Greenbelt 2008 first names announced
Nigel Biggar to give his Inaugural Lecture

Impressed with The Passion

I was generally impressed with The Passion. Some great moments. I like the way it began showing the intentionality of Jesus' decision to enter Jerusalem through the east gate on a donkey - he was making a theological and political statement about his identity. The scenes of Jesus teaching helped me visualize that he was speaking right in front of the Temple, this was a direct confrontation.  I was interested in the use of the word 'sacrament' after Jesus broke bread and shared wine in the Last Supper scenes. I like the way the flogging, the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion was almost a direct antithesis of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I liked the way they presented the whole drama as something political.  I liked the fact that the characters of Judas, Caiaphas and Pilate were not so two-dimensional. I found the final part, a bit disappointing, it was lacking something, but then perhaps it is simply that the resurrection is so difficult to convey. Mark Goodacre, who was an adviser on the production, has lots of links to background, reviews, etc.


Kevin Davis

I was generally impressed as well, but I still don't know what to think about it. There was quite a bit of added (i.e., non-scriptural) dialogue, which, for this dogmatician at least, is always dangerous territory. But, the Caiaphas background stuff was excellent. I was perplexed by the Last Supper scene where one of the apostles turns to another and states, "He can't turn wine into his blood." I don't remember that in the gospels (unless you want to conflate Mark 14 with John 6).

The most intriguing, and surely controversial, parts of the series were the questioning of Jesus about his mission -- in two scenes in particular, when talking to his mother and when in the garden. I wasn't especially disturbed by it, since I probably have a little higher kenoticism than your average Christian -- but, still, half or more of the dialogue in these sensitive parts are added/non-scriptural. On the other hand, Jesus also makes perfectly clear statements about his death and resurrection, including that this will be for the conquering of death and the forgiveness of sins.

Overall, the very welcome addition to this new Jesus movie is that Jesus is finally human and not some spaced-out Eastern monk with no attachments. This is a Jesus who shows emotion and values (even needs) the relations around him.

The comments to this entry are closed.