“Not often does a movie get the kind of prerelease raves that have greeted Mel Gibson’s The Passion.

“Not often does a movie get the kind of prerelease raves that have greeted Mel Gibson’s The Passion. “Could fuel hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism” (the Anti-Defamation League). “Could readily promote anti-Semitism” (Sister Mary C. Boys of New York City’s Union Theological Seminary). Some critics predicted toxic damage: “Its real tinder-box effect could be abroad,” wrote Frank Rich in the New York Times, “where anti-Semitism has metastasized since 9/11.” In the usually sober pages of the New Republic, Paula Fredriksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture at Boston University, warned, “When violence breaks out, Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to.” That’s when, not if. Makes you wonder what they’ll say when they actually see the movie.”