Friday, January 06, 2006
Fredriksen On the Passion of the Christ
I was just looking at Paula Fredriksen's web page -- I am putting together teaching materials for a course on the Historical Jesus and she has so much useful on-line material. She has a new book advertised there, On The Passion of the Christ : Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie. It turns out that the book is in fact a re-issue with a much more interesting front cover (a picture from the film, see left) of the book previously published by Miramax and entitled Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ (see Another Passion of the Christ Book and A Short Review of Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ). It seems that Paula Fredriksen has added a new preface too. My guess is (with no disrespect) that if you already have the Miramax edition, there is not enough new in this re-issue to make it worth buying. But if you don't have it, now would obviously be a good time to buy it. I found the book pretty frustrating myself, and the overwhelmingly polemical tone of the vast majority of essays made it depressing reading. I once meant to write a review of it, but instead I have written notes with a view to writing a paper on what scholars' perceptions of the film tell us about contemporary NT scholarship. More on that anon, I hope.
There are three scholarly collections, to my knowledge, on The Passion of the Christ:
(1) The first out was the Miramax collection Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ just mentioned, and now re-issued by the University of California Press under the title On The Passion of the Christ.
(2) Next out was Kathleen Corley and Robert L. Webb (eds.), Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in my opinion a stronger volume, not least because it was more strongly edited, with specific essays commmissioned on specific topics. Did I mention that I have an essay in this one?
(3) Most recently S. Brent Plate (ed.), Re-viewing the Passion: Mel Gibson's Film and Its Critics, one of the highlights of which is Peter Chattaway's essay.
Just one author, I think I am right in saying, found his/her way into two out of the three books. Quiz question: who is it?