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Blind SpotWhen Journalists Don't Get Religion$
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Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green-Ahmanson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374360.001.0001

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Jesus Christ, Superstar: The Passion of the Press

Jesus Christ, Superstar: The Passion of the Press

(p.129) 7 Jesus Christ, Superstar: The Passion of the Press
Blind Spot

Jeremy Lott

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews critical coverage of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and finds little attempt to understand or portray the movie on its own terms—that it was not any effort at a literal portrayal of the gospels but was structured around a very specifically Catholic piety centered on the Stations of the Cross and the Eucharistic sensibility of Christ’s body and blood. Because they did not grasp these liturgical dimensions, the media instead focused on controversies about the movie’s purported anti-Semitism, its bloodiness, and supposed literalism. This led to many wrong predictions, including that the movie would bomb at the box office, that Gibson would lose his fortune, and that it would ignite a wave of anti-Semitism, and missing a major story—that millions of evangelicals warmly embraced a picture of very Roman Catholic sensibility.

Keywords:   Mel Gibson, Passion of the Christ, anti-Semitism, Catholic, movie, gospels

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