Annika (along with many others) criticizes Mel Gibson's vision of the scourging of Jesus as unrealistically bloody. Says Annika: "Historically, people died from scourging. It didn’t take a lot of strokes to kill someone, and Jesus was whipped savagely in the movie. Though i’m not an expert on this, i really do think any person would have died from that amount of flogging. There was so much blood on the floor after the scourging scene, it is impossible to believe that Jesus wouldn't have at least passed out, let alone believe that he could carry a heavy cross afterwards."
I'm not sure I agree with Annie on this. (In fairness to her, she does go on to say that she thinks Gibson was trying to represent Jesus as having endured the outer limits of what a human being is capable of. And that seems right, considering the purpose of the Passion. A boo-boo doesn't atone for all the sins of mankind.) First, I don't know if the amount of blood loss portrayed in the film is an accurate representation of what that sort of beating would produce. Probably very few people do; thankfully, most of us aren't intimately familiar with the physical effects of extreme violence. I do know that the back is one of the least vulnerable areas of the human body, because of its thick skin, heavy musculature (relative to the rest of the body), and absence of arteries not protected by the ribcage. (I checked some anatomy websites, and couldn't find any arteries in the musculature of the back. There are some veins along the spine, but they don't appear to be especially large.) Second, I don't know whether the amount of blood loss portrayed in the film would be rapidly fatal to a human being. But I decided that we might be able to make some guesses about that, so I did a little experiment.