Anatomist Gunther von Hagens will use a real body to show how people died when crucified in the 90-minute film....I don't quite understand. Museums and churches are full of graphic depictions of the crucifixion. Many sculptors and painters have for centures wielded their skills to demonstrate the extent of Christ's suffering. Some of these images are as graphic as the artists could make them. Isn't it way too late to call this gratuitously offensive and blasphemous?
Although Channel 4 insists the body will not represent Christ specifically, a memo leaked to the Evening Standard states that it would indeed portray Jesus....
Director Stephen Green said: "This sounds gratuitously offensive and blasphemous. It could well be we would want to take some action against it."
UPDATE: Here's my old post favorably reviewing the von Hagens exhibit of plasticinated corpses, "Body Worlds 2," which I saw in Cleveland last year.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's von Hagens's response to critics:
Though Dr. von Hagens declines to participate in nearly all the proposals sent his way, he enjoys engaging in intellectual discourse with the creative protagonists of these ventures. Such was the nature of his discussions with Nick Curwin, producer of Firefly Films and a collaborator on several previous projects.Okay, so you're not "staging a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ." It might help to say what you are doing.
As an anatomist inspired by the Renaissance, Dr. von Hagens is fascinated by the curious alliance between the Church and anatomists from the 1500s, and interested in expanding the boundaries of discussion about anatomy. Thus, he welcomed the lively exchange with Mr. Curwin about anatomy, anatomists, religion, death, God, and most interestingly, crucifixion's place in history and anatomy, and the crucifixion experiments of Pierre Barbet and Frederick Zugibe.
What followed was an extended hypothetical discussion about a hypothetical program showing the most common method of execution practiced by the Romans, which, according to historical records, claimed the lives of as many as 2000 people a day. While Dr. von Hagens enjoyed the sparkling dialogue and banter about the filmic possibilities of such an endeavor, he did not at any time agree to participate in staging a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, nor is he planning to do so in the future.