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Re: [Synoptic-L] RE: The Passion - harmonistic?

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  • Mark Goodacre
    ... While not knowing whether it is a botch or not -- I haven t seen it yet -- I think that there are several reasons: (1) Some scholars are interested in
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9, 2004
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      On 9 Feb 2004 at 8:50, Wieland Willker wrote:

      > Ok, thanks for the enlightenment. I am only wondering why this botch
      > then gets so much attention in scholarly circles.

      While not knowing whether it is a "botch" or not -- I haven't seen it
      yet -- I think that there are several reasons:

      (1) Some scholars are interested in the way in which the Gospels are
      adapted in film and fiction, partly because of the renewed interest
      in Wirkungsgeschichte and partly because the creative process of
      adaptation might shed light on the interpretative process. For
      investigations of Jesus (and other) films along such lines, I would
      recommend the books by Larry Kreitzer on the OT, the NT and Paul in
      fiction and film; I would also recommend these two articles by
      William Telford:

      Telford, W. R., "The New Testament in Fiction and Film: A Biblical
      Scholar's Perspective" in J. G. Davies, G. Harvey and W. Watson
      (eds.), Words Remembered, Texts Renewed. Essays in Honour of J. F. A.
      Sawyer, pp. 360-94. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995.

      Telford, W. R., "Jesus Christ Movie-Star: The Depiction of Jesus in
      the Cinema" in C. Marsh and G. Ortiz (eds.), Movies and Meaning.
      Explorations in Theology and Film, pp. 115-39. Oxford: Blackwell,

      (2) Interest in this particular Jesus film is accentuated among some
      scholars because of their involvement with the question of the
      depiction of Jews in the Passion Narrative. Paula Fredriksen in
      particular is worth mentioning here since she was on the so-called
      "ad hoc committee" that strongly criticized an early script of the
      film for its alleged anti-Semitism. So too is Amy-Jill Levine who
      was on the committee that composed that report. Both Levine and
      Fredriksen have been involved with discussion about the film as a
      result of that early and robust encounter with the script. And
      whatever one thinks about the way that that debate has developed,
      there is no question that the issue of the depiction of Jews in the
      Passion Narrative has been a hot topic in Gospel studies over the
      last generation. What this film has done is to push that debate back
      into centre stage.

      I would add, in relation to this point, that much of the controversy
      over the film could have been avoided if only Gibson had done what
      Garth Dabrinsky did on the recent Gospel of John (Visual Bible) film
      and employ a panel of expert consultants. Gibson claims that he has
      consulted hundreds of Biblical scholars, but what the film lacks is a
      panel of accountable, named historical consultants from a variety of
      scholarly and religious perspectives. The Gospel of John has managed
      to adapt that Gospel word-for-word without a whiff of controversy and
      I think that this is in no small part due to the likes of Peter
      Richardson, Adele Reinhartz, Alan Segal and co.

      (3) I suspect the film also excites attention among scholars because
      of its use of Latin and Aramaic. Of course Gibson had to use a
      scholar to do the translation (William Fulco of Loyola Marymount

      (4) If Biblical scholars had nothing to say about major cultural
      events like this, then that might be further evidence of a retreat
      into the ivory tower. Interest is generated much of the time simply
      because the media asks them for their opinion, and they rightly

      That's the way I'd see it, anyway.
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion
      Dept of Theology
      University of Birmingham
      Elmfield House, Selly Oak tel.: +44 121 414 7512
      Birmingham B29 6LQ UK fax.: +44 121 415 8376


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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