The Passion of the Christ

passion_of_christ.jpgI watched ’s The Passion of the Christ over the weekend; an interesting endeavour. Although I am an , I do have an interest in all things Christ like. I don’t rule out the possibility that Christ did exist in some form or another, and that current stories about him are a version of the truth, if we remove any obvious Son of God elements etc…
Anyway, it’s hard going. It’s very well made and very gritty; not the clean cut versions that have previously been show. If there is any truth in the story, you well imagine it could have looked something like this. However, this realism has its price; the film is so hard to watch because it is so horrible. I had to watch it in two sittings to ease the pain.

The film doesn’t bring anything new to the story of The Passion it just depicts it very realisticly, so on that basis I have to question the point of the film. I guess if you are Christian then it would cement your feelings for Christ and what he went through to absolve your sins, if you are Jewish then you’re going to be pretty angry about how the film depicts the actions of the Jews.

If we remove the obvious issues about “facts” of the story, it seems to me that much of the film is on dubious territory with regards the facts of what happened. I don’t recall there being any story that depicts the sheer amount of tortue that Jesus supposedly endured. Yes, the way in which he was tortured is likely correct, there is indeed written history that details how the Romans crucified people. However, had any man been tortured so much then I doubt he would have made it to Golgotha let alone be still alive to actually be attached to the cross. Gibson portrays the Roman soldiers as being particularly nasty drunken slobs, again I can’t see where any evidence would be that would hold up his depiction. And then, there are the Jews… if anything would make me consider that Gibson is anti-semitic, then this film is it. Again, there is little evidence to show that the Jews where so full of vile and hatred of Christ, yes they may have wanted him dead, but in such manner and with the huge venom and vitriole that the film depicts.

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6 Replies to “The Passion of the Christ”

  1. Hey, didn’t realise you had the same views on JC as me… 😉

    Last Friday I heard a review on Radio 4 of Gibson’s latest, Apocalypto (which I haven’t seen), and one comment was that it portrays the Aztecs as really violent brutes, also not based on any historical evidence. Seems to be a pattern here…

  2. Oliver,

    It would be foolish to completely rule out the existence of a mortal man, there seems to be enough “historical” evidence to suggest that many of the biblical stories are based on some form of factual event which has then be doctored accordingly to suit. You only need to look at the Gnostic Gospels to see the starting evidence on this.

    I have always found the study of Christ and the surrounding issues as being interesting, I also find the theorising around this events interesting too: For example, I have written a film script in which Judas and Jesus are actively working towards the goal of his “sacrifice” as being the only way of kick starting their movement. Judas is therefore less of a Betrayer and more of the only person who actually understood what Jesus was trying to do.

  3. Yes, I heard somewhere years ago that there was even a view in the protestant church that Jesus was actually a moderate reformer (unlike the more radical Barabbas) working on peaceful co-operation with the Romans or something. He was then ‘given’ to the Romans in exchange for Barrabas, as the population in general favoured the radical approach. Though in retrospect that does remind me a bit of Life of Brian.

    Though I find it perfectly plausible that there was a political reformer whose story developed into something else…

    And if you treat the bible as an early chronicle, then some things even make sense without the religious context. And most of the weird stuff about Jesus (like the virgin birth) was written several hundred years after the event, following a completely different agenda then.

  4. The Jesus Mysteries deals with the concept that Christianity and many of those Jesus stories were taken from original Pagan beliefs. being used in order to convert Pagans to the new “religion”.

    It’s a good read.

  5. In my opinion the charge for antisemitism doesn’t hold a second: the story takes place in Palestine, most characters are Jewish… Christ, Mary, the Apostles… Both the good guys and the bad guys are Jewish. Some Romans are good guys, others are bad guys. It could not be more PC.

  6. I don’t think the film IS antisemitic, I just think it could easily be classed that way.
    For me this issue is; as the film shows nothing new, then all it does is hilight the way in which Gibson believes that Jesus was treated by the Romans and the Jews. He portrays that very negatively, in particular, the Jews venom against Jesus.

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