Though commonly known by the above title, the title of this short prose piece is perhaps more accurately translated as “The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.”
French proto-absurdist playwright Alfred Jarry was a lifelong cycling enthusiast. He habitually wore cycle-racing clothes, referring to his bicycle as “that which rolls.” He created a minor scandal by following the funeral cortege of the poet Mallarme on bicycle.
In "The Crucifixion Considered...," he irreverently transposes the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to a more modern and familiar form, that of the bicycle race.
The race commences with the crack of Pontius Pilate’s whip. Christ has the misfortune of getting a puncture on a thorn, after which he must carry his bicycle (cross) up the last hill.
The final sentence alludes to Christ’s ascension: “We know that he continued the race airborne -- but that is another story.”
Experimental novelist J.G. Ballard was inspired to write a similar short piece entitled “The Assassination of John F. Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race.”