The Dartmouth Observer

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Saturday, February 28, 2004
The Passion

It was one of the most uniquely powerful movies that I as an atheist have seen. Now I was moved on many occasions in the Lord of the Rings movies, but not in a way that I was for the two hours of The Passion; I can only imagine what religious people would feel. Yes, it was violent. But unlike Andrew Sullivan, who considers it "pure pornography," I did not see the violence as sensational or gratuitous. Watch Kill Bill if you want pornographic violence. Also, Sullivan doesn't note that the flayings and the beatings are juxtaposed with flashbacks from the Last Supper and earlier episodes in Jesus's life.

I didn't find the movie anti-Semitic, and neither did my Jewish friend who watched it with me and who thought it was anti-Semitic before he did so. Who's to blame for Jesus's death? It's not just the Jews. While Caiphas and his followers are of course culpable, so too is Pilate, whose indifference and spinelessness in the face of said mob I found deeply disturbing. Speaking of mobs, what about the brutality of the Roman soldiers?