Mel Gibson has written/produced a movied based around the crucifixion of Jesus Christ entitled "The Passion", set to be released in 2004. From what I've read, the movie is a historically accurate depiction of Christ's last hours, and includes graphic visual scenes of the crucifixion itself.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League of America (ADL) charges that the version of the screenplay that they've read is "replete with objectionable elements that would promote anti-Semitism." I haven't read what they've read, but it's clear that the movie will show some Jewish people doing some pretty bad things to Jesus.

In its statement, the ADL contended that Gibson and his collaborators "must complement their artistic vision with sound scholarship, which includes knowledge of how the passion accounts have been used historically to disparage and attack Jews and Judaism. Absent such scholarly and theological understanding, productions such as 'The Passion' could likely falsify history and fuel the animus of those who hate Jews."
The ADL wants Gibson to take historical anti-Semitism into account, apparently to such an extent that the accuracy of the movie would be compromised. However, I don't know what changes Gibson could make that would please the ADL.

Either the movie portrays Jews as participating in and encouraging the crucifixion, or it portrays Jews as (in some way) resisting the crucifixion... and thereby pro-Christ. There certainly were Jews who didn't want Jesus to be crucified -- we now call them Christians, and they believed that he was the Messiah. Would the ADL be happier if Gibson focused on them?

Revisionist history always bothers me. The French would love for everyone to forget how eager the Vichy government was to appease the Nazis. The Catholic church would like to pretend the Inquisition was just a bad dream. Americans would like to spin the Vietnam War as purposeful and necessary. The list goes on and on. Every organization, race, culture, and even every individual has done things they'd prefer they hadn't; it's not always necessary to drudge up the dark corners of history, but sometimes it is.

Really though, would the ADL prefer that the Jews hadn't accused Jesus of blasphemy and crucified him? I'm not even clear what alternative history they're pushing.



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