Lent's Forgotten Joy: Contemporary Depiction and Emotionalization of the Passion History Evaluated in Light of a Literary Analysis of the John 19:1-37 Narrative
Especially in the past decade with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and the tendency to view other passion history videos in congregational settings, American Christianity has seen a rise in the graphic depiction of the flogging and crucifixion of Christ. The research question this thesis seeks to answer is, “How do contemporary depictions of the passion history compare to the unique literary intention of the Evangelist John in 19:1-37?” By utilizing the specific research lens of literary analysis, the author evaluates such emotionalizing depictions in contrast to the Gospel of John’s own narration, where details on the torture involved are extraordinarily restrained. Although such passion history depictions in all their gruesome detail are not necessarily ahistorical, this thesis will contend such depictions are contrary to the overall emphases, motifs, themes, and purposes of the specific way the Evangelist John records the passion history. It cautions against passion history cinematography by arguing that such graphic depiction is based far more on medieval Catholicism than on a biblically sensitive reading of the Gospels. It concludes with an appeal to worship leaders and pastors to reframe Lent from a season of somberness to a season of joy.