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Last night I saw Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of Christ. I will assume that everyone is familiar with the story, so there isn't much point in warning about spoilers, but this would be a good time to stop reading if you get upset about things like that.

On the whole, I thought the movie was well done and was consistent with my understanding of the biblical account of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life (up to the death on the cross). It was hard to watch and was just as graphic as everyone has said. The theatre audience was absolutely stunned and I can say there was a perceptible emotional state in the theatre I've never experience before. I recommend for any adult to see the movie (I think it is too violent for minors), but I doubt if many will want to see it twice.

Now for the obligatory issue. Is it anti-semitic? I personally think it is more anti-romanic, but no one has stepped forward (as far as I know) to decry the portrayal of Romans as the bad guys. I think the movie fairly represented parts of the Jewish order that defended Jesus and as well as a powerful minority who sought the death penalty from Rome. This is consistent with my reading of the scripture, but that in itself doesn't make me feel animosity toward Jews, nor do I think the movie places blame squarely on Jews.
 

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I heard it was gratuitously gory.

Personally, I believe that the story is not anti semetic. Even Jesus wasn't anti-semetic, his goals were to improve Judaism, not create 'Pauline Christianity' when Paul the madman ran off preaching in the hills. You see, Christianity is all just a big misunderstanding.

Caveat: Okay, I just read The Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other heretic documents, but an opinion is an opinion.
 

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The clip I saw on TV recently showed the nail being driven through the hand, which is incorrect. The hand is unable to support the body in this way, at least from what I understand.

Additionally I don't buy the line that Gibson simply filmed what is written in the Bible, he had to make choices about what to include and how to frame shots etc. He may ahve tried to be true to his vision of the events but they are his vision and therefore not truly objective.
 

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I was all psyched to go see it tonight as our kid is with the grandparents, but now my wife says she doesn't want to see it because of the violence. Is is really that bad? I've actually had my enthusiasm dampened by alot of the reviews that say it is simply watching Jesus get has *ss-kicked for 2 hours.
 

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Is any historical account truly objective?

Of course anyone trying to depict this is going to have to make choices as there is no definitive account of an event that occurred more than 2000 years ago.

I too question the spike through the hand vs. a spike through the arm just above the wrist, which is what I was once told by a priest. In this instance, Jesus' arms are lashed to the cross as well, in order to support the weight of his body. I would guess that Gibson and his team researched this to no end and used the best available information, or there was no reasonable way to depict it accurately, if the former was indeed the actual way it was done.

There have been many movies with tons of gruesome violence including "Private Ryan" and many other war movies and horror flicks, yet the violence in these other films has never really been at issue. I wonder why?

 

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Seeking shades of grey
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dwayne Barry said:
I was all psyched to go see it tonight as our kid is with the grandparents, but now my wife says she doesn't want to see it because of the violence. Is is really that bad? I've actually had my enthusiasm dampened by alot of the reviews that say it is simply watching Jesus get has *ss-kicked for 2 hours.
Yeah, it is pretty violent. If your wife is at all squeemish about seeing blood she should pass on the movie. There were gasps and shudders in the audience last night, myself included.

That said, it *is* a powerful movie and I'm glad I saw it. I've been anticipating it for six months and I wasn't disappointed. Maybe you can hook up with a friend to go if she won't?
 

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Tri_Rich said:
The clip I saw on TV recently showed the nail being driven through the hand, which is incorrect. The hand is unable to support the body in this way, at least from what I understand.

I've read that too, that the nail was driven in at the wrist or between the forearm bones at their distal end. I saw an interview with Mel Gibson and he spoke about how he did all this research on crucifixtion, etc. So I would think he would know about as much about how Romans crucified people as there is to know?


Additionally I don't buy the line that Gibson simply filmed what is written in the Bible, he had to make choices about what to include and how to frame shots etc. He may ahve tried to be true to his vision of the events but they are his vision and therefore not truly objective.
Sure the Gospels don't always agree with one another, I would suspect that includes the Passion parts. I am going to read them before I go, they're relatively short probably wouldn't take more than 15 minutes to read. Also I think Gibson relied heavily on some relatively recent (last couple of centuries) Nun's visions or something about how the passion played out. I think Gibson has been pretty clear on the fact that this is his artistic vision of how Jesus died, it's not meant to be a documentary.
 

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Does Monica Bellucci take her top off?

That'd get me in the theater.
 

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You're right, I've never heard anyone rail against the gratuitious violence of Hollywood!

I wouldn't lump Private Ryan in with horror flicks, as so many veterans say Private Ryan was as close to real life battle as anything thats ever been done in the movies, and I don't think there is anything wrong with realism, especially in war movies. I'd include Passion with Private Ryan not the gratuitious violence of horror movies.

The point is some people think that the violence in the Passion is over the top (which I guess no one can say for sure, as no one has ever seen a Roman crucifixtion) and for others they just don't want to see a particularly bloody movie.
 

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"anti-semitic" doesn't make sense

Duane Gran said:
Last night I saw Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of Christ. I will assume that everyone is familiar with the story, so there isn't much point in warning about spoilers, but this would be a good time to stop reading if you get upset about things like that.

On the whole, I thought the movie was well done and was consistent with my understanding of the biblical account of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life (up to the death on the cross). It was hard to watch and was just as graphic as everyone has said. The theatre audience was absolutely stunned and I can say there was a perceptible emotional state in the theatre I've never experience before. I recommend for any adult to see the movie (I think it is too violent for minors), but I doubt if many will want to see it twice.

Now for the obligatory issue. Is it anti-semitic? I personally think it is more anti-romanic, but no one has stepped forward (as far as I know) to decry the portrayal of Romans as the bad guys. I think the movie fairly represented parts of the Jewish order that defended Jesus and as well as a powerful minority who sought the death penalty from Rome. This is consistent with my reading of the scripture, but that in itself doesn't make me feel animosity toward Jews, nor do I think the movie places blame squarely on Jews.
I think the anti-Semitism concern is hyper-sensitivity of some to anything that even remotely places Jews in a bad light.

Further, I think if one understands the story line here, Jesus/God *knew* and planned to be crucified, and for a purpose. Would this really have happened against God's will only because some Jews were jealous of Jesus' teachings? Doesn't martyrdom have a purpose? Instead of "blaming" the Jews involved in the crucifixion, shouldn't Christians be thankful?
 

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My thoughts exactly.

I mean wasn't the crucifixion SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN? Wasn't that the PLAN?

And anyway, it was Roman soldiers who did the actual crucifying. You don't hear any big concerns about anti-Italianism.
 

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TiJeanKerouac said:
I mean wasn't the crucifixion SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN? Wasn't that the PLAN?

And anyway, it was Roman soldiers who did the actual crucifying. You don't hear any big concerns about anti-Italianism.
Well I just read the Passion part of the the Gospel of Mark, and I would say it squarely places the death of Jesus on the hands of his fellow Jews, in particular the high priests and scribes that would have run the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem. It makes it out that Pontius Pilate only executed Jesus after he was condemned by the Jewish high priests for claiming to be the son of God because Jesus wouldn't deny the charges. He even gives the Jewish crowd the chance to pardon one of the condemned men and they chose Barnabas, an "insurgent" not Jesus, and repeatedly cry out for Pontius to crucify Jesus.

Now knowing that "Mark" is thought to have been a Jewish Christian writing for what was a predominantly Jewish Christian communities at the time I'm not sure I would say that Mark's version is anti-semitic. Although the fact that it is thought to have been written at Rome may explain why it appears to absolve the Romans of any responsibility.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
Sure the Gospels don't always agree with one another, I would suspect that includes the Passion parts. I am going to read them before I go, they're relatively short probably wouldn't take more than 15 minutes to read. Also I think Gibson relied heavily on some relatively recent (last couple of centuries) Nun's visions or something about how the passion played out. I think Gibson has been pretty clear on the fact that this is his artistic vision of how Jesus died, it's not meant to be a documentary.
Actually that is exactly what I am saying, this movie is Gibson's image. If I tried to make the movie it would look different just as if you made it. This issue I was trying to raise is that Gibson and others have said "people don't have a problem with the film they have a problem with the bible". To me this line of reasoning holds no merit.
 

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Again why do they think people see it as ..

over the top if - 1. as Private Ryan does, it depicts the reality of the horror and 2. this has never been a claim made against any other movie - war or horror - to my recollection

Is this claim made because of the obvious religious nature of the film? Is this a knee-jerk reaction from secularists who fear a movie may provoke many who have taken a lackadaisical attitude toward their faith into a more proactive roll in it? Do they want others to believe as they do and fear this may bring religion back into the lives of others?

 

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TiJeanKerouac said:
I mean wasn't the crucifixion SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN? Wasn't that the PLAN?

And anyway, it was Roman soldiers who did the actual crucifying. You don't hear any big concerns about anti-Italianism.
No one has historically used the events of Jesus death as justification for anti-italian behavior. People have used it to justify anti-semitism.

BTW you do see people complain about anti-italian messages in Mafia movies (and The Sopranos)
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
I think Gibson has been pretty clear on the fact that this is his artistic vision of how Jesus died, it's not meant to be a documentary.
That is the exact opposite of everything I have read. His response to all the criticism seems to be that this is historically accurate.
 

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DougSloan said:
I think the anti-Semitism concern is hyper-sensitivity of some to anything that even remotely places Jews in a bad light.

Further, I think if one understands the story line here, Jesus/God *knew* and planned to be crucified, and for a purpose. Would this really have happened against God's will only because some Jews were jealous of Jesus' teachings? Doesn't martyrdom have a purpose? Instead of "blaming" the Jews involved in the crucifixion, shouldn't Christians be thankful?
This story is at the root of the centuries of violence and persecution that created that "hyper-sensitivity".

You say that God planned this for a purpose. Then doesn't it follow that religious zealotry and hatred against His scape-goats (as surely He anticipated that Jews would be blamed) were part of that purpose?
 

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I don't think the hyper-sensitivity is unwarrented

Keep in mind that of the gospels, only Mark contains the passage where Jews say "His blood be on us, his blood be on our children". In general, This line has been used to justify presecution of Jews in Christiandom for many hundred of years. I am sure you are familiar with the term "Blood libel".

As an example Catholic monk Peter Abelard was excommunicated partly for asserting, in 1136, that it was wrong to blame Jews for the death of Christ.

In 1986, when my future wife started college, one of her new dormates, who attended private catholic school, looked for horns in her head.

So we have a director who chooses the gospel that is the most negative of Jews. We have director who believes that Vatican II, which formally absolved the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, is illegitimate. A director who says people who criticize his interpretation have a problem with the four gospels. A director who claims that his critics on this film have a problems not with him or his work but with the four gospels. A director who adds violent sequences not in the gospels (I can provide links of the this claim and people with more intimate knowlege of the gospels can verify or debunk it).

Is Mr. Gibson or his latest film anti-semetic? I don't know that he is; I certainly hope not. However, he is at the very least very insensitive to the Jewish communitie's collective memory of persecution.

As an aside, a person can be prejudiced against his/her own ethnic/cultureal group. I think it is labeled self-loathing. Some convervative blowhards make this claim agains the liberals of this country every day. So just because Mark was Jewish does not absolve him from being anti-semitic; of course this fact alone does not prove it either.


DougSloan said:
I think the anti-Semitism concern is hyper-sensitivity of some to anything that even remotely places Jews in a bad light.

Further, I think if one understands the story line here, Jesus/God *knew* and planned to be crucified, and for a purpose. Would this really have happened against God's will only because some Jews were jealous of Jesus' teachings? Doesn't martyrdom have a purpose? Instead of "blaming" the Jews involved in the crucifixion, shouldn't Christians be thankful?
 

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czardonic said:
That is the exact opposite of everything I have read. His response to all the criticism seems to be that this is historically accurate.
Well, what do you mean historically accurate? The only "historical" accounts are those of the 4 Gospels in the Bible, if you mean he is true to the Gospels well I guess then he is being historically accurate.

I just finished reading the Passion parts of the 3 synoptic Gospels (which are usually relied upon for any kind of historical analysis of Jesus) and I glanced over the Gospel of John Passion. I was somewhat surprised to find that actually all of the Gospels seem to give Pontius Pilate a pass and portray him as a reluctant executor, and firmly place the "blame" for the death of Jesus on the Jewish High Priests of the Temple. I would say the Gospels vary on how they portray the Jewish "people" as being responsible for Jesus' death. So, I would say any movie that is trying to be true to the Gospels would necessarily have to portray Pontius Pilate as a reluctant executioner who was carrying out the wishes of the Jewish High Priests when he executed Jesus, and that depending on which Gospel's account you wished to favor the Jewish people could be portrayed as in favor of Jesus' execution or not so much so. I would also say, not so much or at all in Mark, but in the other Gospels it is made explicit that Jesus, being the son of God, could have prevented the execution if he so chose. Thus, making his sacrifice even greater.
 
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