By Michael Cook, MercatorNet, 24th June 2010
Is it a sign of exhausted creativity that anti-Christian film makers are exhuming Enlightenment myths? In the arthouses this summer are two films recycling tattered canards which have been mouldering in history books for centuries, repeatedly refuted and repeatedly revived.
Pope Joan (Die Päpstin) is a German production about a female Pope who — supposedly – was elected in 853. Mediaeval legends about the Popess are sketchy, but what legend leaves out, the imagination of the director, Sönke Wortmann, fills in. …
The other film, Agora, is a Spanish blockbuster by Alejandro Amenábar which takes place in Alexandria in 415. Its heroine is Hypatia, a young unmarried and virginal woman of genius who teaches philosophy and astronomy in the Agora, the ancient world’s version of a university.
Hypatia is a pagan, one of a declining minority in a city torn by feuds between Jews and fundamentalist Christians led by the scheming Patriarch Cyril. It is a tough time for lovers of the truth, especially when Christians destroy Alexandria’s rich library. When Hypatia refuses to recant her belief that the earth revolves around the Sun and then refuses to become a Christian, the mob seizes her. To spare her the agony of being stoned, one of her admirers euthanases her. (Amenábar also directed The Sea Inside, an award-winning film about euthanasia.)
Read more at MercatorNet.com
Wikipedia entry on Pope Joan
Wikipedia entry on Hypatia