The Passion has all the elements of classical tragedy: powerful characters, and a powerful plot filled with suspense and tension. But the centrality of the Passion to the Jesus film genre reflects not only the dramatic power of Jesus' Passion but also its importance within the first-century Gospel traditions themselves. It is sometimes said that the Gospels are Passion stories with extended introductions (Kähler). The Passion is anticipated from the very first chapter of each of the Gospels, and the detailed description of its events constitute the climax of each of the four canonical narratives. It is Jesus' death, and the resurrection that Christianity believes followed upon it, that give meaning to his life and to his messianic identity as the Christ and Son of God, and hence to his role in the Western history and culture that has been dominated by Christianity. No wonder, then, that artists, composers, playwrights and filmmakers continue to take up the challenge of putting image and sound to this powerful story.
"Passion-ate Moments in the Jesus Film Genre,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 8
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol8/iss1/5