Review & Stills from
"The Gospel of John"

exerpted for purposes of review

Page Index

Section 1: - Review
Section 2: - Text and Scenes

Return to Index


"The Gospel of John" - The Movie

This movie is an incredibe feat. The script follows the Gospel of John virtually to the letter, while presenting a lively and involving visual interpretation of much that has never before been "manifest in the flesh".

The choice of a modern translation as a base might have been disastrous, but in fact the choice in this case at least has made it possible to quickly forget its a movie with narrator, and instead immerse oneself in the story.

Immediately, the intimacy of the photography and acting allows the viewer to become involved with the characters and care about them. This results in moving drama, and makes the confrontational portions of John tolerable and even very convincing as realistic dialogue.

The performers and director have performed a great service in making much of the dialogue recorded in John understandable, by having Jesus and other characters express themselves in plausible contexts and with appropriate pacing and meaning.

It would be an understatement to say that they have brought the text to life. In many cases, a whole new vision of the meaning of much of Jesus' speeches makes them accessible to audiences that could never otherwise experience the moving revelation of John.

This having been said, it is no surprise that this movie presents one of the best and most moving and involving versions of the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery (John 8:1-11). Although perhaps a half-dozen large production Hollywood movies have attempted to put this to screen, in some cases quite interestingly and believably, few have been able to move the audience to real sympathy with the woman's character, because her scene is so brief.

Nonetheless, by a combination of fidelity to the "original script", and a caring and dramatic portrayal of the story, the reader is perhaps for the first time in a movie drawn deeply into a real empathy, concern and compassion for the woman. The actress is brilliant, and the man playing Jesus plays the scene with perfect balance.

The result is finally a compelling and believable rendering of the story which touches the heart like no previous attempt. Perhaps for the first time on film, one can truly understand and believe how it could have happened 2000 years ago, that a woman was freed rather than brutally stoned to death in a primitive and senseless lynching.

Return to Index

Prelude: Festival of Lights
(John 7:51...)

"Does our law judge a man before hearing him, and finding out what he is doing?"

"Are you also from Galilee?
Search and look! Out of Galilee arises no prophet!"

Morning: Last Day of
Festival of Lights
(John 8:2...)

And at Dawn again He came into the Temple:
and all the people came to Him, and he sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him
a woman taken in an adultery.

And when they had set her in the midst,

They said to Him, "Teacher:
This woman was taken in the very act, committing adultery!

Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such should be stoned to death:
What then do you say?"

This they said testing Him, that they might have something to accuse Him of.

But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger.

So they continued pressing Him...

He lifted Himself up,

and said to them,

"He that is without sin among you,
Let him cast the first stone at her."

And again He stooped down

and wrote upon the ground.

And they that heard, being convicted by conscience,

went out one by one, beginning with the eldest.

And Jesus was left alone, with the woman,

Then Jesus lifted Himself up, and regarded no one but the woman;

And He said to her, "Woman, where are your accusers?
Has no man condemned you?"

And she said, "No one, Sir."

And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I judge you:
Go, and do not sin again."

Conclusion: In the Treasury
(John 8:12...)

And Jesus spoke again saying, "I am the Light of the world:
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,"

"But he shall have the Light of Life."

Return to Index