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The Passion - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Passion
I decided to actually see Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, rather than taking half a dozen different opinions and trying to meld them. All religious stories interest me, whether I believe them or not--hence my major in comparative religion--so I was interested in seeing it, controversy or no.

There are two different ways I want to approach this review. The first is to review the movie as a movie and adaptation of a text, the second is to deal with the question of antisemitism raised in several quarters. As someone who spent half her life Christian and the other half Jewish, I'd like to speak to both sides of the debate about what goes through the mind of the other when seeing this movie.

(I am a Jew and do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. I will therefore not be capitalizing the personal pronouns. I don't mean this as offense.)

The Passion as a movie
No, I'm not going to review the Gospels as literature. Suffice it to say that I think stories that have captured as many as these have speak for themselves in terms of power. I'm just going to deal with Mr. Gibson's adaptation, and I will do so as I would review any other adaptation, beginning with faithfulness to the source material.

Fewer liberties are taken than is usual with this sort of endeavor. There are no glaring anachronisms or outside observations, as might be found in The Ten Commandments or the various made-for-TNT Bible epics. A few later interpretations have been added in, including the presence of Satan from the beginning to the end, a haunting performance by an androgynous looking woman (I thought she was an effeminate man until I noticed that her name was Rosalinda) who stands in quite well for the evil in everyone. Two lovely scenes between Jesus and Mary, trying to bring her loss into focus, have been added, but they aren't enough to counter the movie's central failing as a story.

In each gospel, before the Passion is reached, the reader gets some chance to know Jesus as a person. Whether or not the reader believes that Jesus is dying to redeem humanity from sin, it's made quite clear that Jesus believes it. Whether it is or is not true theologically, it's a powerful story of a man who allows himself to be humiliated, tortured, and ultimately killed because he believed it would benefit others. Strangers. He had a life, too; you get glimpses of it it in the gospels, in the birth narrative, in the story of his precocious preaching in the Temple, in the rescue of the adultrous woman, in his expelling of the moneychangers. He was a brilliant man, with a great deal of potential, and he gave it up for what he believed to be good for mankind in general.

This sense of pathos, of sympathy that I have generally felt while reading, was largely missing in Gibson's film. Rather, it was taken for granted. The film begins in Gethsemane, as Jesus prays for the chalice to be taken from him, only minutes away from the beginning of the suffering. While it evokes the kind of identification and pity that normal human beings experience at seeing another human being in pain, it only rarely achieves the specific empathy for a particular and unique person that the written gospels evoke. In short, not be too technical and writer-y, but the movie fails because it doesn't bother with characterization, assuming that everyone coming in will already sympathize.

Gibson adds two brief scenes, as I mentioned, the first rather more effective than the second. The second, on the Way of the Cross, is a quick back and forth cut from Mary running to the beaten and dying Jesus to a younger Mary, running to her little son who has fallen in the yard--it's a bit too saccharine and predictable for me, though it works as Mary's point-of-view. The first is more interesting, and I think approaches brilliance in characterization of Jesus and Mary's relationship--Jesus sees a carpenter in the Temple, and flashes back to his days of making furniture. He has made a newfangled high table, to be used with chairs as we know them now, and he and Mary joke around about how the style of eating will never catch on. He takes pleasure both in the company of his mother and in the rendering of his craft, and when the cut returns to his trial in the Temple, there is actual pain involved--a specific man, a carpenter who once laughed with his mother at the idea of chairs, is being beaten badly and dragged to a painful death. This is storytelling. I might have preferred to see young Jesus preaching in the Temple or turning water into wine at a wedding--events from the Gospels--but this scene is not one that contradicts anything, and is something that you can look at and think, "Yes, that would have happened." Unfortunately, that was the only such moment in the movie. Most of the time, Jesus is quite distant, very much not a trait of the rabbi who walks through the pages of the Gospels.

It is, nevertheless, a powerful film about injustice and human cruelty, and the havoc it works on human society. For a Christian, it is also a reminder of the sacrifice made on his behalf, a sobering look at what it really meant to die in that horrible way.

On the question of antisemitism
But is it antisemitic?

That's a more complex question than either side would like to admit. It's certainly not something that's geared toward making people hate Jews, and it's not out there to instigate pogroms, and it's not deliberately nasty. On the other hand, it's very faithful to the gospel account, which includes a mob of Jews screaming for the blood of an innocent, while a Roman procurator gives them every opportunity to recant. It has him tried secretly by a Temple court and beaten before he even reaches Pilate, who asks, "Do you always punish criminals before they are tried?"

One scene that I've seen quoted as antisemitism which absolutely is not is one which I saw described as "Demonic Jewish children chase Judas into suicide." I was disturbed by this report--of course!--but it's not what it seems, and anyone who sees the film will recognize it for what it is. After Judas sees what he has done to his friend and mentor, he goes quite mad. He sees a hallucination of a demon, then goes into an alleyway in the city, where, bloodied and dazed, he lies until two concerned boys come up to him and ask him if something is wrong. He lashes out at them, then begins to hallucinate that they are turning into demons, calling him accursed, and accusing him of everything he feels he's done. On the off chance that this isn't clear from context, Gibson very pointedly has them disappear--completely--as soon as he reaches the dogwood tree from which he hangs himself. They aren't "demonic Jewish children." They are Judas's self-accusations.

There are also points at which Gibson goes out of his way to point out the Jewishness of all of his major good characters. Mary and Mary Magdelen use Pesach imagery to talk to one another ("Why is this night different from all other nights?" "Because before we were slaves, and now we are free"). People in the crowd--including the High Priests who sent Jesus to Pilate--are shown looking disgusted with Roman punishments. And Simon of Cyrene, whose religion is a matter of some debate (I discovered looking him up tonight) is identified very strongly as a Jew--a Roman spits the word at him a few moments after he drops the cross (he has been pulled from the crowd to carry it because Jesus no longer can) and tells the Romans to stop beating Jesus immediately. They then link arms and are pushed through the streets together with the cross. (For the record, what I learned tonight is that Cyrene is a city in North Africa, in what is now Libya. So Simon was an outsider to Jerusalem. Some people think he was a Gentile. I'm inclined to agree with Gibson's interpretation, though--Simon is derived from a common Jewish name, and they were in the midst of a pilgrimmage festival. So chances are, we're dealing with a North African Jew, and as far as anyone knows, he remained so.)

But it's hard to balance that against the deliberate casting of the keepers of the Temple (not Pharisees, but Saducees; however, the Gospels and much Christian thought seem not to konw that) as practically demons, and the mad chanting of the crowd to "Crucify him! Crucify him!", and the demand to release the crude murderer Barrabas instead, when Pilate had offered a choice.

It's not simple.

It's on this issue that I think Jews and Christians tend to see two entirely different movies, and as someone who has spent her life in both worlds, I'd like to address this.

I'd like Christians to understand that the Jewish horror at this story is neither petty nor unfounded. For nearly two millennia, its accusations were the last thing thousands of Jews heard before the bayonets came down. Easter Sunday was a common day for pogroms, and people were arrested and executed on the charge of torturing communion wafers on the belief that Jews would take any opportunity to crucify Jesus again. (This is a strange belief, in that it rests on the notion that Jews in fact believe in the divinity of Jesus and are inimically opposed to him for that reason--since Jews don't in fact believe in the divinity of Jesus and never have, there's no logical reason to torture Communion wafers. What Christians of that era simply couldn't seem to comprehend was that Jesus did not play any important role in Jewish life... except that his name was on the lips of people killing them. Not a good association.) It's neither surprising nor inappropriate that Jews respond to this accusation with instinctive defense and anger. The story they are hearing is about their people being made into demons, and suffering for it. They aren't seeing a story about redemption and sacrifice, or G-d's intervention on Earth.

I'd like Jews to understand that Christians hearing this story today aren't the ones with the bayonets, and when they listen to the sufferings of Jesus on their behalf, the last thing in the world that they're thinking is, "Damn those Jews," any more than Jews listening to the Passover story are thinking, "Damn those Egyptians." The story they are hearing is about G-d coming to Earth and suffering to release them from the slavery to sin and from eventual damnation. For a Christian, the Easter story is both beautiful and terrifying, the holiest part of the year, the thing on which their entire religion rests. It is nothing less than the cleansing of every human soul. Being told, "Your gospel is a lie! Your gospel is hateful!" brings up the same kind of defensive reaction that we would have to Manetho's accusation that the Jewish slaves were expelled from Egypt because we were lepers, or that I'd imagine a Muslim would have to being informed that the Koran gets several Bible stories mixed up and wrong.

As it happens, I do think there are historical problems with the gospel account. I already mentioned the fact that they seem to have Pharisees in charge of the Temple, when it was really the Saduccean sect who held most of the power there. (For those who aren't familiar with this part of Jewish history, this is significant because the Saduccees more-or-less died with the Temple, and modern Jews are the intellectual descendants of the Pharisees.) And there is, shall we say, reason to doubt that a prisoner of any sort would have been released for a festival. On the other hand, I know perfectly well that some of the inter-sect fighting in that era was downright nasty, with each side blaming the others for the misfortunes of the people, and it's not inconceivable that a group of staid Temple priests would be outraged by a populist minister with Messianic claims, especially if they were accompanied by business about being the physical Son of G-d.

There's no easy way out of this. Everyone just has to accept that it's a complicated and horrible situation.

However, by the time Pope John XXIII begged forgiveness for Catholic antisemitism (saying that by denying that Jews are the brothers of Christians, Christians crucified Jesus again), already the rank-and-file Christians of most denominations had no more desire to continue this rivalry, and Jews were learning that we were able to live among our neighbors without losing ourselves. After a bloody family feud that lasted nearly two thousand years, the fact that we can have this discussion with any degree of civility is, to my mind, a miracle. The family is beginning to reunite, and while there will always be differences of opinion and very bitter and painful memories, I think we can learn to live with them, to accept that these things are there and are insoluable--Christians aren't going to renounce their gospels, Jews are not going to suddenly "come around" and decide that Jesus was the Messiah after all--but that they need not be a permanent barrier.

The Passion of the Christ is not going to cause a wave of pogroms. The ADL isn't going to start burning the Christian scriptures in protest. Maybe we should all just try to understand the story the other side is seeing.

I guess that's all I have to say.

I feel a bit...: thoughtful thoughtful
Soundtrack: Phantom of the Opera

27 comments or Leave a comment
chickadilly From: chickadilly Date: February 28th, 2004 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for posting this! I've been reading a lot of commentary in the past two days from people who have seen it and have decided that the only way to really decide what I think is to see it for myself. Having said that I still find it interesting to see what others (who have seen it) are saying.

I have a really difficult time with violence in films but I also feel that in films such as this (and a few others such as Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan to name a few) it's a bit different than watching violence that is done just for show. I may have to turn my head a few times but I really do want to go and make up my own mind.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 28th, 2004 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I did have to turn my head a few times. It really was a reminder of exactly how horrible this method of execution [i]was[/i].
ashtur From: ashtur Date: February 28th, 2004 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok, the religion of Simon is a bit up in the air (though Church tradition does "claim" him), it seems reasonably clear that his sons were Christian. I say that because Mark 15:21 says that he (Simon) was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Since there is no other identification of these two people, and the Gospel was written to the Church, i.e. Christians, the traditional (and reasonable) assumption is that they were known to the Church because they were part of it. What that says about dad is of course, a bit more up in the air.

Your comments are on target with the whole anti-semitism issue. As I said on my own LJ, I can see why it would make some people nervous, considering past history. I can even see that the particular "slant" of the movie perhaps lends itself more to that than some other approaches (including what I would have taken). I don't see the movie creating attitudes, though I do see it potentially reinforcing those attitudes in those who already have them.

Perhaps the point you make about the "sudden entrance" into the movie so to speak is why it left me a bit flat. Obviously I know the story very well, but the movie so focused on the brutal that it was easy to lose the larger context of what was going on.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 28th, 2004 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, his sons almost definitely were--the familiar way in which they're mentioned would have to mean they're part of the community. But Simon himself, for someone who had such an intimate connection, is never seen again in Church history. To me, that suggests that he probably remained Jewish throughout his life. This wouldn't be unusual. The split took quite awhile to "take," and Christianity was a Jewish sect for many years. Or he could have been an adherent of Petrine Christianity instead of Pauline. Or he could have died a week after the Crucifixion and that's why he's never mentioned.

Symbolically, though, I like what Gibson did with him, in his identification as a Jew followed by the shared abuse by the Romans, with the linking of the arms. I think it's a good point of connection.
silverhill From: silverhill Date: February 28th, 2004 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for your wonderfully intelligent review. :)

I agree that seeing a movie and making up your own mind is the best way to go about it. I won't be seeing this movie, though. From everything I've read, the violence would just be too much for me. Especially since, as you note, the violence starts right away without the dramatic benefit of seeing Jesus in "happier times."

As someone who was raised Christian, is currently agnostic and is married to a Jew, I have a variety of perspectives. And I think that's what it's about -- perspective. Although, interestingly, my newspaper covered a showing with some religious leaders, and at least one Christian thought it was antisemitic. So it's also a matter of personal interpretation, I guess.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 28th, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
at least one Christian thought it was antisemitic.
The element is there. The question is whether or not it's more there than in the gospels themselves, if Gibson made some special effort to play it up, and on that count I think it's innocent. Particulary the inclusion of Simon of Cyrene's identification as a Jew suggests that there's even some effort to mitigate.

Unfortunately, there is antisemitism in the story in the first place, and dealing with it as it exists is always going to include it. A lot of modern churches have avoided the issue by pointing out the historical flaws and kind of breezing over it, so when it's put in without the warts removed, it's going to seem gratuitous. But it's there in the original source material.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: February 29th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the 'good guys' are all Jewish as well as the 'bad guys', and the main Roman in the affair comes off as a spineless eejit to me. Despite the shorthand of 'Jews' for 'Jewish religious leaders', it never hit me till I was about 12 that practically everyone was Jewish. ('Jewish like Mr Lloyd? So the Lloyds are related to Jesus? Cool!)
bimo From: bimo Date: February 28th, 2004 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I just dropped in to say "thank you" for this well-balanced review. Your brief description of the various competing sects and factions of ancient Judea has made me want to refresh my own knowledge about this particular part of Judeo-Christian history, and that is a very good thing :-)

ivylore From: ivylore Date: February 28th, 2004 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
In short, not be too technical and writer-y, but the movie fails because it doesn't bother with characterization, assuming that everyone coming in will already sympathize.

This has been my sense of the film too, and bothers me. It has always been the historical Jesus that has fascinated me and I have always felt that his life was more important than his death - that the 'message' has served us more. I guess this film feels very exploitative to me, almost predatory.

I can live without seeing this, although I look forward to hearing the Aramaic when it runs on TV.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: February 29th, 2004 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have always felt that his life was more important than his death

He didn't though, nor did his followers. The whole central message waas that he died and took our punishment so we wouldn't have to.
ivylore From: ivylore Date: February 29th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
The message of his dying and taking our punishment would be nothing without the message of his life. You can't have one without the other. What would his sacrifice have meant without a single follower, without an apostle, without his word? Why would he have been crucified to begin with?

Anyhow, I was only speaking for myself. After a sixteen years in Catholic school and another four in comparative religious studies, I've settled on regarding Jesus from a somewhat Buddhist perspective - and I feel very at peace with that.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: March 2nd, 2004 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
His death would still have been atonement even without the life he lived, though He wouldn't have got many followers if he'd appeared on a Roman gibbet from nowhere. I think both His death and Life were necessary.
But His whole life he was looking forward to His death and prophesying about it. in fact the Old testament is looking forward to it from the fall of man in Genesis 3, and the history of Christianity is all looking back to it. His death is the hinge around which all of history turns.
ivylore From: ivylore Date: March 2nd, 2004 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think both His death and Life were necessary.

Okay. But again, I feel that while his life could stand 'alone', his death could not.

The notion that Jesus was without sin, that he died for our sins, while it's vaguely in accordance with old scriptures - primarily it's a Pauline extrapolation, later adopted as church doctrine.

Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't.

To a Jew or a Buddhist or a Muslim, Jesus is merely a prophet. Even Jesus described himself as a prophet - he believed the kingdom of God was at hand and that he was here to prepare everyone. Most of his life was dedicated to helping people prepare, not so much, anticipating his own death. People may not understand the notion of atonement, but they understand "love thy neighbour as thyself," or "turn the other cheek."

We're just probably going to disagree forever Cat.
I believe in Jesus but I don't believe in substitory atonement or original sin and have major gripes with Augustinian theology... :)

ivylore From: ivylore Date: March 2nd, 2004 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
And everything I'm typing just keeps getting skinnier and skinnier...
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: February 28th, 2004 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anyone who uses the crucifixtion as an excuse for anti-Semitism has got a spectacular case of missing-the-point-ism.
taradiane From: taradiane Date: February 28th, 2004 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 28th, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, quite a lot of people over the years have spectacularly missed the point.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: February 29th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Sadly that's true. I wish with all my heart it wasn't. People really are unspeakable, aren't they?
taradiane From: taradiane Date: February 28th, 2004 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hello. chickadilly pointed this post out to me, because she knows I've been searching for commentary on this film from those who have actually seen it. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I recently made a public post on my friends-only journal about this film, and one of the things I mention is that everyone is going to take something different away from the movie. I think it's great that it is generating so much discussion.

So thanks for your viewpoint.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: February 28th, 2004 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have yet to see the film but it was great to read an opinion from someone who can honestly see it from both sides. I also appreciate a fair review free of the emotionalism of both hardcore secularists who fear the effect the film could have on society and conservatives/evangelicals who have equated any criticism with an attack on their faith.
narnian_dreamer From: narnian_dreamer Date: February 29th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Haven't seen the movie yet, but I just wanted to respond to some of the comments about it jumping right into the crucifiction story.

I'm not sure if other denominations use this term, because my two Baptist friends seemed not to be aware that it meant something specific, but the Catholic church at least uses "Passion of the Christ" to describe the sufferings Jesus endured during the crucifiction. ("Passion" also means "great suffering," but that sense of the word isn't used much very more.)

So one of the reasons why Jesus' life was not gone into much is probably because this is a movie specifically about Christ's passion. Also, from what I've heard second-hand about its plot, the movie seems to parellel the Catholic Good Friday mass. Most of the Good Friday mass is taken up with what's called the "Stations of the Cross," in which two altar-boys carry a cross around the circumference of the church, stopping next to stone panels displaying different scenes from the crucifixion while the relevant passages are read from the Gospel explaining what's happening at each point. It's a very solemn, important ritual for the Catholic church.

The movie probably would have been more effective if more of the life of Christ had been portrayed, but I think Gibson was trying to stay in keeping with Catholic traditions, kind of putting the stations of the cross on film so that they'd seem more real. I'm not trying to argue that it would or would not have been a better movie if the audience had gotten to see Christ as he lived, but just offer a possible reason as to why it was done the way it was done.

I was going to skip this one because of the violence (I don't do blood well), but the feed-back from other people who've seen it is making me curious. I'll have to think about it now.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 29th, 2004 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I know... was it the gospel of Matthew that was just described as a Passion play with a short prologue? One of them, anyway.

But the Passion in a church has the lead in of the whole ecclesiastical year, so the dramatic set-up is there when it's done in church. (No, I'm not being blasphemous--I don't think that I'm chalking up an important religious rite to "just storytelling" so much as treating storytelling as an important religious rite.) Telling the Passion just by itself, as the movie does, loses something, because the rest of the year hasn't led up to it.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: March 2nd, 2004 10:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Mark. It's the shortest of the gospels.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: February 29th, 2004 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Narnian_Dreamer has a good point; I'm Catholic, and after about the first half-hour or so it began to have a very faintly familiar feeling, and I realized that it was going through all of the Stations of the Cross. In that sense it wasn't really meant to be a modern-style drama at all, in the sense that all of the characters need to be three-dimensional and rounded; it's taken for granted that the audience is coming in two steps ahead of the game and already knows who everyone is. (The flashback with Mary Magdalene, for example, assumes both that you know of the story of the woman taken in adultery and the - very tenuous, but traditional and symbolic - identification of Mary with that woman).

Fernwithy, also wanted to say that your review is one of the best I've seen. From a Catholic/historical viewpoint, I understand the lack of background information, but I wouldn't have minded seeing more of it (though I doubt we'll be seeing "The Passion: The Extended Edition" anytime soon). And to be honest, when I saw Caiaphas with the money, and the bit with "We have no king but Caesar", I was thinking much more of his politics than his religion. Pilate, although technically he had absolute power in the region, had just suffered a major status loss when his appointer Sejanus was disgraced and executed for being a traitor to Caesar, so Caiaphas was not just saying that for fun; he was making a political point. "I'm loyal to Caesar - how about you? If you, the protogee of a traitor, release a man whom we say is a traitor to Rome, there could be...problems."

I can understand people being concerned - the Jews have not been gently handled by any era, really, and especially not in this century - but once the film had ended the only thing I could think about was myself. Not in a completely narcissistic way (I hope) but in the "Lord, I am not worthy" sense. If Gibson was trying to make his viewers feel as if a huge sacrifice had been made for their sins, and *because* of their sins, well, he succeeded in my case.

BTW that's weird about the reviewer mentioning "demon Jewish children." It never occurred to me that they were anything other than Judas's guilty hallucinations, triggered by two perfectly ordinary little boys. I guess either I'm lacking imagination or else the reviewer is :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 29th, 2004 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm Catholic, and after about the first half-hour or so it began to have a very faintly familiar feeling, and I realized that it was going through all of the Stations of the Cross.
I was raised Protestant, so the Stations of the Cross were only an intellectual recognition. That's one of the things that most Protestant churches don't do (I think it goes with the theological focus change that takes the symbol from the Crucifix to the empty cross, though I've never been entirely clear on that). We were American Synod Lutheran, which is about as close as you can get to Catholic without actually being Catholic, but that is one of the things that remained separate. (Also, no praying to saints, no pope, married clergy, and no Latin... though it took muscle to get American Lutherans to stop praying in German! They kind of missed the point of that "Pray in the vernacular" thing.)

In that sense it wasn't really meant to be a modern-style drama at all, in the sense that all of the characters need to be three-dimensional and rounded; it's taken for granted that the audience is coming in two steps ahead of the game and already knows who everyone is.
I think that was an artistic mistake, for the movie as a movie. Because it's not being done in a church, you miss the background that leads up to it and makes it effective. Granted, many, many people will go in those two steps ahead and it will work for them quite well, but that's pretty much the textbook definition of "preaching to the converted." I don't know how many people will kind of scratch their heads at it. I think that Protestants of sects that focus less on this episode may really want to like the movie, but feel it a bit cold. (Not that any Christian sect feels this story is unimportant. But some Protestant sects put as much emphasis on other episodes from both the Christian and Hebrew scriptures, so that the Passion by itself may not carry the emotional connection it has for a Catholic. Then again, this was a very Catholic movie.)

Fernwithy, also wanted to say that your review is one of the best I've seen.
Thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 2nd, 2004 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Not Here--But Europe?

Like I said, I do think there are historical problems with the gospels, and those are high on the list. My issue is that no matter what, Christians en masse are not going to suddenly say, "Oh, my sacred texts are wrong! Guess I'd better drop it, eh?"

As to Europe? I'm not sure. With luck, they'll decide it's too religious to go see. More to the point, much of the resurgent antisemitism in Europe is coming from the Muslim immigrant community, which isn't likely to be swayed by Christian religious movies. I suppose they could use it as yet another pretext.
27 comments or Leave a comment