So for example, where the Gospels merely refer to Jesus being flogged, Emmerich adds much detail:. What the Gospels state matter-of-factly and without narrative elaboration is luridly expanded by Emmerich: First they used "a species of thorny stick covered with knots and splinters. The blows from these sticks tore His flesh to pieces; his blood spouted out Then she describes the use of scourges "composed of small chains, or straps covered with iron hooks, which penetrated to the bone and tore off large pieces of flesh at every blow" p.
Emmerich's visions paint a very negative portrait of the Jews, and give them a much greater role in the suffering of Jesus than is found in the Bible.
The Seven Last Words formed the basis of a famous composition by Haydn. Composed in , it was first performed on Good Friday in Cadiz, Spain. Each of the work's seven sections is based on one of Jesus' final utterances. Haydn described the piece as These Sonatas are composed on, and appropriate to, the Words that Christ our Saviour spoke on the Cross Each Sonata, or rather each setting of the text, is expressed only by instrumental music, but in such a way that it creates the most profound impression on even the most inexperienced listener. Dr Rowan Williams , Archbishop of Canterbury, reflects on the completion of Jesus' purpose in his death.
The Stations of the Cross are numbered stages in the events of the Passion, from the condemnation of Jesus to the placing of his body in the tomb. The Stations of the Cross are often found in churches as a series of statues or other works of art placed along the walls or on pillars. Christians can use the Stations of the Cross as the basis for a structured meditation on the last hours of Christ's life. The Via Crucis Way of the Cross takes the faithful on a journey through the final stages of the Passion, as explained in this Roman Catholic guidance note:.
In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce: The Five Precious or Sacred Wounds are the wounds in the hands, feet and side of Christ that were inflicted at the Crucifixion. These wounds have been the subject of spiritual devotion, mostly among Roman Catholics, for many centuries. A number of churches are dedicated to the Five Precious Wounds, and many prayers have been written on the theme.
Some altars are decorated with five crosses - one in the centre and one at each corner - to represent the Five Precious Wounds. In mediaeval times it was calculated that Jesus received a total of 5, injuries during the Passion. The actual date of the Crucifixion is not known, but the evidence narrows it down to dates with the following properties:. Other dates that have been suggested include 7th April 30, 3rd April 33 and 30th April 28 AD, but some recent articles have argued that 18 March 29 AD is the most likely date.
From quite early the Passion was chanted in a dramatic way, with the reader representing the different voices in the story: Very often the words of Christ were chanted while the rest was spoken. The texts were originally chanted by a single person, but from around the 13th century different voices took the different parts. As music became more sophisticated various forms of Passion were developed, ranging from straight narratives with music through to oratorios anchored to a greater or lesser extent in the text of scripture. The earliest play so far is one found at the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy.
Two 13th century German passion plays are known, and Passion plays were more popular during that century and the one that followed. Passion plays often give a detailed portrayal of Christ's physical suffering and many of them include explicit dramatisations of the beating and execution of Christ.
There were at least two reasons for this: Secondly, making the action as realistic as possible demonstrated to the audience that the death of Christ was a real historical event. The most famous Passion play is the one that has been staged at Oberammergau in Upper Bavaria in Germany since The villagers of Oberammergau had promised God that if he saved them from a plague epidemic they would commemorate it by staging a dramatic representation of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection every ten years. The Oberammergau Passion play is particularly notable for involving the participation of the most of the villagers, with over people in the cast.
The Passion is one of the most common subjects in art. Paintings of the Crucifixion were much in demand for church use. Among the most famous paintings is the Isenheim altarpiece by Mathias Grunewald. The painting of the Crucifixion is gruelling in both its detailed treatment of the physical anguish of Jesus, and the visual language used. The Crucifix as a sculpted cross with the figure of Jesus dates from the 10th century the Gero Cross of Cologne Cathedral. In many churches a Crucifix stands on the choir screen, in the arch between the nave and the chancel.
These are often known as 'roods' and the screen as a 'rood screen'. Rood comes from the Saxon word for a crucifix. In this radio programme, Paul Morrison, a naturalist, explores the symbolism of flowers and plants in the crucifixion story. He goes in search of the plant the soldiers may have used to make Jesus' crown of thorns. Many of the details in accounts of the Passion derive from other texts, such as the 14th century German text Christi Leiden in Einer Vision Geschaut which covers the event in horrific detail.
Such treatments of the Passion were common in mediaeval texts. Those who wrote texts like this didn't want to sensationalise the story but to emphasise that Jesus Christ was as fully human as he was divine by showing that the Son of God had suffered the most extreme torture that could be inflicted on a human being. The texts also provided vivid word pictures that would help those so inclined to meditate on the suffering of Christ and, in mind and spirit, to enter into the experience to the extent of imagining themselves actually there.
Bernard of Clairvaux died taught that meditation on the Passion was the way to achieve spiritual perfection. Why, O my soul, were you not there to be pierced by a sword of bitter sorrow when you could not bear the piercing of the side of your Saviour with a lance? Why could you not bear to see the nails violate the hands and feet of your creator? Would that I with happy Joseph might have taken down my Lord from the cross, wrapped him in spiced grave-clothes, and laid him in the tomb. The second is that I may feel in my heart, as much as possible, that excessive love with which you, O Son of God, were inflamed in willingly enduring such suffering for us sinners.
Professor Terry Eagleton, cultural theorist, literary critic and Catholic, talks about suffering in the light of the Passion story.
He argues that an emphasis on self-denial misses the point of Christianity. The Passion story has often been used to justify Christian anti-Semitism with cruel, tragic and shaming results. Mary Gordon points out that the Passion is To be a Christian is to face the responsibility for one's own most treasured sacred texts being used to justify the deaths of innocents.
And the gospel versions of the story clearly suggest that even if the Jews did not actually kill Jesus, some Jewish officials played a significant part in getting the Roman governor to sentence Jesus to death.
Some people claim that the Bible states that the Jews cursed themselves as Christ-killers. They base this on a passage in St. Jesus was not primarily executed for blasphemy but because Pilate feared that he would incite public unrest. Some of the Jewish leadership played a part in the death of Jesus, but the Jewish population as a whole had nothing to do with it.
True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, still what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new People of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled.
While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. The Passion of Christ Last updated The word Passion comes from the Latin word for suffering.
The story of the Passion The elements of the Passion story are these: Many Bible scholars would say that the Gospels are not primarily a historical record of what happened because: Historical sources The historical evidence for the Crucifixion supports the bare facts of Jesus' death on the Cross, but little else. Around 60 years after the death of Jesus the Jewish historian Josephus wrote: He who sustains all creatures with His might submitted His back to their stripes Saint Ephraem.
Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing Luke Son, there is your mother John Quoted from Grove Music Online. Stations of the Cross The Stations of the Cross are numbered stages in the events of the Passion, from the condemnation of Jesus to the placing of his body in the tomb. The Via Crucis Way of the Cross takes the faithful on a journey through the final stages of the Passion, as explained in this Roman Catholic guidance note: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Date of the Crucifixion The actual date of the Crucifixion is not known, but the evidence narrows it down to dates with the following properties: The first polyphonic Passion settings date from the 15th century.
The Passion in drama 'Passion plays' have been staged since the 12th century.
The Passion of Christ was also portrayed in the English 'cycle plays'. The Passion in art The Passion is one of the most common subjects in art. Almost every component of this memorial is rich with meaning-meaning supplied by Old Testament foreshadowing and New Testament teaching. The Lord's death itself is meaningful and significant in ways we rarely point out. Beneath the Cross explores the depths of symbolism and meaning to be found in the last hours of the Lord's life and offers a helpful look at the memorial feast that commemorates it.
Approaching the Lord's Table. Essays on the nature and background of the Lord's Supper. Seeing Jesus Through the Bible. Essays tracing the story of the Messiah from Genesis to Revelation. Meditating on the Cross. Reflections on Christ's sacrifice and its significance to the Christian life.
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