The plethora of biopics and biographies that attempt to find a new angel of the life and contribution of Steve Jobs are some of the best explanation of the gospels you’ll ever find.
On the book shelves, Walter Isaacson wrote the famous Steve Jobs in 2013. Karen Blumenthal did the same a year earlier in Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. And as recently as March of this year, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli published, Becoming Steve Jobs: Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Leader.
And that brings us to the movies. Michael Stern directed Ashton Kutcher in his portrayal of Jobs –a straight-forward retelling. Then Danny Boyle told the Jobs story under the pen of Aaron Sorkin. Boyle’s and Sorkin’s account was billed as a far more poignant look at the dark side of genius inventor. I saw the Sorkin/Boyle version recently (I’ve seen a lot of Aaron Sorkin movies, so my expectations were pretty high) but thought the Ashton Kutcher version was better and far more dramatic –which is odd when you think about typical, over-the-top Sorkin drama.
These authors and filmmakers are telling the story of an historically consequential person from various perspectives. At the end of the day, it is incumbent on the readers and viewers to make their judgments about the stories, but the perspective themselves are essential to making those judgments. Thus the more stories and perspectives the better.
The gospel accounts are the same way: each of the four gospels’ authors are communicating a perspective of Jesus. Mark’s account with its bullet-point format, contrasts with the heavy, detail-laden prose of Luke. John’s esoteric theological retelling contrasts with Matthew’s highly Jewish and biblically-literate framework. They are all telling essentially the same story, but doing so in a way that makes a point.
And that’s my point, those that think having multiple accounts of Jesus life is a problem for Christianity, just don’t get the beauty of biography.