Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I'm back from the family reunion and I saw an interesting article in this week's New Republic by Paula Frederiksen on the movie Mel Gibson is making on the crucifixion of Jesus -- "THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO GIBSON. Mad Mel" (requires registration to read on line). She was one of a group of scholars invited to respond to the script and write a report on it to the production company. In her opinion, if the movie follows the script that they read, it will only reinforce traditional Christian anti-semitic beliefs. Gibson apparently belongs to a traditionalist Catholic group that rejects the reforms of Vatican II, including the repudiation of the traditional charge of deicide against Jews. Gibson claims that in the movie he is trying to adhere to historical accuracy -- so it is being made in Aramaic and Latin (!) as these were the spoken languages of first century Palestine. As Fredriksen says, while Aramaic was one of the spoken languages, Latin would have been heard very rarely and would not have been a language spoken between Jews and Romans -- Greek would have been used instead. So much for historical accuracy. Read her article for all the details.

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