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Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
02-14-2017, 01:09 PM (This post was last modified: 02-15-2017 08:54 AM by Rako.)
Post: #1
Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
I recommend Master and Margarita, so long as you will also read up on Orthodox views about the book or movie. is a very well known Russian novel by the son of an Orthodox theologian. It tries to give the "Seventh proof" of God's existence.




This should be a full playlist of all the series in the movie with English subtitles.
The nonsubtitled version is better video quality.

A lot of people don't realize it, but it includes a retelling or version of the gospel from the perspective of the Devil, like a "Gospel according to Satan", wherein Jesus is reportrayed incorrectly.

The opening of the movie gives an idea of what the rest of the movie is about. Two atheist philosophers meet at the beginning and talk about what Jesus was like and the devil shows up and they engage in a discussion of whether Jesus existed and whether God exists, and they mention Kant's proofs for God as well as the Seventh Proof.

Deacon Kuraev has major criticisms of the movie and does a good job explaining the author's intent, but actually I think the movie is not that bad, having read the book myself and agreeing with Kuraev's argument.

Deacon Kuraev criticizes film "Master and Margarita"
http://www.besttopnews.com/news/news/23-12-2005/14393-0

There was a real writer in the USSR who gave an alternative idea of what Jesus was really like, but there were others who didn't want any deep narration of Jesus, period. So the movie is having a debate between these two kinds of viewpoints at the beginning of the movie.
Dcn. Kuraev theorizes (IMO correctly) that according to the story author, the devil made Bezdomny the character write a "bad" version of the gospel. The devil also wanted to make a second writer, the main character, the Master, publish the same kind of novel. But the problem was that since the publishers didn't want to have the public read narratives about Jesus (even bad ones), the master couldn't find a publisher. In the opening of the movie, the character Bezdomny gets a lecture from a philosopher about how his anti-Jesus novel was bad because Jesus didn't even exist.

This kind of debate has some relevance to today, because even if Christianity has mythologizing, there is still a ton of pseudoscience and false theories by PhD scholars floating around in the public about what Jesus and the disciples were "really" like. To give an example, Jehovah's Witnesses made up their own version of the Bible that they rewrote to make it less Trinitarian.
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02-15-2017, 12:03 AM
Post: #2
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Thanks for posting this Rako. I look forward to watching and learning.

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02-15-2017, 04:40 AM
Post: #3
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Trying to figure out who the real Jesus was (assuming he even existed) is a difficult undertaking. Contemporary secular materials are lacking and the nonsecular texts are inconsistent with each other, history, geography, science, and common sense. There were clear biases by the authors (e.g. Matthew makes Jesus even more Jewish than Mark while Luke tries to make Jesus more Gentile friendly). There's also the question of which texts to even use. There are dozens of non-canonical texts to contend with. The most famous of these is probably the Gospel of Thomas. The result is several radically different theories about the real Jesus.
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02-15-2017, 07:02 AM
Post: #4
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
I Dont think the existence of Jesus of Nazerith is even up for debate. The debate is whether you believe he is the son of God.

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02-15-2017, 07:38 AM (This post was last modified: 02-15-2017 07:49 AM by Rako.)
Post: #5
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
(02-15-2017 04:40 AM)Count Iblis Wrote:  Trying to figure out who the real Jesus was (assuming he even existed) is a difficult undertaking. Contemporary secular materials are lacking and the nonsecular texts are inconsistent with each other, history, geography, science, and common sense. There were clear biases by the authors (e.g. Matthew makes Jesus even more Jewish than Mark while Luke tries to make Jesus more Gentile friendly). There's also the question of which texts to even use. There are dozens of non-canonical texts to contend with. The most famous of these is probably the Gospel of Thomas. The result is several radically different theories about the real Jesus.
Nonchristian texts on Jesus from within 60 to 100 years of Jesus exist, like Pliny, Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus. The available information is more numerous than we have on some Roman emperors. Consider the question of how the fire of Rome started under Nero. There is some information, but it's tiny compared to the information we have on Jesus.

I like that you are interested in this topic.

The movie is about the 7th proof of God's existence. The author is saying that fake love, evil, demons, and the devil exist, so the opposite of those things must exist too.Now, you can argue that devil and demons are imaginary, but then some people say that about good, evil, and love. But, does fake love exist?

The author is saying that fake love exists, and he tries to show it in the novel. At least that is Dcn Kuraev's idea. He is saying that hidden within the novel is an idea that Margarita doesn't have true love for her male partner.

Now, did Jesus of Nazareth exist or was he wholly fictional, invented by his followers? The skeptic scholar Bart Ehrman says he did, because when we read the 1st to 2nd century accusations and polemics against christians, lots of arguments are made, like him being a magician, but not the argument that he never existed.

In the 1930s USSR there was a group of scholars who said Jesus didn't exist, and they didn't want people to read even naturalized skeptical stories about Jesus. The author is depicting that group in the beginning of the film. This line of thinking that Jesus didn't exist and was a full myth was made by Bruno Bauer in the 19th century and Richard Carrier today. Their reasoning is that since there are discrepancies and supernatural aspects to the biography, therefore even the person himself never existed.

The author is dealing with this pov by showing how a nondivine Jesus would look. So if you can't accept love or God or divine Jesus, then the story is what the devil and false love and nondivine magician Jesus would be like.

Now, what do I think Jesus was like? My guess would be he was a charismatic style preacher who held himself out to be divine. I don't rule out the possibility he was divine, because he fulfilled the prophecies.
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02-15-2017, 08:34 AM (This post was last modified: 02-15-2017 08:37 AM by Rako.)
Post: #6
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
One book reviewer, E. Selina, says that Bulgakov had two impulses because he was going through a difficult time in his life in the late 1930's due to illness (he died in 1940 from illness). He had impulses to shoot himself and burn his manuscript, and another impulse to cross himself and save the manuscript, and so the reviewer decides that the latter was the good impulse and so the book was good.
http://imperor.net/en/benevolent-empire/...margarita/

Here is a Q&A with Deacon Kuraev:
Quote:Q: Didn't Mikhail Bulgakov, in The Master and Margarita, also censor the Gospel?

A: I wouldn't put it that way. ....the undoubtedly anti-Christian gospel according to Woland is precisely the gospel according to Woland, and not according to Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov. Therefore it's not logical, in the given case, to conflate the author with his characters.

Moreover, I think that in a certain sense the Orthodox Christ was precisely like Bulgakov's Yeshua Ha-Nozri from The Master and Margarita. More exactly, as one puts it today, such was Christ's "image," such was the way He appeared to the crowd. From this point of view, Bulgakov's novel is brilliant; he shows the visible, external side of the great event of the coming of Christ the Savior to earth, he reveals the scandal of the Gospel, because one indeed needs to have an extraordinary gift of grace, to accomplish a true act of faith, in order to recognize that this dusty Stranger, without a degree in higher rabbinical studies, is the Creator of the universe.

We are accustomed to the presentation of Jesus as King, of Jesus as God; from childhood we have heard the prayers "Lord, have mercy" and "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner." But such works of art as the paintings of [Nikolai] Ge or, to a lesser extent, of [Vasili] Polenov, or The Master and Margarita itself, help us to understand all the unlikelihood and paradox of the apostolic faith, to feel its painful scalding, allowing us to return to the moment of choice…
http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2008/01/m...arita.html

[Image: crusifixion.jpg]
Nikolai Ge's Crucifixion

[Image: They-Brought-the-Children-by-Vasily-Pole...a-1900.jpg]
Vasily Polenov depicting Jesus with the children

Kuraev continues:
Quote:If one judges by those people who have thought about The Master and Margarita while already Christian, one sees that there exist two fundamental tendencies of ecclesiastical literary criticism. One group of authors considers (with good arguments) that this is an occult and anti-Christian work, while the other group of ecclesiastical literary critics, with arguments just as good, considers that this is not the case.

I think that the answer is not found in the text itself. For the question is not how to qualify the chapters "about Pilate" in the novel – it goes without saying that they are anti-Christian. The question is rather: how did Bulgakov himself relate to them? In order to answer this an enormous complex of witnesses is essential, both biographical and autobiographical; it is essential to analyze the drafts of The Master and Margarita,
...
I'm more comfortable with the position that Bulgakov, in The Master and Margarita, attempted to offer a certain warning against belief in atheistic propaganda. To do this he used the approach called reductio ad absurdum, when one takes the position of one's opponent and immediately concedes it, but then extends their position to its logical conclusion, and this conclusion is shown to be absurd.

The fact is that all the atheistic lecturers in Soviet Russia in the 20s and 30s looked at Christ as a strange and half-crazy preacher. Bulgakov was not able to argue with them directly due to reasons of censorship, and therefore he wrote The Master and Margarita, in which the eyes of scientific atheism were placed in the eye sockets of Woland, and it turned out that atheism is in fact Satan's view of Christ, and far from simple science.
http://ishmaelite.blogspot.com/2008/01/m...arita.html
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02-15-2017, 08:40 PM
Post: #7
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Sometimes the problem with trying to find out who Jesus is, is simply religion. Religion often gets in the way of a personal relationship with Jesus. It's amazing. You should seek Him if you haven't.

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02-15-2017, 11:09 PM
Post: #8
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Ehrman's book has been savaged by proponents of the Christ Myth Theory. I'm fully aware of the secular non-eyewitness accounts of Jesus written decades after he allegedly died. I remain unconvinced that he ever existed. I should note that for many years after I became an atheist I assumed that his existence was well established. It was only after I started investigating with the goal of convincing other atheists that he was real that I convinced myself that he wasn't.
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02-16-2017, 06:39 AM
Post: #9
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
(02-15-2017 11:09 PM)Count Iblis Wrote:  Ehrman's book has been savaged by proponents of the Christ Myth Theory. I'm fully aware of the secular non-eyewitness accounts of Jesus written decades after he allegedly died. I remain unconvinced that he ever existed.
When you have numerous secular Roman non-eyewitness accounts written decades after someone lives, then the normal position would be that the person existed. If two or three Roman historian make brief accounts of Rome's fire under Nero, then the normal conclusion would be that the fire actually occurred.

I think the first accounts we have about Buddha were first recorded centuries after Buddha's life (7th c. BC), and besides, the accounts about Buddha have paranormal elements. Does that mean such a person, the Indian prince referred to as the Buddha, never existed? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_o...ama_Buddha)

Here are some more pagan writers, albeit weaker evidence:

Pliny the Elder 23-79 AD (remarks about the tetrarchy of the Nazareans)
Phlegon (on the eclipse http://www.textexcavation.com/testimonia.html)
Thallus (on the eclipse http://www.textexcavation.com/thallustestimonium.html)
Seneca on Anger http://www.textexcavation.com/seneca.html

First you said "Contemporary secular materials are lacking", then I listed some from the era, and your objection was that they were decades later. Decades later still means from the era. OK, it's not at the same time, but that's normal for writings about that century under Rome.

How many writings do we have about the Jewish rebels Theudas or Judas the Gallilean, known from the NT and Josephus? Just those two sources AFAIK. But scholars accept that they existed.

The argument seems to boil down to Jesus' followers including fantastic elements in their story about Him, therefore the skeptics like Carrier conclude that he couldn't even have existed.

Roman hagiographic included miraculous accounts at times. Josephus records miraculous aspects of events, like about voices heard in the sky in connection with the Temple's destruction. It doesn't mean that the Temple never existed or was never destroyed, even if Josephus was one of a few records written within a hundred years of the temple's destruction.

You aren't going to expect major Roman historians in 33 AD to write a contemporary detailed report about a Jew who got killed that year as a rebel, and then to pass the report through their main histories. Jesus did not became an important topic for Rome until decades later when his following got big enough, like when Nero blamed the fire on them.

That you couldn't convince atheists Jesus existed hardly surprises me. It's harder than arguing about the JFK or Lincoln assassinations to a hardcore skeptic.
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02-16-2017, 06:46 AM
Post: #10
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Quote:Estimated Range of Dating: 115-115 A.D.
In The Life of Claudius 25.4, we find the statement, "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."
Suetonius also makes mention of Nero's persecution in 16.2: "Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/suetonius.html

Based on over the top atheist skeptic logic, since Suetonius was writing 50+ years after Chrestus, Rome's fire and Nero's persecution of Christians, and in fact Suetonius doesn't even mention Rome's fire, it must mean that none of those underlined persons or events existed.
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02-16-2017, 08:34 AM
Post: #11
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
My guess is that someday people will have either time travel or remote viewing technology by which they will be able to reliably see what happened with Jesus.

The person Jesus of Nazareth existed, so did John the Baptist and their disciples. There were apocalyptic communities like the Essenes and mystical groups like the gnostics who were into this stuff. What's rather is uncertain is Jesus' miracles and also some details of how events actually occurred, like:
What was the back story with Judas- was he all along a Sanhedrin spy, and then did he just live out his life and die a natural death in the "potter's field"? I think John 6 suggests Judas probably got disillusioned with Jesus when Jesus started talking about eating Jesus' flesh.

We have a ton of writings by and about Christians from within 100 years of Jesus' death, but it's hard to sort out exactly when they were written and how reliable a description they have.

Another question would be how and why Jesus ended up getting crucified.
In the gospels, Jesus was nice to Romans and Pilate's wife liked him and Pilate just killed him because he was pressured to. That's reasonable, considering how the Sanhedrin was known to persecute Christians even without the Romans' involvement. But Pilate is also known from history to be a violent suppressor of hints of Jewish resistance, so it would not be a surprise either if Pilate was fine with killing Jesus and it was not just the Sanhedrin's pressure.

Of course, another set of big question swould be what happened with Jesus' body and the first miracle visions of Jesus, along with the story of Mary being a virgin. An antagonistic version would be that she had human sex out of marriage. That's reasonable.

Hardcore skeptics would say there was no empty tomb, but I think that claim is overkill. What does there definitely have to be no empty tomb if one rejects the theory of a miracle resurrection? OK, you have to deal with the problem of how the body left the tomb, but that doesn't have to be a miracle. Jesus could have arranged for some people to take the body, making that arrangement before his death. Or the disciples could have done it. The soldiers could have waited five days by the body, and then figured there was no third day resurrection, left, and then the disciples could have made up the story about the third day resurrection, so it was just one person's story against another's as to whether the third day resurrection happened.

Personally, I believe that there was an empty tomb that the disciples were pointing to when they started missionizing, claiming Jesus' body resurrected from it. There is nothing actually necessarily supernatural about that.

Another question would be how much of the miracle stories in the NT are true at all.
It's reasonable to think that the miracles were like modern day Charismatics' "miracles". Magic/miracle-working, like healing and casting out demons, was common as a practice in 1st c. Judea, not just among Christians. Since the 16th c., Anglo-German culture, even its Christian culture, is extremely skeptical about magic/miracle working.

Another question would be how much were the Romans protecting Christians. Certainly, Nero persecuted them and persecution existed. It was illegal in some contexts with capital punishment to be Christian. But there was so much evangelizing that it seems it may not have been enforced very strictly and often. It's an interesting question whether there was some minimal supprot given to Christians at times. The Romans were responsible for giving power to the Sadducees (the Romans appointed the high priest) and to Herod AFAIK, so it's not like they were being involvement in internal Judean political/religious affairs.
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02-16-2017, 08:53 AM
Post: #12
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
watching looks interesting
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02-16-2017, 10:04 AM
Post: #13
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
(02-16-2017 08:53 AM)PUG-THUG Wrote:  watching looks interesting
I linked to Vladimir Bortko's 2005 version. I thought the acting and camera filming were great and better than in the Yuri Kara - directed version.
You would want to see high quality graphics, but the ones I found without the subtitles are better quality than the subtitled one I gave above. The graphics I linked to in the OP were "OK" or about sub-par.
One option is to download the subtitles and then watch it with the subtitles superimposed on the high quality versions. I did something like that once on a different movie.

These could be some good subtitled versions:
https://www.opensubtitles.org/en/subtitl...rgarita-en
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02-16-2017, 10:13 AM
Post: #14
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
Dcn. Kuraev's complaint is that the 2005 film tries to make the characters more positive than the book does. For example, in the 2005 film, Woland the devil calls Jesus "Christ", whereas Kuraev explains that this is not how the book portrays Woland's view of Jesus:

Quote: According to A. Kuraev, directing editing takes place in the first series of films, when Woland says that Christ existed, although the author of the novel "Jesus existed." Father Andrey.Kuraev noted that Bulgakov is of fundamental importance, "because Jesus is not for Voland is the Christ, that is not a savior, so he can not call him that."

The author of the novel is called Yeshua fictional wizard character, said the priest. "For Bulgakov's Yeshua - is a caricature, but not the Son of God, but rather on the atheistic-Tolstoy's understanding of the" sweet little Jesus. "Yeshua - a product of creativity Woland and the Master, but not the Gospel of Jesus. It reflects the intellectual-surface image of the Savior, which was fashionable since the days of Leo Tolstoy ", - said Andrei Kuraev.

Father Andrew said that when Vladimir Bortko showed him the script for the film, he asked the director not to idealize the characters in the book, "because in the novel are no good people in terms of Bulgakov, and this distance in evaluating the heroes should be maintained."
http://www.besttopnews.com/news/news/23-12-2005/14393-0

Kuraev also explains:

Quote:one may look at Christ with different eyes. There is Judas’ view of Christ or Pontius Pilate’s view of Him (Pilate’s view of Christ is represented in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita[8]). Pilate’s view is not a hating glare, but a cold, indifferent stare… There is one question in the Gospel that Christ did not answer, despite His omniscience. Far from being peripheral, it was the most important question: “What is truth?”

Why did the Savior choose not to answer that question? It was not because He did not know what Truth was. He Himself was the Truth (“I am the way, the truth, and the life. . .” (Jn 14:6). But a great deal depends on the intonation of the question being asked.

The conversation between Pontius Pilate and Christ is like a confrontation between all of pagan wisdom and the New Gospel. The wise pagan empire had grown so decrepit that its best scientists proclaimed, as the result of their searching, that man can perceive nothing. That is the final conclusion of philosophy of those days, the philosophy of skepticism and relativism. Nothing can be known for certain. Man is incapable of learning anything true about the world or himself; the philosophers had already proven the feebleness of the human mind and the relativity of all our ideas.

And here we have Pontius Pilate, an educated man who is familiar with the ancient satirical literature that sneers at popular mythology (“Having said so much of these [divine] matters, we pray that we may have grace from both the gods and the heroes for our speech” (Herodotus.The Histories. 2:45).) Pilate himself does not believe in myths very much. He is a politician and lives a worldly life. When he meets Jesus, he clarifies for himself the most important thing: Jesus the Galilean is not a rebel, He does not threaten the empire in any way, and so there is not much to talk to Him about. (Pilate is mistaken in that, however, for that gentle Preacher will radically change the fate of the whole empire by the spreading of His Gospel). And then, all of a sudden, when he is on the threshold and about to leave, Pilate hears Christ’s words, “for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (Jn 18:37).

Christ’s words shock and even insult Pontius Pilate: “Who are You that You so impertinently claim to know the unknowable truth?!! You had better read our philosophers, and they would explain to You that truth can not be known by anybody. Some vagrant carpenter of Galilee declares that He has come into the world to teach the truth!” Pilate does not want to wait and does not expect an answer; he is convinced that there can be no answer. And Christ, Who can read human hearts, understands that this is not a question but rather an excuse, a refusal to pose a real question, and a barrier against any answer. And for that reason Christ does not answer…

FOOTNOTE: [The Master and Margarita (Russian: “Мастер и Маргарита”) is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union.” One of the settings of the novel is the Jerusalem of Pontius Pilate; in this plot line, Pilate meets with Yeshua Ha-Nozri (Иешуа га-Ноцри, Jesus the Nazarene), whom he views only only as a “wanderer and mad philosopher.”]
http://www.pravmir.com/what-does-it-mean...christian/
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02-16-2017, 11:14 AM
Post: #15
RE: Russian movie Master and Margarita, depicting Seventh Proof of God's existence
(02-16-2017 06:46 AM)Rako Wrote:  
Quote:Estimated Range of Dating: 115-115 A.D.
In The Life of Claudius 25.4, we find the statement, "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."
Suetonius also makes mention of Nero's persecution in 16.2: "Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/suetonius.html

Based on over the top atheist skeptic logic, since Suetonius was writing 50+ years after Chrestus, Rome's fire and Nero's persecution of Christians, and in fact Suetonius doesn't even mention Rome's fire, it must mean that none of those underlined persons or events existed.

What is the basis for assuming that Chrestus=Jesus Christ? The passage pretty clearly indicates that Chrestus was in Rome at the time agitating Jews. The name is wrong, the time period is wrong, and the geographical location is wrong.

Suetonius mentions Christians so at best we can deduce from this is that there were Christians at the time. The existence of Thor worshipers doesn't prove that Thor existed, does it?
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