Cultural Revolutions

Gibson's Passion

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ opens in theaters on Ash Wednesday (February 25).  It is too early to tell whether Gibson has achieved his aim of creating an artistically compelling account of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life that is also faithful to the Gospels, although those who have previewed the film are nearly universal in their praise.  It is also too early to tell whether Gibson’s film will find the audience he desires or will, instead, be savaged by a chorus of politically correct critics.  Regardless of how well The Passion does at the box office or with critics, however, Gibson has already achieved a great deal, and his film deserves the support of all those who care about Western art and its chief inspiration, the Gospels.

Gibson’s film has been controversial because it is rooted squarely in the Gospels.  Unlike his critics, Gibson accepts the Gospels as they are and does not believe that they require any external justification, a view undoubtedly in accord with both traditional Christianity and the view of most Christians today.  Gibson told Peter Boyer of the New Yorker that he experienced great despair in his 30’s, “And I just hit my knees.  And I had to use the Passion of Christ . . . to heal my wounds.  And I’ve just been meditating on it for twelve years.”

If any of Gibson’s critics...

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