Why Jesus Died

However one assesses Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, the film has drawn attention to the death of Jesus in a way that preachers and teachers, who annually labor to place Good Friday before their people, can only envy. One could scarcely have imagined that the crucifixion would become a topic for movie reviewers and talk show hosts.

Gerard Sloyan’s book comes as a welcome resource for reflecting on some of the difficult questions surrounding the Gibson film. This slim volume excerpts three chapters from Sloyan’s The Crucifixion of Jesus: History, Myth, Faith (1995); the first addresses historical questions about the crucifixion, the second the interpretation of Jesus’ death as redemptive and the third the lodging of blame for Jesus’ death on the Jews.


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