“The Passion of the Christ” has shown that contemporary audiences are drawn to the grisly details of Jesus’ physical torture and suffering. Contemporary voyeurism of the Christ’ Passion has its predecessor in the late medieval iconography of crucifixion. Examination of sacrificial doctrine of atonement behind the medieval art and piety suggests that this doctrine produced ambiguous outcomes. Sacrificial doctrine of atonement led to compassion to those less fortunate as well as to discrimination and violence against the “enemies” of Christianity. Unveiling the ambiguity of the sacrifice atonement allows us to name its sinister side: animosity, hostility and violence done in the name of God. Getting rid of its “domestication” and making it “unsafe” is an imperative task in a contemporary global situation that is proliferating with violence. Rejecting sacrificial reading of the Passion does not guarantee freedom from violence, but this theological move provides an opportunity to proceed in the direction of non-violence, in the direction where violence as a routine is never acceptable.
|Keywords:||Sacrificial Atonement, Doctrine of Atonement, Nonviolent Atonement, Violence and Christianity, Anti-Semitism|
Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, USA
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