated with it, really above all forms of satire and parody? The problem, it seems to me, is that the Bishop was too influenced by centuries of Christian...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJesus and Brian
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Historical Jesus and His Times via Monty Python's Life of Brian
EditorsJoan E. Taylor
Place of PublicationLondon; New York
PublisherT & T Clark/Bloomsbury
Chapter9
Pages113-126
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780567658302, 9780567658296, 9780567665362
ISBN (Print)9780567658326, 9780567658319
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2015

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