February 23, 04

Vol. 19 , No. 07   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 19 , No. 07)


Interpreting the Crucifixion of Jesus: The Passion Narratives and Jewish- Christian Relations
MICHAEL BERENBAUM
STEVE DAVIS
ROBERT FAGGEN
GARY GILBERT
JOHN ROTH
JEFF SIKER
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2004

On February 25th, the extremely controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, will debut in 2,000 theaters across the country. Directed, produced, and cowritten by Mel Gibson, it claims to depict the last twelve hours of Jesus Christ's life on Earth as written in the four New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to Gibson, great pains were taken to make sure that this film is as accurate as possible, including dialogue spoken in languages that would have been used in the time period.

On the eve of the release of the film, the Athenaeum will host a panel of Biblical and religious studies scholars. While this panel will not serve as a review of the film, its members will discuss the texts used to bring this story to the silver screen. The panelists will examine how the source texts are used and interpreted and the effects they have today in interfaith relations. They will also discuss the historical accuracy of the texts and examine the origin of the gospels and their use in the early church.

This expert panel is comprised of scholars from a variety of backgrounds who use different methods of interpretation. Claremont McKenna College participants in the discussion include Gary Gilbert, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies; Steve Davis, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy; Robert Faggen, professor of literature; and John Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy. The panel also includes Michael Berenbaum, adjunct professor of theology at the University of Judaism, Los Angeles, and Jeff Siker, professor of theological studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.