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Re: [XTalk] Flashbacks - Jesus and Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ

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  • Rikk Watts
    Hi Bob, I wonder if not explaining everything was actually a clever move ‹ I am impressed that you even attempted to profile the average viewer, and for a
    Message 1 of 151 , Oct 5, 2004
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      Hi Bob,

      I wonder if not explaining everything was actually a clever move ‹ I am
      impressed that you even attempted to profile the average viewer, and for a
      universal audience, you're clearly a better man than I am Gunga Din :).
      From the anecdotal evidence I heard, those "odd" moments occasioned
      interesting conversations.

      Rikk
      PS I've not seen the book, having been away most of the summer, but glad to
      hear that you got it out.

      On 5/10/04 5:05 AM, "Bob Webb" <webb.bob@...> wrote:

      >
      > Loren,
      >
      > Thanks for a most interesting and helpful review. One of the points we made
      > in the Introduction is that we invited a broad spectrum of scholars partly
      > in order to show the spectrum of response to the issues in the film. So I
      > certainly don't agree with everything that is said within the book... The
      > various authors disagree among themselves.
      >
      > But let me respond to one comment you made about one of the chapters I
      > wrote:
      >
      >> Webb thinks the flashbacks are key to comprehending
      >> Gibson's vision: "without them the film would be a
      >> pointless gore-fest". I disagree. The flashbacks are
      >> unnecessary and distractive given the film's focus. And
      >> Jesus' passion isn't pointless; the context is supplied by
      >> familiarity with the gospel stories. I agree, however, with
      >> Webb's conclusion that Gibson's use of the flashbacks is
      >> "problematic and inadequate", not only because they
      >> insufficiently communicate the significance of Jesus, but
      >> because the viewer's own image of Jesus can provide all the
      >> framework one needs. Gibson's snapshots are too brief and
      >> superficial. In any case, Webb's individual commentaries on
      >> the flashbacks are helpful.
      >
      > Where I think we differ is the assumption we bring to the question, "who is
      > a viewer?" You state, "And Jesus' passion isn't pointless; the context is
      > supplied by familiarity with the gospel stories." I would suggest that a
      > vast majority of viewers are not familiar with the Gospel stories at all.
      > Many viewers may have some vague sense of the "story," from what they've
      > heard in sermons and the like, but they have never really read the diverse
      > and individual Gospel stories. Even fewer would have actually studied them.
      > And then as the film is shown around the world, in diverse religio-cultural
      > contexts, the familiarity would be even less, if virtually non-existent.
      >
      > We wrote the book with the "average viewer" in mind, and so we did not
      > assume a lot of biblical knowledge (e.g., I removed every reference to
      > "synoptic" Gospels; and I included a basic glossary of biblical and
      > religious terms).
      >
      > So it with this perspective in mind that I examined the flashbacks. I do
      > think they were used try and provide a context and explanation for what was
      > the violence. But they provided no context for the fierce negative reaction
      > to Jesus. But as I examined the flashbacks, I came to the conclusion that
      > for the "average viewer" they were both problematic and inadequate. One does
      > not understand unless one reads into the film a lot of one's own
      > pre-understanding. For example, if a viewer's pre-understanding is biased
      > towards an anti-Semitic perspective (and it certainly still exists around
      > the world today) and only has a very limited knowledge of the Gospels, how
      > would they view the film and its violent reaction to Jesus?
      >
      > I would agree with you, however, that for the viewer who was knowledgeable
      > about the contents of the Gospels, the flashbacks would be distracting and
      > unnecessary. I guess I'm just more pessimistic about the "average Joe
      > viewer."
      >
      > Anyway, Loren, thanks for reading the book and being engaged by it!
      >
      >
      > Bob Webb.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Rikk Watts
      Already on it Tks Bob.
      Message 151 of 151 , Oct 8, 2004
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        Already on it

        Tks Bob.


        On 8/10/04 5:30 AM, "Bob Webb" <webb.bob@...> wrote:

        >
        > Mark and Rikk,
        >
        > You should probably do it soon. Volume 1 had alrady gone out of print, but I
        > convinced Continuum to re-print it so that libraries would be able to
        > purchase the complete run of the journal. I think they may not have
        > reprinted enough.
        >
        > Bob Webb.
        >
        >
        >
        >>> our library doesn't yet take JSHJ (sorry, Bob! I'm
        >>> making moves to rectify this).
        >> Me too! Just this very day in fact...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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