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This article illuminates an overlooked polemic embedded in many Jesus films. Filmmakers show little comprehension of the architecture of the Jerusalem temple. When the temple does appear, animal sacrifice is either eradicated entirely or grossly misrepresented. Since contemporary audiences are increasingly unfamiliar with animal sacrifice and butchery in general, ancient Jewish rituals can be interpreted as unscrupulous and barbaric. Also, the temple and priesthood are often expressly depicted as greedy and corrupt. A related motif anachronistically attributes the Christian rejection of animal sacrifice to Jesus himself. Some of these mischaracterizations arise from gaps, ambiguities, and ideologies within the written Gospels. Nevertheless, filmmakers and moviegoers should be critical of the ways Jesus films become sites of religious competition by intentionally or unintentionally promoting Christian supersessionism.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.