How accurate was Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ"? Were the characters accurately portrayed in reference to the Gospels? Was Christ's beating excessive?

Essay by SikosmHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2006

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Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" followed the last twelve hours of Jesus' life quite precisely when compared with the Bible. However, Mel Gibson used artistic licence to pad the movie with events that were either not mentioned or not clearly described in the gospels. Mel Gibson also directed the movie incorporating events believed to have happened according to Catholic tradition, and the visions of the beatified nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich. This is not to say that these events didn't occur, it just means that they were not recorded by the Evangelists and must be treated with a grain of salt. There were also a few minor departures from historical fact in the movie involving the languages used between the Hebrews and the Romans, the Latin used in the film being different to the Latin used in ancient Rome, and Pilate's character. The main characters in the film were Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, St John the Beloved, St Peter, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Judas and Satan.

All these characters are accurately depicted with the exception of Mary Magdalene and possibly Pilate. The Bible does not give a clear indication as to whether the movie's presentation of Jesus' beatings was excessive or not. I think that the beatings were a bit excessive in the movie - certainly not saying that Jesus wasn't treated badly, because the gospels say that He was unrecognisable afterwards - because Mel Gibson based a lot of the beatings on Emmerich's visions which are disputable and unreliable (some of her visions contradict each other), and had the ability to use artistic licence.

The first departure from the gospels is when Satan talks to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although in Luke the Devil had "left Jesus for a time," the Bible does not state...