"It was a horror show!"
PASSION'S CRUCIFIXION OVERKILL
"Jesus would not be able to carry that cross.
I mean, the way they came down with the lashing and all,
he would have been deader than a doornail!"
It's hard to believe such a person exists - and one wonders where he gets his human guinea pigs - but in the newspaper this weekend I read about an expert in the science of crucifixion who sees innaccuracies in Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. The journalist doing the interview wondered if a better name might be Mad Max Meets the Messiah.
The crucifixion expert says Mel's movie was a typical Hollywood production where facts don't jive with reality. He says that there is no way Jesus, or anyone, could have survived the beating inflicted by the Roman guards, let alone carry the 150 pound cross to Calvary afterwards.
He also says that the image of Jesus laying limply in his mother's arms after he's been taken down from the cross is also phony, and that in reality he'd have been stiff as a board with his arms stuck up over his head. I know it's gruesome to talk about details like this but the justification people have been giving for going to see such a gory movie is that they are seeing a true-to-life enactment of a true event. Maybe when they realize they're being "taken in" under false pretenses, they'll start questioning other aspects of the movie and the book it's based on. ~ Jackie Jura
Here are excerpts from the article:
THE CROSS COMES TO THE LAB
The world's leading authority on crucifixion takes exception to Mel Gibson's portrayal of Jesus's death
by Michael McKinley, National Post, Mar 6, 2004
Mel Gibson has responded to the critics of his film The Passion of the Christ by saying he was just putting up on the silver screen what was written down in the four Gospels. Any one who has seen the film will know the bulk of it consists of Jesus (or rather, Jim Caviezel) undergoing repeated pummellings and lashings so brutal it is a relief to the viewer when he is finally crucified and dies.
Since Gibson decided to focus his directorial eye on the process of Christ's crucifixion, and since I have spent the past year working as co-writer/producer on the CNN documentary The Mystery of Jesus, an examination of the historical Jesus, I wanted to find out whether this was really how it happened or if it was just Mad Max Meets the Messiah. So I called Dr. Frederick Zugibe, who for the past 52 years has refined his scientific study of the mechanics of death by crucifixion and who lent his expertise to our documentary.
"It was a horror show!" said Zugibe from his home in Rockland County, N.Y., about 40 minutes northwest of Manhattan. Zugibe, an energetic and voluble 75-year-old was, until last year, chief medical examiner of Rockland County, whose forensic unit is now named after him.... Despite his long service to forensic pathology as both a practitioner and a teacher at Columbia University, the crucifixion of Jesus has held his scientific imagination captive even longer.
"I became interested in the crucifixion when I was in college and read an article about it in a Catholic journal," he said. "But I thought, 'Gee, there's so much here that doesn't make sense,' so I told the professor and he told me to write a term paper on it, and I wrote about a 35-page term paper with diagrams and everything else."
After going on to get his M.D, and a PhD in human anatomy, Zugibe continued to research the crucifixion and to lecture on it, as well as write numerous books and articles. Author of The Cross and the Shroud: A Medical Inquiry into the Crucifixion, and the in-progress The Death of Jesus: An Investigation into the Crucifixion, Zugibe is generally recognized as the world's leading authority on one of the most gruesome forms of capital punishment yet devised.
And he won his recognition the good old-fashioned way: through unusual, but scientific, experiment. He had a priest friend, who was also a blacksmith, build him a sturdy cross, to which he hooked up various devices to measure the stress of a body undergoing crucifixion. Then he hoisted people up on to the cross and monitored what happened to them.
"We had air oxymeters, we did blood gases, we collected all of the air in special bags to analyze the air they breathed when they were up there," said Zugibe. "We hooked them up to EKG to check on cardio function, and we did all kinds of other blood tests. Then I reconstructed, from a forensic point of view, a mechanism, manner and cause of death."
Zugibe points out his experiments only simulated crucifixion, and his volunteer subjects were belted to the cross, not nailed. In Gibson's Passion, however, Zugibe says Jesus would never have made it to Golgotha to be crucified in the first place.
"For instance, take the scourging," he said. "Here are these big men, coming down on him with the scourging, really brutally beating him. I had a case about a year and a half ago of a young person who was just beaten across the back with a belt and a lamp cord. He got bad grades in school and that's why he was beaten up. Just from the use of the belt and the cord, his lungs were collapsed and were hemorrhagic; the entire inside of the chest wall was totally hemorrhagic. Now, with the degree of scourging that they did in the movie, with that type of a beating and with that type of an instrument, Jesus would not even have been alive."
Zugibe is hardly a touchy-feely Catholic upset with renegade Gibson, who rejects the Second Vatican Council and everything afterward. He is as Catholic as the Pope himself, and was knighted in 2002 for "great acts and services to the Royal House and the Church" into the order of Our Lady of the Conception of Vila Vicosa by the Duke of Braganca, titular king and head of the royal family of Portugal. Visitors to his home are greeted by a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary in the foyer, and he's clearly pained by Gibson's failure to get the story straight. "I hate to be a person that's just tearing down something, but I'm looking at this from a scientific point of view. I heard that he had wanted to have it really accurate.... If I looked at this as just as a regular movie of the crucifixion, I'd say, "Well, he did a pretty good job in general, it's good Hollywood style.'"
Hollywood style is what he sees during Jesus's journey to Calvary, lugging a heavy cross after his brutal scourging, being lashed and punched by the soldiers, with the crown of thorns cutting into nerves in his head to produce a pain "so severe clinically that they actually have to go in surgically and either inject or cut the nerve," Zugibe said. "That's how bad it can be."
The Romans, he says, used a Tau cross, shaped like a T, with a flat crosspiece called a patibulum that was then attached to a stipe, or upright post already in place at the execution site. Zugibe says that victims carried only that crosspiece to the site of their execution - something that the two thieves do in Gibson's film, while Jesus is burdened with the entire cross, which Zugibe calculates weighed about 150 pounds.... "Jesus would not be able to carry that cross. I mean, the way they came down with the lashing and all, he would have been deader than a doornail!"
Once Jesus reaches Golgotha, Zugibe takes issue with the "how" of his crucifixion, pointing out that the Romans had perfected this ancient form of cruelty handed down to them.... "The Romans were experts at doing crucifixions," said Zugibe. "The centurion and his four other Roman soldiers, were actually a skilled group. Gibsons film made them into a drunken mess."
According to Zugibe, once the victim had reached the place of execution, the four Roman soldiers would "lie on top of him to hold him down and stretch out his arms on the patibulum while they drove iron spikes through his hands into the patibulum. The manoeuvre in holding him down would cause almost unbearable pains in his chest because of the trauma from the scourging."
And even worse than the chest pain was the pain of the nails going into the victim's hands, striking the medial nerve and producing, "causalgia," ..."It's one of the worst pains ever experienced by man," said Zugibe. "Jesus would have screeched out; I don't care who, what, where or when. The pain of causalgia is so, so brutal."
Zugibe also takes issue with the nailing of the feet to the foot rest, or suppedaneum, which he says "is something the artists had made up through the years. The feet were nailed flat to the stipe," once the victim, now nailed to the patibulum, had been hoisted into place. And then the victim was left to die.
...Zugibe hooked up gages to determine the amount of force pulling down on the crucified person's body and found the nailed feet bear a lot of the weight, so much so that "when we had the full suspension [with the feet hanging loose], it was over 200 pounds of pull on each hand, but it was about 60 pounds on a 185-pound man with the feet secured. So it was way less."
Of course, when the Romans wanted to hasten death, they broke the legs of the crucified victim, and, with the feet no longer supporting the body, suffocation then took place. Zugibe says if the Romans decided to let a victim linger, then depending on the degree of beating beforehand, a crucified person could last a week up on the cross before they expired from the trauma and dehydration, not to mention attacks by wild animals. Jesus, on the other hand, according to both the Gospels and Gibson, lasted only a few hours. So what then, does the medical examiner say was the cause of Jesus's death?
"I found that his death would be most consistent with shock - hypovolemic, which means low blood volume, and where do you get the low blood volume? Not only from some of the bleeding but mostly from fluids. Of all the punishments that Jesus went through, the scourging was the worst. Because that's really the thing that killed him."
And then, once he was dead, Zugibe says there is still one more problem. One of the most famous and beautiful works of art is Michelangelo's Pieta, on display in St. Peter's Basilica, with Mary cradling the limp body of her dead son after he's been taken down from the cross. Gibson uses the same image, with Mary holding Jesus in her arms, and staring at the camera to implicate us all in his death. It's a nice moment, says Zugibe, but all wrong. "It wouldn't have looked like that. They should have shown his arms up in a Y shape because he would have been in rigor mortis."...
All the hype and controversy didn't hurt The Passion of the Christ at the box office, with the film taking first place in the earning sweepstakes over Oscar weekend by raking in US$76.2-million.... Since the film's release on Ash Wednesday it took in an estimated US$117.5-million during its first five days, the second-best five-day opening in history.... Then there's the Passion's merchandise boutique on the film's Web site, where punters can buy "crown of thorns" T-shirts for US$18 and necklaces with crucifixion nail pendants for US$16.99, along with the soundtrack, and coffee mugs, and the "book" of the movie, all of which makes Gibson's US$30-million investment of his own money look rather shrewd...
PASSION & CHRISTIANITY
Mel doing Mayan blood rites movie. Guardian, Oct 30, 2005
'Apolocalpyto' - Anyone who turned nauseous at the flesh-ripping carnage of The Passion should fear for their stomachs again. While Mayan civilisation thrived for nearly 2,000 years before its mysterious collapse, mastering astronomy and the construction of pyramids, it also carried out savage rituals of human sacrifice to appease the gods.
Public autopsy art going worldwide (body-donation program entitles person to be flayed & dissected). Boston Globe, Mar 6, 2004
STAN the (almost) man (dummy's name means 'Standard Man' for military medics to practice on). Calgary Herald, Mar 6, 2004
GIBSON'S BLOODY MESS (2-hour-6-minute snuff movie is protracted exercise in sadomasochism)
SEE THE MOVIE, BUY THE NAIL (swap witnessing cards with your masochistic Jesus fanatic friends)
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is fundamentalist pornography
Human sacrifice as entertainment (churches taking kids to crucifixion; see beating that lasts 45 minutes; cat-o'-nine-tails ripping flesh; hands nailed & arm pulled from socket; body lanced & blood showers down). USA Today, Feb 17, 2004. Go to MOSES & SUGARCANDY MOUNTAIN & HUMAN SACRIFICE IN BIBLE
5,000 pastors cheer Mel Gibson's movie. Washington Times, Jan 22, 2004 & 'Passion' and Intrique. WallStreetJournal, Jan 22, 2004 (high priests of Jews & Christians agree "It is as it was" and hope everyone buys ticket for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST where Mel Gibson lifts the festering scab and shows a human sacrifice of someone they say is God). Go to FRIENDS AT ARMAGEDDON & MOSES MENTIONS MOAB
Pope wants a New World Order (based on the United Nations to solve conflicts & ensure peace). Reuters, Jan 1, 2004. Go to 5.Pyramidal New World Order & 2.Big Brother & 10.Rulers
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~
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