Thursday, March 11, 2004

Princeton's Passion Debate

AKMA's Random Thoughts briefly mention this article from National Review Online:

Princeton’s Passion
A campus event
By Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky

This opinionated column was written by a student from Princeton about a debate held there about The Passion of the Christ. There's a report here on The Daily Princetonion

'Passion' sparks debate on director's role
Renata Stepanov
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, spoke in favor of Gibson, a personal acquaintance.

"I have never seen a more vicious and unethical assault on a filmmaker than on Mel Gibson in this film," Donohue said. "Gibson doesn't need to vet his movie by any scholars," he added, in reference to a panel of theologians who were disappointed with the film. "He's not an altar boy. It's his movie and his interpretation."
Of course it is not that Gibson needed to "vet" the film but that the use of an advisory committee might have helped him to navigate his way through many of the difficult and sensitive issues that have now arisen.

Ramos-Mrovsky's piece offers further reflections, including this concerning John Gager:
The first speaker, John Gager, an early-church historian, conceded that he had not seen the film. He preferred "to talk around it," but allowed that he might see it "out of a sense of professional responsibility." Gager assured us that "the Gospels do not place great emphasis on the suffering of Jesus," and argued that defenders of Gibson's film against charges of anti-Semitism were "either naïve, or disingenuous, or perhaps even both."
It is difficult to comment on this without some more idea of the context since, after all, it appears as a brief extract in a pretty polemical article, but at face value it seems a very strident thing to say if one has not even seen the film. How could one know whether "defenders of Gibson's film" were naïve and/or disengenuous without first seeing it?

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