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

The Passion

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 4 , Mar 2 5:55 AM
    • 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 2 of 4 , Mar 2 8:54 AM
      • 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 3 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.