Thursday, March 11, 2004

Charlotte Allen on The Passion of the Christ

Thanks to Andrew Criddle for this one from the Los Angeles Times

For Gibson, Devil Is in the Details
By Charlotte Allen
Charlotte Allen, the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus," co-edits the inkWell weblog for the Independent Women's Forum.

This is a really interesting read and I find myself in complete agreement with these sentiments:
I loved "The Passion," but I wanted to love it even more.

Gibson retained the services of Loyola Marymount University priest-scholar William Fulco in preparing his Latin-Aramaic screenplay. But he didn't consult more thoroughly with New Testament scholars who could have helped him craft a movie that would not only be the overwhelming Christian theological experience it is but also a more faithful evocation of Jesus' 1st century world. He might have gotten right such significant details as the languages that Jesus and his contemporaries probably spoke, the clothes they wore and the mechanics of crucifixion.
Interestingly, Allen puts this down not to a failure on the part of Gibson so much as a failure on the part of many (not all) New Testament scholars whose ideological biases give the discipline -- in her opinion -- a bad name. She has it in particularly for John Dominic Crossan and Paula Fredriksen (who themselves, of course, hardly agree with one another) but wishes that Gibson had called on the likes of Luke Johnson, Tom Wright and Ben Witherington. It is an interesting read and though I am not entirely happy with the caricaturing of the views of Fredriksen and Crossan, it is good to see the acknowledgement of the important role that New Testament scholars have to play in the public eye.

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