Home Forums Everything Else The Passion (movie by Mel Gibson)

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    So…The Passion comes out on Ash Wednesday (February 25) here in the U.S. Does anyone else anticipate that movie? And are there any other countries coming out with that movie? <img decoding=:” title=”Question” />

    I have heard a lot of talk about people saying that the movie might have some anti-semitic tones to it. I personally have not been able to see it, but I do know a few priests in my diocese that have. They say that the movie itself does not have any anti-semitic tones to it, but its Mel Gibson himself that does.

    Apparently Mel Gibson rejects a lot of the modern Catholic things and is kind of in pre-Vatican II mode – especially with the teachings on Jews. Pope John Paul II has said a lot to try and clean up that image.

    Also, back to the movie, according to the priests I was referring to earlier they say that it’s not really the Jews who are raising a big stink about the anti-semitic stuff, but it is people from the Anti-Defamation League and those kinds of groups.

    What are your thoughts on all of this?


    From what I have read, the movie is historically and Biblically accurate and that is exactly what has the ADL angry. They want a revisionist history to save everyone’s feelings but sometimes bad things happened and it would be dishonest to say they did not.

    However, I will save my opinion until after I see the movie.


    I have also heard reviews on Catholic Radio that there is nothing bad about the movie. I also hear that it is, like Benedict said, completely accurate according to history and the Bible.


    [quote:2l821dzs]From what I have read, the movie is historically and Biblically accurate and that is exactly what has the ADL angry. They want a revisionist history to save everyone’s feelings but sometimes bad things happened and it would be dishonest to say they did not.[/quote:2l821dzs]

    Yes, I know what you mean – I get a little tired of people wanting to re-write what happened.

    Speaking of this, I know there are a lot of scholars out there who say that it was actually the Jews who crucified Jesus and not Pontius Pilate. If we look at what happened we see that Pilate could not find him guilty of anything and it was the Jews who said “crucify him, crucify him.”

    So, really, I see nothing wrong with anyone wanting to make a movie exactly how the Bible spells it out.


    This topic kind of reminds me of the movie [u:29go4wrs]Schindler’s List[/u:29go4wrs], however, I am not aware with any people bringing up complaints and wanting to re-write what happened because it might hurt feelings.


    That would probably be the difference in the group portrayed in the movie. No one is going to defend Schindler’s List.


    I am not interested in getting into any lengthy discussion about this.
    However, Mel Gibson’s film is NOT biblically accurate. Consider
    the following:

    I begin by noting the fact that Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”
    includes a number of details that are not in the biblical narrative.
    They derive rather from a centuries-old Catholic piety. There is
    nothing wrong with using material out of an ancient worship
    tradition but one should not claim biblical authority for this
    material. For example, Jesus is portrayed in this film as stumbling
    three times on his way to Golgotha. There is no evidence to support
    this in the gospels but it is a well-known part of the traditional
    Catholic liturgy called “The Stations of the Cross.” This film also
    introduces a fictitious character named St. Veronica who is said, at
    Station Number Six, to have wiped Jesus’ bloodied face with her
    handkerchief. Veronica, a creation of later piety, never appears in
    any biblical narrative.

    Next, the Mother of Jesus is highly visible and quite central to
    Gibson’s portrayal of the crucifixion. That is not true to the
    gospels and expresses a confusion born out of later developing
    Catholic devotional practices. The only time Mary is present in any
    biblical account of the crucifixion comes in John, the last gospel
    to be written, where she makes only a cameo appearance at the cross.
    Even John does not then include her in his resurrection narrative.
    Yet, in this film, Mel Gibson has Mary say to the dying Jesus, “Let
    me die with you,” and then she cradles Jesus’ deceased body. That is
    a famous portrait in Catholic art, painted many times and called the
    Pieta, but there is not a shred of biblical evidence to support it.

    As a matter of fact Mary, the mother of Jesus, hardly appears in the
    gospel tradition outside the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke.
    She is never referred to or mentioned in the writings of Paul (50-64
    CE). She makes only two appearances in Mark, the first Gospel to be
    written (70-75 CE) and both of them are pejorative. In Mark 3:31-35,
    Jesus’ mother and his brothers, none of whom are named, come to
    where Jesus is and call for him to come out to them. An earlier
    verse in Mark (3:21) tells us why. When his family heard about his
    activities, “they went out to seize him, for the people were
    saying, ‘he is beside himself.'” “Beside himself” is an ancient way
    of saying “He is out of his mind.” Jesus had become a family
    embarrassment. The scribes, according the next verse in Mark (3:22)
    were saying that he “is possessed by Beelzebul,” who was called ‘the
    Prince of demons.” Jesus responds to his family, according to this
    Marcan reference, by denying his relationship with his mother and
    his brothers, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Then, answering
    his own question, he looks around at those seated near him and
    says, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of
    God, is my mother and sister and brother.”

    In the second Markan reference (6:1-6), Jesus returns to Nazareth
    and begins to teach in the synagogue to the astonishment of the
    townspeople. They respond derisively as if to say, “Who does this
    man think he is?” Then they go on to identify him with these
    words, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of
    James, Joses, Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with
    us?” and they took offense at him.

    It is interesting to note that Mark, in this passage, has this
    critical crowd identify Jesus as “the son of Mary,” as well as
    describing him as “the carpenter.” Both of these references are
    quite negative. To call a Jewish man the son of a particular woman
    was an insult since it cast public doubts upon his paternity. To
    call him a carpenter identified him as a lower class laborer.

    Some ten to fifteen years later, when Matthew wrote his gospel (80-
    85), he copied almost 90 per cent of Mark into his story. It is
    interesting to note how Matthew changed Mark’s negative wording
    (compare Mt. 12:46-50 and 13:53-58 with Mk. 3:31-35 and 6:1-6).
    Mark’s words were so clearly embarrassing, that in Matthew’s
    version, the slander is removed when Joseph, Jesus father, becomes
    the carpenter, not Jesus, and the crowd calls him not “the son of
    Mary,” but simply recalls that his mother was named Mary. Those are
    the only references to the mother of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel other
    than those in the birth narratives. The Virgin Mother of Jesus is
    far more a creation of Christian history than a character in the

    In Luke it is no different. Outside the birth narratives (Lk. 1,2),
    and Luke’s shortened retelling of Mark’s episode of Jesus’ mother
    and brothers coming to take him away (see Lk. 8:19-22), the mother
    of Jesus does not appear in this third gospel at all. Only in John
    (95-100 C.E.) does the mother of Jesus receive any attention but
    still it is not close to what Gibson portrays. She presides over a
    wedding feast in Cana of Galilee in chapter 2 (vs.1-11). In that
    story she is portrayed as requesting that Jesus meet the social
    crisis brought about by a shortage of wine. Jesus rebukes her,
    rather sternly, with the words, “Woman what have you to do with me?
    My hour is not yet come.” In John 6, as part of that gospel’s
    version of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus is portrayed as
    saying, “I am the bread which came down from heaven (vs.42).” To
    this the crowd responds incredulously saying, “Is not this Jesus,
    the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he claim
    to have come down from heaven?” Once again, it is not a particularly
    flattering reference to Mary. Finally, John portrays the mother of
    Jesus at the foot of the cross. That is absolutely all there is in
    the gospels about the mother of Jesus. The Virgin tradition has been
    built on very scanty material.

    I go through this in such detail because, to a degree far greater
    than we imagine, Mel Gibson in “The Passion of the Christ” has read
    the later development of pious tradition about the Virgin Mary back
    into the gospel narratives. Since he has so obviously heightened the
    crucifixion portrait, about the role of Mary, in contradistinction
    to the biblical narrative itself, then his assertion that he has
    followed the biblical texts accurately is severely compromised.

    This lack of biblical accuracy does not stop with his portrayal of
    the mother of Jesus. Gibson clearly hypes the biblical accounts of
    the abuse that Jesus endured. There is no doubt that crucifixion was
    a horrible and inhumane way to die, yet the physical suffering of
    Jesus is, if anything, understated in the gospels while in Gibson’s
    movie it is the riveting center of the story itself.

    Look at the scourging scene in Gibson’s film. It is long, protracted
    and grotesque. The cameras linger on the lash; the stripes, the
    welts and the blood, but the biblical texts about the scourging are
    almost matter of fact. They do not focus on the pain. Mark says
    simply “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified
    (15:15).” Matthew uses almost identical words (27:26). Luke has
    Pilate offer “to chastise” Jesus instead of executing him (23;17).
    When the crowd, not satisfied with that, demands crucifixion
    instead, Pilate acquiesces and delivers Jesus to be crucified
    without scourging. John says quite simply, “Then Pilate took Jesus
    and scourged him (Jn. 19:1). I do not mean to minimize this
    scourging but no blood is mentioned or even described in the
    gospels. Following this scourging, it is interesting to note that
    Jesus is portrayed in John’s Gospel as having a rather long
    conversation with Pilate (19:12-16) and in the earlier gospels as
    conversing with the soldiers, the crowd and the thieves who shared
    the cross with him. Whatever was done to him did not render him
    incompetent to function immediately thereafter. The “Crown of
    Thorns” is mentioned with no reference to blood in Mark (15:17),
    Matthew 27:29) and John (19:2). It is omitted in Luke.

    Once again, Gibson is reading the gospels through the lens of
    medieval piety. In the early church, especially in the writings of
    Paul, the death of Jesus was likened to the believer’s act of being
    baptized. The believer in baptism was united with Christ in his
    death so that he or she could live with Christ in his resurrection
    (see Romans 6:1-11 and Col. 2:12). But Gibson turns this into a
    sadomasochistic scene of pain inflicted and suffering endured. It is
    so long and violent that it qualifies this film for an “R”
    rating, “for adults only.”

    The earliest Christians knew that crucifixion was not unique to
    Jesus. Thousands of people had died this way at the hands of the
    Romans. To the Jews crucifixion was particularly associated with
    shame and embarrassment, since the Torah said that one who was hung
    upon a tree was “accursed” (Deut. 21:22, 23). The fetish about the
    cleansing power of the blood of Jesus was again a pious devotional
    technique that ultimately attributed a sacred meaning to suffering
    and made cruelty an attribute of God, both of which are strange,
    even unhealthy theological concepts. Yet Gibson has developed these
    ideas to a fine art. His interpretive work may engender a guilt-
    laden piety but we need to recognize that it is not biblically



    Wow. :shock: You clearly went to a lot of detail about this issue. It must be important to you.

    Anyway, welcome to the board elzoog! I hope you come here often.

    I guess if I had to sum up what I think about your post is that I believe there is more than one thing the movie is based on. One, as you have clearly identified is the Bible. The other is history.

    Granted the Bible does help us learn about events that happened, they are not the sole source of accounts of what happened. There are eye-witness accounts that have been handed down through the centuries that were not recorded in the Gospels. Why weren’t they recorded? Well, the gospel writers had a certain message they wanted to get across and it probably wasn’t all about blood and guts. <img decoding=” title=”Wink” /> Perhaps, also, it wasn’t a social norm to talk about such violence as it is for people in the 21st century United States.

    Also, what we must remember about this movie, despite what Gibson may say, is that it is Hollywood. Regardless of who made it, I am sure there is an element of Hollywood in there. I also believe Mel Gibson has stated several times that it is [u:30l7sdcr]his[/u:30l7sdcr] interpretation of what happened. So, basically, we don’t need to go along with it or agree with it.

    Persoanlly, I have not had a chance yet to see the movie, but hopefully I will in the coming week. On that note, I think I will conclude this post. <img decoding=” title=”Smile” />

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