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August 2, 2003


NYT on rising furor over

NYT on rising furor over Mel Gibson's The Passion, which we've been talking about since it was a rumor. It's in the news every week, and it's not coming out for another 7 months (on Ash Wednesday). Says one evangelical big-wig who's seen it: "Mel Gibson is the Michelangelo of this generation."

But some are not so sure. The Times finally reports some details about the findings of that ad-hoc interfaith group that studied the script (but hadn't seen the film):

A committee of Bible scholars who read a version of the script said that it was not true to Scripture or Catholic teaching and that it badly twisted Jewish leaders' role in Jesus' death. The problem, the scholars said, is not that Mr. Gibson is anti-Semitic, but that his film could unintentionally incite anti-Semitic violence.

One scholar, Sister Mary C. Boys, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, said: "When we read the screenplay, our sense was this wasn't really something you could fix. All the way through, the Jews are portrayed as bloodthirsty. We're really concerned that this could be one of the great crises in Christian-Jewish relations."

But Gibson is still refusing to show it to Jewish groups. Replies the ADL: "If you say this is not anti-Semitic and this is a work of love and reconciliation, why are you afraid to show it to us?"

Finally, remember all the discussion about how it's in Latin and Aramaic? Historians say, Mel, you're not being as authentic as you claim: the Romans there spoke Greek. (Wow, is that commonly known? Here's a lengthy discussion on the topic, which posits that when Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate, he spoke in Greek.)

ps. Here's an article from Jewish Week on the movie we should have tracked down 6 weeks ago, when the ad hoc committee's report came out.

posted by adm at 2:59 PM | #


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