Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Passion and Its Enemies

Here is a snipet, but the whole column is a must read...

From The Passion and Its Enemies:

"What is the attachment of columnists in 2004 to a high priest of the first century A.D.? Why the Caiaphas Defense Fund? Is it not possible to accept that after Jesus berated the scribes and Pharisees in front of the people they might want to kill him? Is it not possible that the high priest would plot the death of so charismatic and threatening a figure?

What these writers are saying is that it is fine to say Pilate ordered the crucifixion, and the Romans did it, but anti-Semitic to say Caiaphas was the prime mover in the Passover plot. Yet, for Caiaphas to be innocent, the Gospels must be myths or lies. My film is anti-Semitic only if the Gospels are anti-Semitic, says Gibson.
Exactly the point, says Stanley Kauffmann of the New Republic: “‘The Passion’ is anti-Semitic, because the Gospels themselves are anti-Semitic—in the sense of fixing Jewish responsibility for the Crucifixion.” Abe Foxman agrees: “the Gospels, if taken literally, can be very damaging.” But what if the Gospels “taken literally” are true?

To Boston University’s Paula Fredriksen, an apostate Catholic and convert to Judaism, “anti-Semitism has been integral to Christianity.” In the Toronto Globe & Mail, Donald Akinson writes, “To film a literal version of the Gospel of John is like filming a faithful version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

With folks who believe this, dialogue seems pointless. For they are saying that Christianity is anti-Semitic at its root and either we rewrite the Gospels to eradicate any “perfidy” by the Jewish authorities who delivered Christ to Pilate, or we are colluding in anti-Semitism and responsible for its consequences. If being faithful to the Christian imperative to tell the Gospel truth about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ is, to non-Christians and post-C"