I'm officially done with discussion about Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ, though I'll still selectively join in discussions of early Christian, Roman, Jewish history, etc. In spite of the vast quantities of verbiage, there is really no"debate" over the movie. There are two monologues: concerned" critics" who question Gibson's narrative, historical and aesthetic choices, and the narrowness of both his theological and secular vision; oblivious"defenders" who argue, correctly, that Gibson's movie is based on the Gospels, that Gibson has a right to think, pray and express himself, and that history is often a matter of interpretation. The problem with the oblivious freedom-worshiping literalists is that us critics have as much of a right to differ and to express ourselves and that some interpretations are more valid than others. Gibson's supporters have clearly and repeatedly refused to engage with the critical issues, and there's really no point in thinking that there's anything like a debate or discussion going on.
p.s. There's about only one exception, at least on HNN: Richard Henry Morgan, who has consistently engaged both sides of the discussion critically and substantially. One person.
p.p.s. And HNN just posted (literally minutes after I posted this message) Juan Cole's vigorously argued defense of Gibson's critics along with a few criticisms of his own. It's quite energetic writing, and as much as I'd like to be wrong, I very much doubt that it'll change anyone's mind on the subject.