Blogs > Cliopatria > Mel Gibson's Mistakes

Mar 1, 2004 9:35 pm

Mel Gibson's Mistakes

From the Guardian (Feb. 24, 2004):

Mel Gibson, who has already had to defend his The Passion of the Christ against suggestions it is anti-semitic, is now having to deal with accusations that he got the language, and even the hairstyles, wrong.

As the film goes on preview release in the US, experts say the language spoken in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus would have been Greek, along with Aramaic and a smattering of Hebrew in Jewish areas, and not the mix of Latin and Aramaic used in the film.

Latin would have been reserved for official decrees or used by the elite, historians and archaeologists say. Worse still, the Latin spoken in the $25m film is so poorly pronounced that it is virtually incomprehensible, they scoff.

Another point which has had the scholars frothing at the mouth is that in sticking to the stereotypical depiction of Jesus as a man with long, flowing locks, Gibson overlooked the fact that Jews were more likely to prefer a short back and sides.

On the contrary, Jewish texts ridiculed long hair as something Roman or Greek, experts say.


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Albert J Pinkoski - 3/5/2004

In the filming of 'Passion' some of the extras were told simply to speak their localized Italian dialect in place of the Aramaic(?!), that it was unlikely that a majority of viewers would be able to detect the difference. Besides, how does one come to the conclusion that the Latin used in the film is 'poorly pronounced'? How do we know what Latin sounded like 2000 years ago? Poor pronunciation and poor grammar, in addition to cultural, political, religious upheavals throughout the centuries, are what caused the 'diversification' of Latin into the modern 'Romance' languages. Even Julius Caesar was criticized for his low-class Latin by the sophisticated poets and historians of that era.