So, The Passion of the Christ is finally showing in theaters. This is exciting for me, not because I have any intention of seeing the movie (I'd probably keep my eyes closed through most of it), but because by now I'm quite tired of critiques based entirely on hearsay.
We already know that God opposed the making of the film, and we've heard that the Pope rather liked it (though Vatican officials deny that he expressed any opinion). Now, we can finally address the truly important question: what do Boston Globe columnists think of The Passion?
James Carroll, the liberal Christian, offers a predictable response: the film is an obscene perversion of Jesus' legacy. Jeff Jacoby, the Orthodox Jew, is ever so slightly more charitable to the movie, but less charitable to Jesus' legacy:
"To be sure, there is a good deal in Gibson's movie that is not in the New Testament. . . But there is no getting around the fact that the parts of "The Passion" that are the most unflattering to Jews -- the bloody-minded and hateful Temple priests, the Judean mob howling for Jesus' death -- come straight out of the Gospels."
Jacoby faults Gibson not for hatred of Jews but for ignoring the cruelty that so many passion plays have incited. "It is not unreasonable," he writes, "to worry about the effect of a movie like 'The Passion' at a time of surging anti-Semitism."
On this score, at least, he is probably right.
(I thank Fleurdelis28 for the link to the CNN article.)