The Sources of The Passion of The Christ
Emmerich, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Mel
Gibson's, The Passion of The Christ.
I read through Emmerich
looking for those passages which have made their way into the film,
or seem to have influenced his interpretation. These are the most noticeable
sections. Page references are to the paperback edition published by TAN.
The introduction, though,
begins with an interesting disclaimer that Mel seems not to have read:
THE following meditations will probably rank high among many similar works which
the contemplative love of Jesus has produced; but it is our duty here plainly to
affirm that they have no pretensions whatever to be regarded as history.
They are but intended to take one of the lowest places among those numerous
representations of the Passion which have been given us by pious writers and
artists, and to be considered at the very utmost as the Lenten meditations of a
devout nun, related in all simplicity, and written down in the plainest and most
literal language, from her own dictation. To these meditations, she herself
never attached more than a mere human value, and never related them except
through obedience, and upon the repeated commands of the directors of her
goes to the Garden to pray.
I felt that Jesus, in delivering himself up to Divine Justice in satisfaction
for the sins of the world, caused his divinity to return, in some sort, into the
bosom of the Holy Trinity, concentrated himself, so to speak, in his pure,
loving and innocent humanity, and strong only in his ineffable love, gave it up
to anguish and suffering (100).
comes to him in the Garden and tempts him, showing him the sins of the world,
saying, "Takest thou even this sin upon thyself? Art thou willing to bear its
penalty? Art thou prepared to satisfy for all these sins?" (100).
goes to the three disciples who had followed him the farthest, but who had now
fallen asleep. After Jesus has woken and rebuked them, John asks, "Must I call
the other disciples? Ought we to take to flight?" Jesus responds, "Call not the
eight; I did not bring them hither, because they could not see me thus agonising
without being scandalised." (104).
she says, hadn't expected Jesus' death. He simply wanted the reward; "his mind
was engrossed with the love of gain alone." (124)
Immediately upon arresting Jesus, the Pharisees and archers began to torment
him. Reaching a bridge, "they gave full vent to their brutal inclinations, and
struck Jesus with such violence that they threw him off the bridge into the
water, and scornfully recommended him to quench his thirst there." (136)
Sadduccees "were actually dying for revenge. They hastened to all the inns to
seek out those persons whom they knew to be enemies of our Lord, and offered
them bribes in order to secure their appearance." (143)
Roman soldiers didn't know what was going on, but they "kept a strict lookout."
The Pharisees avoided the places where the Roman sentinels were posted. Pilate
was sleepless, receiving reports throughout the night and giving orders; "his
wife slept, but her sleep was disturbed by frightful dreams, and she groaned and
wept alternately." (147)
wandered alone, "a prey to the tortures of his guilty conscience; he feared even
his own shadow, and was followed by many devils, who endeavoured to turn his
feelings of remorse into black despair" (149-150).
was brought before Annas.
"Is it possible," said he,
"is it possible that thou art Jesus of Nazareth? Where are thy disciples, thy
numerous followers? Where is thy kingdom? I fear affairs have not turned out as
thou didst expect" (151).
continues to harass Jesus, who responds, "I have spoken openly"--this is greeted
by a blow from "a base menial." "Jesus was so nearly prostrated by the violence
of the blow, that when the guards likewise reviled and struck him, he fell quite
down, and blood trickled from his face to the floor. Laughter, insults, and
bitter words resounded through the hall" (152).
the trial, the archers and others in the crowd pulled out his hair, beat him,
spat upon him, and when the Council left the room, "a crowd of miscreants--the
very scum of the people--surrounded Jesus like a swarm of infuriated wasps," and
began to further insult, humiliate, and torture him (165-66). They dragged him
into the room the Council had gone to (167). [Mel collapses the action, and
doesn't have any change of rooms]
and John were in the room watching all this, and could bear it no more. Peter
went to leave, and John followed (168). Peter wavered, and was recognized by
some in the crowd, and he denied knowing Jesus (169).
and Mary entered Caiaphas' house, along with Mary Magdalene (174-5). Jesus was
taken to a subterranean prison (176ff).
continued to hound Judas, calling him "cursed," like Cain. Judas came to a
"dreary, desolate spot filled with rubbish and putrid remains," and there hanged
Jews took Jesus to Pilate, who asked them, "Why have you ill-treated this
prisoner so shamefully? Is it not possible to refrain from thus tearing to
pieces and beginning to execute your criminals even before they are judged?"
the scourging, "I saw Claudia Procles, the wife of Pilate, send some large
pieces of linen to the Mother of God. ... I soon after saw Mary and Magdalen
approach the pillar where Jesus had been scourged; ... they knelt down on the
ground near the pillar, and wiped up the sacred blood with the linen which
Claudia Procles had sent" (224-5).
"The Pharisees, likewise,
rode up to Jesus, looked at him scornfully, made use of some opprobrious
expressions, and then left the place. The Roman soldiers, of whom a hundred had
been posted round Calvary, were marched away, and their places filled by fifty
others, the command of whom was given to Abenadar, an Arab by birth, who
afterwards took the name of Cté siphon in baptism; and the second in command was
Cassius, who, when he became a Christian, was known by the name of Longinus:
Pilate frequently made use of him as a messenger." (Ch 42)
Skipping to the crucifixion:
When the executioners had nailed the right hand of our Lord, they perceived that
his left hand did not reach the hole they had bored to receive the nail,
therefore they tied ropes to his left arm, and having steadied their feet
against the cross, pulled the left hand violently until it reached the place
prepared for it. This dreadful process caused our Lord indescribable agony, his
breast heaved, and his legs were quite contracted (270-71).
the two columns which were placed at the entrance of their Holy of Holies, and
to which a magnificent curtain was appended, were shaken to the very
foundations; the column on the left side fell down in a southerly, and that on
the right in a northerly direction, thus rending the veil in two from the top to
the bottom with a fearful sound, and exposing the Holy of Holies uncovered to
the public gaze. A large stone was loosened and fell from the wall at the
entrance of the sanctuary, near where the aged Simeon used to kneel, and the
arch was broken. The ground was heaved up, and many other columns were thrown
down in other parts of the Temple (298).
Agreda, The Mystical City of God (abridged). Rockford, IL: TAN Books,
1978. Reprint of Albuquerque, NM: Corcoran Publishing Co., 1949. Translated by
Rev. George J. Blatter.
invented tall tables:
Christ had partaken of the
prescribed supper with his disciples reclining on the floor around a table,
which was elevated from it little more than the distance of six or seven
fingers; for such was the custom of the Jews. But after the washing of the feet
He ordered another, higher table to be prepared, such as we now use for our
meals. By this arrangement He wished to put an end to the legal suppers and to
the lower and figurative law and establish the new Supper of the law of grace.
From that time on He wished the sacred mysteries to be performed on the tables
or altars, which are in use in the Catholic Church. (ch 3)
Having been taken prisoner
and firmly bound, the most meek Lamb Jesus was dragged from the garden to the
house of the highpriests, first to the house of Annas (John 18, 13). The
turbulent band of soldiers and servants, having been advised by the traitorous
disciple that his Master was a sorcerer and could easily escape their hands, if
they did not carefully bind and chain Him securely before starting on their way,
took all precautions inspired by such a mistrust (Mark 14, 44). Lucifer and his
compeers of darkness secretly irritated and provoked them to increase their
impious and sacrilegious illtreatment of the Lord beyond all bounds of humanity
and decency. As they were willing accomplices of Lucifer's malice, they omitted
no outrage against the person of their Creator within the limits set them by the
Almighty. They bound Him with a heavy iron chain with such ingenuity, that it
encircled as well the waist as the neck. The two ends of the chain which
remained free, were attached to large rings or handcuffs, with which they
manacled the hands of the Lord, who created the heavens, the angels and the
whole universe. The hands thus secured and bound, they fastened not in front,
but behind. This chain they had brought from the house of Annas the highpriest,
where it had served to raise the portcullis of a dungeon. They had wrenched it
from its place and provided it with padlock handcuffs. But they were not
satisfied with this unheard-of way of securing a prisoner; for in their distrust
they added two pieces of strong rope: the one they wound around the throat of
Jesus and, crossing it at the breast, bound it in heavy knots all about the
body, leaving two long ends free in front, in order that the servants and
soldiers might jerk Him in different directions along the way. The second rope
served to tie his arms, being bound likewise around his waist. The two ends of
this rope were left hanging free to be used by two other executioners for
jerking Him from behind.
The Author of our salvation,
hiding his power of annihilating his enemies in order that our Redemption might
be the more abundant, submitted to all the consequences of the impious fury
which Lucifer and his hellish squadron fomented in the Jews. They dragged Him
bound and chained under continued ill-treatment to the house of Annas, before
whom they presented Him as a malefactor worthy of death.
But he soon afterwards
followed his Master to the house of Caiphas, where he denied Him again at two
different times, as I shall relate farther on.
At the trial:
Roused by satanic fury they
all fell upon their most meek Master and discharged upon Him their wrath. Some
of them struck Him in the face, others kicked Him, others tore out his hair,
others spat upon his venerable countenance others slapped or struck Him in the
neck, which was a treatment reserved among the Jews only for the most abject and
vile of criminals.
they ordered Him to be
locked, bound as He was, in one of the subterranean dungeons, a prison cell set
apart for the most audacious robbers and criminals of the state.
After the denial of saint
Peter, saint John had retired and had observed, more from afar what was going
on. Recognizing also the wickedness of his flight in the garden, he confessed it
to the Mother of God and asked her pardon as soon as he came into her presence
But the Lord maintained
silence also in regard to these calumnies, much to the disappointment of Herod.
In his presence the Lord would not open his lips, neither in order to answer his
questions, nor in order to refute the accusations. Herod was altogether unworthy
of hearing the truth, this being his greatest punishment and the punishment most
to be dreaded by all the princes and the powerful of this earth. Herod was much
put out by the silence and meekness of our Savior and was much disappointed in
his vain curiosity. But the unjust judge tried to hide his confusion by
mocking and ridiculing the innocent Master with his whole cohort of soldiers and
ordering him to be sent back to Pilate.
Thus the Lord stood
uncovered in the presence of a great multitude and the six torturers bound Him
brutally to one of the columns in order to chastise Him so much the more at
their ease. Then, two and two at a time, they began to scourge Him with such
inhuman cruelty, as was possible only in men possessed by Lucifer as were these
In order to wipe out
entirely that beauty, which exceeded that of all other men (Ps. 44, 3), they
beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, thus leaving unwounded not a
single spot in which they could exert their fury and wrath against the most
innocent Lamb. The divine blood flowed to the ground, gathering here and there
in great abundance.
The exact number of blows
dealt out to the Savior from head to foot was 5,115.
they brought Jesus to the scourging place She retired in the company of the
Marys and saint John to a corner of the courtyard. Assisted by her divine
visions, She there witnessed the scourging and the torments of our Savior.
It seemed to Pilate that the
spectacle of a man so illtreated as Jesus of Nazareth would move and fill shame
the hearts of that ungrateful people. He therefore commanded Jesus to be brought
from the pretorium to an open window, where all could see Him crowned with
thorns, disfigured by the scourging and the ignominious vestiture of a
mock-king. Pilate himself spoke to the people, calling out to them: "Ecce Homo,"
"Behold, what a man!" (John 19, 5). See this Man, whom you hold as your enemy!
What can I do with Him than to have punished Him in this severe manner? You
certainly have nothing more to fear from Him.
Cross was fifteen feet long, of thick and heavy timbers.
order to find the places for the auger-holes on the Cross, the executioners
haughtily commanded the Creator of the universe (O dreadful temerity!), to
stretch Himself out upon it. The Teacher of humility obeyed without hesitation.
But they, following their inhuman instinct of cruelty, marked the places for the
holes, not according to the size of his body, but larger, having in mind a new
torture for their Victim.
Presently one of the executioners seized the hand of Jesus our Savior and placed
it upon the auger-hole while another hammered a large and rough nail through the
palm. The veins and sinews were torn, and the bones of the sacred hand, which
made the heavens and all that exists, were forced apart. When they stretched out
the other hand, they found that it did not reach up to the auger-hole; for the
sinews of the other arm had been shortened and the executioners had maliciously
set the holes too far apart, as I have mentioned above. In order to overcome the
difficulty, they took the chain with which the Savior had been bound in the
garden, and looping one end through a ring around his wrist, they, with unheard
of cruelty, pulled the hand over the hole and fastened it with another nail.