Maddux Article Examines Passion of the Christ

Assistant professor Kristy Maddux is the author of a recent article examining the enactment of feminine subjectivity in the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. Her analysis, entitled "Playing the Victim: Violence, Suffering, and Feminine Submission in The Passion of the Christ" appears in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Media & Religion.

Maddux's essay critically interrogates the graphic violence that defines the 2004 blockbuster The Passion of the Christ. It reads that violence in terms of theologies of suffering, opposing liberation theologians who privilege empathetic victimhood with Jesus as a goad to social activism against contextual theologians who fear that such celebrations of suffering only undermine possibilities for human agency. The Passion's violence facilitates a characterization of Jesus as victim and his faithful followers as submissive and feminine whereas his oppressors, the Roman and Temple guards, are aggressive and masculine. All of these humans are juxtaposed to the omnipotent God who controls the earthly scene. Maddux's close reading of the film suggests that celebrations of Jesus' suffering cannot inspire Christian activism when his suffering is framed as God ordained. Instead, in this divinely controlled world, the models of Christian discipleship are the feminine characters who practice submission even in the face of great violence.

Citation: Kristy Maddux, "Playing the Victim: Violence, Suffering, and Feminine Submission in The Passion of the Christ," Journal of Media & Religion 7 (2008): 150-169. 

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