[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Passion of Christ

Related: passion - Jesus

The Passion of the Christ (2004) - Mel Gibson [Amazon.com]


Though the word passion is now used to mean a great enthusiasm for some thing or for erotic emotions, in a Christian context, the Passion is the technical term for the suffering and Agony of Jesus Christ that led directly to the Crucifixion, the central Christian event. The "Passion narratives" tell this story in the Gospels. This usage exposes the etymological origins of the word, which lie in the Latin pati: "to suffer" . --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion [May 2004]

The Passion of the Christ (movie)

The Passion of the Christ (2004) is a film about the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Mel Gibson financed and directed this film adaptation of the traditional Passion play, which is a Roman Catholic tradition during the season of Lent. However, the film is also very popular with non-Catholic congregations.

After months of pre-release controversy that led to more pre-release sales than any film in history, the movie opened in the United States on February 25 (Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent), 2004. It earned $25 million per day in its first five days of release and in short order became the highest-grossing R-rated film ever made. As of May 1, 2004, The Passion of the Christ had the 7th highest all-time domestic gross ($365 million) and the 22nd highest all-time worldwide gross ($572 million). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_Christ [May 2004]

The Passion of the Christ (movie criticism)

Of all the "Passion" critics, no one has nailed its artistic vision more precisely than Christopher Hitchens, who on "Hardball" called it a homoerotic "exercise in lurid sadomasochism" for those who "like seeing handsome young men stripped and flayed alive over a long period of time."

Now he has made a film that principally appeals to the gay Christian sado-masochistic community: a niche market that hasn't been sufficiently exploited. --http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=13993739&method=full&siteid=50143, accessed May 2004


The following quotes are from the critics of “The Passion of the Christ”:

Catholic League president William Donohue responds as follows:

“Christians need to take note of this mental goose-stepping, but they should also note that none of these savants found ‘Schindler’s List’ to be pornographic. What they find pornographic is the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. No doubt for some of them, the New Testament classifies as pornography as well. Indeed that is exactly what a Brooklyn rabbi told me to my face. At least now it’s out in the open.”
--http://www.catholicleague.org/04press_releases/quarter1/040305_passion.htm, accessed and copied May 2004

Anne Catherine Emmerich

In 1833 appeared the first-fruits of Klemens Brentano's toil, "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich" (Sulzbach). These visions include grotesque anti-Semitic characterizations of Jews. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Catherine_Emmerich [May 2004]

Sadomasochism glorified

Passion is a fundamentalist's film about torture, legitimated because it is the torture of Jesus.

"The Passion of the Christ" is a celebration of the bloody suffering of Jesus, a fundamentalist interpretation by a man who rejects the Vatican Council. It is not, contrary to claims, a literal interpretation of St. John’s Gospel but is based on the “revelations” of a 19th-century mystic. It is a film about torture, legitimated because it is the torture of Jesus. “Passion” is a glorification of sadomasochism. --http://www.beliefnet.com/story/141/story_14134_1.html [Aug 2004]


I had not intended to get involved in the furor around this film, not being a religious person. But the thoughtful and articulate quality of this review and of the responses already received has drawn me in.

I may be wrong, but I think that no one so far seems to have mentioned the concepts of sadism and masochism. This is not surprising, since in a kind of Orwellian way they seem to have been removed from our public discourse. I have followed this as a student of psychoanalytic theory, where there is a significant literature. The Diagnostic and Standard Manual of the American Psychiatric Association includes these terms in its edition 3-R of 1987; however, they are absent in subsequent editions. One has to wonder if this is part of a general effort to stamp out the heresy of humanism and of concepts such as Fromm’s “man for himself.” Curiously, there even appears to be a tendency, even among those who should know better, to think of de Sade himself as some sort of champion of freedom; at least, I read comments to this effect in response to Quills.

Sado-masochism is related to fascism and paranoia but provides a broader conceptual framework linking these concepts with authoritarianism. Perhaps many of your readers are not old enough to remember the years around WW2 when there was a concerted effort to come to terms with and understand how the Hitler regime was possible. For instance, the American Jewish Committee published, in 1950, The Authoritarian Personality, which is much more specific than better-known work such as that of Hannah Arendt. Especially relevant to [Mel] Gibson is Theodor Reik’s Masochism in Modern Man (1941), with chapters on “The Secret Meaning of the Display in Public” and “The Paradoxes of Christ.” The effect of the emotional power of a film such as this one is that it dominates the thinking of the viewer, such that he is unable to entertain points of view other than the two choices of sadism and masochism.

In saying this, I do not intend to attack the sincere religious beliefs of others of your readers. However, I believe this deserves to be said as well. I personally am not a Jew. I was raised to be a Lutheran and am now a student of mythology as well as psychology. Without meaning to be flippant, I suggest that the figure of the dying god originated with beliefs about the cycles of nature. However, when these are transplanted to Roman Judea, the problem in formal terms is how the god is to die.


12 March 2004

via World Socialist Web Site, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/mar2004/pass-m20.shtml [Sept 2004]


  1. The Passion of the Christ (2004) - Mel Gibson [Amazon.com]
    After all the controversy and rigorous debate has subsided, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will remain a force to be reckoned with. In the final analysis, "Gibson's Folly" is an act of personal bravery and commitment on the part of its director, who self-financed this $25-30 million production to preserve his artistic goal of creating the Passion of Christ ("Passion" in this context meaning "suffering") as a quite literal, in-your-face interpretation of the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of torture and crucifixion. For Christians and non-Christians alike, this film does not "entertain," and it's not a film that one can "like" or "dislike" in any conventional sense. (It is also emphatically not a film for children or the weak of heart.) Rather, The Passion is a cinematic experience that serves an almost singular purpose: to show the scourging and death of Jesus Christ in such horrifically graphic detail (with Gibson's own hand pounding the nails in the cross) that even non-believers may feel a twinge of sorrow and culpability in witnessing the final moments of the Son of God, played by Jim Caviezel in a performance that's not so much acting as a willful act of submission, so intense that some will weep not only for Christ, but for Caviezel's unparalleled test of endurance.

    Leave it to the intelligentsia to debate the film's alleged anti-Semitic slant; if one judges what is on the screen (so gloriously served by John Debney's score and Caleb Deschanel's cinematography), there is fuel for debate but no obvious malice aforethought; the Jews under Caiaphas are just as guilty as the barbaric Romans who carry out the execution, especially after Gibson excised (from the subtitles, if not the soundtrack) the film's most controversial line of dialogue. If one accepts that Gibson's intentions are sincere, The Passion can be accepted for what it is: a grueling, straightforward (some might say unimaginative) and extremely violent depiction of the Passion, guaranteed to render devout Christians speechless while it intensifies their faith. Non-believers are likely to take a more dispassionate view, and some may resort to ridicule. But one thing remains undebatable: with The Passion of the Christ, Gibson put his money where his mouth is. You can praise or damn him all you want, but you've got to admire his chutzpah. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com


  1. The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1833) Anne Catherine Emmerich [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    What motivated Mel Gibson to make "The Passion of The Christ"? One of the reasons was this book that he accidentally stumbled upon; it planted a seed in his mind and finally played a large role in motivating him to make the film. While "The Passion of The Christ" is based on the Gospels of the Bible, this book played an instrumental role in Mel Gibson's motivation to make his new and stunning masterpiece.

    "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ", by Anne Catherine Emmerich, is faithful to the Bible story of the Passion and death of Jesus and is edifying and inspiring; plus, it is surprising and heart-rending. It will melt a heart of stone. Includes a short biography of Emmerich. A great book for the whole family!

    Anne Catherine Emmerich was a nun that lived in Germany between 1774 to 1824. "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" contains visions and reflections of Anne Catherine Emmerich concerning the Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, the Arrest, the Scourging , the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It recounts the incredible horrendous sufferings undergone by our Saviour in His superhumanly heroic act of Redemption. The book begins with a biography of Anne Catherine Emmerich, and then contains her reflections on The Passion of Jesus. This book conveys the a lasting impression of the terrible Agony of Our Lord, of His infinite love for us that motivated His Agony, and how His Passion and Death were brought on by each person's sins. Here is a book that gives one a holy feeling just to read it. --http://www.passion-movie.org, accessed May 2004

La Ricotta (1963) - Pier Paolo Pasolini

Ro.Go.Pa.G. Pier Paolo Pasolini (segment La Ricotta) (1963) [IMDB]

La ricotta (1963), a 35-minute film by Pasolini about a director who sets out to make a film about the Passion of Jesus

La ricotta is featured on Criterion's Mamma Roma (1962) - Pier Paolo Pasolini [Amazon.com] and on the massive The Criterion Collection Holiday 2004 Gift Set (2004) - Various (282 discs) [Amazon.com]

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications