How BAD was the Passion?

This may sound like an obvious question but I once in awhile meditate on Christ’s passion and was wondering the true reality of the actual happening.

I know Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ was extremely graphic and pretty violent. I try to imagine what it was really like 2,000 years ago, as if we were all there by Mary’s side. Was it bad enough that we couldn’t even see it happen? Was the real Passion worse than the movie?

What’s your view on this?

From the report I heard

When JPII saw the pre-screening of the Passion he said, “It is as it was.”

I think he’s about as good an authority as we are likely to find…

God Bless, candidate Blues,
RyanL

I read a book years ago call A Doctor At Calvary. A surgeon, whose name escapes me, analyzed the wounds on the shroud of Turin as well as the history of crucifiction. It is an incredibly detailed account of what Jesus would have suffered and in my opinion The Passion is right in line with this Doctor’s findings.

What I find very interesting is the idea that what Christ suffered in his soul was beyond what he suffered physically. It seems to me his physical sufferings were for our benefit in that it gives us something tangible to comprehend and appreciate. Because in truth what he suffered in his soul would have been enough for our salvation.

If you read The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ you will find that Mel Gibson’s movie was the light version of what happened.

There is little doubt that a Roman cruxifiction was a very brutal execution. There was NO sense of mercy and any infliction or indignity the soliders could think was not only permitted but encouraged.

The Passion portrays that pretty well.

the physical suffering of the passion was horrific…

but, nothing compared to the spiritual… He decended
into hell… others had been scourged, even unto death…
others had been crucified… but no one, had ever borne
the sins of the world…no one had ever decended into hell
to deliver the gospel…

so, there is no way we can conceive of Jesus’ suffering
during the passion…

i feel like that was what MG was trying to do in making the
passion scenes so… brutal… but no matter how terrible you
try it imagine it, it can’t be as bad as it truly was for our
Lord…

:slight_smile:

[quote=Paris Blues]This may sound like an obvious question but I once in awhile meditate on Christ’s passion and was wondering the true reality of the actual happening.

I know Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ was extremely graphic and pretty violent. I try to imagine what it was really like 2,000 years ago, as if we were all there by Mary’s side. Was it bad enough that we couldn’t even see it happen? Was the real Passion worse than the movie?

What’s your view on this?
[/quote]

I didn’t see the film.

Bear in mind that crucified men:
[list]
*]took hours, usually days, to die
*]were at the mercy of the sadism of their executioners - the tradition that Peter was crucified upside down, is entirely plausible, and favours the authenticity of the tradition
*]were naked and completely exposed to the elements
*]had no control over their natural functions - crucifixes are very sanitised, if taken as representations of precise historical reality
*]could move only at the cost of excruciating pain
*]the flogging beforehand could easily kill - the criminal would have his back laid open; once he was crucified, the wounds would attract the flies, especially on a hot day in Palestine
*]the flogging involved the use of whips with shards of bone or metal in them - we are not talking about mere leather
[/list]By the time He died, He would probably have been a bleeding, stinking, insect-infested mess.

The significance of the fact that God Incarnate died this way cannot be emphasised enough - for by doing so, He died a death of the utmost disgrace and humiliation, a death normally (not quite always) reserved for the trash of society. Where Jesus was lucky, is in dying after a few hours: Bessus, the murderer of Darius III, was crucified by Alexander the Great in about 329 BC, and lingered for three days. Jesus was also lucky not to be mutilated - not everyone was so fortunate: the brigands crucified with him had their legs smashed; something, he, being dead already, was spared.

By doing so, He put Himself under the curse of Deuteronomy 21.23 - “Accursed is the man who is hanged upon a tree”. No greater collision between the unimaginable Holiness of God, and what is incompatible with it, is possible : Jesus occupied the space between them, and united them in His Death. The result is the restoration of man to the favour of God, mediated by Christ, the new (and better) Moses.

It’s also important that He was not alone in being crucified - He shared a death common to many. Again & again in the gospels, He never expects exceptional treatment; He never distances Himself from the lives of the lowly, but shares them to the utmost - as here.

What people thought of crucifixion is shown particularly by the fact that the Gospel accounts are the fullest we have from antiquity. Crucifixion was obscene, shameful, and a death for the lower classes - so it was not discussed in “polite society” - not with apologies for having to do so.

And this is only one element in His sufferings.

Source: Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (SCM Press 1977)

[quote=Sugar Ray]I read a book years ago call A Doctor At Calvary. A surgeon, whose name escapes me, analyzed the wounds on the shroud of Turin as well as the history of crucifiction. It is an incredibly detailed account of what Jesus would have suffered and in my opinion The Passion is right in line with this Doctor’s findings.

What I find very interesting is the idea that what Christ suffered in his soul was beyond what he suffered physically. It seems to me his physical sufferings were for our benefit in that it gives us something tangible to comprehend and appreciate. Because in truth what he suffered in his soul would have been enough for our salvation.
[/quote]

Pierre Barbet - see: nationalreview.com/flashback/sullivan200503240759.asp

It’s one of those crucial matters that, when you allow yourself to meditate on Christ’s suffering, just destroys you inside. I daresay that few, if any human being, past or present, has EVER suffered to the degree that Jesus suffered prior to His death and resurrection.

I believe that the movie was probably pretty accurate, but I daresay that He suffered even more devastating damage to His face than what was depicted in the movie. As humans, we’ve never known that kind of love… the love that God has for us.
**
“As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:”
[right]Isaiah 52:14[/right]

Although the physical pain was bad, I think, as other posters have said, that it was his soul that suffered more, for he almost never cried out at the pain, but spoke frequently about the spiritual side of it all.

It is said that when Blessed Anne was made to feel the pain that Mary felt at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, it nearly killed her. Try to imagine that which Christ felt!

Id recommend the Dolorous Passion. Regardless of authenticity it is a painful reminder of what Our Lord went through.

[quote=ChristianWAB]I daresay that few, if any human being, past or present, has EVER suffered to the degree that Jesus suffered prior to His death and resurrection.

[/quote]

I would say that you are correct. Let us not forget that it would be impossible for us to suffer as much because we are finite beings. Jesus loved us infinitely, and as such the pain and suffering He took upon Himself hurt infinitely more than any human could ever suffer.

[quote=ChristianWAB]I daresay that few, if any human being, past or present, has EVER suffered to the degree that Jesus suffered prior to His death and resurrection.

[/quote]

There have probably been hundreds of thousands who have suffered similarly painful and degrading deaths, in the physical sense. Not to mention women who have been raped/abused before being murdered. And what about the long term suffering and utter degreadation of those in concemtration camps during the holocaust? Being forced to incinerate your own peoples bodies, knowing you’ll be next, watching your firends and family dying around you. What world are you living in?

As Gottle pointed out, there is more than just the physical suffering, it was also incredibly humiliating. I don’t think this aspect of the Passion can be overlooked. God, the most glorious and perfect enitity, allowed Himself to be totally humiliated for us. Wow.

[quote=cynic]There have probably been hundreds of thousands who have suffered similarly painful and degrading deaths, in the physical sense. Not to mention women who have been raped/abused before being murdered. And what about the long term suffering and utter degreadation of those in concemtration camps during the holocaust? Being forced to incinerate your own peoples bodies, knowing you’ll be next, watching your firends and family dying around you. What world are you living in?
[/quote]

Look to post #11.

[quote=cynic]There have probably been hundreds of thousands who have suffered similarly painful and degrading deaths, in the physical sense. Not to mention women who have been raped/abused before being murdered. And what about the long term suffering and utter degreadation of those in concemtration camps during the holocaust? Being forced to incinerate your own peoples bodies, knowing you’ll be next, watching your firends and family dying around you. What world are you living in?
[/quote]

I’m living in a world that Jesus loved enough to give His life; a world that scarcely appreciates Him as they should, save for those few faithful who look to Him for mercy, forgiveness and salvation. :frowning:

[quote=Paris Blues]This may sound like an obvious question but I once in awhile meditate on Christ’s passion and was wondering the true reality of the actual happening.

I know Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ was extremely graphic and pretty violent. I try to imagine what it was really like 2,000 years ago, as if we were all there by Mary’s side. Was it bad enough that we couldn’t even see it happen? Was the real Passion worse than the movie?

What’s your view on this?
[/quote]

You know what really struck me about meditating on Christ’s Passion? The perfection of Our Lady’s dicipleship as a Christian. I began to see that here was a woman who had to watch ‘her little boy’ go through such a tortuous death, in order for the fullfillment of the Holy Scriptures and the redemption of the world…and she never left His side, and offered comfort to the other women there and to John, His beloved Apostle. I began to understand the incredible responsibility I have as a woman, a Catholic woman, to be a spiritual mother to those in my community and how I fall so short every day. I began to understand the penitial rite in Mass and truly began to understand why it is so important for me to pray the Angelus every day.

[quote=cynic]There have probably been hundreds of thousands who have suffered similarly painful and degrading deaths, in the physical sense. Not to mention women who have been raped/abused before being murdered. And what about the long term suffering and utter degreadation of those in concemtration camps during the holocaust? Being forced to incinerate your own peoples bodies, knowing you’ll be next, watching your firends and family dying around you. What world are you living in?
[/quote]

a world in which great evil exists, and from that evil comes great good.

I am one of those women who have been raped and abused and who has seen horrific things. My past is now my greatest asset. Do not lose hope my friend. Christ loves you.

More on Sweating Blood

“A thorough search of the medical literature demonstrates that such a condition, while admittedly rare, does occur in humans. Commonly referred to as hematidrosis or hemohidrosis, this condition results in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture, thus mixing blood with perspiration. This condition has been reported in extreme instances of stress. During the waning years of the twentieth century, 76 cases of hematidrosis were studied and classified into categories according to causative factors. Acute fear and intense mental contemplation were found to be the most frequent inciting causes. While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile, which would have made Christ’s pending physical insults even more painful.

Following the release of the Passion of the Christ, I received the following from a friend. I believe it originally appeared in www.spiritdaily.com. BTW, I am posting in two parts as the article was too long and I couldn’t find the direct link to it.

MEDICAL EXAMINER AND CRUCIFIXION EXPERT DESCRIBES EXACT WAY HE SAYS CHRIST DIED

The question is one for the ages. We know how Jesus died. He was crucified. But from a medical standpoint, precisely what aspect of His Crucifixion actually caused His death?

It’s a question raised by the now-famous movie on Christ’s Passion and it is best put to researchers like Dr. Fred T. Zugibe – former medical examiner in Rockland County, New York, and a man who has studied the Crucifixion for fifty years, considered by some as the world’s ranking expert.

Dr. Zugibe asserts that the chief reason Jesus died so soon after being nailed to a cross was not asphyxiation, as commonly thought, but due to the scourging, and the doctor has even come up with specific medical diagnoses for what fatally afflicted Our Savior.

“When you develop the mechanism and cause of death, you start at Gethsemane and you take each step of the way,” he told Spirit Daily. “Each of these aspects are contributory to his death. It’s the way we do it in forensic pathology: a reconstruction of cause of death. You take all the factors and their effects on the body and then plug them in and come to a cause of death.”

Using that method, says the doctor (who has degrees in both anatomy and cardiology, and who served as medical examiner for 33 years), one comes to the cause of Jesus’ death as “hypovolemic and traumatic shock” – meaning a loss of both blood and fluids to such an extent that the individual goes into shock and dies.

“That was the cause of death,” maintains Dr. Zugibe. “We’ve been able to almost prove definitively that asphyxiation was not the cause. It was not asphyxiation. There was no problem breathing on the cross. And anyway, nobody could push up to breathe, like some said Jesus did.”

The idea of Jesus pushing up from his feet to breathe on the cross until He could no longer do so is a concept that was emphasized by a French doctor named Pierre Barbet, who believed that Christ died when He lost the struggle for oxygen. But after conducting more than 500 actual experiments involving a cross, including tests for the oxygen content in the blood of volunteers strapped to the device, Dr. Zugibe vigorously disputes those conclusions, choosing to emphasize the scourging and other physical traumas as the reason for actual expiration – which fits with the emphasis on scourging and beatings in the visions of German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, who influenced the now-famous Mel Gibson movie.

While that movie is based principally on the Gospels, parts were fleshed out by Gibson’s reading of books like Emmerich’s The Dolorous Passion of Jesus Christ – which presents emphasis on the pre-cross trauma.

Pt.2

The shock, says Zugibe, can be traced back to Gethsemane, when Jesus experienced the perspiration of blood, an actual medical phenomenon technically known as “hematidrosis.”

“I found over a hundred cases of hematidrosis, and believe it or not, the common denominator was fear,” he says. “There were actual cases: fear on the way to the gallows, on the way to the guillotine, or a sea captain who was in a violent storm and thought he was going to die. There was also a girl during the blitz in England. Every time the blitz came, she perspired blood! They tried everything to stop it and couldn’t. It went on until the war was over and the rockets stopped. Fear was the common denominator.”

Dr. Zugibe says the loss of blood from hematidrosis was then coupled with the horror of scourging, which along with standard bloodshed causes severe fluid accumulation around the outside of the lungs over a period of two to three hours. “When there are any kind of beatings around the chest area, there may be lung collapse, but the whole point is that a major aspect of scourging is pleural effusion: fluid build up, and fluid that you also count as lost.”

The scourging could also have caused rib fracture and severe hemorrhaging into the body wall, notes the medical examiner. How many times was Jesus scourged? Zugibe notes that there are over a hundred scourge marks on the Shroud of Turin, which he has personally studied. “Since there are thought to have been three leather thongs with bits of metal or bone on each flagrum [or whip], that means there were not more than 39 actual lashes,” says Zugibe. “In Deuteronomy the prescription was ‘forty less one’ when it came to scourging. But because each flagrum had three thongs, you take three times 39 and it would be over a hundred marks.”

“Then you take the crowing with thorns,” adds the medical examiner. "People think that was just a parody, a mockery, of His kingship, and yes, that was part of it. But the effect of the crowning of thorns was far beyond that. More than mockery, it was another infliction of severe pain that added to the shock.

“What happens is that if you analyze a plant like the vizziphus spina christii or ‘Christ thorn’ plant, which may have been used, that would cause a condition called ‘trigeminal neuralgia,’” says the anatomical expert. "I’ve seen many cases of it, and it’s a very severe pain that goes across the face. If you take a little twig of the trigeminal nerve that goes into the tooth and it becomes irritated, you get a toothache. So you have an idea of the sensitivity.

"Now take the whole branch of the nerve – which goes across the face and head area, by the eyes – and it’s a triple branching that would be irritated.

"The pain is so severe that some people have actually committed suicide.

"It may stop, and then a whisp of wind will bring back the pain.

“It is very agonizing and all these things add to the traumatic shock.”

Then there was the falling down and getting up and the additional beatings. Dr. Zugibe asserts that under such shock, Jesus could not have carried the entire cross, but only the cross beam, which he estimates to have weighed fifty pounds. When Jesus fell, that weight added to the shock. Factor in the beating sun on the road to Calvary – which was about three quarters of a mile – and lack of drink or nourishment (He had not eaten since the Last Supper), and it all adds up to more than any human (and Christ was in human form) could take.

Once on the cross, notes Dr. Zugibe, the nails would have affected the median nerves in Jesus’ Hands, causing yet another horrid pain called “causalgia.” The pains from that are so severe, says the doctor, that when it has occurred in wartime, even morphine has not been able to take it away. “It’s one of the worst pains people have ever experienced,” he says. “They actually have to cut the nerve at the spinal column, in order to stop the pain.”

The shock was thus cumulative: one excruciation after another. So was the crucial loss of fluids. On the Cross, Jesus experienced yet more loss of blood and dehydration. “If I drew the death certificate today,” says Zugibe, “I would say that He died of that hypovolemic and traumatic shock due to crucifixion. The scourging caused Him to die as soon as He did because of the extent of the shock,” he adds.

[see also: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
http://www.spiritdaily.com/books5.htm#dolorous

and Dr. Zugibe’s website] e-forensicmedicine.net/

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