I mentioned in my post yesterday that I do not much like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Now that I think about it, I don’t think I know a single scholar of the historical Jesus, or of the New Testament, or – well of any academic topic taught at universities whom I’ve ever spoken with – who liked the movie. Most of the objections raised to it have involved its portrayals of Jews and its apparent embrace of the kinds of anti-Semitism that is all too easy to overlook, and therefore re-embrace without thinking.

I am completely sympathetic with these objections. But here I’ll talk about other issues. I find the movie problematic (also) because Gibson maintained *both* that he stayed faithful to the accounts of the Gospels *and* that he showed events “as they really were.” Neither is true.

First, as to being faithful to the Gospel accounts. The one thing that struck every single person who saw the movie and that kept most everyone else away from seeing it was the horrifically gruesome violence done to the body of Jesus, not only at the crucifixion but even more during the episode of his flogging, where he is literally beaten to a pulp until he can’t stand, but then finds strength to arise and more or less tell them to bring it on again some more (he HAS to suffer, so he’s in for the full treatment – KEEP IT COMIN’ BOYS), which they do, blow after blow after blow until he is little more than a throbbing blob of blood.


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