Why is Mel Gibson's movie anti-semitic?

Just because they didn’t treat Jesus very nicely?

Way I see it, the Jews weren’t (and still aren’t) convinced Jesus was their messiah. The Jews invented the religion and wrote the books and prophesies. They should know a real messiah when they see one, right? Jesus didn’t do all the things a Messiah was supposed to do (establish new kingdom in Jerusalem, usher in universal peace, make lambs sleep with lions, etc). Per the OT, they had to get rid of a false prophet.

But, for fun, suppose Judas/Jews/Romans were nice and didn’t crucify Jesus (show mercy, judge him innocent, kill Barrabas instead). So then JC lives. But his mission would be all for naught: theologically speaking, he HAD to die to fulfill his soter role as a sacrifice for sins. So, if anything, Judas and the Jews and Romans did more to help Jesus than his own disciples (who didn’t want him to die). Without his enemies, what would Jesus have done to save everyone: committed suicide?

So since he MUST die, is it truly right to blame the Jews of wrongdoing? It could be said the Jews/Romans’ method of crucifiction was too harsh for a meek person like Jesus. But because he needed to die and he knew it all along, how bad could Jesus’ suffering be? As an omniscient god, he 100% knew that he would save the people, and when he died, he would come back to life in 3 days!! Is it really that much of a sacrifice? Now I’m sure whipping, nailing, and hanging weren’t pleasant, but Jesus knew it would only last at most a few hours, then he’d be alive and kicking again afterwards.

Of course, Mel Gibson didn’t write the bible, so as long he sticks to the source material I can’t see how people can blame him.

Until someone mentions something Mel adds on his own that seems anti-semetic, they really should shut up. Or blame the source material.

The Jews no more invented their religion than did the Christians.

I don’t think that’s the point, Rev.

Anyone with brains who sees the movie takes it for what it is, a movie, based on writings that are designed to convince and preach, not to record history.

The problem is that there are huge numbers of people without brains who will see the movie based only on their emotions. “That’s the way it really was!” The charge that the Jews killed Jesus has been used for centureis as the excuse for murdering Jews, stealing their property, kicking them out of the country, forced conversions, etc.

There is fear that we will see similar anti-Jewish reactions. Inciting the crowds is the way the Nazis got things rolling, the way the pogroms frolicked along, etc. 21st Century US is not immune from aroused mobs, incited by hatred, doing dreadful things.

If the film is true, even in wording, to the Gospels, especially According to Matthew (as I am told it is), then it is antisemitic by default. The NT was written that way to take the heat off the Romans, and thus preserve what little hope the nascent Christian faith had for survival prior to Constantine.

This shouldn’t be news. True, the movie paints a cruel picture of Jesus’ scourging and crucifixion. I’m hard-pressed to imagine a nice picture of scourging followed by crucifixion. From what I understand, being crucified is among the worst ways possible to die. And the NT is pretty clear about the fact that Jesus suffered terribly during the ordeal. He actually died rather quickly for a crucifixee, according to the story (folks could linger for more than a day up there…fun), which would seem to suggest he’d been subjected to considerable abuse before being nailed to a cross. Again, where’s the news here?

So, hey, Red Alert! The Bible says the Jewish High Priest wanted Christ dead, and and angry mob demanded it, despite the Roman prefect’s vocal misgivings. “Crucify him! May his blood be on us and on our children!” they are reported to have cried in their bloodthirsty-mob-like way. Worse, they were willing to trade the life of the innocent Christ for that of Barabbas, a notorius criminal. Giving in to the unruly mob, Pilate washed his hands, absolving himself and Rome of the attrocity.

Ultra-Bright-Mega-Red-Alert! Somebody finally made a movie that stays pretty true to this account! Gasp! Why…that’s antisemitic! I mean, the NT isn’t…I mean, Christians are good folks and all, it’s just this whacko Mel Gibson…I mean, we’re shocked, shocked really that somebody in this day and age would go around telling this story in front of everybody and, er…would I like to attend an Easter Service?

Although Gibson says he took pains to be accurate, it’s still a movie (around 2 hours, right?) - not everything in it is in the Gospels.

From what I understand it’s heavily padded with scenes of relentless torture. That and lots of jeering Hebrews.

Sounds like a great flick. :rolleyes:

There are theologians who think that the crucifixion of Jesus was far more of a Roman idea than a Jewish one, but the Gospels were written to show the Jews in a worse light than the Romans in order to curry favor with the Romans, who obviously had a lot more political power at the time.

I remember as a kid when I attended Good Friday services at my Catholic Church that the St. John Passion came with a disclaimer saying that when John wrote “Jews” he meant “the enemies of the Jews” or “the leaders of the Jews” and not the Jewish people as a whole.

This, being somewhat in line with the official Vatican II teaching, wouldn’t be in line with Gibson’s beliefs since he does not acknowledge the teachings of Vatican II.

I may as well give my total take on it-

Caiaphas, for reasons debatable, wanted JC dead- it may have been jealousy, it may have been fear of Roman reprisals or of an usurpation (how was he to know that perhaps Rome wouldn’t make a deal with this Davidic teacher of “going the second mile”?), it may have been (as a Messianic Rabbi on the Net suggested) that he knew Jesus was the Anointed Suffering Servant who was to die for humanity (yeah, far-fetched!).

Pilate probably wanted JC dead & was quite prepared to rubber-stamp Caiaphas’s verdict. Then he either decided to jerk Caiaphas’s chain or play GoodRoman/BadPriest or maybe upon actually meeting Jesus. adding in his wife’s dreams, was taken aback by him. Pilate was in precarious standing with Rome, having been chastised for abuse of authority in the killing of protesters of his use of Temple funds for the aqueduct, his sponsor Sejanus being executed by Tiberius for supposedly plotting against the Emperor, and Pilate had previously backed down before the Jewish opposition to his mounting “idolatrous” Roman standards in Jerusalem.

Herod had wanted JC dead, but backed down when JC wouldn’t play his game, perhaps with a new respect & even fear (he got over it later when he had the Apostle James killed in the Book of Acts).

As I see it, the problem isn’t the conventional “Jews killed Jesus” angle, if you accept the “we’re all responsible for Jesus’s inexplicable suicide.”

The problem is that Jews are an all-too-perfect metaphor for arrogant deniers and holdouts on Christ’s message. That’s exactly the way the non-christian Jews are played in the movie: the people who “just-don’t-get-it” ™ and who thus are bloodthirsty, foolish, gap toothed and goofy, willing to crush any views that stand in the way of their base and political and material interests. It’s a new SORT of anti-semitism that apologizes for the old kind, but finds new life in putting the Jews at the forefront of the hordes of conspiring enemies of Christ in the modern world.

What kind of idiot would blame 21st century Jews for alleged actions of 1st century Jews? I don’t see how Gibson can be accused of anti-Semitism: the Gospels are pretty clear that Pilate could find no guilt in Jesus. It’s very likely true that the Gospels were written to minimize Roman responsibility, given the need to stay under the Roman radar at the time. For those of us that spend Palm Sunday and Good Friday saying “Crucify Him” in Catholic churches, it isn’t exactly news that the Gospels place the blame for Jesus’ execution on the Jewish leaders. Making a movie based strictly on Biblical accounts may not be as historically accurate as possible, but anti-Semitism seems a bit of a stretch.

So, Gibson should have diverted from the source material, or not make the movie at all, or what?

I’m sorry, but people who see a stupid movie as the reality of whatever is pictured in it, are in my opinion in desperate need for help in order to leanr how to use their brain properly.

Furthermore, I find it an unbelievable claim to suppose that US Christians - who are supposed to posses normal functioning brains - are not able to use that brain in a normal way. In fact it comes to it to claim that the vast majority of the US christians are mentally disturbed.
Add to this that this strange instant-handicap seems to be supposed to spread itself equally among the non-Christian US population that happens to go and watch this stupid movie.

Add to this that people dare to even compare a ridiculous movie with centuries of profound and persistent anti Semitism, with the pogroms and with the Nazis.

I’m sorry, but if there is any truth behind such ridiculous claims and comparisons, then the inevitable conclusion must be that the whole US population is in need to seek professional help with the normal use and functioning of their brain.

A stupid movie is what it is: a movie.
Not a Nazi propaganda, not a holocaust, not a pogrom, not centuries of anti Semitism.
It is only a stupid unimportant ridiculous movie = it is not real and does not have any connection with reality.

Those who scream “anti Semitism” about a stupid movie and don’t do the same about the Bible, about the Passion plays, about the performance of the Passions of Bach and The Messiah of Händel prove only that they live far away of the real world in Fiction Fantasy.
Salaam. A

I agree with RevTim that Gibson had to stick with the text if he was going to tell the story the way it was written (note that I said “written” and not “happened”). Gibson is a religious fanatic and he wants everyone to feel love for Jesus the way he feels it. I think it will be a big plus for the Catholic church (and probably won’t hurt other christian spin-offs, either), and will probably generate some ill will toward Jews. Also, I think the gore factor was designed specifically to draw the throngs of fallen christians into the theater to revisit the message. And to generate a shitload of money for Mel, et.al, which he undoubtedly will.

I thought the Catholic church changed it’s official stand on the matter some years ago, and let the Jews off the hook for the crime. While I wouldn’t call it overtly antisemitic, it’s not exactly a love fest, either.

People keep asserting that this will stir up the Christians against the Jews. I doubt it.

After all, once upon a time I was contemplating joining the priesthood, and even with that I have no desire to beat my wife, son, or in-laws. Well, maybe my in-laws, but not because they’re Jewish.

This movie won’t arouse any new hatreds. They were already there. And nobody’s going to go out Jew-bashing. Those that do that sort of thing need no excuse. So it’s all much ado about nothing.

You’d be surprised. Read the banner atop the page: “It’s taking longer than we thought”… but it’s not counting from 1973 :frowning:

Well, if people were to accurately understand that this group arbitrarily called “the Jews” in the Passion play are really a stand-in for all those who insist on defiant non-belief because it suits their comfort/power/prosperity to ignore Jesus’ message, that would be another debate altogether. But yes, a lot of people read “the Jews” as meaning, well, the Jews, period.

As mentioned elsewhere, Gibson is of the pre-Vat-2 tendency in Catholicism, so he is likely to see any concerns about an updating of the old-time Passion Play as just being “PC”, and tell us where to shove our reservations about it. It is, sadly, true that the raw text of the appropriate passages of the Gospel According to John is full of “the Jews this”, “the Jews that”, “the Jews some other”, and it’s not good things. However, there are elements not derivable from scripture in The Passion such as the effeminate Herod, so Gibson does deviate from the source material for the sake of the moviemaking, Revtim.

Gotta say that again: Mel G. has intended to created an old-style Passion Play. Even in the old days Passion Plays were not expected to be Jesus biopics or even provide fully the internal context of the Gospels – never mind providing sociohistorical accuracy!(*) – but to just impress the faithful with how much JC suffered for them. Mr. Gibson seeks to strike a blow on behalf of his fellow traditionalists by making sure the biggest Jesus movie since Zefirelli’s is not one with a new-agey Peace-and-Love Jesus or a “social justice” Jesus or a “political revolutionary” Jesus or an “anguished, fallible human” Jesus, but one that is all about Ecce Homo, the Man of Sorrows. And it’s even in the Ancient languages! This, Kalhoun, may actually hurt rather than help the official Roman Catholic institutional position, not only in regards to the renunciation of antisemitism, but on an even broader theological sense by interfering with a 40-year effort to refocus away from the cult of the Dead Christ and a fixation with punishment and suffering and guilt.

(*Then again this is a problem with modern renditions of biblical/mythological stories from The Ten Commandments to Troy to Excalibur… if we’re faithful to the mythology it’ll be either offensive or ridiculous to half the audience, if we’re faithful to the history it’ll bore them to death)

I think I’m going to start a thread with the question why on earth people in the US are so obsessed with a stupid movie as if Movies = The Real World and have the power to influence people that much that they take actually Mpvies to be The Real World.

Do you people actually manage to live reality as well or is it the Hollywood Movie God’s Religion 24/24 for you?

I’m sorry, but this type of discussion and in fact the whole business around movies and soaps and whatever comes across as utterly unreal to me.
Salaam. A

Well, I guess I now know why I don’t see Aldebaran in Cafe Society very often.

Does your puzzlement also extend to other form of fiction like stupid books, as if Books = The Real World that have the power to influence people that much that they take actually Books to be The Real World. But for what it’s worth I find all the hoopla ridiculous and intend to see the movie – and probably enjoy it with my Coke and popcorn just as I did when I saw Black Hawk Down, which some other groupings seemed to get their knickers (do you wear knickers under Burka?) all in a twist over. Of course in Europe we have moved away from persecuting Jews on such preposterous grounds as religion – these day we find much more ingenious grounds.

  • Rune

But he didn’t stick to the source material. A lot of critics have said, and I’m pretty sure he has admitted as well though I don’t have a cite handy, that the nun Catherine Emmerich’s writings played a part in his film. Whether or not you consider her writings valid (from what I can tell, most biblical scholars don’t), they are definitely not part of the Bible.

There is what I consider a pretty fair review of the movie, including its shortcomings and strong points, on here. The review seems pretty fair to me despite the criticisms and title.

Overall, though, I agree with Aldebaran. This is a movie, not a documentary. True believers, or disbelievers for that matter, really need to take it with a grain of salt and realize it is one man’s interpretation of what happened and get over it. If you really believe in the Bible then you need look no further than the Bible.