Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mary Boys on The Passion of the Christ

Thanks to David Mackinder for alerting me to this, from the latest issue of Cross Currents:

“I DIDN’T SEE ANY ANTI-SEMITISM”
Why Many Christians Don’t Have a Problem with The Passion of the Christ
by Mary C. Boys
Cross Currents Vol. 54 No. 1 (Spring 2004)
[Note: incorrectly referenced as Winter 2003 at the bottom of the article]

Mary Boys was one of the seven members of the famous "ad hoc committee" of seven scholars who were severely critical of an early script of the film. The article makes interesting reading and I will be commenting on it in due course.

Note also the editorial in the same issue, with an excerpt from it below.

THE PASSION OF CINEMA
by Carey Monserrate
In the case of recent history, it is tempting to maintain (as a number of critics already have) that with The Passion of the Christ Mel Gibson transported audiences back to this originary domain of aesthetic experience, in which the most primitive impulses of ritualized creation-destruction are powerfully linked to a tribal religious feeling, in this instance through the isolated representation of extreme physical violence and death in a sacralized context (calling to mind RenĂ© Girard’s mimetic theory and Eric Gans’s complementary notion of generative anthropology).2 To do so would be to risk discounting the heartfelt responses of the millions of Christians around the world who received Gibson’s film in the spirit in which it was apparently intended: as a devotional work designed to elicit reverence, compassion, humility, and a visceral appreciation of the ethic of sacrifice associated with the Biblical Jesus’ divine redemptive mission.

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