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The Passion of Gibbo

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  • Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab)
    Pardon the Australianization of the name... Having done a fair amount of reading of and listening to responses to Gibson s up-coming film, Jesus parables come
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2004
      Pardon the Australianization of the name...

      Having done a fair amount of reading of and listening to responses to
      Gibson's up-coming film, Jesus' parables come to mind. At least on my
      understanding of Mark's presentation, Jesus began to speak in parables
      because, in a deeply divided setting, they revealed the condition of his
      hearers' hearts.

      I don't particularly want to take sides ‹ judgment is best reserved until
      after viewing the finished product ‹ but it is interesting to observe the
      vastly differing responses ranging from vitriolic condemnation to
      enthusiastic endorsement (and this believe it or not almost from across each
      of the Christian, Jewish [at least one strong endorsement of Gibson's right
      to make the film and somewhat critical of charges of anti-semitism], and yes
      self-confessed atheist communities).

      Some of it is most perplexing: a noted Jesus scholar makes use of a stolen
      preliminary script (and as anyone who knows anything about film-making knows
      such scripts can and often do change a great deal) and indulges in the kind
      of personal attack that would be utterly unacceptable in a scholarly setting
      -- very difficult to see how this sits with the usual canons of scholarly
      fairness and respect, folk that defended the Brooklyn Museum's Sensation
      show (which included the notorious feces besmeared Madonna) as artistic
      freedom denounce Mel as an anti-Semite, likewise others who lauded THE LAST
      TEMPTATION OF CHRIST which many conservative Christians found extremely
      offensive (personally I think it raised some insightful questions). A CBS
      correspondent engages in a deliberate "have you stopped beating your wife"
      distortion of a Mel interview. Meanwhile some scholars who happily indulge
      in flights of historical fancy happily dismissing large sections of the
      text, nit-pick at Mel's slightest deviation from same. On the other hand,
      several self-confessed atheists and agnostics who've been to prescreenings
      declare emphatically that this is not a religious film but a profound
      experience and a genuinely classic not-to-be-missed movie event.

      In my many decades of film watching I cannot recall off hand such deeply
      divided responses that cut across so many of the usual boundaries.

      Maybe, in an interestingly ironic way, Mel's film is indeed pretty close to
      at least Mark's version of Jesus.

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