Monday, April 05, 2004


A string of Easter-'The Passion' related Jesus documentaries are set to hit the air-waves, all 'dispassionate' and without agenda (of course):
ABC, Fox News and the History Channel, among others, have planned documentaries about Jesus that seek to capitalize on the extraordinary popularity of Mr. Gibson's polemical film, while setting the record straight.

However different in tone and perspective, all these specials make the same point, over and over: Jesus was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew, and Pontius Pilate, not his fellow Jews, is to blame for his execution.

Like the debate over the theory of evolution, this renewed insistence on a point that most historians and mainstream Christian churches conceded long ago is quite striking. "The Passion" has become a kind of 21st-century Scopes Trial: despite the broad consensus, public officials, church leaders and even network anchors feel obliged to prove, again and again, that Jewish collective guilt, like creationism, is an atavistic myth.

Not only do they preach to their liberal theology choir on the resurrection, but Paul continues to be a favorite whipping-boy:
The ABC documentary painstakingly shows how much Christian dogma — including much-disputed rules about homosexuality and procreation — were based on St. Paul's Letters. Ms. Pagels calls those Epistles "theology written on the run." The documentary also looks at St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians — used by the Nazis to justify persecution of the Jews — and absolves St. Paul of deliberately inciting anti-Semitism. "It is true that Paul could be very nasty," Mr. Jennings says, citing his harsher Epistles. "But if you look closely, you see that Paul is really arguing with his fellow Jews."

Ooooo, that nasty Paul! But at least Peter Jennings gives him a pass on the Nazis--that's certainly been a worry of mine.

These documentaries sound just great--no agenda, just the facts and very 'dispassionate'. Yeah, right.

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