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Pondering the Passion


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Table of Contents

Part 2 Introduction: The Passion-"What's at Stake for Christians and Jews?" Part 3 First-Century History Chapter 4 The Jews Under Roman Rule Chapter 5 The Problem of Jewish Jurisprudence and the Trial of Jesus Chapter 6 Why was Jesus Executed?: History and Faith Part 7 The Bible Chapter 8 Separating the True from the Historical: A Catholic Approach to the Passion Narratives Chapter 8 Protestant Understandings of the Passion Part 10 The Arts Chapter 11 The Depiction of Jews in Early Passion Iconography Chapter 12 The Passion in Music: Bach's Settings of the Matthew and John Passions Chapter 13 Oberammegau: A Case Study of Passion Plays Chapter 14 Celluloid Passions Part 15 Theology Chapter 16 What Does it Mean to be Saved? Chapter 17 Why is the Death of Jesus Redemptive? Part 18 The Passion of Christ Chapter 19 A Challenge to Catholic Teaching Chapter 20 Gibson's Passion in the Face of the Shoah's Ethical Considerations Chapter 20 Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? The Psychological Risks of "Witnessing" the Passion Chapter 22 Educating for a Faith that Feels and Thinks

About the Author

Philip A. Cunningham is executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning and adjunct professor of theology at Boston College. Interested in biblical studies, religious education, and theologies of Christian-Jewish relations, Dr. Cunningham is a member of the advisory committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, he has for several years co-convened its continuing seminar on Biblical Issues in Christian-Jewish Relations. His two most recent books are A Story of Shalom: The Calling of Christians and Jews by a Covenanting God and Sharing the Scriptures.


Pondering the Passion maps the landscape of issues raised by reflection on the accounts of the death of Jesus in the Gospels and Christian theological tradition as well as the controversies raised by Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ. Christians and Jews will be challenged by the essays in this book. These essays push both Christians and Jews beyond the debates of "history" versus "faith" or "liberal" versus "conservative." They seek to establish the boundaries of what constitutes a proper discussion about fundamental religious reflection for both communities in the twenty-first century. -- Michael A. Signer, Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture, University of Notre Dame The essays in this collection ask vitally important questions about one of the most outrageous American media events of the young 21st century. The authors make it plain that every viewer of 'The Passion of the Christ' must address the questions. Most importantly, the authors offer sober, thoughtful, well-informed perspectives from which to seek answers. Representing a remarkable range of scholarly expertise, they bring resources from the many disciplines that bear on any portrayal of Jesus' Passion-history, scripture, theology, drama and film, music, religious education, and even psychology. The contents of this book offer many of the tools we need to handle this explosive film without doing collateral damage to our Jewish neighbors. Whether we are successful depends on our answer to the books' implicit central question: will the riches of this scholarship continue to be squandered? We do so at our own risk. -- Peter A. Pettit, director, Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding; Assistant Professor of Religion, Muhlenberg College, PA Cunningham... has edited an excellent book that sorts out many aspects of Jesus' death. Staten Island Advance Even if Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ has peaked as a box office golden egg, the debate it sparked about the murder of Jesus and the relations between Jews and Christians remains as heated and muddled as ever. We are deeply grateful to the contributors to Pondering the Passion for helping us think more clearly and critically about the biblical, historical, theological, and artistic issues surrounding the passion of Christ. Scholarly yet accessible, passionate yet well-reasoned, open to dialogue yet deeply rooted in the Christian faith, these essays must be required reading after every showing of The Passion of Christ. -- Dr. Peter C. Phan, Ignacio Ellacuria Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, author of Many Faces, One Church

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