Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

anti-semitism and iconography in the Passion

Expand Messages
  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    Those of you who have seen _The Passion_ (thumbs way down from me, a brutal, bloody, and brutalizing film, a sacred snuff movie, the Jesus Chainsaw massacre)
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Those of you who have seen _The Passion_ (thumbs way down from me, a
      brutal, bloody, and brutalizing film, a sacred snuff movie, the Jesus
      Chainsaw massacre) might be interested in comparing the types of faces
      with which (the other) Gibson has populated the "trial" before the
      Sanhedrin scene and those which Hieronymous Bosch placed within his
      famous "Christ Carrying His Cross" -- which I've uploaded to the XTalk
      photos section

      (cf. http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/lst)

      and which may be accessed directly from this link:

      http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/vwp?.dir=/&.src=gr&.dnm=Bosch+ChristCarrying+his+cross.jpg&.view=t&.done=http%3a//photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/lst%3f%26.dir=/%26.src=gr%26.view=t

      Yours,

      Jeffrey
      --

      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
      Chicago, IL 60626

      jgibson000@...
    • Loren Rosson
      List -- I ve appreciated reading reviews of The Passion from various list members -- Bob Schacht, Rikki Watts, and Jack Kilmon in particular. I saw the film
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 2, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        List --

        I've appreciated reading reviews of The Passion from
        various list members -- Bob Schacht, Rikki Watts, and
        Jack Kilmon in particular. I saw the film for a second
        time, as apparently did our esteemed list owner (the
        other Gibson), who dismissed it as "a sacred snuff
        movie, the Jesus Chainsaw massacre". With all due
        respect to Jeffrey, this is way off base. Graphic
        brutality has its place when the subject warrants it,
        and in an "historical" Roman Catholic passion it's
        more than appropriate. At least Mel could get much of
        this right if little else. As a non-Christian, I don�t
        relate to the salvific content of the film anymore
        than the gospels themselves. But the theme happens to
        be atonement for humanity's evil -- a far cry from
        psychopathic "chainsaw terror" -- and (if you can buy
        the premise for just two hours) the ordeal required
        for such an expiation would have to be about the worst
        one can imagine. That needs to be stretched out in all
        its gory detail.

        Not to venture too far off-topic, but for those who
        might have difficulty appreciating "the point" of such
        a movie... the best way to express how I personally
        felt when watching The Passion is how the literary
        critic Glenn Arbery feels when reading The Iliad:

        "When I even think of the serious, unsparing world of
        honor and anguish and beauty that The Iliad brings
        before the imagination, I feel God's pleasure: not the
        tepid blessing of the sentimental Smiling Jesus that
        Flannery O'Connor's tatoo-covered prophet O.E. Parker
        finds in the recent section of the religious
        catalogue, but the stern approbation of the iconic
        Byzantine Christ, son of Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of
        Hosts, the God who accepts Abel's blood sacrifice and
        the smoke of the flesh burning on the altar, because
        they signify the righteous and obedient heart. The
        Iliad presents the broken world as it is, fallen and
        savage, but capable of noble formality and tender
        mercies; groaning ceaselessly for redemption but
        without undue self-pity; conscious of being kingly,
        masterful, and godlike, yet also mortally aware of
        being subject to every loss and humiliation." (Why
        Literature Matters, pp 151-152)

        Arbery's viewpoint is Christian, to be sure, but
        before that it's poetic. Homer portrays the heroic
        ideal in terms of war, wrath, and bloody savagery, yet
        it's ultimately about the restoration of humanity's
        civilized values through an act of mercy (Achilles
        compelled by the gods to give the corpse of his enemy
        Hector to Priam). Ironically, Achilles own death is
        not "for" the gods but "by" the gods, and his death
        sustains the dignity of life in binding the immortals
        to the speech of men. A similar message is driven home
        to me in watching The Passion: savagery tied to an act
        of mercy, a brutal and shameful death underscoring the
        dignity of life all the more. Certainly not pulp
        savagery to please a bloodthirsty God! When I read the
        one-dimensional (and adolescently sanctimonious)
        review by Dom Crossan (found at
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hodos/message/9450), I
        sit bewildered. Is this really all he gets from the
        film?

        What does this tell us about the historical Jesus? In
        and of itself, not much, because that's not what the
        film is about. Oddly enough, I didn't care for the
        flashbacks (save the footwashing scene, and
        Jesus-the-carpenter admiring the table he crafted for
        some rich guy); they had the effect of grade-school
        homilies, and it was on these points, if anywhere,
        that I heard Mel Gibson preaching to us. We certainly
        didn't see much of the revolutionary prophet who
        obliquely opposed paying tribute to Caesar and
        promised a new temple for a new age in which life on
        earth would be upside down from how people know it,
        with the poor coming out on top. But if the film is
        taken in conjunction with what many scholars tell us
        about the historical Jesus, I think the redeeming
        value stands. Unfortunately, not enough people listen
        to the scholars these days -- not least Mel Gibson
        himself.

        Loren Rosson III
        Nashua NH
        rossoiii@...


        __________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Search - Find what you�re looking for faster
        http://search.yahoo.com
      • Mike Grondin
        ... I think that taken in conjunction is very much the point. Mel G, like his favored pre-Vatican II Catholicism, essentially divorces the passion from J s
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 2, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          --- Loren Rosson wrote:
          > ... if the film is
          > taken in conjunction with what many scholars tell us
          > about the historical Jesus, I think the redeeming value stands.

          I think that "taken in conjunction" is very much the point. Mel G,
          like his favored pre-Vatican II Catholicism, essentially divorces
          the passion from J's ethical and social views. To quote Crossan's
          review (which you evidently don't like):

          > Why, then, is the savagery of those Roman penalties expanded so
          > luridly in this film? We get a clue from the film's promotional
          advertising, especially the line: "Dying was his reason for living."

          This is the Death Tradition with a vengeance. J's life is seen, as
          above, as being nothing but a prelude to his death. First, he does
          some good stuff in Galilee, then he goes up to Jerusalem to fulfill
          his destiny. A+B, but in the end A isn't all that important. His
          enemies had no reason at all to arrest him except spite at best,
          Satanic influence at worst. The net effect of all this is that one
          DOESN'T "conjoin" the HJ with the sacrificial Christ; rather, one
          fixates on sin and guilt and ignores the ethical and social message.
          I know, cuz I was there in the 50's Catholicism that Mel invokes,
          and that's what we did. (Interestingly, we had a Catholic movie-
          rating system that had the force of sin behind it. 'C' [for
          'condemned'] was the rating given to movies which it was a mortal
          sin to see - and woe betide the local theater if they dared to show
          such a film. I'm sure that any other movie with this kind of content
          would have been given a 'C', but since this one is right up their
          alley, they would probably have excused it in the same way that
          radically-traditionalist Christians are now doing.)

          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • Jim West
          Mark Goodacre makes note on his blog that the Passion of the Christ will be available on DVD on Aug 31. http://movieweb.com/dvd/news.php?id=3754 Just when you
          Message 4 of 4 , May 15, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            Mark Goodacre makes note on his blog that the Passion of the Christ will be
            available on DVD on Aug 31.

            http://movieweb.com/dvd/news.php?id=3754

            Just when you thought the chatter was over!

            Jim

            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            Dr Jim West
            Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
            http://biblical-studies.org Biblical Studies Resources
            http://biblical-studies.blogpspot.com Biblical Theology Weblog
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.