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Pittsburgh, PA -- Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ has sparked spirited debate on religion, spirituality, and Hollywood’s portrayal of Jesus’ suffering. On Wednesday, March 31, La Roche College experts on religion and history will join the debate with a forum titled “The Passion of the Christ: Hollywood, Faith and History.” The event begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Ryan Room, located in the Zappala College Center on La Roche’s East Campus.

“This is a powerful film, and it provides an opportunity to delve into the central beliefs of Christianity,” said Sister Michele Bisbey, CDP, associate professor of religious studies and holder of the Ketteler Endowed Chair of Theology at La Roche College. Bisbey is one of the presenters at the forum. The other presenters are: Father Peter Horton, campus minister at La Roche College and former film critic for the Pittsburgh Catholic; and Edward Brett, Ph.D., chair of the La Roche College History Department and author of a number of books and articles on religious history, including the U.S. Catholic Press on Central America: From Cold War Anticommunism to Social Justice (University of Notre Dame Press, 2003).

The forum on March 31 is free and open to the public, and it will provide a preview of a course being offered this summer and this fall at La Roche College. Students enrolled in “Jesus in Hollywood and History” will view and discuss a variety of films portraying Jesus’ life. They will then compare and contrast those accounts with ones found in the Gospel.

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