Why "The Christ" Instead of "Christ" in "The Passion of the Christ"?
February 26, 2004 8:20 AM   Subscribe

In the title The Passion of the Christ, what is the significance of the second 'the'? We don't go around around saying 'the Gibson', although I guess we do say 'the Donald'.
posted by mischief to Religion & Philosophy (12 answers total)
Christ is a title, it meens saviour. Jesus is the Christ, if you are so inclined to believe.
posted by Mick at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2004

This Slate Explainer column, which explores why the film is called "The Passion," also explains the "the":
But why the "the" in "of the Christ"? The moniker is a less common alternative to just plain Christ, which is a derivation of a Latin translation of a Greek translation of the Hebrew title Messiah, which means "the Anointed." In the Geneva and 1611 versions of the New Testament, the word "Christ" is often preceded by the word "the."
posted by realityblurred at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2004

Yeah, Mary and Joseph weren't Mr. and Mrs. Christ.
posted by jpoulos at 8:26 AM on February 26, 2004

It also has to do with Christ being His "role." When people say Jesus Christ, it makes it sound like Christ is His last name. Using "The" is meant as a way to seperate Christ from His name Jesus and puncuate the fact Jesus is The Christ, kind of like how Bush is The President of the US.
posted by jmd82 at 8:46 AM on February 26, 2004

Christ is a title, it meens saviour.

No, it means 'messiah' (= 'anointed one'), and if you mentally replace "Christ" with "Messiah" you'll see why "the" is used.
posted by languagehat at 8:58 AM on February 26, 2004

Snarky aside: if you have seen Hackers recently, you will go around saying 'the Gibson'. As in 'hacking the Gibson'. ;)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:48 AM on February 26, 2004

I thought that Christ was equivalent to "The Crucified" or "He who was crucified" or just "Crucified." As jmd said, that's his role.

As in:
Jesus, Regional Manager.
Jesus, FBI.
Jesus, Actor/Director.
Jesus, Christ.

Give these people 2000 years and they lose the comma.
posted by scarabic at 9:58 AM on February 26, 2004

Not that is has anything to do with anything, but yesterday on the radio, Don and Mike were interviewing people about the movie, and were asking them which movie they thought would have more biblical significance: The Passion of The Christ or The Starskey and The Hutch. I just thought that was funny.
posted by emptybowl at 10:29 AM on February 26, 2004


from m-w.com
Main Entry: Christ
Pronunciation: 'krIst
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English Crist, from Old English, from Latin Christus, from Greek Christos, literally, anointed, from chriein
3 : an ideal type of humanity
4 Christian Science : the ideal truth that comes as a divine manifestation of God to destroy incarnate error

The above definition had always been my defintion of what "Christ" actually means, from a Catholic perspective at least.
posted by jmd82 at 12:10 PM on February 26, 2004


So "crucifix" and "christ" are not related? Ya learn something every day...
posted by scarabic at 12:58 PM on February 26, 2004

Interesting. I'd always wondered why one of the Episcopalian Eucharistic prayers (which contained the line "...put all things in subjection under your Christ") was phrased the way it was.

(And I just looked up Chrism, the oil used in anointing ceremonies, and was suprised to find that its root is apparently from the word for "ointment"...I'd have thought it came from the same root as "Christ", given that its etymology is given as "anointed", as in jmd82's and languagehat's posts above. So "Christ" came from "Chrism", not the other way around.)
posted by Vidiot at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2004

"Christ" is to "Jesus" as "Pooh" is to "Winnie."
posted by kindall at 2:43 PM on February 26, 2004

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