Passion, Judas present contrast in Jesus films

Judas vetted for anti-Jewish scenes
Churchgoers pondering whether to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ during Lent know from news stories that they will have to steel themselves for graphically violent scenes and potential anti-Semitic overtones.

The controversial R-rated movie has been scheduled to open in about 2,000 theaters February 25, Ash Wednesday on Protestant and Catholic calendars.

Gibson, who directed the self-financed, $25 million film covering the last hours of Jesus’ life, reportedly said that he would remove a Gospel passage used for centuries to justify anti-Jewish persecution. A Jewish mob calling for the crucifixion says in Matthew 27:25 (but not in other Gospels), “His blood be on us and upon our children.” Jewish officials remain wary of the film because of its potential for fostering anti-Semitism.


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