RARA-AVIS: The Gospel According To Sam Spade

From: Tim Wohlforth ( tim@timwohlforth.com)
Date: 10 Apr 2006

I don't think that the real question, at least for me, is whether or not noir is "Christian" or contains transcendence. To me the importance of this Judas find is in story. It is difficult to find a noir story that does not have within it an element of betrayal. Certainly The Maltese Falcon is a tale of betrayal on several levels. It could be viewed as a struggle to sustain integrity within a world dominated by betrayal. The traditional and orthodox Christian Judas story is one of the betrayer. This new gospel gives this story an interesting twist. Judas emerges as a more nuanced character. It so much reminds me of the mystery or thriller where we are given to believe one thing only in the end to discover that good is bad and bad is good. Certainly there is this twist in The Maltese Falcon. I believe this makes for good story telling. And it is good story telling because in a fundamental sense it is true. That is that character is complex and all people betray sooner or later in big and/ or small ways. One can even say, as the Gospel of Judas asserts, people can betray in the interest of the good. Or for that matter act in a noble manner with bad results.

In sum this story has been around for 2,000 years and now it seems to be getting better, more interesting.

Tim Wohlforth tim@timwohlforth.com www.timwohlforth.com

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
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