Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Passion' Unleashes Old Memories

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'The Passion' Unleashes Old Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, Times-Union staff writer

A movie can be relaxing and fun on a Sunday afternoon. Except of course for The Passion of the Christ.

The content -- the last 12 hours of Jesus' life -- was unusual for a movie theater in itself. Still stranger was how an audience that knew the ending by heart sat enthralled reading subtitles while actors spoke their lines in Aramaic and Latin.

Watching it, you had to wonder why there was so much criticism and why people wanted the film changed.

Our preacher, the Rev. David Yarborough, warned it was rated R for "reality."

Having seen the movie, I can understand how it could be disturbing to many people and how it would cause nightmares for children.

The depiction of Jesus' beating was extremely long and bloody. His skin was cut to ribbons and his blood collected in wine-colored puddles in sunken places among the courtyard stones. His walk through the streets to Golgotha bearing the cross was probably overdone as were some extra touches in the crucifixion. But I'm only guessing. Folks who have studied the Bible in the context of Roman history say it was probably very close to reality. Roman soldiers, like those who beat Jesus, were not known for their gentle nature and enjoyed flogging the locals, I'm told.

My concept of what Jesus suffered was tinged by my own experience. My personal history of beating goes back to my childhood where punishment was administered with a belt or a hickory stick.

If I was especially bad, which I usually was, my mother would break a thin limb off a handy bush and, if I was wearing shorts, give me a few lashes across my bare legs raising some stinging welts.

Some folks would be horrified at that kind of treatment today. I'm not going to say I turned out all right in spite of it. I think I turned out OK because of it. …

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