The Corner

Krauthammer On The Passion

I have read many hysterical, and many sober, criticisms of the movie. Many of the criticisms have suggested that the movie is, in some way or other, anti-Semitic. Krauthammer comes up with two suggestions that are new to me. The first is that because half of Satan’s four appearances in the movie have him inciting the Jewish crowd, the movie is saying that these are Satan’s people. This is, depending on your view, either evidence that Krauthammer has found a very devious anti-Semitic ploy of Gibson’s that almost nobody else was able to see, or evidence that Krauthammer is looking extremely hard to find anti-Semitism in the movie.

The second is that the scourging scene is anti-Semitic too. Now many people have argued that the scene is far too long, and I think there’s a reasonable case to be made for that view. While many of the commentators who believe this also believe the movie to be anti-Semitic, they have not generally said that the scene itself was anti-Semitic, for the simple reason that the Romans and not the Jews were doing the scourging. Krauthammer thinks it anti-Semitic because it has “the high priest Caiaphas stand there with his cruel, impassive fellow priests witnessing the scourging.” Another point for originality, to be evaluated in either of the above ways.

Krauthammer refers several times to Vatican II. Now there is no reason for a non-Catholic to be familiar with what Vatican II did and did not do; there is no shame in Krauthammer’s not knowing much about it. But perhaps if you don’t know much about it you should refrain from writing columns that refer so frequently to the subject.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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