The Passion by Mel Gibson: Enthusiastic Response in the Catholic World, Restrained Criticism by the Jews
Sergio I. Minerbi
Jewish Political Studies Review 17:1-2 (Spring 2005)
The Israel Hasbara Committee site has a useful abstract:
Mel Gibson’s cinematic treatment of Jesus’ death (first screened for the public on Ash Wednesday, 25 February 2004) is not just hateful towards Jews, it is highly incendiary and vindictive. Nevertheless, Jewish reactions have, for the most part, been astonishingly lame, possibly the result of fears that criticism would increase antisemitism. Most of the serious discussions of the film’s historicity have been initiated by Catholics, some of whom have gone so far as to maintain that Gibson’s reading of the Gospels is selective and tendentious. Unfortunately, these reactions have been overshadowed by the positive reception of the film throughout the Catholic world, most importantly by the Vatican. This has undermined not only the achievements of Vatican II, but also the reputation of Pope John Paul II as being sympathetic to the Jews. Many scenes in the film are based not on accounts of Jesus’ suffering in The New Testament, but on private revelations from Catholic visionaries, such as 19th century mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich. Her beatification in October 2004 is a chilling testimony to the Vatican’s acceptance of Gibson’s film as historical fact.There are a couple of other recent new resources on The Passion I'd like to mention in due course.
Update (Thursday, 21.21): Tyler Williams comments.