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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Mark Goodacre Reviews a New Book on Mel Gibson's Passion

    Mark Goodacre has reviewed one of the many books about The Passion of the Christ for the latest Review of Biblical Literature. Like the majority of the other books released about this film thus far, "Mel Gibson's Passion: The Film, the Controversy, and Its Implications", is a collection of individual essays by a range of authors. This one, however, is a little different as twelve of the twenty chapters appeared in the special spring 2005 edition of the Shofar journal. Shofar's editor Zev Garber has also drawn in eight new articles, and ensured that each chapter has discussion questions.

    More than once, I've heard Mark warn against the use of polemic so his extensive criticisms of this volume deserve to be taken seriously. The body of the review comes under two headings: Inaccuracies; and Overstatement and Hyperbole. In both sections there is little that could really be argued with, and assuming these are correct then this is fairly damning. There are a couple of points on which Goodacre praises the book, but even then it is fairly faint ("Within this framework the collection makes a valuable contribution to the debate", "in strongly revoicing some of the academy's concerns...it has some success" - italics mine).

    It's disappointing to see yet another book about The Passion which is so one sided. There are already a score of books from church leaders lavishing praise on the film, or from academics damning it. Few step into the middle ground, or place essays by those in favour of the film next to those against it. Goodacre is one of the few academics who have discussed the film's pros as well as its cons so he is perhaps best suited to fight the cause for a more balanced discussion of the film. (See his essay "The Passion, Pornography and Polemic", an expanded version of which featured in the book "Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ").

    See also my review of "(Perspectives) On the Passion of the Christ".

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    • At 1:30 pm, May 29, 2007, Blogger Mark Goodacre said…

      Thanks for mentioning this review, Matt, and for your kind comments. One minor point: my article in Jesus and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is a significantly revised and expanded form of the earlier web article (about double the length + footnotes) with a different title, "The Power of The Passion: Reacting and Over-reacting to Gibson's Artistic Vision".

    • At 3:49 pm, May 29, 2007, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks Mark - I've updated that accordingly.



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