Review: The Passion–Photography from the Movie “The Passion of the Christ”

5 Star, Religion & Politics of Religion

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative to Movie, and Keepsake of Movie,

February 27, 2004
Mel Gibson
I do not normally buy what I think of as “coffee table” books, but something moved me to buy this, despite my intent to see the movie, and I am glad I did. My 14-year old found it absorbing, and I myself was glad to have such an elegant piece of work, with the scripture text, available for review in a time and place of my choosing, in quiet.The movie is very disturbing and for many will be shocking in the extreme. The book is a “soft” alternative to the movie, more likely to provoke thought without disturbing, but by no means a substitute for full immersion in the overwhelming power of the movie. The book is also a fanstastic keepsake. I look forward to the release of the video, which I will surely buy, for this movie is likely to replace all other movies that in the past have been the staple of the Easter broadcast schedule.

One note of concern: I am sick and tired of having “anti-semitic” accusations hurled by defenders of Jewish sanctity. “Anti-semitic” has become a censorship phrase. I myself was disinvited from National Public Radio (NPR) in Chicago because I spoke in a balanced and fair fashion about the Palestinian casualities that the US media never covers, and the need to both guarantee a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state, and the need to provide US foreign aid to both sides equally while we build two new generations from kindergarten up, generations that know how to live in peace from birth. Neither the movie nor the book merit this Stalinist-like censorship, and I hope that non-Catholics will keep in open mind and not be scared away–as the Jews intend–from seeing the movie or buying the book. [I was most moved when Arab callers made the point that I was the first person on NPR Chicago to have been fair and balanced.]

To end on a fair and balanced note: the Catholic Church is guilty of great crimes–the crusades against Islam, the murder of millions of women unfairly cursed as witches, the Inquisition, the abuse of hundreds of thousands of children, and finally, aid to the Nazis during the Holocaust and in the aftermath of the war as some escaped through Church auspices. We would be fortunate indeed if there were movies and books that explored these historical aspects of Catholism, as well as the growing body of literature on Jesus having been married and having had children whose offspring survive today. Open mindedness, not censorship, is the path to understanding. This applies to Catholics as well as Jews and others of any faith.

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