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Mel Gibson's 'Passion': Jesus and the Gospels
Rev. Michael Reilly
Thursday, June 26, 2003

Some of Mel Gibson's biggest critics are Catholic theologians.

Believe it or not, they are "accusing" him of following the Gospel accounts of Jesus' passion too closely.

In other words, Gibson hasn't consulted them to receive their guidance and direction in understanding the Gospels.

According to some theologians, the Gospels are theological diatribes thoroughly lacking in historical value and accuracy.

Some theologians believe that the Gospels were written long after Christ's passion and therefore are more reflective of the community than they are of the actual events.

Interestingly, one of the main reasons for their later dating of the Gospels centers around the Jews. When Jesus lambastes the Pharisees in the Gospels, this is supposedly representative of a hostility that did not exist between Christians and Jews before 85 A.D., when the Christians were expelled from the synagogues.

I suppose these theologians discount the martyrdom of St. Stephen in 36 A.D. and the persecution of Christians carried out by St. Paul before his conversion.

The earliest and most reliable sources available indicate that the Gospels were written by the apostles and apostolic men not long after the events took place.

St. Irenaeus, instructed by St. Polycarp, the disciple of John the Apostle, informs us that Matthew wrote his Gospel before the martyrdom of Peter and Paul in 64 A.D. and that Mark and Luke wrote at the time of their martyrdom. Modern theologians know better?

Likewise, there is no reason to believe that the evangelists in any way sacrificed accuracy to make a theological point.

Ultimately nearly everything we know about Jesus has been handed down by the four evangelists. If we don't believe what they wrote, why would we call ourselves Christian?

The Rev. Michael Reilly is the vice principal of St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Staten Island, N.Y.

Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Mel Gibson's "Passion"

Editor's note:
Charlton Heston presents "The Bible" - Click Here Now


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