Posts Inspired by The Passion

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To continue my ongoing effort to keep my favorite posts menu short, I'm collecting my posts that I probably wouldn't have had the motivation to write if it were not for Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ that I never got around to seeing.

Some have claimed that the Gospel of John is anti-semitic. Some have even claimed that all the gospels are anti-semitic but that John is the worst. I don't think there's a shred of anti-semitism anywhere in the Bible (except perhaps what merely gets reported in the Bible). This post focuses on the arguments that John is anti-semitic, showing that such claims radically misunderstand what John is up to and ignore the whole prophetic tradition that John's portrayal of Jesus stands in.

Who Killed Jesus? looks at the central question in many people's objections to Gibson's film. It turns out many people's objections weren't about anything he contributed but rather that they were upset that he was presenting a biblically faithful picture of what they saw as the anti-semitism of the entire gospel message. The focal point of some more specific complaints was about who killed Jesus, and I argue that the whole question mistakes the very nature of the Christian gospel. On different levels, you get very different answers to the question, and it doesn't seem to me that there's any anti-semitism in including "the Jews" as one of those levels, even blaming a group that can be properly described as "the Jews", as long as you keep it in its proper context and in light of all the other levels.

The third is my response to some of the arguments Christians were giving against the film.

Those were the three that have been in my favorite posts list until now. It's probably worth mentioning this brief blurb with some of Gibson's own comments about anti-semitism, my discussion of victimology that uses the charges of anti-semitism in this film as an example not having to do with black-white relations to make a point about the more widespread nature of victimology, this roundup that has a link to a geat discussion between biblical scholars Ben Witherington and John Dominic Crossan, my eventual conclusion that I couldn't explain some of the vile rhetoric about the film unless some of the people saying it really just hate Jesus Christ and those who follow him, a link to the thoughts of science fiction author Orson Scott Card on the film, which I found interesting because I hadn't read any other Mormon takes on it, and finally a post on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and the strange comparisons people have made with The Passion of the Christ.

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