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  • Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab)
    Saw the film myself last night. Given the vast disparity among reviews I¹m not sure my tuppence counts for much. More than any I have personally seen in my 33
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 1, 2004
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      Saw the film myself last night. Given the vast disparity among reviews I¹m
      not sure my tuppence counts for much. More than any I have personally seen
      in my 33 years of avid watching this film exegetes its viewers, and given
      its topic and director is sure to raise (and frustrate) expectations. E.g.
      people who go with Braveheart or Lethal weapon in mind will probably see
      some parallels (tho' I think such connections are trivial). My suggestion is
      that you'd be better served checking out a book on medieval art from your
      local library (thanks to whomever posted the note on the connection between
      the sufferings of the medieval world and the church's interest in Christ's
      sufferings). I¹m grateful for those who advised me to remember that it is
      the Passion (not a life) of the Christ (not Jesus), to watch it in iconic,
      catholic, and poetic terms, and to keep my eyes open for the looks that
      passed between Jesus and others who met his gaze because this (along with
      Jesus' relationship with Mary) is one of the key ligaments that hold the
      film together.

      History: the inaccuracies have been duly noted, but if LoR can win an Oscar
      for best adaptation given its far more significant rewriting of characters
      etc., then surely not enough to warrant dismissal. Re Pilate, contra my son,
      I felt his brutality wasn¹t really addressed (tho¹ I don¹t know if
      historically speaking it was especially evident in Jesus¹ case).
      Nevertheless, and bear in mind the competition, in my view it probably is
      the most historically authentic film of its kind (having the original
      languages was a master decision). Crucifixions are ghastly. I'm grateful to
      whomever it was who eradicated them. If as Gibson stated it was his aim to
      push us over the edge, he did so. Given our culture's addiction to filmic
      violence, I found this a fascinating/disconcerting/brilliant directorial
      aim. What made this so different for me, not least given the director(!) and
      so different from say the end of Braveheart, was that this swollen,
      tempestuous, and repulsive violence (even the priests are sickened) finally
      wore itself out and collapsed before the haunting gaze of no condemnation.
      If that is what the historical Jesus was really about then this film
      captured it like no other I've ever witnessed. I don't think I've seen a
      film that so effectively counters hate ‹ there is no "settling of scores" as
      in just about every other Hollywood (or elsewhere) production. But again I
      suppose that what I see as half-full others see as half-empty.

      Perhaps not unexpectedly for some on the list, I did not find the film
      anti-Semitic (I can take some comfort in the fact that a spokesman (he was)
      of the American ADL and a similar Australian Jewish body agrees). Yes
      various figures are iconic but that is standard filmic fare for movies where
      an innocent individual is condemned by people whose existence is inseparable
      from the institution under threat. One thing, I think unfairly, that hasn't
      received much attention is that in a film where words are comparatively rare
      there is constant emphasis on rejecting hate and instead loving one's
      enemies. (I don't have any trouble understanding Liz's encounter with the
      Christian woman among the books on Judaism). This film does not blame all
      Jews everywhere and for all time for the death of Jesus (I think that much
      is obvious to all except the willfully blind). I would hope that some folk
      would likewise refrain from sweeping condemnations by not corralling this
      film with all past injustices of "all" Christians everywhere.

      Regards
      Rikk
    • Zeba Crook
      ... I m going to see the movie (grudgingly) tomorrow. But I would like to drop a quick note on this just because I ve seen it in various settings of late. I
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 1, 2004
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        Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) wrote:

        >This film does not blame all Jews everywhere and for all time for the death of Jesus (I think that much is obvious to all except the willfully blind). I would hope that some folk
        >would likewise refrain from sweeping condemnations by not corralling this film with all past injustices of "all" Christians everywhere.
        >
        I'm going to see the movie (grudgingly) tomorrow. But I would like to
        drop a quick note on this just because I've seen it in various settings
        of late. I can easily grant this for the movie; but the fact is that
        the NT Gospels also not blame all jews everywhere and for all time for
        the death of Jesus (save for one small part in Matthew, and even this
        would be a questionable interpretation). And yet the gospels have been
        used for precisely that purpose by Christians who were missing the
        subtler point. So, the more pertinent issue with respect to this movie
        is less whether or not it blames all Jews forever, but whether some (or
        many) Christians will continue in the tradition of their past to read
        these sentiments into the movie. Jewish and other discomfort over this
        movie is motivated by a history of Christian mis- or over-interpretation
        of the Gospels, and less by whether the movie itself does this or not.
        In other words, the history of Christianity (and in many Christian
        circles the present reality) suggests that the actual intent of the
        movie is moot.

        Cheers,

        Zeb

        --

        Zeba A. Crook

        Assistant Professor, Religion and Classics

        Carleton University

        1125 Colonel By Drive

        Ottawa, Ontario

        Canada K1S 5B6



        613-520-2600, ext. 2276

        http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook/



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Bob Webb
        Perhaps it is important, both with the NT and with film, that we distinguish between anti-semitism by the author/film-maker and anti-semitism by the
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 1, 2004
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          Perhaps it is important, both with the NT and with film, that we distinguish
          between anti-semitism by the author/film-maker and anti-semitism by the
          reader/viewer. And further to distinguish whether the anti-semitism by the
          reader/viewer is based upon an appropriate reading/viewing of the material
          or, as you suggest, as mis/over-reading/viewing of the material.

          Bob Webb.


          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Zeba Crook [mailto:zcrook@...]
          > Sent: Monday, March 1, 2004 2:56 PM
          > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [XTalk] the film..
          >
          >
          > Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) wrote:
          >
          > >This film does not blame all Jews everywhere and for all
          > time for the
          > >death of Jesus (I think that much is obvious to all except the
          > >willfully blind). I would hope that some folk would likewise refrain
          > >from sweeping condemnations by not corralling this film with
          > all past
          > >injustices of "all" Christians everywhere.
          > >
          > I'm going to see the movie (grudgingly) tomorrow. But I
          > would like to
          > drop a quick note on this just because I've seen it in
          > various settings
          > of late. I can easily grant this for the movie; but the fact is that
          > the NT Gospels also not blame all jews everywhere and for all
          > time for
          > the death of Jesus (save for one small part in Matthew, and even this
          > would be a questionable interpretation). And yet the gospels
          > have been
          > used for precisely that purpose by Christians who were missing the
          > subtler point. So, the more pertinent issue with respect to
          > this movie
          > is less whether or not it blames all Jews forever, but
          > whether some (or
          > many) Christians will continue in the tradition of their past to read
          > these sentiments into the movie. Jewish and other discomfort
          > over this
          > movie is motivated by a history of Christian mis- or
          > over-interpretation
          > of the Gospels, and less by whether the movie itself does
          > this or not.
          > In other words, the history of Christianity (and in many Christian
          > circles the present reality) suggests that the actual intent of the
          > movie is moot.
          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Zeb
          >
          > --
          >
          > Zeba A. Crook
          >
          > Assistant Professor, Religion and Classics
          >
          > Carleton University
          >
          > 1125 Colonel By Drive
          >
          > Ottawa, Ontario
          >
          > Canada K1S 5B6
          >
          >
          >
          > 613-520-2600, ext. 2276
          >
          http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook/



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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        • Bob Schacht
          ... I think also that the movie assumes knowledge of the doctrine of atonement, and hints at it with the Isaiah quote at the beginning. If you don t view the
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 1, 2004
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            At 03:14 PM 3/1/2004 -0500, you wrote:
            >Perhaps it is important, both with the NT and with film, that we distinguish
            >between anti-semitism by the author/film-maker and anti-semitism by the
            >reader/viewer. And further to distinguish whether the anti-semitism by the
            >reader/viewer is based upon an appropriate reading/viewing of the material
            >or, as you suggest, as mis/over-reading/viewing of the material.
            >
            >Bob Webb.

            I think also that the movie assumes knowledge of the doctrine of atonement,
            and hints at it with the Isaiah quote at the beginning. If you don't view
            the movie through that lens, it would be easy to be drawn to anti-semitic
            interpretations.

            Bob Schacht



            > > -----Original Message-----
            > > From: Zeba Crook [mailto:zcrook@...]
            > > Sent: Monday, March 1, 2004 2:56 PM
            > > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
            > > Subject: Re: [XTalk] the film..
            > >
            > >
            > > Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) wrote:
            > >
            > > >This film does not blame all Jews everywhere and for all
            > > time for the
            > > >death of Jesus (I think that much is obvious to all except the
            > > >willfully blind). I would hope that some folk would likewise refrain
            > > >from sweeping condemnations by not corralling this film with
            > > all past
            > > >injustices of "all" Christians everywhere.
            > > >
            > > I'm going to see the movie (grudgingly) tomorrow. But I
            > > would like to
            > > drop a quick note on this just because I've seen it in
            > > various settings
            > > of late. I can easily grant this for the movie; but the fact is that
            > > the NT Gospels also not blame all jews everywhere and for all
            > > time for
            > > the death of Jesus (save for one small part in Matthew, and even this
            > > would be a questionable interpretation). And yet the gospels
            > > have been
            > > used for precisely that purpose by Christians who were missing the
            > > subtler point. So, the more pertinent issue with respect to
            > > this movie
            > > is less whether or not it blames all Jews forever, but
            > > whether some (or
            > > many) Christians will continue in the tradition of their past to read
            > > these sentiments into the movie. Jewish and other discomfort
            > > over this
            > > movie is motivated by a history of Christian mis- or
            > > over-interpretation
            > > of the Gospels, and less by whether the movie itself does
            > > this or not.
            > > In other words, the history of Christianity (and in many Christian
            > > circles the present reality) suggests that the actual intent of the
            > > movie is moot.
            > >
            > > Cheers,
            > >
            > > Zeb
            > >
            > > --
            > >
            > > Zeba A. Crook
            > >
            > > Assistant Professor, Religion and Classics
            > >
            > > Carleton University
            > >
            > > 1125 Colonel By Drive
            > >
            > > Ottawa, Ontario
            > >
            > > Canada K1S 5B6
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > 613-520-2600, ext. 2276
            > >
            ><http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook/>http://www.carleton.ca/~zcrook/
            >
            >
            >
            >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >The XTalk Home Page is
            ><http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/>http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
            >
            >To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
            >crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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            >List managers may be contacted directly at:
            >crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >The XTalk Home Page is
            ><http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/>http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
            >
            >To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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          • Vince Endris
            ... but the fact is that ... I do not understand how this would be a questionable interpretation other than the fact that Matt. might not have expected people
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 1, 2004
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              >From: Zeba Crook <zcrook@...>

              but the fact is that
              >the NT Gospels also not blame all jews everywhere and for all time for
              >the death of Jesus (save for one small part in Matthew, and even this
              >would be a questionable interpretation).

              I do not understand how this would be a questionable interpretation other
              than the fact that Matt. might not have expected people 2000 years later
              interpreting it. However, if I gave credence to the biblical account as a
              good source for history (and/or theology), I find it hard to argue that the
              blame is not on the jews and their children. Now, I myself do not believe
              this at all and understand the blame motif in Matt. and how he uses it.
              However, if someone wanted to argue the other way, they sure have lots of
              ammo.

              Vince Endris

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