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The NCC Reflection Guide
to Mel Gibson's Film
“The Passion of the Christ”
and Some Related Resources

The NCC Reflection Guide

Prepared in 2004 in a bulletin-insert style for distribution to congregations or study groups, the NCC Reflection Guide was intended to accompany the initial release of the Mel Gibson movie.  Now that the film has been edited for re-release, the NCC guide is being offered again, in a choice of formats:

Internet-Based Resources

1. The Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations, sponsored by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College offered three very useful resources on their web-page:   (1) a great study guide for viewers and reviewers of dramatic portrayals of Jesus’ passion, entitled, “Facts, Faith, and Film-Making: Jesus’ Passion and Its Portrayal” . . . (2) a short categorized bibliography of recent publications . . . and (3) a 2002 statement by the Christian Scholars Group on ten topics that impact Christian-Jewish relations.   You can access their web page at

2. A panel of Lutheran Scholars and Clergy issued a statement of “Concerns and Recommendations” about this movie. You can read their 2004 statement here:

Also on the ELCA web page is an excellent statement entitled “Gibson's "Passion": Some Need-to-Know Background,” by Dr. Carol Schersten LaHurd.   You can read her statement here:

3. International Council of Christians and Jews maintains an excellent clearing house of information on the web. A search for any of the key words on the movie (e.g. Mel Gibson, The Passion) will yield several articles. You can access that website here:

4. Two web services that specialize in faith-based information, Beliefnet and,  offered special sections with extensive bibliographies on the topics surrounding the film, and those may still be available through a search of those sites.

Books Related to the Subject

1. Recent books that deal with the question “Who killed Jesus?”

Crossan, John Dominic.  Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of The Death of Jesus.  New York: HarperSanFrancisco 1995.

Sloyan, Gerard S.  The Crucifixion of Jesus: History, Myth, Faith.  Minneapolis : Fortress Press 1995

Brown, Raymond.  The Death of the Messiah.  New York: Doubleday 1994. 

Rivkin, Ellis.  What Crucified Jesus? The Political Execution of a Charismatic. Nashville : Abingdon Press 1984. 

2. Recent books that deal with questions of Anti-Judaism and its origins

Kee, Howard Clark and Irvin J. Borowsky (eds), Removing Anti-Judaism from the New Testament. Philadelphia: American Interfaith Institute/World Alliance 1998 

Kee, Howard Clark and Irvin J. Borowsky (eds), Removing the Anti-Judaism from the Pulpit. Philadelphia: American Interfaith Institute 1996 

Beck, Norman A. Mature Christianity in the 21st Century: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic in the New Testament. NY: Crossroad 1994 

Hall, Sidney, G III, Christian Anti-Semitism and Paul’s Theology. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress 1993 

3. Recent books in which Christians and Jews reflect on each other’s tradition

Boys, Mary C. Has God Only One Blessing? Judaism as a Source for Christian Self-Understanding. New York: Paulist Press 2000 

Frymer-Kensky, Tikva et al. Christianity in Jewish Terms. Boulder, CO: Westview Press 2000 

Klenicki, Leon (ed), Toward a Theological Encounter: Jewish Understanding of Christianity. New York: Paulist Press 1991 

4. Towards a new paradigm of Christian Jewish relations

Bernadin, Cardinal Joseph,  A Blessing to Each Other: Cardinal Joseph Bernadin and Jewish Catholic Dialogue. Chicago: Archdiocese of Chicago 1996. 

Perulmuter, Hayim Goren, Siblings: Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity at their Beginnings. New York: Paulist Press 1989 

shantap.jpg (4901 bytes)This collection of resources was prepared by:
Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Director, Interfaith Relations
Phone: 212-870-2560
Fax: 212-870-2817
National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 880
New York, NY 10115 U.S.A.


Interfaith Relations Commission

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