The Passion Of The Christ

Dream King's picture

it comes out on Wednesday. What do you think will happen? will it turn out that the controversey around it is unfounded? Any predictions on what will happen?

Will people go see it despite already knowing what happens in the end?

Umm...  very little of that made coherant sense, but I will do my best to break things down.

First, you're right that the Roman empire at the time was in control of the region.  However, the Jews were allowed to continue to practise their religion and hold their own trials based on the religious laws.  It was in one of these courts that they first accused Jesus of blasphemy and herecy.

The trial was completely illegal, done under the cover of night.  It was all a set up to persecute Jesus for something He was not guilty of.  It was also the fulfillment of prophecy, from the betrayal at Gethsemane to the exchange of coins (40 silver pieces, what one would pay for livestock) and the casting lots for His clothes at the crucifiction itself.

Now Pontius Pilate was in a position where there was another uprising within his area he would lose his position and potentially his life.  Seeing no guilt in Jesus he tried to pawn the problem off onto others (Herod and such), but they do not find Jesus to be guilty of anything, either.  In a last ditch attempt to difuse a potentially volitile situation, Pilate says he will release one prisoner...  Jesus, who has done nothing wrong and spreads a message of peace and love, or Barabus, a murderer and a vile man.  They choose Barabus, demanding Jesus be crucified.  To avoid a riot, Pontius Pilate concedes.  He washed his hands off the whole thing, claiming no guilt and placing the blame on those who wanted Jesus to die, and they accepted it.

You are right to say that the Roman torturers and excecutioners enjoyed inflicting pain on Jesus, but you seem to think that the Roman people are the same as Roman Catholics, which they are not.  To be Roman is to orginate from Rome, the city.  To be Roman Catholic is to believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine and follow their traditions.  They are two very different things.

The Jews pushed for the excecution of Jesus and His blood was on their heads.  The Romans are the ones who carried out the deed.  Both parties played their part in fulfilling a centuries-old prophecy that culminated in bridging the gap between man and God and offering people salvation from sin.

I think that there are many things that you do not understand about the movie, the Christian faith and the Bible...  and if you have any questions I would be more than happy to address them.  You can post here, send me a message or email me (add me to MSN) at

The man who played Jesus is one talented actor.  After his performance in Passion I am pretty sure he can play any role, which he has decided to do.  Now he'll be playing golfer Bobby Jones in a new movie.  That is quite a stretch...Jesus to legendary golfer, but he is amazing and will do great.  This guy is a true actor!

I had no idea Mel Gibson was a "known anti-semite". I suppose if that's true, you'd think it would reflect in his movie. I just think people aren't stupid enough to blame Jews for things any more than anyone else.  Although...people do a lot of stupid things. Nevermind

not to make light of the religious tradition but does that mean communion makes one a canabalistic Vampire?

It would seem so ;). It's really pretty creepy on that level.

I don't disagree with your right to question Gibson's intent, simply that the inclusion of the one line isn't "the smoking gun". The dogma that's been attached to that passage is certainly open to criticism. Yet if his intent was anti-Jewish it is odd for the line to have been left out of the subtitles. But since I haven't seen the movie yet, I really can't go much further with this than I already have since I'm just arguing out of general knowledge of the material and not the specifics of the movie.

All things being equal, though, it is certainly less weird for a wealthy christian to make a movie of the Passion Play than John Travolta (a Scientologist) making "Battlefield Earth" (a book by the author of "Dianetics", L. Ron Hubbard). Not only is that seriously screwed up, it was a really, really bad movie ;)

not to make light of the religious tradition but does that mean communion makes one a canabalistic Vampire?

By no means do I think that religious plays are a bad thing, nor to I think that the movie version of religiously significan events should not be made, but I think that given the sensativity to the situation, especially with the rise on anti-Jewish sentiment on the rise, in Europe it being on par with what it was in the 1930's.

A secondary issue is that given Gibson's history of Anti-Jewishness, I wonder how much more or less attention would have been given.

How you take it is up to you, but the line "His blood be upon us and on our children" is Matthew 27:25. The anti-Jewish (I don't like the term anti-Semetic since, strictly speaking Arabs are also a Semetic people) interpretation goes right back to the first century. The whole passage (King James Version) goes like this (Matthew 27:15-26) (bold mine, for the sake of highlighting the passage in question):

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

16 And they has then a notable prisoner, called Barbaras.

17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barbaras, or Jesus which is called Christ

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgement seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barbaras, and destroy Jesus

21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you. They said, Barbaras.

22 Pilate said unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ. They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but rather a tulmut was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude , saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

25 Then answered all the people, His blood be upon us, and all our children.

26 Then released he Barbaras unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Regardless of the long-standing dogmatic position of using this passage to pin blame, I read this in context as being intended as a caution against being swayed by dog-wagging and the political agenda of devious and corrupt leaders. Pilate is doing some major ass-covering so he won't be blamed for killing a politically popular person one way or the other, and the common people are being swayed by corrupt officials who are protecting their status against a subversive popularist, and the people are doing what people do with mob-mentality, just shouting out, "Yeah, yeah, whatever! Just kill somebody!"

The movie is ultimately just being true to the text and the interesting question comes not about why the phrase is there in the Aramaic (and my mistake for saying "Hebrew" in the earlier post - I was misinformed), but rather why the phrase was left out of the subtitles. The average gentile wouldn't understand the Aramaic and the average Jew would already be aware of the passage from the Bible because of the nefarious dogma that's been attached to it for the past 1800-odd years. If anything leaving the text out of the subtitles was a sensitive move lest uneducated "Christians" (note the quotes) who haven't been arsed to actually read the Bible (also note that I, personally am neither Christian nor Jewish) latching on to the phrase as so many have in the past. From an outside standpoint it strikes me as a strange cop-out when so many other pains were taken to be accurate to the Biblical account (historical accuracy is a whole different question).

Passion Plays existed historically for the same reason as Church art - most people couldn't understand a damn thing the priests were saying when the masses where held in Latin (West) or Greek (East). The painting, stained glass windows, statuary, plays, et al. where attempts to popularize the Church to the illiterate masses. All that wonderful Mediaeval and Renaissance church art is really pretty much glorified comic book panels for the illiterate. Look at the standard magic term "hocus pocus" - it comes from the moment in a Latin mass where the "bread" (communal wafers) and wine are transmorgrified into the body and blood of Christ. In Latin "hoc est corpus" means "this is the body" - to the average mediaeval non-Latin speaking illiterate pleb who was in church mostly to be entertained and get a day off it was just,? "'Hocus pocus' - OK, something magic is supposed to happen here, where's my cookie and booze?" The movie is directed squarely at the same basic audience. I wouldn't lose sleep over it if I were you.

The problem is, first, The Passion Plays which this movie is based on, were used as a means to spread Anti-Semitism, second, second, historically, The Passion Plays ended with mass Pogroms, the movie stereo-types Jews by casting those who "look" Jewish based on anti-semitic stereo-types, there is a line in the movie in Aramaic (because a Jewish education teaches you to speak it) in the movie in which it is said by a crowd of "Jews", "His blood is upon us and our children forever" though the subtitles in the movie don't reflect this, Jesus by historical Jewish account was a heretic who defiled the Holy Temple as well as lead others to break the laws (by Jewish historical documentation Jesus died around 124BCE) and by Jewish law would have been but to death by one of the four forms of Jewish capital punishment, Crucifiction is a Roman thing.

Lastly, given the sensitivity to the issue, given that both Mel Gibson is a known Anti-Semite and Holocaust denier  (thought not vocal like his father) who insists that a) holocaust is fiction, b) the Jews have a secret cabal that runs the world banks, c) that the Jews were the ones who blew up the world trade centre and d) claims that 4000 Jews didn't go to work in the WTC on 9/11. One has to ask themselves, if the plays that the movie is based on are Anti-Semitic and the person who makes the movie is as well. How can one begin to believe that his intent is not to in some part to spread hate?

If this doesn't make sense I am sorry I woke up in the middle of the night and can't fall asleep again and my sleeping pills haven't kicked in yet.

I don't see how it can be anti-semetic. It was the Jews fault, and the Romans that Jesus was crucified. It doesn't mean that all jews are bad. Just because some were, and they are portrayed in a movie...I just don't get it.

Don't forget Aramaic. A friend of mine from work saw it and said that with exception to the Latin parts he didn't need the subtitles. Though he did say that he felt it anti-semitic. I will be going to see it tomorrow night, privided that Leslie is feeling ok, if I do I will write a review.

One review I did read said that, once the hype falls away, The Passion will be remembered as one of the goriest horror movies of all time.

I'm interested in it because the dialogue is in Latin and Hebrew with subtitles. What an amazing thing - a period movie using period language! That alone is enough to make me want to see it.

I was amused by something I heard on CBC radio this morning about the film.  Despite many Christian church leaders and Rabbis railing against it, saying it might promte anti-Semitism, one Rabbi was quoted as saying (and I am paraphrasing here) It's a Christian 'feel-good' film, reaffirming their beliefs.  It is, after all, a film.  He didn't think it was anti-Semite or offensive at all.  I wish I could find an article actually quoting the guy...

My girlfriend and I are going to go as soon as she get back into town, she went home for reading break.

A lot of the reviews I have read keep talking about how violent the movie is and say very little about whether the movie is good or not.

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