Friday, February 27, 2004

Adele Reinhartz in the New Republic

There is a most interesting article by Adele Reinhartz in the latest edition of The New Republic. I may be wrong, but I think the only way to access the article is to subscribe and then download the whole issue (as a PDF); I've done so without having to part with money. Anyway, the reference is as follows:

Adele Reinhartz, "Jesus of Hollywood: From D. W. Griffith to Mel Gibson", The New Republic March 8 2004: 26-29.

An excerpt:
Does Gibson’s film, do all these films, foment anti-Semitism? The matter must be considered carefully. If the question is, do they intend to stir up hostile feelings toward Jews that under certain conditions might lead to physical violence, the answer is no. Each film has its own theme and emphasis, but none of them, Gibson’s film included, with the possible exception of Der Galiläer, aims to be anti-Semitic. But if the question is, do these films help to perpetuate certain beliefs and stereotypes that have been implicated in anti-Semitism, then the answer must be yes, Gibson’s film included. Whatever film-makers’ intentions might be, they cannot exert complete control of the message that people will take away from their films. I do not anticipate any anti-Semitic incidents at my neighborhood cineplex as viewers of Gibson’s melodrama leave the theater. But it is appalling that this film, like most of its predecessors, has added to the visual library of images in which the Jews are portrayed as conniving, bloodthirsty Christ-killers. The Passion of the Christ is morally careless, and now it, too, is upon us and our children.
Reinhartz, you may recall, is something of an expert on Jesus films in general, and the depiction of Jews in particular. See, for example:

Adele Reinhartz, “Jesus in Film: Hollywood Perspectives on the Jewishness of Jesus”, Journal of Religion and Film Vol. 2, Number 2 (Fall 1998).

Or more recently:

Adele Reinhartz, "Passion-ate Moments in the Jesus Film Genre", Journal of Religion and Film Vol. 8, Special Issue no. 1 (2004)

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