Saturday, November 20, 2004

Between God and Gibson

Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ has been welcomed with open arms by much of the Christian evangelical community. Some churches have hired out entire cinemas and gone to see the film. Others have capitalised on the film for evangelistic purposes. And there has been a spate of books on the passion of Christ that have benefited from the momentum of interest in the film. But the movie may not be as biblical as some Christians seem to think. Andrew Weeks's article, Between God and Gibson, explores the unacknowledged source from which Gibson borrowed material in making the movie. The book is Anna Katharina Emmerich's (1774-1824) The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Weeks does more than describe the literary dependency of Gibson -- he also provides an interesting and important analysis of the trend in Christianity to be
content to affix its logos to the arena and insinuate its insipid prayers into the ritual of saluting the emperor as a sanctimonious prelude to the fun of watching the killing. With private altars in every household, the Cineplex has shown that it can rival the churches as the place to experience what passes for sacred mystery.
The article is a demanding but worthwhile read.


  1. Your summary of the movie is interesting...did you hear
    about the Passion coming out on video game? I worry a bit about the violence of it all, but I guess it is ok considering the context.

    See a recent story about it on the
    The Swift Report

  2. Thanks for letting me know about this. I hate to think what the game will focus on and what the player's role will be! Given the violence in the film I find it hard to imagine that not being a significant part of any game that is attempted. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this development.